Mar 05 2007

James Cameron’s PR Disaster

Published by at 6:10 am under All General Discussions

As I wrote when the news broke about a tomb being (re)discovered that was possibly that of the family of Jesus Christ, his wife Mary and his extended family I was not concerned about the impact to Christianity and find the idea of Jesus being married compelling (but not proven yet). I think the biggest benefactor of such news would be a resurgent Church with the last of its erroneous determinations finally put to rest (i.e., woman are inferior and naturally trouble). But having caught some of the show last night, and the pounding Cameron took in the interview afterwards, it is clear Cameron was telling a story loosely based on fact and held together by fragile speculation. The man has no concept of what science is all about and sees everything through the Hollywood intellectual model of “its close, why can’t it be true”?

The first nail in the coffin of Cameron’s PR stunt was the whole mess of trying to connect to the missing ossuary to one that is being considered as a fraud with the chlidish inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. Cameron barely admits in his movie the last line in this inscription is suspect. The chemical analysis used to connect the ossuary to the cave tomb seemed to be pretty good (not determinisic) at a glance. But when the archeaologist who discovered the tomb stated that there were no markings on the 10th, missing ossuary that pretty much nixed Cameron’s silly idea they were connected. His response was the ‘the man’s report was produced 16 years later”. Yeah, well his notes and memories were created in 1980 during the discovery. The fact it this more than anything shows the care and dedication a scientist goes through before publicizing their results.

So the whole Joseph angle is gone. Yes, the chemical deposits on the outside, the patena, are similar in nature. But the fact the discoverer is in clear conflict with Cameron is one of many bad signs for the neophyte “journalist” Cameron. Ted Koppel, a professional journalist, was rightfully tough on him.

The RNA testing is also pretty much nothing. For example, there are 5 billion people on the planet now. My maternal RNA matches only three of these people alive today: my brother, sister and mother. My cousins, wife and children? Nope. So they results are not deterministic of much at all. The two people in the tomb share the same connection as I have with everybody but three people in the planet. Call me unimpressed

Cameron’s mathematics on the statistical use of names is also very problematic, as is the connection to Mary Magdeline. I would have liked to see tests on the age of the bones to see if the people died at the ages scriptures and history say all these people were to have died. I would have liked to seen a connection between the patena and the mineral make up of the tomb walls. I would like to have seen a lot more evidence just to stitch together the possibility Cameron was right, if I was to put my reputation on this story.

But Cameron doesn’t care about accuracy, he cares about the story line and fitting it into the alloted time. He is like all of Hollywood, who feel good if there is a rough proximity to the truth when telling a story. And Cameron had to admit over and over again he was telling a story based on loose coincidences. There probably is evidence, such as that dealing with the ossuary, that clearly contradicts his theory. In fact he seems to know of much of it, has rationalized in his little fantasy world excuse to ignore this evidence, and hid it from his viewers. Many times this contradictory information was brought up in the post-show discussion which challenged his claims – such as when was the earliest application of the name he associated with Mary Magdeline (which I still think is one of his strongest points). A good scientist doesn’t just point to all the information supporting his/her theories, he/she discusses openly all the informaiton at hand that could contradict those theories. Cameron came off as a flim-flam artist weaving a tale for the gullible. He is no scientist. The end result of all this? The tomb could be that of the family of Jesus, probably isn’t. It has no known connection to James and its connections to Mary are slim at best. So it is a weakly supported theory. It is not a fact by a long shot. Another similar view can be found here.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “James Cameron’s PR Disaster”

  1. stevevvs says:

    Off Topic:
    Andy McCarthy has a great article today. I highly recommend it:

    Check it out!

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    OT AJ

    It looks from the international form up that we are going to have another look at the downsides of the market today.

    Short the QQQQ it is a good bet.

  3. Rosenkreutz says:

    Being in Germany, I haven’t seen the show yet, but the arguments I have heard do appear to be fairly flimsy. Nevertheless, I find it dismaying that theologians and churchmen are brought into the fray alongside serious scientists. On an issue like this they are – by and large – incapable of rational commentary and therefore pretty much irrelevant.

  4. Terrye says:

    The truth is atheists will tell you there is no way to prove there ever was a Jesus or Mary. I believe in Christ and so I don’t really care what Cameron came up with..but it seems there is always a new theory to cast doubt. In fact if Mary is buried there, then the DaVinci code stuff goes right out the window. Oh well.