Hi Fran. I think this should proceed in a manner similar to a formal debate. Each of us makes an opening statement, followed by alternating rebuttal posts, then at the end by concluding statements. See an example of a previous debate I was involved in here
. Since both of us have a tendency to write epic multi-post posts, I think it would be good to have a rule limiting each response to one post. This will encourage us both to be concise and focused in our arguments. Since it takes more space to rebut a claim than to make one, we may want to stipulate an "outline" in advance (so we can go through the claims of both sides one at a time) and/or some limit on the number of claims that can be made and need to be addressed by the opponent.
My idea of an outline would be something like this:
1) Validating the "Four Minimal Facts" (discussion on how "solid" they are historically)
2) Supernatural vs. Mundane (discussion of how much priority natural explanations should have over supernatural ones, whether "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" or not)
3) Is a Natural Explanation of the "Four Minimal Facts" Impossible? (the heart of the debate--you would presumably make the case that no plausible natural explanation is possible and therefore it is necessary to resort to a supernatural or paranormal explanation, I would argue for the reverse and provide at least one plausible scenario for how Jesus' body could have turned up missing, and for the claims of post-mortem appearances. I would stipulate that no single
explanation is necessary any more than a single
explanation is required for the start of World War I.
The explanations need only be plausible singly and together.)
I welcome the presence of a "referee" to keep us on track. Would you accept Admin 1? IIRC, you considered him/her to be fair in the other debate. If not (or if Admin 1 can't/won't take the job), are there any other Mods you would suggest, or members you might propose for temporary mod-promotion to act as referee? Admin 1, would you accept the job?
Mods, could you please move this discussion of the debate setup to the Debate Challenges thread
now or when we're ready to start? Thanks. I'll copy this post to Fran in a PM to make sure he gets the message of where this pre-debate "setup" discussion can be found.