Ah, just in time for Easter. Like clockwork, these sorts of stories always come out this time of year, and also like clockwork I find myself dependably unimpressed.
This one is a report on a set of nails allegedly dating from the first century A.D. and being promoted in a documentary on the Pseudo-History Channel as perhaps the very same nails used to crucify Christ by the Romans. Imagine that!
Claimed by the producer of the documentary, Simcha Jacobovici, to have been found in a tomb, questionably that of the high priest Caiaphas, I find a few issues with the reasoning that these are the very same nails under discussion, though I’ll refrain from being pedantic and pointing out specific logical fallacies:
The theory that these were the nails used in the crucifixion, is based on two assumptions, Jacobovici admits: “That these are probably the nails from Caiaphas’s tomb, and that Caiaphas was associated with only one crucifixion — that of Jesus,” he said.”If you accept that these nails came from that tomb, given that Caiaphas is only associated with the crucifixion of Jesus, they very well could be those nails.”
First, merely because the nails date from the same period, and that they may have been used in a crucifixion, we are given no reason to suppose that the tomb really is that of Caiaphas, nor, even if the tomb really was his, that the nails under examination were found there (no bone residue was found on them, so they are unlikely to be the same nails as the ones found in the tomb).
While it’s possible that they were used in crucifixions, possibility alone isn’t evidence, and it’s an enormous strain of credulity to say that they are even plausible candidates for the ones specifically used to execute Christianity’s leading figure.
It’s interesting to see the logical contortions people go through to prop up their beliefs, or to promote a documentary of questionable premises with a press conference…
It kind of reminds me of all the reports of finding the ‘fragments of the true cross’ and other such attempts to vindicate the alleged reality and supernatural properties of holy relics in the minds of believers.
One would wonder why they need science to prove their beliefs if their faith is as strong as they profess it to be.