The Case Against Karen Armstrong: Misquoting Popper

Case for GodIn my last post (and also here) I pointed out the true context of several of Armstrong’s sources, demonstrating that she is actually just misrepresenting them. Armstrong fares no better when it comes to science and, in particular, Popper.

While Kuhn does seem share her views that science does not find an objective reality, this is the very point of Kuhn where Kuhn has been shown to have gotten it wrong. Though I am a big fan of Kuhn, his theory explains far less than Popper’s, and so known to be the inferior theory.  (For discussion, see here, here, and particularly here.) Armstrong supports Kuhn on precisely his wrong conclusions. 

Science makes progress precisely because it moves from one paradigm to the next, each one having greater verisimilitude then the last. Science is homing in on objective reality, even if perhaps it will never find it precisely.

And, contrary to Armstrong’s uses of Popper, this was Popper’s whole point! Continue reading

The Case Against Karen Armstrong: Misquoting Religious Sources

Case for GodIn my last two posts, I summarized both Karen Armstrong’s views of religion and God and her negative view of Christian doctrines.

Karen Armstrong is a fantastic writer that holds one’s interest while spinning out tales that seamlessly mix religion, history, science, and philosophy. She is, beyond doubt, far more educated than me on these subjects. Yet when Armstrong hit upon a subject that I knew even a little bit about, I would immediately recognize that she was often misunderstanding, misrepresenting, or misquoting her sources. This fact caused me to lose confidence that she was accurately representing her other sources.

In this post I will concentrate on the frequent misinterpretations of her religious sources. Continue reading

Karen Armstrong’s view of Jesus Christ

We know very little about the historical Jesus, since all our information comes from the texts of the New Testament, which were not primarily concerned with factual accuracy. (Karen Armstrong on p. 81 of The Case for God.)

Case for GodIn my last post, I summarized Karen Armstrong’s view of God and religion. One item that was of particular interest to me was her view of Jesus Christ. No other religion in her book gets the debunking she gives Christianity. (This also serves as a sort of counter point to the Believing Scholars point of view as discussed here.)

In her view, Jesus, for reasons lost in history, was crucified by the Romans only to have his disciples have “visions” that convinced them he had been raised from the dead. (p. 82) The first Christians were, of course, thoroughly Jewish which she believes had no intentions of founding a new religion, though she admits they took the “highly unusual” step of converting gentiles. (p. 82) This eventually lead to Paul (and probably others) belief that the mixed Jewish and Gentile congregations were the first fruits of a “new Israel.” Using Midrashic techniques, these early Christians reinterpreted the Old Testament to contain prophecies — never originally intended — of a future redeemer who would be crucified and rise from the dead. She uses 1 Cor 1:23 to prove that these reinterpretations were often considered scandalous. Continue reading

Review of “The Man from Earth” – Treatment of Christians Considered

The Man from Earth is the final story written by the famous science fiction author Jerome Bixby. Probably best known for his episodes of the original Star Trek – though that is by no means his best work – he was truly one of the luminaries of the science fiction field. [1]

I have mixed feelings about his final story, which was filmed as a movie and is available on NetFlix as a streaming movie. Be warned, this ‘review’ is an analysis and will contain major spoilers. Stop reading and go watch the movie first if you have interest in seeing it without having the plot ruined.

Continue reading