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This week Derek speaks with Raphael Lataster, a secular PhD researcher in religious studies who focuses on philosophy of religion, Christian origins, logic, Bayesian reasoning, and the social impacts of atheism. His Master's thesis dealt with Jesus mythicism, concluding that historical and Bayesian reasoning justifies a skeptical position in regards to any form of 'historical Jesus'. His work led him to write his new book, 'There Was No Jesus, There Is No God'. Derek decided to sit down and talk with Raphael and find out more about how the ideas contained in the book came about and how they fit when so many prominent, modern, religious scholars tend to keep making statements as to the historical certainty of a Jesus figure.
Show Notes

– Date – April 29, 2014
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– Theme song by Steve Seamans of the Daisy Dillman Band. Get the song HERE.
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Wikipedia [3:30]
Susan Gerbic
Fringe ideas on Wikipedia.
– The Skeptic Wikipedia Project.

Unnatural Virtue [6:05]
– The Clustering Illusion.
Doug Hagmann is a private investigator who claims several recent suicides are really murders and part of a conspiracy to keep people from talking about a plot to totally ruin the world economy.
– He lays it all out in the Canada Free Press: Exposing what lies beneath the bodies of dead bankers and what lies ahead for us.
– Hagmann also connects the case of missing Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird to the conspiracy.
– The New York Post doesn’t promote the conspiracy idea but it thinks there’s some sort of mental health epidemic in the banking world.
– For a good read on what the banking folks got away with see The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi.
– Responsible journalists recognize the clustering illusion.
They point out that a similar kind of story ran not long ago involving lawyers rather than bankers: Why are lawyers killing themselves?
– The pattern seen for bankers and suicide isn’t real: Headlines See a Pattern of Banker Suicides. The Data Don’t.
– See Bob Carroll’s author page for more about The Skeptic’s Dictionary and The Critical Thinker’s Dictionary.

Skeptical Humanities [14:15]
Shakespeare’s Beehive.
Review of Shakespeare’s Beehive, Part 1
Review of Shakespeare’s Beehive, Part 2
Skeptical Humanities.

The Odds Must Be Crazy [21:35]
The Odds Must Be Crazy.
– This week’s featured stories are, “Superbowl and a different kind of bowl” and “The Coincidence of the Twelfth Man“.
– Submitted by blog reader John Hordyk, and blog reader Seattle Seahawks season ticket holder Bill Young.
– Please visit the story link for a more detailed analysis and to add your comments.
– Additional thoughts and considerations provided by Barbara Drescher.
– Our theme music comes to us courtesy of Brian Keith Dalton, AKA Mr. Deity.
– Please visit The Independent Investigations Group Los Angeles.
– The Odds Must Be Crazy can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
– Wendy Hughes is on Twitter.
– John Rael is on Twitter.
– Edward Clint is on Twitter.
– Barbara Drescher is on Twitter.
– Brian Keith Dalton is on Twitter.
– Thanks to our friends Emery Emery, and Heather Henderson for hospitality and support for the production of the segment. Visit them at

Atlanta Skepticamp 2014 [28:35]
– Get all the details at the Atlanta Skeptics website.

Interview: Raphael Lantaster [29:55]
Raphael Lataster is a Religious Studies researcher.
– New book ‘There Was No Jesus, There Is No God‘.
– He studies and writes about various topics including Bayesian reasoning, and pantheism.
– There tends to be a academic bias toward only focusing on theism and the ‘well known’ religious ideas.
– He is attempting to ferret out the most plausible God ideas which people tend to believe in.
– Pantheism sounds like Polytheism, but it isn’t.
– Pantheism reminds Derek of the Dr. Bronners Soap bottle sayings.
– Pantheism is about the Universe/Cosmos itself being ‘God’.
– The film ‘Avatar’ uses the idea of Pantheism as the basis for the religion in that movie.
– Richard Dawkins claims that Pantheism is just a ‘sexed up Atheism’.
Carl Sagan talked about an eventual religious idea that many would all end up embracing, that sounded a lot like Pantheism.
– Even though much of academia accepts the idea that there was a, real, human Jesus.
 However, there seems to be no logical evidence for Jesus when it comes down to it.
William Lane Craig is one example of a scholar who firmly believes in the historical Jesus.
– To break up the book he created an ‘interlude’ which used mathematics to demonstrate the implausibility of divine ideas.
– He uses the basics of Bayesian reasoning to show what ideas are worth putting effort or trust in.
– The book concludes that it is reasonable to doubt the historical nature of the man known as Jesus, even though many scholars seem reluctant to see it that way.
– One of the big elements that most historical Jesus believers point to is the idea that the believers wouldn’t have said things which were embarrassing.
– Since there are zero records or writings which come from the time while Jesus was alive it is quite reasonable to doubt that there was a historical Jesus.
– Something quite contemporary to Jesus while he was alive, Julius Ceasar, who never wrote about, or mentioned Jesus, nor did his fellow contemporaries.
– Even though it went way too far, the Zeitgeist movie touched on some things that are true when it comes to similarities between Jesus and other/older religious figures.
– Many religious scholars who think that there *must* have been a historical Jesus is all the detail and amount of writings about Jesus.
– You can check out Raphael and some of his writings about William Lane Craig and his claims, as well as much of his other work as his website.

Outro Music
– Outro music donated by Trent Brusky of Dropfox.

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