But it is possible to determine whether someone is accurately understanding the evidence. For instance, Young Earth Creationists do not accept the evidence that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. They are objectively wrong.
I don’t think we have any measures for the accuracy of somebody’s understanding.
So the YEC’s could be right, or they could be wrong. We have no way of knowing.
Is that really your position?
All you did was make an assertion you did not counter my argument.
Fazil’s argument is incoherent as it changed my argument but did not address it. People claim to have seen the resurrected Jesus, therefor his analogy is a non starter.
This assumes that the evidence that we have is false. Classic circular reasoning.
That depends on what we mean by “right”, by “wrong” and by “knowing”.
I agree with you that the YEC are wrong. But that won’t persuade them.
We have very well accepted conventions for determining dates, and these give a date of around 4.5 billion years as the age of the earth. But the YEC does not accept these conventions. The YEC prefers an alternative convention that bases measurement of time on Biblical genealogies.
There is no standard of truth that will tell us which conventions are true. We go by pragmatics. But, for the YEC, a literalist reading of their scripture is the core of their pragmatics.
What it really boils down to, is that there is no such thing as metaphysical truth. There is only conventional truth. And different social groups will disagree over their social conventions.
A few quick comments:
(1) Ehrman’s view that Jesus was not given a proper burial, but tossed into a common burial pit for criminals after being left to rot on the Cross for a few days, is still a minority opinion, as Ehrman himself admits.
(2) Even if Jesus was properly buried, that (by itself) doesn’t establish that his tomb was found empty on Easter Sunday morning.
(3) Habermas’s claim that 75% of New Testament scholars accept the reality of the empty tomb has been critiqued here in a blog article by a former Evangelical Lutheran named Gary. Key points: Habermas hasn’t released his survey data, and in any case, it’s based on a biased sample: most of the scholars surveyed were committed Christians. What’s more, the survey was completed in 2005, so it’s more than a dozen years out-of-date.
(4) Some apologists have attempted to argue that nobody would invent the tradition of women at the tomb. Bart Ehrman isn’t having a bar of it. In this article, he explains why he thinks it might have been invented.
(5) Nevertheless, some skeptics have attempted to come up with naturalistic explanations for the empty tomb (and the subsequent appearances of Jesus), which are as free from arbitrary and ad hoc assumptions as possible. See for example this article: A New Natural Interpretation of the Empty Tomb.
I think your definition of miracle actually plays into the notion that we are running out of things that science can’t explain and so God will eventually not be necessary.
A miracle is something that the regularities and laws of nature, and/or the actions of physically embodied intelligent agents are insufficient to produce on their own.
Who are these people? Please provide the verified accounts in their own words of having seen this. And, then, go on to world fame and glory for this astounding new historical discovery you have made.
And, besides, people claim to have seen Bigfoot and to have been abducted by aliens. There is no doubt about this. We gave their personal testimony in their own words, often on video. And these accounts number in the hundreds, if not thousands. Compare this to the miniscule number of four accounts contained in the New Testament, which are acknowledged by the vast majority of scholars NOT to be primary accounts, but books that were written based on earlier verbal and/ or written accounts that have been last to history, years if not decades after the death of Jesus.
The degree of evidence is not even remotely comparable. Yet most people do not accept Bigfoot and alien abductions to be verified facts, and rightly so.
This is not complicated.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Just one detail I remain unclear about:
My understanding is that Habermas does NOT claim that 75% of NT scholars accept the empty tomb. Otherwise, he would have included it as one of his “minimal facts.”
So he claimed.
So what? These are almost universally acknowledged NOT to have been written by any of the original disciples, and to have first appeared long after Jesus’s death.
Why don’t you read my earlier post which literally quotes Habermas saying this…
Why is it not included as one of his “minimal facts”?
[quote=“Faizal_Ali, post:80, topic:4659”]
The degree of evidence is not even remotely comparable. Yet most people do not accept Bigfoot and alien abductions to be verified facts, and rightly so
This is your opinion and that is fine. None of these cases are verified facts we just have conclusions based on evidence. How is the church of bigfoot doing these days?
Did they martyr them selves for this cause?
I don’t see that as an issue. Science cannot explain ultimate origins.
I’m not sure why you think an online popular-level article likely written by for promotional purposes reflects Habermas’ comprehensive views on the subject. About 25% of all scholars argue against the empty tomb, so it is not a unanimous view in the same way that Jesus’ crucifixion is. It’s likely that Habermas decided a more effective apologetic strategy was to shrink his case to just six facts which are near-unanimously attested, instead of having to spend time arguing for the reasonableness of the empty tomb. The “three-fact strategy” (crucifixion, empty tomb, appearances) is used more often by Craig in his debates.
I’m glad we’re in agreement about its minority status.
Sure, but it is a pre-requisite for the empty tomb, which is why I did spend time mentioning Ehrman’s views.
I’ve mentioned multiple times on this thread and others that I don’t think the 75% agreement proves anything, since a large number of scholars are Christian, and we don’t know how much their Christianity directly played in their decision to endorse the empty tomb. I mention this figure to establish the reasonableness of holding to such a belief as a scholar in NT studies. Being reasonable doesn’t mean you’re necessarily right, only that you’re not an ignorant crackpot.
Thank you for sharing that. I am not very convinced by this blog post, because i) I don’t know how much women played a role in the early church, and whether it was enough that it’s credible to believe they would have the authority to (re)define the Christian story, and ii) My past experience with Ehrman’s blog posts have not been positive: I read the paper Crucifixion and Burial by Cook that I cited in my post, which discusses the nuances of Roman criminal justice and body disposal practices much more deeply than Ehrman’s blog post did. As @Freakazoid once pointed out, Ehrman’s blog posts are not peer-reviewed, so it’s unclear how strong his arguments would be viewed by fellow scholars who have a wider knowledge of the surrounding historical and cultural context, including (in this case) experts about the early church and women, for example.
- Thank for your bringing my attention to this. This seems to be a variant of the disciple conspiracy theory, with the added emphasis on the role of psychological guilt. An interesting sentence in the abstract:
Although the probability of the scenario proposed herein is low, it is surely far larger than the supernatural one. It also is arguably more likely than other non-supernatural hypotheses.
This only serves to further support my point, which I alluded to in my post, that whether you think the case for R is persuasive or not depends a lot on your prejudice (or lack thereof) towards the supernatural.
A final comment from me: Vincent, you keep bringing up example theories of how an atheist could somewhat reasonably defend their lack of belief in R based on the evidence, especially if they have a deep-seated prejudice against the supernatural. I’m not sure what your point is. I think that the issue here is we have a different perception of what the arguments for R are supposed to accomplish. From the very beginning I have never claimed they are an open-and-shut case for Christianity (as some more vocal apologists might claim). In matters like these, one’s evaluation of how convincing the case is depends a lot on prior beliefs, which are widely different from individual to individual. There is no universal notion of what a “neutral, unbiased, rational” person is, so different arguments for Christianity or theism will be convincing to different people. Ultimately no Christian believes you can be argued into the faith, so pointing out loopholes and lack of certainty in arguments like these is missing the point.