Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interesting Response to My Book Suggestions

Last week I wrote about three books I recommend for skeptical kids. Apparently Dan Porter didn't particularly care for my inclusion of The Magic Detectives, because he believes it incorrectly portrays the mystery behind the Shroud of Turin. I think his blog speaks for itself, but I just want to address a few things he mentioned. Here's one thing he said:

[The book was written in] 1989. One of the things I wanted my kids to learn was the value of fact checking. Much has happened since 1989.

First, I find it somewhat comical for a man whose faith is based on the Bible to criticize me for giving my kids a thirteen year old book. Much has happened in the past two thousand years, Mr. Porter.

But, mom, check out the factual content of this book as it pertains to the shroud.

As it turns out, I don't need any more information about the shroud. I've learned enough to know there is not sufficient evidence to prove it's authenticity, as has Porter. In fact I agree with his statement about the shroud on his own blog: 

We simply do not have enough reliable information to arrive at a scientifically rigorous conclusion. 

Of course he continues with some circular logic to justify his belief in the shroud despite the above statement:

Years ago, as a skeptic of the Shroud, I came to realize that while I might believe it was a fake, I could not know so from the facts. Now, as someone who believes it is the real burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, I similarly realize that a leap of faith over unanswered questions is essential.

The burden of proof must always be with those asserting the claim, and not with those seeking to disprove it. Why is this often a difficult concept for people of faith to grasp? Just because one person believes something, or even if a million people believe something, it does not mean it's true. If a "leap of faith over unanswered questions" is essential to make an argument, it's a crappy, unsupported, illogical, bad argument.

Oh, and he closed with some special advice for me in response to my request for other skeptical children's books suggestions:

Mom, go to Amazon.com. Click on Children’s Books. In the search box enter the word Skeptic for 6 books, Atheist for 16 books, etc.

Thanks! But those search parameters were not really helpful, as they only came up with one children's book,  Maybe Yes, Maybe No: A Guide for Young Skeptics, which I already have. I really enjoy reading it with my ten year old, but I was looking for something for my four and five year old sons in particular.


  1. I had one of them shroud thingys - turned out to be from a chocolate milk spill... kinda hurt it's value on eBay. Xxc


  2. I still have my Jesus tortilla in the fridge, which in truth more closely resembles Mrs. Doubtfire.

    1. But, you know, I believe it's Jesus, which totally trumps any so-called "evidence" to the contrary.

  3. Wow. You handled that way better than I think I would. It is pretty hard to find books that promote skepticism for people of ANY age group, so it is always something I'm on the lookout for.

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I edited the mean things out before I posted my response. ;)

  4. Psst... 1989 was actually 23 years ago. (Yowza, that blows my mind too.) It's okay though, I still think that book is worth reading. :)

    1. Yikes! I don't feel old enough for 1989 to have been 23 years ago, therefore I am going to take a leap of faith and continue believing it was only 13 years ago.

  5. ~ "Much has happened in the past two thousand years, Mr. Porter."

    WELL DONE!!!