In science, we see that all of the time; X says he can invent perpetual motion or has overturned some aspect of medicine or biology and "dogma" keeps it hidden. It's the myth of the oppressed underdog. Americans love it, it's good reading, David vs. Goliath stuff. It is the story of how America came to be.
But more often than not, it isn't oppression as much as just being wrong. It's an engineer or an amateur who has created a Theory of Everything ('now it is up to science to prove it') or whatever and ends up being tripped up, at which point they flip out and claim a vast science conspiracy against them.
I guess they are assembling Jesus here. Anyway, it's all propaganda, says Joseph Atwill, author of the best-selling book "Caesar's Messiah" and upcoming "The Single Strand." Skeptics who happen to be atheists will likely just agree without being skeptical at all. Religious scholars will ironically be skeptical. Credit: Joseph Atwill
In religion it apparently happens too. An amateur Biblical scholar says he has proved Jesus never existed. Now, I got no dog in the Jesus thing but I am as baffled at claims that a vast conspiracy kept the guy's memory alive as I am conspiracy claims about the moon landing or Area 51. It requires too many people invested in modestly keeping quiet and no one interested in gaining attention for being a whistleblower. In other words, it defies the human condition. I know that if I come home after being missing for 3 days, my wife is going to yell about my 12 criminal, drunken friends, not accept some story that I am the Messiah - so he clearly had some real believability not seen before or since. Win: Jesus.
A PR Web press release is not much to go on. For $200 anyone can put anything in a press release. And I won't introduce a fallacy like appealing to authority (he has none), as some have done, to dismiss him.
I will instead note the obvious problem; his claim is a social studies version of a just-so story. He has an end-oriented belief and then seeks information to support it. Unsurprisingly, he manages to find plenty of confirmation bias, by looking hard enough.
I send you to Billy Hallowell at The Blaze to dissect it in detail. It isn't just that I find it interesting this stuff happens in the humanities too, but rather that because those fields are so fuzzy and subjective, that it doesn't happen a lot more.
Self-Professed ‘Bible Scholar’ Makes Explosive Allegation About Jesus That He Believes Could Rock the Christian Faith to Its Core - Billy Hallowell, The Blaze