An Argument about Prophecy

The event is documented by several different sources. This alone is evidence which is very troubling to your position. Also, a prediction of this event is a documented prophecy in the Tanakh.

I do understand that your only way to try and argue against the documented evidence is to try and disqualify the event up front claiming that this event is impossible. I would argue based on this logic that your existence is impossible yet it appears you are real :slight_smile:

The argument based on Bayesian statistics relies on materialistic assumptions which was @dga471 argument.

No, there are several written versions of this story. Not at all the same thing.

It’s hard to treat this is an argument made by a serious person.

And that is incorrect.

It is hypothetically possible that, when gods don’t interfere thru their immaterial supernatural activities, people who die come back to life after three days of being dead. And all those billions of people who have stayed dead after dying are only the result of miraculous supernatural intervention by these same god(s).

We have no way of knowing this is not true.

The Bayesian analysis would remain the same regardless: When someone dies, the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of the outcome in which they remain dead. If someone uses a different presumption in their analysis, they are doing it wrong.

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No, it’s not troubling at all. Historical evidence simply is not competent to establish such an occurrence.

I have to agree with Faizal_Ali here. Even if one accepts the applicability of some prophecy, the fact that someone predicted something is not evidence that that thing then happened.

Yeah, but for Bayesian statistical reasoning to work at all, you’ve got to have a good basis for the probabilities. No good basis here.

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How about when the Jewish Messiah dies and was prophesied to experience life after death, How do you put this in a Bayesian formula? False equivalence is not a persuasive argument strategy.

Good question! How would you calculate the odds of this prophecy coming true:

“In his next post in this discussion, @Puck_Mendelssohn will say my breath smells like gym socks.”

What does it mean if it is fulfilled?

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My breath smells like gym socks.

What did the prophecy say? It said “In his next post in this discussion, Puck Mendelssohn will say my breath smells like gym socks.” I have now said that my breath smells like gym socks. We may now engage in various ways to fit the event to the claim. Perhaps Faizal Ali meant to include quote marks which somehow didn’t find their way to us, and this is a perfect fit. Perhaps I mean to suggest that all men are one, in accord with some of the sorts of rhetoric put out by peace-loving sorts, and that if my breath smells like gym socks, then so must Faizal Ali’s breath – it is not meant literally, but is an affirmation of the highest humane principles which applies to ALL manufacturers of dairy products. Or perhaps the whole thing is a clue. Why socks? A “sock puppet” is a false identity on the internet. Perhaps I AM Faizal Ali and this is a coy way of his admitting that he invented my posting identity, for whatever sorts of reasons people create sock puppets.

Example number two:

Faizal Ali’s breath smells like gym shorts.

Well, okay. Not quite the same. Or is it? Are there not substantial resemblances between the smell of gym socks and the smell of gym shorts? And are those resemblances not at their maximum when those garments are freshly laundered? So the prophecy HAS been fulfilled! Or has it?

But before one goes too deeply into the ways in which facts can be made to fit prophecies (especially when there are substantial opportunities, like a decades-long folkloric process preceding the writing-down phase, to fit 'em), or how documents can be read by midrash, legalistic fine-parsing, or other strange methods, it really does have to be remembered that when practically every part of a collection of documents is quite incredible, the agreement (and especially an agreement arrived at by pushing, shoving and squeezing) of one part of it with another does nothing to boost the credibility of any part of it.

Faizal Ali got some abuse in a prior thread for having analogized this to the Batman comics. I felt that was quite unfair; he had even taken the trouble to draw his analogy from the same genre, i.e., superhero stories. The internal consistency of Gone With The Wind would not convert it to history; this would be so even if all record of the Civil War was lost and we had only Gone With The Wind to rely upon for our understanding of the event.

And, of course, one can point out that the fit to prophecy is often quite poor, but that tends to be a run down a long and winding rabbit hole, at the end of which one barely knows what one was arguing about. Along the way one discovers some astonishing things, such as the fact that there are people who walk among us, who apparently have jobs and do actual work of some sort, whose grip upon reality is so poor that they will even defend the historicity of the birth narratives of Jesus. As that process unfolds, it does clarify the analogical fit with Batman, but it certainly sheds very little light on anything that would lead anyone to believe in ancient supernatural occurrences.


There you go, Bill. My prophecy was fulfilled.

How does that fit with your argument?

Very poorly :slight_smile:

Without a more complete understanding of the Tanakh and the NT its hard to show the connection of the books and how one predicts the other as there are lots of connecting dots. If you are ever interested I will start you down this bunny trail. I am sure others here will help. @swamidass and others have a pretty good understanding of the overall connection of the Bible and why prophecy is way more than a trivial coincidence. The magnitude of the evidence here has been very persuasive to me over the last couple of years.

So you think it is just a coincidence that Puck wrote exactly the words prophesied he would?

Think of all the people in the world who could have posted in this thread, and the number of possible combinations of words, in any language, they could have written. Yet the VERY PERSON I PREDICTED wrote THE EXACT WORDS I prophesied.

You ID’ers love to calculate enormous odds against events. Pull out your calculator and work out the odds here!

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This is a false equivalence based on over simplification in my opinion but if @dga471, @swamidass, @AllenWitmerMiller or others agree you have made a legitimate point I am interested.

On the other hand if you can predict tonight @swamidass, @AllenWitmerMiller and @dga471 next 3 posts you will have my attention :slight_smile:

Could you please spell out exactly what you find unimpressive about my prophesy? I can’t help notice you didn’t work out the odds that I asked you to. Is there a reason?

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Your prophecy is just Faizal. Let’s call it a Faizal prophecy. It does not however have any value to help understand the evidence or interconnection of Biblical prophecy. Predicting the 3 next posts on the other hand would start to move you in the right direction.

Saying that Jesus was fulfilling ancient prophecy on purpose is patricianly true as that was his mission but there were many things out of his control. Where he was was born, when he would die, his family tree line, the birth of his cousin John the Baptist, the time of the destruction of the second temple etc. Unless the three Identified guys think this discussion is worth engaging in I will exit the discussion. If you are really interested in getting up to speed on this I suggest starting with A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel.

That, of course, is largely because without a “more complete understanding” of the ways in which people have shaped the “facts” to fit prophecy and a “more complete understanding” of the ways in which people have shaped their understanding of the prophecy (and of non-prophetic materials which they re-construed as prophecy) to fit what they supposed the facts were, none of it really coheres very well. The fact is that without a great deal of special pleading and creative rework, it stands up like a tower of oatmeal.

And that’s just the fit between multiple non-credible documents of unknown dates and authorship. As I have pointed out, it is absurd to think that one not-credible account braces up the credibility of another not-credible account, or that one not-credible prediction that something may happen braces up the credibility of a not-credible story that it did happen. Consistency is the very easiest thing to achieve when weaving a tale.

Historical evidence is in no way suited to the purpose of proving the existence or doings of paranormal beings. For that you need something vastly stronger. When you point, repeatedly, to the same non-credible textual traditions, all you do is underscore the fact that there is no competent evidence worth considering in your favor.


Let’s just focus on the one prophecy I have made.

You seem to be suggesting that the only reason you do not accept it as a genuine prophecy is that it is quite limited in scope, and that you would like to see some more extensive correlations before conceding I actually have the power of prophecy. That is reasonable, of course, but tangential to the point I am trying to illustrate.

Let’s just focus on the one fulfilled prophecy I have made. What is your alternative explanation, if I am not a real prophet? Do you think it was just by luck that Puck happened to write the words I prophesied he would? Or is there another explanation?

You and @Puck_Mendelssohn are smart guys. I am curious why you think this argument has any value? You have not stimulated the engagement of anyone else knowledgable on the subject.

Well, if you are not willing or able to engage in a rational defense of your claims, don’t expect them to be taken seriously.

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What claim do you think I am defending?

That there are things written in more recent parts of the Bible that are claimed to have fulfilled prophecies made in an earlier part of the Bible, and which should be taken seriously as actual fulfilled prophecies. And, moreover, that these are evidences that help confirm that the story of the resurrection of Jesus is true.

Now I understand why no-one is engaging. This is not a claim of Biblical prophecy.

Please explain what I am not understanding.