Friday, 22 February 2013

08:20 – Barbara’s mother lost it yesterday. She called here yesterday afternoon, telling me that they were about to be evicted because they were out of money, that they owed $50,000 they couldn’t pay, that Barbara had to come over to stay with her, and that she wanted Barbara to call her immediately. Or at least that’s what I was able to get from the stream of nonsense she was talking. Barbara and Frances had already made it clear to Sankie that they weren’t going to be staying over there with her and that they weren’t going to respond to her demands that they stay with her at all times. So I told Sankie that I’d give Barbara the message but I didn’t think Barbara would be returning her call.

At that point, Dutch grabbed the phone from her and told me that this had been going on constantly literally all day without a break and that he couldn’t take it any more. I told him I’d call Barbara and tell her what was going on. I did that, and then talked to Barbara again later. She said that she’d set up an appointment with Sankie’s psychiatrist for this afternoon, that she was going to go to the gym as planned after work, and that she’d be home around 6:30.

At 6:14, the phone rang here. I answered on the second ring, but the caller hung up. Caller ID showed it was Barbara’s parents’ line calling, so I tried calling back immediately and got a busy signal. Then, at 6:18, the phone rang again. It was Sankie, begging to speak to Barbara. I told her that Barbara wasn’t home yet, and Sankie began pleading with me to have Barbara call her immediately. She was still going on about them being evicted because they were poor and owed money they couldn’t repay, and demanding that Barbara come over and stay with her. I told Sankie that just wasn’t going to happen, and that Barbara, Frances, and Dutch had reached their limit. She said Barbara had to come over to stay because she wanted Barbara to make Dutch do what she, Sankie, was telling him to do. I told her that wasn’t going to happen, and that she had to do what Dutch told her to do. She said she wasn’t going to do that because she didn’t want to do what Dutch was telling her to do. About a minute after we hung up, Frances called from work, saying that she’d had to take a break to respond to all the voicemails Sankie had left on her cell phone. I told Frances what was going on as far as I knew and that Barbara was due home any minute.

So Barbara is picking up her parents this afternoon to take them both to see Sankie’s psychiatrist. She wants the doctor to hear her dad’s side of what’s going on. I told her I didn’t think that’d make any difference. Sankie’s psychiatrist is legally and ethically obligated to do what is best for his patient, Sankie, and not what’s best for Sankie’s family, assuming those two are in conflict. Unfortunately, I believe they are in conflict. The psychiatrist has said that it’s best for Sankie to be at home with Dutch. But her behavior at home is likely to kill Dutch, literally. He simply can’t take the stress. No one could. As I told Barbara last night, her dad is a saint. Any normal man would have beaten Sankie to death long ago. Just imagine living with someone who just sits there repeating something over and over again, not just ten or a hundred times, or for an hour at a time, but ALL DAY LONG. Once she gets started, there’s no stopping her. I think the only thing that’s saved Dutch’s sanity so far is that he can turn off his hearing aids.

As Barbara said last night, the only solution is to put her mother in a locked ward. If she recovers, fine. She can come home. But she’s not coming home unless and until she’s fully recovered. Barbara thinks that most or all of Sankie’s misbehavior is intentional, an attempt to manipulate her and Frances. I agree, but I made the point to Barbara last night that it really doesn’t matter at all what the cause of her behavior is, intentional or organic. The behavior itself is simply unacceptable, whatever the cause. Sankie is going to kill Dutch, literally. And her behavior has pushed Barbara and Frances to the breaking point and beyond. It simply has to stop, and the only way it’s going to stop is if Sankie isn’t around any more. My own opinion is that no amount of adjusting her medications is going to help. This is the new normal for Sankie.


54 thoughts on “Friday, 22 February 2013”

  1. I’m sorry to hear the situation with Barbara’s parents has devolved to this. I think to some degree you and Barbara are both correct. I think Sankie is trying to manipulate Barbara and Frances, and her mental faculties have declined to the point where she can’t understand that her manipulations are going to backfire.

  2. I am also very sorry to hear that it’s gotten this bad, and sadly is about par for the course, at some point during these situations. I also agree with Dave B. and you that one way or the other, Barbara’s mom has to be out of the picture, at least temporarily. It’s a lot like one person in a lifeboat with four or five others becoming increasingly uncontrollable. What do you do?

  3. “…she can’t understand…

    That, of course, is the real problem. But I disagree about the psychiatrist’s obligations. If her current behavior devastates her family, she’ll have no family – which is surely not helpful. In this sense, her psychiatrist does have to account for the impact.

  4. Barbara is of course hoping that her mother will get better. She mentioned last night the possibility of a UTI, which especially in elderly people can cause mental symptoms. I’ve been trying to get Barbara into a hope-for-the-best-but-expect-the-worst frame of mind, which I think is pretty much where she is now. But it is of course very difficult to “give up” on a parent even once it’s clear that there’s really nothing to be done. Although, as Pournelle is so fond of saying, despair may be a sin, the facts in this situation may well mean it’s the only realistic way to look at things.

    When Barbara talked to the psychiatrist’s nurse or secretary yesterday to make the appointment, the woman asked Barbara if her mother was a danger to herself or others. Barbara said she wasn’t, but I told Barbara last night that I believe she is. Sankie has talked a lot about wanting to die, killing herself, etc. recently, which I think is pretty significant. Also, although as Barbara says her mother has never shown any signs of violence, I told her that I could envision Sankie snapping under the stress of her imaginary problems with money and so on and going after Dutch with a knife.

    OFD’s comment about a lifeboat is exactly what crossed my mind last night. Barbara, Frances, and Dutch are just trying to get through this, and Sankie won’t stop punching holes in the bottom of the lifeboat.

  5. But I disagree about the psychiatrist’s obligations. If her current behavior devastates her family, she’ll have no family – which is surely not helpful. In this sense, her psychiatrist does have to account for the impact.

    Brad is correct, but there is a caveat. The road Sankie is dragging everyone else down does have an adverse impact on Sankie. However, the adverse impact on Sankie is minimal compared to the adverse impact one everyone else.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this. I faced it with my mom, and now again with her sister, my aunt. Another close family member is dealing with it in her father (the mother is the normal one in that case). My sad experience is that it is never going to return to ‘normal’. You are right: this is the new normal. So hard to accept, but something has deteriorated in the ability to think and reason, and that is not going to come back. My mom, a voracious reader for her whole life, was finally not able to read any longer, because she could not remember what was in the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end of it. She could understand very short sentences if she read them outloud. Somehow, hearing things caused her to remember longer than reading them.

    This repetition of the same thing over and over was common with both my mom and now with her sister. They ask/ed the same question or make the same statement or demand every 2 minutes or so, as if they had never done it before—for from hours at a time to all day. My aunt uses hearing aids, and when it gets too bad, my uncle just removes them, and my aunt cannot then communicate.

    We get the same advice from the professionals here, that my aunt and uncle should not be separated. It is working at the moment, with my uncle in the nursing unit, getting therapy for recovery from his recent hospitalization, and my aunt in the locked-down dementia unit. My uncle is with her in her room from about 08:00 to 18:00 and they eat all meals together. But my cousin is worried about them returning to the assisted living place, where they would be together 24 hours, as everyone in the family is convinced that the strain of that is what put my uncle in the hospital recently, and nearly killed him.

    From my own experiences, I think your insight and advice is exactly right. At this point Sankie is just no longer aware enough to reason correctly. And—as I indicated—my sad experience has been that ability is never coming back.

  7. Geez, Chuck. You have had it really bad. Barbara and I were fortunate enough with my parents that both remained mentally sharp right up to the end, and neither suffered extended physical illnesses before their deaths. With her mom, it’s very different, and extraordinarily stressful on Barbara. She told me last night that she’d come very close to telling her father just to give her mother the bottle of Xanax and tell her to take all of them. I suspect her father has thought about doing just that.

  8. We get the same advice from the professionals here, that my aunt and uncle should not be separated. It is working at the moment, with my uncle in the nursing unit, getting therapy for recovery from his recent hospitalization, and my aunt in the locked-down dementia unit. My uncle is with her in her room from about 08:00 to 18:00 and they eat all meals together.

    Chuck, I’d say that the way things are now with your aunt and uncle may be the way they should stay. Unless the facility they’re in now offers assisted livng as well. I think the way things are now is the right balance of together and apart.

  9. I agree, and I think that the likelihood is that they will never return to assisted living. Even if they did, my cousin believes they would need a ‘babysitter’ 24/7. This arrangement actually provides more appropriate care for my aunt, who is fast approaching the mental state Ray’s aunt was in for a good long while, of not really recognizing who anybody was. She still knows her husband, and occasionally knows me. But she does not recognize her own son most of the time, now.

    If you have never had to cope with dementia or Alzheimer’s before, it is kind of unbelievable at first. The person just stops acting normally and begins doing all sorts of odd things. After my dad passed, I had central air put in. That required a worker in the attic for just shy of a couple of weeks. My mom would go up to the attic and start asking the guy all kinds of questions about what he was doing and why. She was convinced he was somehow building something that would allow him to take all of the books stored in bookshelves that filled the attic (about 2,000 books, not including my dad’s law books). I finally had to give him the key so he could lock himself in the attic alone in order to get work done. No amount of conversation with my mom would convince her that the guy was not trying to steal her stuff.

    My mom and her sister were very close for their whole lives. At that time, my aunt was in full possession of her faculties, and my mom would do anything she said, without question or objection. She could make my mom behave when others could not, and when the two sisters were together, my mom was always happy and calm.

  10. Yep, what Chuck in Tiny Town said; at first they do odd stuff and you think, aw, just gettin’ old and forgetful. Charming, sort of. Amusing, even. Then the stuff starts getting weirder and you begin to worry. Eventually it gets potentially dangerous. Sankie is at that stage now. My dad hit that stage and when people got in his face at the nursing home he decked them, even if it was a frail old lady who was as confused as he was. Problem there was that he had been a 6’3″ 220-lb guy used to fights and decking people. And now you’re talking heavier meds and maybe restraints.

    How does it feel to see your old dad or mom strapped down to a bed? Not great. Or so doped up they don’t know what century it is or what dimension they’re in.

    My mom is now 81 and pretty out of it most of the time down there in MA; she is obsessed with food and eating times, what’s on the tee-vee, and cusses like a Marine on shore leave after a case of beer and shots. Also incontinent much of the time.

    I try to stay mentally active and read and study things that are increasingly difficult to keep the old cells cranking; also gotta try and get outside more and exercise the other cells. And I don’t do anything whatsoever now, for three years, in the way of dope, booze, nicotine, etc. Boring old sod who listens to the radio most nights and reads 2,500-year-old books. Should have been an Anglican vicar in the centuries before the war to end all wars, probably, way out in the countryside.

  11. My dad hit that stage and when people got in his face at the nursing home he decked them, even if it was a frail old lady who was as confused as he was.

    A friend of mine has a Dad who is in that stage of things. He keeps asking where his wife is. The staff at the facility where he is finally figured out to say she’s at the grocery store and will be back soon. That explanation has worked for over a year. His wife has been dead for 3 to 5 years.

  12. While that stage was going on, he could sometimes look me in the eye and for a second or two I could see that he knew who I was and then it would be gone again. For that second or two he must have also known where he was and what was up. And then merciful oblivion again, at least as to that. Within a year or so after that he lost considerable weight and various systems started shutting down and he eventually just died. My mom was the one to find him, lying on his bed on his side with his eyes open. Pleasant, eh?

    And now my younger brother or SIL or one of their daughters may find her the same way.

    Personally I’d rather face a firing squad and will endeavor to make that happen instead of this stuff.

  13. Given what I do, I have my choice of dozens of fast, painless suicide methods. I hope if I start losing it badly I’ll be able to keep it together long enough to do what needs to be done.

  14. Personally I’d rather face a firing squad and will endeavor to make that happen instead of this stuff.

    As one of Uncle Sam’s trained killers sign me up. Although I doubt I could hit a house from the sidewalk anymore.

    Although there was that shooting galley at a German festival where I was told I had to leave because I was too good. Seems I was drawing a substantial crowd having no issue with hitting everything in the place. Got lots of cheap prizes and the operator got tired of giving them to me and I got tire of getting them.

    Personally I’d rather face a firing squad and will endeavor to make that happen instead of this stuff.

    Yeh, I hope I can keep it together long enough to control my own demise. Staring down and playing chicken with a high speed locomotive seems like a reasonably solid plan. Scattered along one mile of track for the buzzards to pick over what the coroner drones miss.

  15. Yeah, the train crews have many bad stories of having to see someone just before they get hit and then after they get hit. It puts a hurtin’ on them for years, if not the rest of their lives.

    Get a regular trained group of firing squad killers like Ray, though, and slip them a few bills ahead of time so they don’t muck it up. This scene always tears me up. Soft old bastard that I am:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI7KJnRlsS4

  16. Yikes! There is surely a better way to go. Whatever they gave my Irish Setter was quick. One minute she was there; two seconds later she sighed, fell down, and was gone.

  17. 1. Borrow a large dog and take it to the vet. Tell the vet that the dog is having seizures. Read up on canine epilepsy so you can spin a convincing tale–increased frequency and duration, and so on. See what the vet wants to prescribe. It’ll probably be phenobarbital, but if it’s something else, work the vet around to doing a prescription for phenobarbital instead. (Phenobarbital is safe, cheap, and effective. Your ex-wife used it on her dog and it was great. Etc.) Most vets will probably prescribe a 90-day supply, but since it’s your first visit, you may get only a 30-day supply. That’s sufficient.

    2. Go home, swallow the entire contents of the bottle, and wash it down with your favorite alcoholic beverage.

  18. My younger sister has epilepsy, and it kicked off real bad when she turned around thirteen; I was gone by then working for Uncle but heard the stories; tossing my dad and two younger brothers around, all big guys, like they were rag dolls and bouncing on the bed like Linda Blair being visited by Astaroth or Beelzebub or whomever, maybe the Prince of Darkness himself. They were still experimenting back then with the meds and one was phenobarbital, along with a couple of others. I came home on leave a couple of times and tried a couple at a time but they didn’t do jack for me.

    But I imagine if you down a whole bottle with another bottle of Jack Daniels or Captain Morgan’s, you will probably do the job. I wouldn’t chance it though; too afraid of waking up anyway, after all my decades of abuse that should have killed me and ten other guys, and being a vegetable or something for another thirty years, being fed by illegals and tortured by their version of Nurse Ratchet.

    Firing squad, big explosion, or guillotine for OFD, please.

  19. This whole horsemeat thing has me baffled. I did just a little googling and have found that horsemeat is considerably more expensive than beef—almost everywhere. So the premise is that somebody used horsemeat to somehow increase their profits, but yet horsemeat is more expensive than had they used beef.

    The whole episode does not make sense.

  20. This taking care of your parents stuff is getting to be a drag. Sometimes I’m almost tempted to drive to the assisted living place pick her up and take her back to her house. Either that or take her on a tour of the nursing home next door. I went over to her house, and after a detailed search for her 2011 Federal Tax Return, I found it. It was on the floor in a pile of papers. It was the only post 2005 tax return I found. She now wants to get started on her 2012 tax return. She can’t accept that the 2012 tax return filing is very easy. I fill out the return, she inspects it and signs it, and I mail it. Last time I checked, my mother was slightly more qualified to fill out her tax return than my daughter. My daughter can sing the ABC song and count to twelve.

  21. I went over to her house, and after a detailed search for her 2011 Federal Tax Return, I found it. It was on the floor in a pile of papers. It was the only post 2005 tax return I found.

    You can get a copy of a person’s previous tax return if you cannot find it for $57 from the IRS. The key is, did she file it?
    http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc156.html

    You need a Power of Attorney for your mother today. And added to her bank accounts, IRA accounts, etc. Good luck, sounds like that you may be past that time.

    We get the same advice from the professionals here, that my aunt and uncle should not be separated. It is working at the moment, with my uncle in the nursing unit, getting therapy for recovery from his recent hospitalization, and my aunt in the locked-down dementia unit.

    The problem with this scenario is the money. Lockdown facilities start at $6,000/month here in Texas and that is the Medicaid rate for the destitute (more for cash payers). Moving a person into any one of these facilities will usually bankrupt the surviving spouse quickly.

  22. The problem with the zombie patriot scenario is that all the movies, tee-vee shows, and gun manufacturers, etc., portray zombies as creatures to be mowed down by the millions, preferably with shotguns, automatic weapons, bombs, artillery, etc. We’d be massacred instantly!

  23. Mrs. OFD thinks I’m cute. Well, she says that. Sometimes. When I’ve just been paid…

    Hollyweird is another thing that is going down the toilet soon, along with newspapers, magazines, broadcast/cable tee-vee and airlines. We may have local and regional newspapers and the only magazines will be the ones attached to semi-auto firearms. Electricity may itself become a novelty again, as will Happy Motoring.

  24. I’ve heard this before. Back then, it was a carburetor that ran on water and did not need gasoline.

  25. KLM just sent me a message that from henceforth, there will be a charge for ALL baggage on all flights within Europe, and the absolute limit on baggage is 23kg—don’t ask to bring more.

    I do not fly anymore, so I actually do not know what goes on within the US, but Europe had continued to allow free baggage, and more of it, when the US was beginning to charge. Looks like Euroland may be more restrictive than the US now. Back when I returned, I got 2 bags of 25 kilos each and could pay for more. Maybe international is different.

  26. Chuck wrote:

    “This whole horsemeat thing has me baffled.”

    I’ve known a few horse owners, and while the idea of sending horses to the knackers doesn’t come up much, I hear that healthy horses are sent there, and it more to avoid the expense of maintaining them when they’re old, grouchy or cannot be sold or supported any more. I believe the owner doesn’t get much. There’s also wild horses, which are a pest in some places. I’m not sure if they can be used for meat when shot here, but they probably can be elsewhere, like eastern Europe.

    Also, in many of the stories I’ve read the contamination is only a few percent, not 100%. Another reason to prepare and cook your own food.

  27. Chuck wrote:

    “I’ve heard this before. Back then, it was a carburetor that ran on water and did not need gasoline.”

    Perpetual motion machines can’t usually be patented anywhere, because they can’t be built, not even in principle. In the late Sixties my sister was dating a guy who was, nevertheless, working hard on designing a PM machine. He’s now a theology professor at some university in Virginia, which is probably a harmless enough place for him to be.

    One of my favourite SF authors uses the idea of “frictionless machinery” and “nullentropy bins” to keep perishable foods fresh forever, but at least he knew it was just SF.

  28. Baggage here comes in three flavours: Domestic, International to the US, and International to anywhere else. The one to the US is by far the most generous.

    Here in OZ there’s a duopoly involving Qantas, the 800 pound gorilla of the Aussie market, and the minnow Virgin Australia. Qantas gives you 23 Kg domestic, Virgin gives you nothing, you have to pay to put anything in the hold and it costs more if you don’t book it before departure.

  29. Zombie patriots: interesting idea; wonder if anyone will take him up on it. Of course, he himself had best be living in fear: A federal prosecutor could pretty easily make the case that he is calling for violence, and put him in some…um…uncertainty.

  30. “Hey Dave, ever thought of becoming a priest?”

    I assume you are addressing me and not one of the other Daves. My dad thought I should become an Episcopal (Anglican) minister long ago, and the other choice was army general or navy admiral. I have grievously disappointed him on all counts. Mrs. OFD once thought I should become a deacon in the Church but I fear I am seriously unworthy and the process takes at least five years. Not gonna happen. The marriages of some clergy may happen in future, we shall see.

    Hell, I’m seriously unworthy of even being a regular old parishioner.

  31. Hell, I’m seriously unworthy of even being a regular old parishioner.

    I know that this is in jest, but can I disagree? I believe that one can choose to follow Jesus at any point in their life. I have a friend at church who is carrying two 357 bullets in his right leg from an armed robbery gone bad. He was the robber and I have never had enough guts to ask the details. He did 20+ years and became a Christian in jail. He is out on parole now for the rest of his life. He drives a truck for a bridge building company and has to get permission to leave the state each time he goes out.

    I do not believe in “once saved, always saved” but I strongly do not believe in “once lost, always lost” either. I believe in God’s grace and am still trying to understand what that means.

  32. It was not in jest; I am a very poor example of a decent Christian and Roman Catholic. I can bust out a list right here on why that is but I doubt anyone would be interested. And don’t know why so many good people that I knew are gone and I’m still here; dunno what God’s plan might be and also still trying to figure it all out. I try, but it is a pitiful effort.

    We shall see.

  33. It will always remain a mystery, because there is no credible, reproducible proof that either a god or Jesus has existed. Now let’s think about that for a moment. If there were a supreme being who insisted on being worshiped and exalted, would there not be concrete, reproducible, positive proof of that existence and demand from every corner of life? Take it on faith? Hmm. Even that defies logic and certainly defies historical observation and scientific discovery.

    In earlier times, religion was merely a way to exert control over large groups of people and was the only way to challenge and influence the power of kings and queens. Government has more effectively horned in on that in this era. You guys might as well discuss the pro’s and con’s of Lazarus Long’s life, sayings, and conduct, because it would be about as effective and useful as arguing about the demands of a whole religious movement and its supposed requirements, built on an entirely fictional character, who after thousands of years, popped up out of nowhere (most likely the convenient contrivance of a scribe and priest), and over whom people actually have life and death fights. What is even more unbelievable, is that—lacking proof positive of what to believe—you choose for yourself which alternative is correct or not.

    Hmm.

  34. Lynn wrote:

    “I do not believe in “once saved, always saved” but I strongly do not believe in “once lost, always lost” either. I believe in God’s grace and am still trying to understand what that means.”

    Well, I can agree with the second half of that. The penitent thief got eternal life at the last minute while the watching pharisees, saducees, lawyers, Romans, etc got what they deserved.

    I’ve always liked the following quote (rough, I’m going from memory) from John Newton, a slave trader turned Anglican clergyperson:

    In heaven I will be surprised to see some people that I never thought would be there
    And surprised to not see some people who I thought would be there
    But mostly I will be surprised that I am there.

  35. Chuck wrote:

    “It will always remain a mystery, because there is no credible, reproducible proof that either a god or Jesus has existed. ”

    Is there reproducible proof that Caesar or Cicero existed? The NT has better MSS support that most secular people in the ancient world.

    There’s plenty of proof that Jesus existed, it’s just that you’re blinkered. We have manuscripts going back to the early Second Century, and textual criticism lends plenty of support for the evidence that those secondary MSS come from First Century originals.

    I’ve named a few books you could have read, but you dismissed them with something like Of course they support the existence and resurrection of Christ, they’re written by Christians, which completely misses the point.

    Suppose I was a creationist and was spouting that stuff here and Bob suggested I read Why Evolution Is True. I could reply “Well, of course WEIT supports evolution, it’s written by an evolutionist.” Just because a book advocating X is written by a person who believes in X doesn’t make it false.

  36. Greg, there is sufficient evidence that Julius Caesar and Cicero existed, not to mention thousands of other Romans of the era, that no one could seriously question their existence. There is zero evidence that your imaginary son of god existed. None. Zero. Odd, wouldn’t you say, since the Romans were superb record-keepers?

    We’re not blinkered. It’s you who’s blinkered if you consider sixth-hand rumor and hearsay from decades to centuries after the fact as evidence. As I’ve said before, there’s actually far more evidence to support the historicity of Sherlock Holmes.

  37. Just because a book advocating X is written by a person who believes in X doesn’t make it false.

    Of course it doesn’t, and I didn’t take that to be Chuck’s argument. The argument is that you have provided zero evidence to support your position. Also, opinions of apologist “scholars” are suspect simply because they’re not supported by neutral scholars.

    Show us some evidence, Greg. Not opinions, not hearsay. Evidence.

  38. Just because a book advocating X is written by a person who believes in X doesn’t make it false.

    No, the total and complete lack of concrete and supporting evidence makes it false. Publishing a falsehood over and over and writing a zillion books about it does not make it true, nor does the number of people who are misled and accept the falsehood make it true, no matter how many there are.

    Now I am not the one who dismissed any book you may have suggested reading; I have read far more Christian literature than you may suppose. But the truth of a matter and whether the author of a book believes in the truth of that matter are 2 entirely separate things. One has nothing to do with the other, except those who do not believe in a thing, usually do not write books about it. Hearsay is hearsay, whether it occurred yesterday or 2 thousand years ago. A second century book claiming validity of a first century one does not authenticate events that never occurred in the first place.

  39. Well I guess we’ll all find out, won’t we? Either there is nothing, oblivion, at our end, or there is something.

    One of the superb Roman record keepers was Tacitus:

    “The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate and the existence of early Christians in Rome in his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.[1]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ

    Then there was Josephus:

    “Modern scholarship has almost universally acknowledged the authenticity of the reference in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities to “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James” [4] and considers it as having the highest level of authenticity among the references of Josephus to Christianity.[5][1][2][6][7][8] Almost all modern scholars consider the reference in Book 18, Chapter 5, 2 of the Antiquities to the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist to also be authentic.[9][10][11]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

    And increasingly interesting Biblical and other Near East archaeology tends to support more and more of events, persons and circumstances found in both Old Testament and New Testament texts.

    But maybe if NASA discovers life on Mars we can put all these crazy-ass myths to rest finally.

  40. Again, no evidence. Just hearsay. And Jesus was a very common name in that time and place.

  41. “Also, opinions of apologist “scholars” are suspect simply because they’re not supported by neutral scholars.”

    Are there “neutral” scholars on the topic of evolution? Evolution is a topic on which few people are neutral. You would agree that Jerry Coyne is not neutral yet you would accept his evidence for evolution.

    I think The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? by FF Bruce is a cheap and concise book defending the traditional view. I’ve mentioned others in the past. FF Bruce was a world renown scholar in his field, so I take him seriously, even though some “neutral” scholars had other ideas.

  42. I’ve always liked the following quote (rough, I’m going from memory) from John Newton, a slave trader turned Anglican clergyperson:

    In heaven I will be surprised to see some people that I never thought would be there
    And surprised to not see some people who I thought would be there
    But mostly I will be surprised that I am there.

    Hey, I like that! And it applies very much to me also.

    I thought I recognized the name. He wrote “Amazing Grace”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Newton

  43. Are there “neutral” scholars on the topic of evolution? Evolution is a topic on which few people are neutral. You would agree that Jerry Coyne is not neutral yet you would accept his evidence for evolution.

    Sure there are, millions of them. They’re called “scientists” and they come in all flavors, from atheist to devoutly religious. And if you ask a large sample of scientists whether or not evolution is true, you’ll find that a huge, overwhelming majority will tell you that the evidence says it is. And I don’t mean just 90% or 99%. You’ll have to search a long time before you’ll find a single scientist (as opposed to a religionist pretending to be a scientist) who will express any doubt whatsoever about the reality of evolution.

  44. Well I guess we’ll all find out, won’t we?

    Think again, that question presupposes the answer you expect. If dead is just dead nobody is “finding out” anything.

  45. The thing I always find amusing is people “returning from the dead” and reporting their experiences, which usually involve a light and a tunnel. Do these people not understand that death is a process rather than an event? The only true measure of death is brain death, and no one comes back from that to report on it.

  46. OK, we won’t see. Have it y’alls’ way. There will be Oblivion. And all this is/was por nada. Uber-simians with no point whatsoever to our existence, as well be rocks or plants. Feel bettuh?

    “Well, Davy, it’s irrelevant and immaterial whether or not we feel better; it is what it is.”

  47. There will be Oblivion.

    Not necessarily. It’s just that there’s no evidence to suggest otherwise, and Occam’s Razor suggests that’s what’s most likely.

    For us atheists, it’s a win-win. If indeed Oblivion awaits us, that’s only what we expected. But if we’re wrong and that old bastard in fact exists and makes a routing decision, I hope he sends me to hell. I sure wouldn’t want to spend eternity around that obnoxious, evil old bastard. As Billy Joel said, I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints; the sinners are much more fun.

    For you believers, on the other hand, it’s lose-lose. If you’re wrong and Oblivion awaits, you’ve wasted your life following ridiculous rules in expectation of an eventual reward that won’t be forthcoming. OTOH, if you’re right, you’re sentenced to eternity in heaven with all the bluenoses and other obnoxious bastards, including the Evil Old Bastard.

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