Author Topic: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?  (Read 3730 times)

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Offline Inactive_1

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Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« on: January 27, 2010, 07:12:25 PM »
Per our agreement to focus the debate, this thread will be a debate between kcrady and Fran. Please post all comments in the commentary thread in this room.

Thanks.

Offline Inactive_1

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 09:01:23 PM »
Several posts were merged to the Debate Challenge thread.

This message will be deleted after the debate starts.

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 11:46:39 AM »
The following was an exchange between Kcrady and myself in PM about the ground rules for this debate.  Admin 1 was wondering what was happening and emailed us for the status.  Kcrady responded and then asked me if I would mind posting our exchange so that everyone knew where we were at.

So the following is that exchange.  

THIS IS KCRADY to me:


Hi Fran. I posted this in the new debate thread, but I'm PM'ing it to you to make sure you get it in case the mods move our "pre-debate discussion" posts to the Debate Challenges thread or somewhere else before you see it (I think they should so the debate thread won't be cluttered with them).
-------

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.[1] 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.

Thanks!




THIS IS MY RESPONSE TO KCRADY:

Hello Kcrady...

The forum seems to be down and so I can't post anything on it or even look at any of your past debates via the link you gave me. So i'm posting this in PM since this seems to be working at the moment.


Quote
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.

I would like to see an example of a previous debate you were involved in. That would be interesting and instructive.

I do have a problem though with time limits and limitations on responses, etc. For me, when I watch and read formal debates, I am always left frustrated because it seems that at the end of formal debates, there were a lot of issues not resolved or fuly explored PRECISELY because of limitations on time and responses.

This is why I value this kind of forum... because in this forum and in these debates we can think about our answers and do research and keep hammering on a particular point if the other side tries to slide over it or avert it or play logical games in an attempt to avoid it.

You see... for me, topics like this are MUCH TOO important to be confined by time limits and length of responses. I for one, happen to be a readahololic, so long epic posts are never a problem. Now to be sure, it seems that most of the epic long posts I've been involved in are usually the result of irrelevant material being introduced.

Although i realize that the debate can be lengthy if there are no limitations. It's just that I am not sure what the limitations should be. I tend to argue against limitations where thinking is involved because I prize thinking so much.


Quote
My idea of an outline would be something like this:

1) Validating the "Four Minimal Facts" (discussion on how "solid" they are historically)

How would you propose to do that? What criteria would you use? You see, whatever critieria you propose, it is my understanding that this same criteria (I'm assuming here that you mean standard historical methodology) has already been used and applied to the FMF, and thus they have been rendered as historical facts by the vast majority of historians who study the issue at great length.

If neither you nor I have are historians or experts in this field, then how can we disagree with the vast majority of experts who have decided that these are historical facts? In other words, if you are not an expert or an historian, then why should I take your word over the vast majority of experts in this field who have made this their life's work?

See, to me... it appears that you are doing a couple of things. (1) You are implying or suggesting that the vast majority of experts in this field have not objectively applied standard historical methodology to the FMF. And (2) you seem to be implying or suggesting that you know the "ins and outs" of how to use and apply historical methodology much better than the vast majority of experts.

Or... maybe you mean to suggest that the vast majority of experts in this field DO NOT use standard historical methodology?

Unless I've misunderstood you... would you really want to imply any of the above three?

Now granted... we can certainly look at HOW they came to the conclusion that the FMF are historical facts. That is a good thing. It should teach and instruct us in how experts go about this issue. But... if you want to explore this area, then I will insist that your criteria (whatever that may be) be EVENLY applied to all of history... to all of what the majority of historians have said are historical facts in other parts of ancient history... and not just to the FMF. In other words... there should be no double standard where the FMF are concerned.

To me, this seems fair. Do you not agree?

In fact... if this is a some kind of huge stumbling block to you.. .then we should forget debating the issue of whether Jesus was resurrected.. .and instead we should debate or discuss how historians use standard historical methodology... and see how it is appplied to the FMF.

Is this what you want to do?

Quote
2) Supernatural vs. Mundane (discussion of how much priority natural explanations should have over supernatural ones, whether "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" or not)

Firstly... I have already said that natural explanations SHOULD ALWAYS take priority over supernatural ones. Absolutely. But unless you come to the debate with a complete bias and prejudice against the possibility of miracles occuring, then NO AMOUNT OF evidence would ever convince you.

So it is you who would have to come up with a scale that tells a neutral and objective thinker when a supernatural explanation becomes more reasonable than a natural explanation.

This is EXACTLY why I've proposed the scale/criteria that I have already outlined in our debates. And that is, the skeptic should offer a natural explanation that better explains the FMF than the Resurrection which is a supernatural explanation. To me this makes perfect sense.

After all, if there is a natural explanation that better explains the FMF, then IT SHOULD OBVIOUSLY take priority over the Resurrection. But what if the skeptic cannot offer one? Then it seems to me that 2 options are left for the skeptic. (1) Either he says he doesn't have a better explanation, and so he reserves judgment or an opinion. (2) Or he accepts a supernatural explanation. What other choices would there be for a skeptic who cannot offer a more reasonable explanation than a miracle?

So then, what about the explanation he does offer? How do we judge whether it is more reasonable than a Resurrection? Well, to me, it would seem obvious that we should look at his explanation see what, if any, holes are in his explanation. To me, the more reasonable explanation will have less holes and contradictions and inconsistancies in it. The more reasonable explanation will also have more facts behind it that do not contradict or call into question the FMF to begin with. The more reasonable explanation will also not have to rely so much on inventing "facts" or inventing unprovable "scenarios".

What I'm getting at is that just becaue the human mind can THINK or IMAGINE or INVENT a natural explanation... this does not automatically mean the explanation is more reasonable than another explanation... even if it is a supernatural one. There has to be more meat and substance to a natural explanation than just wishful thinking. The slogan: "Where's the Beef?" comes to mind.

Secondly... "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is a nothing more than just a slogan. I've already indicated that probablity experts and theorists have demonstrated that this slogan is not true.

Anyway... if any of the above is a stumbling block... then let's forget debating the issue of whether Jesus was Resurrected and just concentrate on one of these stumbling blocks of yours. Because I assure you, that each can fill a book on it's own.


Quote
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.[1] The explanations need only be plausible singly and together.)

I've never said that "no plausible natural explanation is possible and therefore it is necessary to resort to a supernatural or paranormal explanation". My entire contention is whether a natural explanation is MORE REASONABLE than the Resurrection... which is a miracle or a supernatural epxlanation. And above I've listed a few indicators of what a more reasonable explanation would look like or what it would contain in contrast to a rival explanation.

As for providing at least one plausible scenario for how Jesus' body could have turned up missing, and for the claims of post-mortem appearances... I completely agree. That is what I'm asking for from the skeptic. As I've said before, we can make up all kinds of things... but it would seem obvious that there has to be certain indicators or markers which we can identify to help us decide which explanation is more reasonable or most reasonable. And I've listed some of them above. If you have more indicators, then fine, share them with me. But I wont' let you stack the deck unfairly. We should at least agree on what makes for a reasonable explanation.. and then be willing to FAIRLY AND EVENLY apply those criteria to ALL OF HISTORY.

And this can be a debate in itself if we disagree on what makes an explanation more reasonable than a rival explanation.

Quote
I would stipulate that no single explanation is necessary any more than a single explanation is required for the start of World War I.[1] The explanations need only be plausible singly and together.)
Sure, this makes sense... but I think you are not really understanding what you are saying here.

First... all the various explanations have some basis in facts. Historians don't just make up possible explanations out of whole cloth, but point to facts which to them, suggests a particular explanation.

For example... you wrote:


Quote
No historian would try to argue that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the singular and sole cause for World War I. Rather, it was a confluence of contributing factors such as the alliance structure in place at the time, the personalities and goals of the leaders involved, the decline of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, competition among major European powers for colonies and resources, etc..

And my point is that each of the above contributing factors are facts which we can point to. We can identify with facts and evidences the alliance structure in place at the time. We can identify with facts and evidences the personalities and goals of the leaders involved. We can identify with facts and evidences the decline of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. We can identify with facts and evidences the competition among major European powers for colonies and resources, etc.

But what historians do not do is MAKE UP things that these personaliteis or alliances did to fit a preconceived bias or prejudice. In other words, if you are going to single out a personality and/or alliance, and attach some action to them... you need to show us the evidence for that action. We can't just say that Joe did something if there is no evidence for it. And you need to show us the evidence for any particular "goals" you attach to them as well. We can't say Joe believed in such and such if there is no evidence for it. etc.

Secondly... none of the explanations can contradict each other. We all understand the law of non-contradiction by now. If they do, then not all the various explanations can be equally true or valid.

Thirdly... the more differing and various explanations you have to have for each of the FMF (especialy if there are no facts or evidences for each explanation being offered), then the more ad hoc it becomes. To me, the more reasonable explanation will be less ad hoc in nature as it tries to explain all the facts with ONE explanation... or with a minimal amount of explanations. (Ockman's razor?)

Anway... here is another subject we can debate instead of the issue of whether Jesus was Resurrected.

Quote
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?

I dont' know all the "referees" or moderators in this forum. I've only had contact with 3 of them it seems. But out of Admin1... Mod_25... and deus machina... i would accept Admin1.

And to be very frank and honest with you... I don't know what we need a referee at all. If we feel that the other person is off track, then we should be able to point it out. I'm continually having to point out red herrings in my responses in this forum. No Moderator was needed for that.

I would like to think we are two gentlemen who can debate fairly and civily with respect and admiration for each other. But if you are genuinely so concerned that we can't do this on our own, and you need a moderator, then fine, I will go along with your request in the spirit of accomodation.

To sum up... it appears that we can be debating various topics in here and we need to choose which one. The various options are:

A).... How formal should our debate be and how much limitation are we going to put on our thinking and time?

B)... How do historians use standard historical methodology... and how is it appplied to the FMF... if it is?

C)... How do we identify or know when one explanation is more reasonable than another?

D)... Is the phrase or slogan "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" true or not?

E)... How do we determine if a particular explanation is more ad hoc in nature than another explanation?

F)... How do we know something in the Ancient Past is a historical fact or not?

G)... Or, Was Jesus Resurrected?

Maybe we need to debate all of these questions one a time... before we can finally approach the last one. It's really up to you. I'll let you choose what we are going to debate first, etc.

Thanks Kcrady.

I look forward to our debate. Don't expect too much from me because I'm not very intelligent or smart. I just keep my fingers crossed that I can keep up with your brilliance. I mean that sincerely. Take care.

Offline Inactive_1

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 12:35:21 PM »

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?

I'll do it.

Quote
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.

I'll clean up this room after we get going.

Quote
I would like to think we are two gentlemen who can debate fairly and civily with respect and admiration for each other. But if you are genuinely so concerned that we can't do this on our own, and you need a moderator, then fine, I will go along with your request in the spirit of accomodation.

I don't expect to have to be involved much at all, but in case it's needed, I'll step in mostly as a janitor (moving uninvited posts and such).

Quote
To sum up... it appears that we can be debating various topics in here and we need to choose which one. The various options are:

A).... How formal should our debate be and how much limitation are we going to put on our thinking and time?

B)... How do historians use standard historical methodology... and how is it appplied to the FMF... if it is?

C)... How do we identify or know when one explanation is more reasonable than another?

D)... Is the phrase or slogan "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" true or not?

E)... How do we determine if a particular explanation is more ad hoc in nature than another explanation?

F)... How do we know something in the Ancient Past is a historical fact or not?

G)... Or, Was Jesus Resurrected?

Maybe we need to debate all of these questions one a time... before we can finally approach the last one. It's really up to you. I'll let you choose what we are going to debate first, etc.

Wow.

I have to say something here - that's a tremendous debate load. To me, it looks like we are starting all over from scratch, and you can see how many pages it took for the original thread, and what really got resolved in that one?

Now, if you two really want to take all that on, I won't stop you, but any one of those items in the list could be a debate by itself. My suggestion is to pick a smaller focus and go with that. But you guys can do whatever you want to. I would ask that if you do take on that whole list, to please stay committed to finishing what you start, that's all.

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2010, 02:44:46 PM »
Hi,

I'd like, if I may, to pick up on one specific point that has been raised here and focus on it. As this is not a part of the debate, I hope I can give the benefit of my (albeit limited) experience in this matter and make the case for a more structured debate.

In formal debates, limitations in terms of time, number of responses, numbers of words and the like are not intended to ration people's ability to think.

If anything, it's the opposite, particularly on the part of debaters: it means that debaters must be concise (as in 'avoid rambling', not 'cut short or omit points of relevance'), stay focused on the issue at hand, avoid going round in circles - IOW, it puts the burden on them to present their arguments in the clearest, most readable, and above all most persuasive way that they can in the limited space available. In short, it's a discipline that encourages clear thinking.

That's one of the things that formal debates are for. They're to enable and encourage the debaters to think very hard about what they say and how to present what they are going to say.

A debate that runs into months of back-and-forth word-walls, that continues long after all non-participants have lost interest in it, benefits nobody. It wastes the debaters' time, it wastes the moderators' time, it wastes bandwidth and disk space, and above all it doesn't do much in the way of encouraging thinking, because it's easy to go round and round arguing the same well-rehearsed points for months on end. Many of us on this forum are past masters at that. It's effortless, and if something doesn't require effort, well, you're not really thinking about it, are you?

I would, therefore, encourage the debaters to try to set up some self-imposed limits and structure, focus the debate on a specific issue that can be readily covered within a reasonable space of time, and will pique the interest of - and hopefully evoke thought in - those non-participant members and guests to this forum.

Because that's the other thing formal debates are for. Like the Reithian dogma of the BBC, the aim should be to "educate, inform and entertain", and the best way to do that is to cover one's points in a way that keeps people interested. If people lose interest, if they stop reading, they won't stay informed, and your debate will end up being another dead, forgotten thread in the archive.

I would like to see this section become a destination of choice for discussions whose quality is intended to be a cut above the run-of-the-mill rough-and-tumble of the threads in General Religious Discussion - ones that people will want to read, and will visit this site specifically in order to read.

So I urge you: Avoid self-indulgence. Embrace discipline. Prepare your arguments. Keep them concise, whilst keeping the relevant points. Stay focused. And keep your audience interested. Self-imposed strictures help that cause, not hinder it.

It's not my place or that of any other moderator to dictate to either of you - we're only here to enforce whatever rules you choose to apply to yourselves - but I would strongly encourage you both to adopt some structure and bounds.

Thank you both, and I'll look forward to the debate.

DeM

(P.S. Actually, this is probably the closest anyone has come to writing a 'mission statement' for this section of the forum. I may rework it and post it in the parent section.)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 03:16:15 PM by Deus ex Machina »
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 11:02:04 AM »
Hello Kcrady...

>snip<

You see... for me, topics like this are MUCH TOO important to be confined by time limits and length of responses.  I for one, happen to be a readahololic, so long epic posts are never a problem.  Now to be sure, it seems that most of the epic long posts I've been involved in are usually the result of irrelevant material being introduced.

Although i realize that the debate can be lengthy if there are no limitations.  It's just that I am not sure what the limitations should be.  I tend to argue against limitations where thinking is involved because I prize thinking so much.

I'm fine with a more open-ended overall length for the discussion, but I tend to favor some sort of limit on each "turn" we would take (one, maybe two posts at the most) so that we have an incentive to be concise and focus on one given point at a time.  There's a general tendency for each response to balloon bigger and bigger, as each debater tries to rebut all the points made in the other debater's previous post.  Since it takes more space to rebut a claim than to make it, there's a downhill slope toward inflation.  Speaking for myself, I find it more difficult to wade through a 5-post fusillade and try to respond.  In my debate with "Majesty" (it's in the Debate Archives) I felt I had to deliberately ignore some of his arguments (such as the case he made in favor of the Big Bang Theory, since I accept the BBT) in order to keep response size from getting out of hand.

For me at least, giant 5-Banger Post-Salvo responses are much larger thickets in which I can "lose" a point made by my opponent and end up failing to respond to it.  My mind has a tendency to want to go blank and say, 'GAH!  TL;DR' especially if the post-salvo has extra rhetorical flourishes and verbiage not directly germane to the topic.

A one (two at most) post-per-turn limit, I think, would make each response easier for both of us.

Quote
My idea of an outline would be something like this:

1) Validating the "Four Minimal Facts" (discussion on how "solid" they are historically)

How would you propose to do that?  What criteria would you use?  You see, whatever critieria you propose, it is my understanding that this same criteria (I'm assuming here that you mean standard historical methodology) has already been used and applied to the FMF, and thus they have been rendered as historical facts by the vast majority of historians who study the issue at great length.

If neither you nor I have are historians or experts in this field, then how can we disagree with the vast majority of experts who have decided that these are historical facts?  In other words, if you are not an expert or an historian, then why should I take your word over the vast majority of experts in this field who have made this their life's work?

I think there is good evidence (including within the NT itself) that casts some of the "Minimal Facts" (e.g. the claim that Jesus was buried in a tomb) into doubt.  I would like to be able to cite some examples and see your response.  Also, I would like to see from you a summary that "shows the work" of the historians so that I and the audience can get a good impression of the level of evidence that makes these scholars so certain of their "facts."  The example you gave in the other thread--a clever but speculative set of deductions attempting to derive earlier versions of Mark and Luke from the Gospels and thereby claim "multiple sources" close to the alleged events--is not nearly as strong as you (or, apparently the scholars you're citing) seem to think.  It's like one of those Sherlock Holmes bon mots, where he looks at a footprint and says that it's the footprint of a man who weighs 250 pounds and had a fall from a horse in his teenage years.  Sure, Holmes may be noticing a slight limp-drag in the footprint trace, but then, maybe the guy just had a rock in his shoe, and maybe he weighs 180 pounds but is carrying a backpack.

Given that these same NT scholars claim with absolute certainty that a historical Jesus existed (and that they know what he taught, etc.)--yet have widely ranging theories on who he was (Cynic sage, liberal reformer, Jewish dynast claiming the Davidic throne, Judaic-fundamentalist rebel, etc.)--I tend to distrust their chest-thumping claims of certain knowledge about Jesus.  So, if [they] want to assert that the burial of Jesus, or his tangible appearance to Doubting Thomas after his death, etc. is as certain as the Holocaust or the heliocentric solar system[1] they're going to have to provide some really good evidence to back that up.]

I'm not asking that you quote and paste the entire text of some ten-volume thesis on the 4MF, just some example of what backs up all these claims of certainty.  If I'm asked for the same thing WRT evolution or the existence of Julius Caesar, I can point to things like fossils, the internal telomeres in human Chromosome #2 that show it's a merger of two ape chromosomes or Roman coins from the time of Caesar's reign featuring him, or his name appearing in Egyptian king lists as a "pharaoh" (he took the title after defeating the last of the Ptolemies).

See, to me... it appears that you are doing a couple of things.  (1) You are implying or suggesting that the vast majority of experts in this field have not objectively applied standard historical methodology to the FMF.   And (2) you seem to be implying or suggesting that you know the "ins and outs" of how to use and apply historical methodology much better than the vast majority of experts.

What I see is a lot of claims (from you and other Christians I've debated like UnkleE) of absolute certainty about "Jesus facts" without anybody being able to point to anything solid that merits such certainty.  I can point to plenty of examples (such as the work of Earl Doherty and Richard Carrier) of things that, so far as I can tell, expose the bluster of the majority as, well, bluster.  All I'm saying is, "show your work."  If your case is really as solid as you and your scholars say, it ought to be easy.

Now granted... we can certainly look at HOW they came to the conclusion that the FMF are historical facts.  That is a good thing.  It should teach and instruct us in how experts go about this issue.  But... if you want to explore this area, then I will insist that your criteria (whatever that may be) be EVENLY applied to all of history... to all of what the majority of historians have said are historical facts in other parts of ancient history... and not just to the FMF.  In other words... there should be no double standard where the FMF are concerned.

Sure, but you'll have to specify exactly which Gospel resurrection narratives are "facts."  If you're going to cite Doubting Thomas and "Jesus lived with the Disciples after his death for 40 days, fished with them, let them touch him" etc. as factual history, then they should be judged by the same criteria historians judge the probability of Circe's magic turning Greek soldiers into pigs or Achilles being miraculously invulnerable to damage except for his heel. 

Quote
2) Supernatural vs. Mundane (discussion of how much priority natural explanations should have over supernatural ones, whether "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" or not)

Firstly... I have already said that natural explanations SHOULD ALWAYS take priority over supernatural ones.  Absolutely.  But unless you come to the debate with a complete bias and prejudice against the possibility of miracles occuring, then NO AMOUNT OF evidence would ever convince you.
 1. In a debate on the historicity of Jesus with UnkleE on the old Forum, he trotted out a list of quotes from NT scholars that likened doubting the existence of a historical Jesus with Holocaust denial and Flat-Earthism.  Even if the 4MF are arguably likely, I have yet to see any evidence for them or anything to do with Jesus that compares with the evidence for the Holocaust or the sphereicity of Earth.  Methinks they doth protest too much!

Miracles, by definition, are highly improbable.  In all other cases of ancient references to supernatural abilities (such as the story of the renowned Egyptian magician Djedi being able to sever the head of a goose, re-attach it, and have the goose live perfectly unharmed in a performance before Pharaoh Khufu), the supernatural claim is not treated as "factual" just because it's in an ancient account, even if the surrounding facts (Pharaoh Khufu really existed, there were people claiming to be real Magicians in Egypt, we have Egyptian magical texts, etc.) are valid.

>snip<

I'm snipping the rest of your argumentation, since responding to that sort of stuff belongs in the debate itself. :)

To sum up... it appears that we can be debating various topics in here and we need to choose which one.  The various options are:

A)....  How formal should our debate be and how much limitation are we going to put on our thinking and time?

No limitation on overall time, but some reasonable limitation (one post per turn, two at the most) on the size of each response.  Forces us to edit carefully and make our points concisely and precisely.

B)...  How do historians use standard historical methodology... and how is it appplied to the FMF... if it is?

How about just a few examples of the overwhelming and irrefutable mountain of evidence for, say, the burial of Jesus, or that he actually appeared in material form to Doubting Thomas?  Surely, since these facts are so utterly irrefutable you ought to be able to produce something!  Give me money for the trip and I can take you straight to the ovens at Auschwitz, to prove the Holocaust happened, I can show you where the mass graves are.  Etc..  The juxtaposition of claims of absolute certainty with an inability to present evidence sets off my BS Detector.

C)... How do we identify or know when one explanation is more reasonable than another?

Since you're talking about one, single alleged resurrection vs. the permanent death of every single other human being who ever died (you're not trying to argue that the resurrections of Lazarus, etc. are proven history, which is a de facto concession that for all practical intents and purposes they're not), the "It's a Miraculous Resurrection!" explanation just has to be considered wildly unlikely, more so than just about any natural explanation, unless you can provide better evidence for resurrections (increase your sample size from one alleged case in ~99 billion deaths), or provide really strong evidence for Jesus' case.  Evidence of the level that would persuade us that he wore boots instead of sandals is not sufficient to persuade us that he resurrected from the dead, teleported around, flew like Superman, or ate the Moon in one bite and shat it out a week later.  Again: you're so uber-confident in the certainty of your "facts," produce the bloody evidence!

D)... Is the phrase or slogan "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" true or not?

E)... How do we determine if a particular explanation is more ad hoc in nature than another explanation?

F)... How do we know something in the Ancient Past is a historical fact or not?

G)... Or, Was Jesus Resurrected?

Maybe we need to debate all of these questions one a time... before we can finally approach the last one.  It's really up to you.  I'll let you choose what we are going to debate first, etc.

Thanks Kcrady.

I look forward to our debate.  Don't expect too much from me because I'm not very intelligent or smart.  I just keep my fingers crossed that I can keep up with your brilliance.  I mean that sincerely.  Take care.

I do see that this could get over-long.  If you'd like to shorten it to just the 4 (or however many) Minimal Facts, then maybe you could stipulate exactly which Gospel resurrection accounts your historians accept as fact, with some good indication of their basis of doing so (not a mega-treatise for each, just something like "Coins with Julius Caesar's image on them minted while Caesar was alive" as evidence for Caesar's existence). 

In other words, a full list of exactly what "facts" a skeptic is required to explain, and at least one good reason for each why they ought to be accepted as "facts."  So if you want to bring up the Doubting Thomas story, then cite a legitimate historian who accepts it as factand promotes it as such in standard peer-reviewed historical journals], bonus points if s/he is Jewish (non-Christian), atheist, etc..

Edits: I wrote this while my car was warming up and defrosting after work this morning and ran off without proofreading.  Edits are additions, and highlighted in bold and [brackets].
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 06:39:19 PM by kcrady »
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Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 07:13:10 PM »
Hello kcrady...

I wrote the following before I read your amendments. But I don't have time to amend anything that may need to be amended which reflected your amendments.

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Fran
You see... for me, topics like this are MUCH TOO important to be confined by time limits and length of responses.  I for one, happen to be a  readahololic, so long epic posts are never a problem.  Now to be sure, it seems that most of the epic long posts I've been involved in are  usually the result of irrelevant material being introduced.

Although i realize that the debate can be lengthy if there are no limitations.  It's just that I am not sure what the limitations should be.  I tend to  argue against limitations where thinking is involved because I prize thinking so much.

Kcardy
I'm fine with a more open-ended overall length for the discussion, but I tend to favor some sort of limit on each "turn" we would take (one,  maybe two posts at the most) so that we have an incentive to be concise and focus on one given point at a time.  There's a general tendency  for each response to balloon bigger and bigger, as each debater tries to rebut all the points made in the other debater's previous post.  Since  it takes more space to rebut a claim than to make it, there's a downhill slope toward inflation.  Speaking for myself, I find it more difficult to  wade through a 5-post fusillade and try to respond.  In my debate with "Majesty" (it's in the Debate Archives) I felt I had to deliberately ignore  some of his arguments (such as the case he made in favor of the Big Bang Theory, since I accept the BBT) in order to keep response size  from getting out of hand.

For me at least, giant 5-Banger Post-Salvo responses are much larger thickets in which I can "lose" a point made by my opponent and end up  failing to respond to it.  My mind has a tendency to want to go blank and say, 'GAH!  TL;DR' especially if the post-salvo has extra rhetorical  flourishes and verbiage not directly germane to the topic.

A one (two at most) post-per-turn limit, I think, would make each response easier for both of us.

I have to think about this seriously.

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Kcrady
My idea of an outline would be something like this:

1) Validating the "Four Minimal Facts" (discussion on how "solid" they are historically)

Fran
How would you propose to do that?  What criteria would you use?  You see, whatever critieria you propose, it is my understanding that this  same criteria (I'm assuming here that you mean standard historical methodology) has already been used and applied to the FMF, and thus  they have been rendered as historical facts by the vast majority of historians who study the issue at great length.

If neither you nor I have are historians or experts in this field, then how can we disagree with the vast majority of experts who have decided that  these are historical facts?  In other words, if you are not an expert or an historian, then why should I take your word over the vast majority of  experts in this field who have made this their life's work?

Kcardy
I think there is good evidence (including within the NT itself) that casts some of the "Minimal Facts" (e.g. the claim that Jesus was buried in a  tomb) into doubt.  I would like to be able to cite some examples and see your response.  Also, I would like to see from you a summary that  "shows the work" of the historians so that I and the audience can get a good impression of the level of evidence that makes these scholars so  certain of their "facts."  The example you gave in the other thread--a clever but speculative set of deductions attempting to derive earlier  versions of Mark and Luke from the Gospels and thereby claim "multiple sources" close to the alleged events--is not nearly as strong as you  (or, apparently the scholars you're citing) seem to think.  It's like one of those Sherlock Holmes bon mots, where he looks at a footprint and  says that it's the footprint of a man who weighs 250 pounds and had a fall from a horse in his teenage years.  Sure, Holmes may be noticing a  slight limp-drag in the footprint trace, but then, maybe the guy just had a rock in his shoe, and maybe he weighs 180 pounds but is carrying a  backpack.

i don't know what you want.  I gave you the condensed version.  What I gave you is the summary of the evidence by which historians have  determined that the FMF are historical facts.   You might not be impressed by the evidence... but then you are not a historian working on history  in the Ancient Past.

If you are not historian, and yet you are singularly unimpressed with the evidence which the vast majority of Biblical historians have determined  is persuasive enough to render the FMF as historical facts... then there is nothing more that  I can add.  Who am I to add to what the experts  have already found?   What am I can going to add that they have not already stated?  And even if I did add something ON MY OWN... why  would that impress you more than what the experts in the field have found?

So idon't know what you want.

You've got your summary.   If you want to take it apart, fine, then let's go over it.  But I will remind you that we are talking about Ancient History  and we are talking about the historical method which is used FOR ALL OF ANCIENT HISTORY by the experts where the FMF is concerned.  I  won't allow you to try and apply a double standard... that is one method and criteria for the FMF... and another for the rest of Ancient History.

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Kcardy
Given that these same NT scholars claim with absolute certainty that a historical Jesus existed (and that they know what he taught, etc.)--yet  have widely ranging theories on who he was (Cynic sage, liberal reformer, Jewish dynast claiming the Davidic throne, Judaic-fundamentalist  rebel, etc.)--I tend to distrust their chest-thumping claims of certain knowledge about Jesus.  So, if you want to assert that the burial of Jesus, or  his tangible appearance to Doubting Thomas after his death, etc. is as certain as the Holocaust or the heliocentric solar system[1]

See... you're already misinformed.  Not once in here have I said that the FMF can be ascertained as historical facts with absolute certainity.   Neither can MOST, if not all, of Ancient History.  When we are dealing with history,  pre-videos history, we are always dealing with probablities... not  absolute certainties.  Indeed, even in science... which is a hard science at that.. has VERY PRECIOUS FEW declarations of absolute  certainity.   So here you have completely unreasonable expectations not shared by ANY HISTORIAN... especially historians of the Ancient  Past.

And by the way... the many theories on who Jesus was (Cynic sage, liberal reformer, Jewish dynast claiming the Davidic throne,  Judaic-fundamentalist rebel, etc.)... can only lend strength to the conclusion that Jesus was a real person.

Thirdly... your language such as: "chest-thumping claims",  suffers from the "Loaded Language" (Prejudicial Language) logical fallacy.  Does it not?

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Kcardy
I'm not asking that you quote and paste the entire text of some ten-volume thesis on the 4MF, just some example of what backs up all these  claims of certainty.  If I'm asked for the same thing WRT evolution or the existence of Julius Caesar, I can point to things like fossils, the internal  telomeres in human Chromosome #2 that show it's a merger of two ape chromosomes or Roman coins from the time of Caesar's reign  featuring him, or his name appearing in Egyptian king lists as a "pharaoh" (he took the title after defeating the last of the Ptolemies).

I already did in the public thead/forum we just left.  So i'm not sure what you want from me.   MOST... indeed.. .THE VAST MAJORITY of what  we know about the Ancient Past comes to us from written accounts... AND NOT from artifacts.  Using your logic.. which is rejected by ALL  HISTORIANS... then that would mean we would know SO LITTLE about the past, that it would fit on a few notebook pages.

Indeed... if we used your logic and criteria, then we all would have to conclude that maybe only a few hundred people lived in the ancient past  because THE VAST MAJORITY of people did not leave any archeological artifacts to testify to their existence at all.

When you see a coin with Julius Caesar on it, how do you know it was Julius Caesar?  Because someone told you?  Did you ask Ceasar?  Or  did you TRUST a written account?  How do you know that the coins wasn't a joke?  How do you know?    The fact is, most of what we know  about the ancient past comes to us from written accounts.  IF we used your criteria, then most historians would be out of a job and most history  departments in colleges would have to be dropped because there would be precious little to teach.  All you would need is to hand out a couple  page report of history.  

No... historians do not use your logic or use your hyper critical historical methdology.   And so there is no reason for me to take your request  seriously.


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Fran
See, to me... it appears that you are doing a couple of things.  (1) You are implying or suggesting that the vast majority of experts in this field  have not objectively applied standard historical methodology to the FMF.   And (2) you seem to be implying or suggesting that you know the  "ins and outs" of how to use and apply historical methodology much better than the vast majority of experts.

Kcrady
What I see is a lot of claims (from you and other Christians I've debated like UnkleE) of absolute certainty about "Jesus facts" without anybody  being able to point to anything solid that merits such certainty.  I can point to plenty of examples (such as the work of Earl Doherty and Richard  Carrier) of things that, so far as I can tell, expose the bluster of the majority as, well, bluster.  All I'm saying is, "show your work."  If your case is  really as solid as you and your scholars say, it ought to be easy.

And what I see you doing is spreading misinformation.  Not once in here have I said that the FMF... OR ANCIENT HISTORY... OR EVEN  MOST OF HISTORY.... is rendered as absolute certainity by historians.  Rarely do you even get this kind of absolute certainity in hard  sciences, let alone in history which is not a hard science.

Here again you are employing the logical fallacy called "Loaded Language" (Prejudicial Language) when you say such things as "expose the  bluster of the majority as, well, bluster".

I've shown my work.  Well... to be perfectly correct and more careful in my language... what i've shown is not my work because I am not a  historian.  I've shown you the work (condensed version for this forum) of the vast majority of experts who have determined that the FMF are  historical facts.  It is now up to you to show us why you disagree.... USING THE SAME HISTORICAL METHODOLOGY used for the rest of  ancient history... which is the time period we are talking about it.

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Fran
Now granted... we can certainly look at HOW they came to the conclusion that the FMF are historical facts.  That is a good thing.  It should  teach and instruct us in how experts go about this issue.  But... if you want to explore this area, then I will insist that your criteria (whatever that  may be) be EVENLY applied to all of history... to all of what the majority of historians have said are historical facts in other parts of ancient  history... and not just to the FMF.  In other words... there should be no double standard where the FMF are concerned.

Kcrady
Sure, but you'll have to specify exactly which Gospel resurrection narratives are "facts."  If you're going to cite Doubting Thomas and "Jesus  lived with the Disciples after his death for 40 days, fished with them, let them touch him" etc. as factual history, then they should be judged by  the same criteria historians judge the probability of Circe's magic turning Greek soldiers into pigs or Achilles being miraculously invulnerable to  damage except for his heel.

I'm not sure what you are driving out... because it appears to me that you are actually shooting yourself in the foot.  Because I have to tell you,  when you gave us your response outlining your version of what could possibily have happened naturally to explain the FMF... you came up with  all kinds of scenarious... NONE OF WHICH WAS BASED IN FACT!!!   So using your hypercritical approach... then I can safely said that you  have failed to give a completely naturalistic explanation that was more reasonable than the Resurrection explanation.

When I bring up Doubting Thomas and Jesus living with the Disciples for 40 days, etc... at least  i can bring up written documents from which  that information is coming from... whereas you CAN'T BRING UP ANY written documents that support anything you offered for your "natural  explanation".

And btw... remember that WLC is only using FMF for his debates.  But never is it true that those are the only facts agreed upon by the vast  majority of scholars.  WLC is using a minimalistic approach for brevity sake in his debates.  He could easily use more facts.

Quote
Kcrady
2) Supernatural vs. Mundane (discussion of how much priority natural explanations should have over supernatural ones, whether "extraordinary  claims require extraordinary evidence" or not)

Fran
Firstly... I have already said that natural explanations SHOULD ALWAYS take priority over supernatural ones.  Absolutely.  But unless you  come to the debate with a complete bias and prejudice against the possibility of miracles occuring, then NO AMOUNT OF evidence would  ever convince you.

Kcrady
Miracles, by definition, are highly improbable.

Yes.. and so?  I never said otherwise.  This why i said that a natural explanation SHOULD ALWAYS take priority over supernatural ones.   Absolutely.  I have been very clear on this issue.

And btw... so is an alien hypothesis HIGHLY IMPROBABLE... and yet that doesn't stop you or Anfauglir from using it.

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Kcrady
In all other cases of ancient references to supernatural abilities (such as the story of the renowned Egyptian magician Djedi being able to sever  the head of a goose, re-attach it, and have the goose live perfectly unharmed in a performance before Pharaoh Khufu), the supernatural claim  is not treated as "factual" just because it's in an ancient account, even if the surrounding facts (Pharaoh Khufu really existed, there were people  claiming to be real Magicians in Egypt, we have Egyptian magical texts, etc.) are valid.

Yes... i completely agree.  So?  BTW, even I CAN DO the goose trick.  It's a standard and mundane trick among magicians.

But the point is that you CAN'T uncritically make sweeping statements.  That's a logical fallacy in itself.  Using that logic, then once again, you  WON'T ACCEPT ANY EVIDENCE for a miracle because you've set up the rules (thru sweeping generalizaitons) so that you will get the  EXACT conclusion that you want to get before you even sit down at the table.

True open-minded people DO NOT do this.  True critical thinkers DO NOT do this.

With that in mind... i've NOT asking you to look at other supposed miracles... but only at the resurrecion.  To constantly bring up other  "suppossed" miracles INSTEAD of the one we are dealing with, is a classic red herring!!!!

Quote
Fran
To sum up... it appears that we can be debating various topics in here and we need to choose which one.  The various options are:

A)....  How formal should our debate be and how much limitation are we going to put on our thinking and time?

Kcrady
No limitation on overall time, but some reasonable limitation (one post per turn, two at the most) on the size of each response.  Forces us to  edit carefully and make our points concisely and precisely.

I don't have a response yet.  I'm trying to figure out what would be fair.  I have to think about this and flesh it out by outlining my concerns.  I reject  as a nonsequitur that the format you are choosing WILL ALWAYS MEAN that it forces us to edit carefully and make our points concisely and  precisely...  for a couple of reasons.   At first blush, it could very well backfire because the "loser" (and I use that word extremely loosely  because no one is a loser in here) could always maintain that he wasn't allowed enough space and time to present his case more fully and  robustly and in depth.

And anyway... what in heaven's name does it mean to "edit carefully and make our points concisely and precisely"?  Who would be the judge of  that?  Who is to say how much is concise and precise if you are dealing with something complex?  There appears to be too much wiggle room  and too much power being given to a third party who may not be neutral at all.

Anyway... I have to think about this.

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Fran
B)...  How do historians use standard historical methodology... and how is it appplied to the FMF... if it is?

Kcrady
How about just a few examples of the overwhelming and irrefutable mountain of evidence for, say, the burial of Jesus, or that he actually  appeared in material form to Doubting Thomas?  Surely, since these facts are so utterly irrefutable you ought to be able to produce something!   Give me money for the trip and I can take you straight to the ovens at Auschwitz, to prove the Holocaust happened, I can show you where the  mass graves are.  Etc..  The juxtaposition of claims of absolute certainty with an inability to present evidence sets off my BS Detector.

"BS Detector" = "Loaded Language" (Prejudicial Language) logical fallacy.

I've already answered your concern above.  You are misrepresenting what I've said about history and the FMF and what historians say about  history.  History has never been a hard science.


End of part one
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 07:11:36 PM by Fran »

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 07:14:01 PM »
part two

Quote
Fran
C)... How do we identify or know when one explanation is more reasonable than another?

Kcrady
Since you're talking about one, single alleged resurrection vs. the permanent death of every single other human being who ever died (you're not  trying to argue that the resurrections of Lazarus, etc. are proven history, which is a de facto concession that for all practical intents and  purposes they're not), the "It's a Miraculous Resurrection!" explanation just has to be considered wildly unlikely, more so than just about any  natural explanation, unless you can provide better evidence for resurrections (increase your sample size from one alleged case in ~99 billion  deaths), or provide really strong evidence for Jesus' case.  Evidence of the level that would persuade us that he wore boots instead of sandals  is not sufficient to persuade us that he resurrected from the dead, teleported around, flew like Superman, or ate the Moon in one bite and shat  it out a week later.  Again: you're so uber-confident in the certainty of your "facts," produce the bloody evidence!

When you keep saying that the resurrection is improbable, and therefore we shouldn't believe it... this is an example of you not letting the facts  lead you to a conclusion... but of you filtering facts thru your pre-conceived and biased glasses against the possibility of miracles.

To me, this seems to be the bottom line of your skepticsim.  It's right at this point where you keep getting hung up.   

The fact is that I NEVER said that the Resurrection was not wildly unlikely.  I think what this comes down to is that you simply reject the added  step that WLC said is needed to make the Resurrection possible.   If God exists (the Christian God), then the Resurrection IS POSSIBLE after  all.  I'm sure that you can see this very plainly.

So maybe for a person like you... the Resurrection debate of Jesus is really a moot excercise because you first need to engage in a debate  about the existence of God.  Maybe for a person like you... the Resurrection Debate is really putting the cart before the horse.

I don't know.

And BTW... your language: "teleported around, flew like Superman, or ate the Moon in one bite and shat it out a week later" is another example  fo the logical fallacy called "Loaded Language" (Prejudicial Language).

Quote
Fran
D)... Is the phrase or slogan "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" true or not?

E)... How do we determine if a particular explanation is more ad hoc in nature than another explanation?

F)... How do we know something in the Ancient Past is a historical fact or not?

G)... Or, Was Jesus Resurrected?

Maybe we need to debate all of these questions one a time... before we can finally approach the last one.  It's really up to you.  I'll let you  choose what we are going to debate first, etc.

Thanks Kcrady.

I look forward to our debate.  Don't expect too much from me because I'm not very intelligent or smart.  I just keep my fingers crossed that I can  keep up with your brilliance.  I mean that sincerely.  Take care.

Kcrady
I do see that this could get over-long.  If you'd like to shorten it to just the 4 (or however many) Minimal Facts, then maybe you could stipulate  exactly which Gospel resurrection accounts your historians accept as fact, with some good indication of their basis of doing so (not a  mega-treatise for each, just something like "Coins with Julius Caesar's image on them minted while Caesar was alive" as evidence for  Caesar's existence). 

In other words, a full list of exactly what "facts" a skeptic is required to explain, and at least one good reason for each why they ought to be  accepted as "facts."  So if you want to bring up the Doubting Thomas story, then cite a legitimate historian who accepts it as fact, bonus points  if s/he is Jewish (non-Christian), atheist, etc..

See... to me this shows that no matter what I say... it seems to be completely misunderstood.  Not once... at least that I'm aware of... have I said  that the Resurrection was a historical fact.  As I kept repeating to HAL... if I FIRST WAS TO CLAIM that the Resurrection was an historical fact,  then I've argued in CIRCLES because we are after all debating the issue of whether the Resurrecion happened or not.  I would literally be  begging the question.

Now, I do believe it happened, and I do believe that it is an historical fact... but  I never claimed that it is an historical fact IN MY LOGICAL  SYLLOGISIM... because that would be begging the question.

My entire contention has been that the Ressurection is the MOST reasonable explanation for the FMF... even more reasonable than any natural  explanation put forth yet by the best and brightest atheists.

As for the FMF,  I have already outlined the evidences found persuasive by the vast majority of historians who have dealt with this subject for  many years.

As for Doubting Thomas and the others, I thought I already did that, but I will go back and see what I wrote.

But remember this, you can't ask of me something that you are not going to apply to yourself.  For ANY NATURAL explanation you put forth,  then you must support it WITH FACTS.. and not wishful thinking.  At the very least,  bring to the table as much as I do... which is written material  written around the same time period as the written material I use.  In fact, the earlier the better.

Take care

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 07:21:09 PM »
On a point of order:

Quote
Loaded language is not inherently fallacious, otherwise most poetry would commit this fallacy. However, it is often a logical boobytrap, which may cause one to leap to an unwarranted evaluative conclusion. The fallacy is committed either when an arguer attempts to use loaded words in place of an argument, or when an arguee makes an evaluation based on the colorful language in which an argument is clothed, rather than on the merits of the argument itself.

(My emphasis.)

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/loadword.html
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2010, 08:15:33 PM »
I really don't think this has to be overly laborious.  I think that I can present a fairly good case for doubting the 4MF (such as that Jesus was buried in a tomb, that the tomb was sealed and found empty, that Jesus showed up tangibly after his death for more than a month) and do it in the length of a post or two.  If NT scholars have evidence worthy of their certainty for claims that he was buried in a tomb, that the tomb was found empty, that (at least WRT where the goal posts are at the moment) Jesus tangibly returned after his death and spent 40 days letting his disciples poke their fingers in his crucifixion holes and laughing as the wine he drank with them spilled out of the spear-hole in his side like a Warner Bros. cartoon character after getting shot with a machine gun, then it ought to be easy to produce some examples. 

When I say I want to present a case against this stuff, you ought to be chuckling to yourself and licking your chops, greedily anticipating the easy pwnage you expect to get when you deploy the scholars' overwhelming evidence--the way I would be if you were claiming to be able to cast doubt on the  heliocentric solar system model or the existence of Julius Caesar.  If the basis of their claims is a long and intricate daisy-chain of deductive dissections of the Gospels to reconstruct alleged earlier versions of the Gospel manuscripts based on some technical use of a participle or word-ending in a group of verses or some such[1]--equivalent to reading Moby Dick and deducing a reconstruction of Melville's earliest research notes and first rough draft from the text--then you and/or your favored NT scholars are going to have to stop selling the 4MF as if you've got video and CSI-style forensic proof, and admit that the "4MF" are based on a pretty flimsy tower of speculative deduction.

Either the 4MF are not in the same class of evidential certainty as, say, the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown (there's a certain rather large and powerful nation whose existence derives from that fact, and no one including the British military then or now disputes it), or they are and you've got so much evidence for them that you can smugly wait to bronto-stomp me with the proof as soon as I try to dispute them.  Merely saying "But the scholars all agree!" without being able to provide any examples of the basis for their agreement--as if they could decree facts into existence by holding a Council in Chalcedon and pronouncing anathemas upon all heretics who dispute the received dogma--doesn't cut the mustard.  If the argument is based on the authority of the scholars as scholars rather than the evidence they're using, it's an Argument From Authority.

So which is it?  Are the 4MF derived from a lacy tower of delicate deductions based on minute analysis of Greek phraseology in the Gospel manuscripts (upon which the existence of such creatures as "M" and "L" is assumed), or are they Really Solid History on a par with "Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire?"  If it's the former, then I can see why you couldn't make a concise case for the 4MF.  In that case though, they'd be on a par with "Socrates was gay and had sex with Plato" rather than "King Agamemnon was a real person."  And if you're counting Doubting Thomas or Undead Jesus Goes Fishing as elements of the "Four" Minimal "Facts," then they're on a par with "Pharaoh Ramses II defeated the Hittite Army at Qadesh by himself after being separated from his troops because (as he put it) 'Amon Re strengthened my arm.'"[2]  I know of no mainstream Egyptologist who believes that Ramses II, all by himself, defeated the Hittite Army with the supernatural assistance of Amun-Re, despite manuscript evidence for the claim far better than anything in the Bible.

Of course I have a considerable degree of expectation that you'll move the goalposts back and say "Oh, all I ever did was cite as fact that the Disciples CLAIMED to have seen Jesus after he died" and quote yourself to that effect.  Then later go back to whipping out the Doubting Thomas story as if it were unimpeachable historical fact.  You've  been called out on that now.  You can't do it again as an honest error.

To sum up:

I feel that I can make the case that:

1) The so-called "Four Minimal Facts" are subject to considerable doubt, based on evidence from the New Testament itself and external sources.

2) Even if we grant that 1. Jesus was crucified, 2. Jesus was buried in a tomb, 3. Jesus' tomb was later found empty, 4. the earliest Christians believed in a tangible Jesus who had been resurrected bodily from the dead and some of them claimed to have "seen" him alive after his death, I can provide a plausible naturalistic scenario for how these four things could be true without requiring a supernatural resurrection, which is based on relevant evidence.[3]

And that I can do this within a reasonable length of space, about 1 or 2 posts per claim.  We can debate each point in greater detail in subsequent posts, but I don't think either one or both together would represent a Herculean labor for either of us.

I would like to be able to make that case in our debate, rather than being limited to the second point.  I think we can avoid extensive diversions into argument about historical method if we just agree to judge the supernatural claims of the Gospels by the same standard that Egyptologists judge the supernatural claims of Ramses II's Battle of Qadesh mural or tales of the feats of renowned Egyptian magicians like Djedi or the court magician who parted the waters of a lake for Pharaoh Senefru so a harem girl could retrieve a dropped necklace.

This isn't as hard as you're making it.
 1. This would be the sort of evidence that we laymen can't really debate effectively.
 2. This battle is described on a large bas relief carved into the walls of the Temple of Karnak.  Since this was done under the orders of Ramses II after his return and finished within his lifetime, it's virtually an "original autograph" manuscript, like the actual first copy of Mark written by the author's own hand.
 3. I am not claiming to be able to prove what actually happened--only to show that a natural explanation without the ad hoc details of my previous scenarios is possible.  If you're saying that skeptics have to actually solve "the Jesus Case" and provide historical proof for their proposed solution or we have to accept a miraculous resurrection as the best answer, then can I assume you also think that all unsolved murders were committed by demons, wizards and rogue Fey Folk?
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2010, 10:43:06 PM »
See... to me this shows that no matter what I say... it seems to be completely misunderstood.  Not once... at least that I'm aware of... have I said  that the Resurrection was a historical fact.

Then who the hell is this guy:

In my view... the early disciples.... Doubting Thomas... Paul of Tarsaus... and James, Jesus' brother DID ALL THAT first, before they were willing to undergo horrible torture and death.

They also were willing to suffer scorn, ridicule, mockery and become outcasts from their friends, families, and culture.  They were also willing to throw out and leave behind they're MOST CHERSIHED beliefs and rituals and cultural IDENTITY as Jews to accept that Jesus was literally resurrected and had appeared before them... and ate with them... and walked with them... and fished with them... and talked with them... and spent 40 days with them.

They got to CLOSELY EXAMINE the evidence before them.  As I did in here about what you wrote to me. 


>snip<

They had that very hard evidence and 40 days of living with Jesus after His Resurrection to know the difference between bad memory and good memory. Between perception and hard evidence.  Between wishful thinking and reality.  They saw something spectacular... spectacular evidence that they were willing to lose everything and be tortured and killed rather than back down.


(bold emphasis added)

If you're going to state, as fact, that the disciples lived with Undead Jesus for 40 days--on the same par as the fact that you conjured PM's from Anfauglir wanting a PM-only discussion in your mind, hence your use of these "facts" as contrast to your present situation--then claim that you're not asserting the resurrection of Jesus as a fact--well, then, yeah, I'm going to have to join you in doubting your sanity.  I really doubt that I can debate you now, because you can't even agree with yourself on the issues at hand.  Maybe I should wait until the Fran vs. Fran debate is over?

Now, I do believe it happened, and I do believe that it is an historical fact... but  I never claimed that it is an historical fact IN MY LOGICAL  SYLLOGISIM... because that would be begging the question.

But whenever we try to respond the the claims you make in your "logical syllogism," you ambush us with all this other shit as if we'd all agreed that it was factual.  It's not, or at least you and your Scholarly Magisterium have failed to produce the evidence that it is.  The inventory of "facts" we're supposed to explain keeps changing according to your needs of the moment.  And changing back when you get called on it.

My entire contention has been that the Ressurection is the MOST reasonable explanation for the FMF... even more reasonable than any natural  explanation put forth yet by the best and brightest atheists.

WHICH "facts" is it the most reasonable explanation for?  Lay 'em on the table.  The Doubting Thomas story?  The "Jesus went fishing with his disciples" story?  The "he ate fish with them" story?  You keep turning "The disciples claimed to have seen Jesus alive after his death" into "they lived with him for 40 days, ate with him, drank with him, went fishing with him, and poked their fingers into his wounds"--and when we challenge the latter "facts," you change it back and tell us with a straight face that you are only talking about unspecified claims for resurrection appearances.

Pick a stance and stay put, OK?

As for the FMF,  I have already outlined the evidences found persuasive by the vast majority of historians who have dealt with this subject for  many years.

And on this basis these scholars believe the disciples lived with Undead Jesus for 40 days poking their fingers in his crucifixion wounds?  Yes or no.

But remember this, you can't ask of me something that you are not going to apply to yourself.  For ANY NATURAL explanation you put forth,  then you must support it WITH FACTS.. and not wishful thinking.

Oh, for crying out loud.  So now I need the fingerprints of the people that stole Jesus' body, or it was a miracle?  Alright then, I guess magic really worked in the ol' days.  1001 Arabian Nights proves that flying carpets and genies existed in Baghdad under the Caliphs.  Medieval woodcuts of witches flying on broomsticks proves that really happened.  Unless skeptics can produce video showing the witches using wires or some such, right?  Ramses II singlehandedly whupped the Hittite Army at Qadesh from his chariot.  I can point to a 50-foot tall stone relief saying he did.  I can post a picture of his actual mummy, and if you'll pony up the money we can both go to the Cairo Museum and see it together.  That's more than you've got for Jesus and all his Disciples/Apostles put together.  You got any actual proof that says Ramses' claims are false?  He had a whole fucking army of eyewitnesses (the Egyptian troops he got separated from, not to mention the Hittites he was singlehandedly ass-kicking).  Since it would be "wishful thinking" without any "facts" to assert (on the basis that one guy whipping an army with supernatural help is highly improbable) that "Ramses was exaggerating" is the more likely hypothesis, then Amun-Re exists!  QED!

So, when did magic stop working?  I mean, you're a magician yourself, but you admit that your magic is trickery rather than actual supernatural sorcery.  Since magic did work in the past[1] there must have been some point when it stopped working, and magicians like you had to start resorting to sleight of hand instead of real supernatural powers.  When was that?  Surely somebody must have said something when the flying broomsticks and carpets suddenly crashed and spells stopped working.

At the very least,  bring to the table as much as I do... which is written material  written around the same time period as the written material I use.  In fact, the earlier the better.

This is question begging.  You want me to find some passage in the Gospels that says Herod stole Jesus' body so he could have it stuffed and displayed in his drawing room?  I'll do that when you can prove to me from the Star Wars movies that Darth Vader wasn't Luke Skywalker's father.  Or, if you can't do that, I expect you to accept that Darth Vader really did exist a long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away, that he had Jedi powers, and really was Luke Skywalker's father.  What, are you biased against the possibility that Jedi and Sith could exist in other Galaxies?

When I wrote those earlier scenarios--which I've publicly withdrawn at least three times now, and which I withdraw one more time,[2] I wrote them thinking I was being challenged to provide some sort of non-supernatural explanation for the alleged "Four (or however many) Minimal Facts."  I did not understand the challenge as being "Find out exactly what happened to Jesus' body, and prove it with ancient texts or artifacts."  If I had understood that this was what you were calling for, I would not have written the scenarios as I did.

I think that I can propose a new, more probable scenario with ancient historical support for its probability (i.e., that the conditions for it happening did actually exist at the time), but I do not claim to be able to find Jesus' body or prove than any particular suspect stole it.  It's a 2,000 year-old cold case with no forensic evidence, and I'm not even a detective.  Historians dispute the causes of King Tutankhamun's death (Murder?  Accident?) but just because they can't solve it conclusively doesn't mean that "He was killed by a hostile magic spell" becomes a reasonable answer to the question.  This despite the fact that the Egyptian priesthoods went to considerable expense and effort using magic to defend Pharaohs against wizards in the employ of hostile nations and coup plotters using magic to assassinate the king[3]

I think I still want to present my case, but I'm really doubting that it's even possible to "debate" you given the dodgy tactics you're using.  I can't even identify what "facts" you're calling "facts" from one moment to the next, so I can't even begin to try to provide an explanation for them.

When you keep saying that the resurrection is improbable, and therefore we shouldn't believe it... this is an example of you not letting the facts  lead you to a conclusion... but of you filtering facts thru your pre-conceived and biased glasses against the possibility of miracles.

I'm saying that the resurrection is improbable, so we shouldn't treat the claim that it happened the same way we'd treat a claim that Jesus wore sandals.  A level of evidence that would be valid for provisional acceptance that Jesus was from Nazareth[4] is not sufficient to validate the claim that he hung out with his disciples for 40 days after his death, teleporting in and out of rooms, shape-shifting to look like other people until he gave some catch-phrase and "their eyes were opened," eating in their presence, etc. and flying off into the sky in public at the end.  Just like the claim that "kcrady loves cats" can be accepted on far less evidence than the claim that "kcrady is a real-life Jedi Knight with Force powers."  Understand?

The fact is that I NEVER said that the Resurrection was not wildly unlikely.

Even though you think the disciples lived with Jesus for 40 days after his death as a proven historical fact (or will imply such without actually saying so when it's useful)? 

*Helicopter SFX--opening bars of Pink Floyd's "The Wall"*  YOU!  YES YOU!  STAND STILL WOULDJA!!! 

I think what this comes down to is that you simply reject the added  step that WLC said is needed to make the Resurrection possible.   If God exists (the Christian God), then the Resurrection IS POSSIBLE after  all.  I'm sure that you can see this very plainly.

Well, yeah, if I already believed in the Christian God as you and WLC do, then acceptance of the resurrection of Jesus would follow as a matter of course.  I wouldn't need any evidence at all to accept it then.  The Christian God is by definition the one that raised Jesus from the dead.  So sure.  Provide compelling evidence that the Christian God exists, and I won't need any evidence at all for the resurrection of Jesus as a separate question. 

But since you're trying to use the 4MF to show that the resurrection happened as a supernatural event, and to go from there to the Christian God as an an explanation for a supernatural resurrection of Jesus, then I need really strong evidence for a supernatural resurrection.  Why?  Because the claim of the existence of the Christian God has not been already established!  Apart from that, a supernatural resurrection of Jesus is as unlikely as any other supernatural claim, and there's no reason to pre-bias it as needing less (or no) evidence to validate it than the claim of Circe's magic, Achilles' heel, Ramses' solo whipping of the Hittite Army, etc.. 

Do you understand?  You can't use the claim that the Christian God exists to make Jesus' resurrection historically equivalent to the claim that Caesar wore a toga (just another ordinary claim that can be validated with ordinary evidence), and then use the resurrection to substantiate the claim that the Christian God exists.  Circular reasoning!

So maybe for a person like you... the Resurrection debate of Jesus is really a moot excercise because you first need to engage in a debate  about the existence of God.  Maybe for a person like you... the Resurrection Debate is really putting the cart before the horse.

Cut the smug bullshit.  "A person like you..."  Like I'm some kind of freak because I don't accept the resurrection of Jesus without evidence.  You sanctimonious asshole.  Tell me, would "a person like you" accept the claim that there were flying craft called Vimanas piloted by gods in ancient India because the Vedas say so...or would you have to be convinced first that the Hindu gods are real and the Vedas are true before you'd just take their word that their tales of aerial combat aboard Vimanas were real historical facts?

And BTW... your language: "teleported around, flew like Superman, or ate the Moon in one bite and shat it out a week later" is another example  fo the logical fallacy called "Loaded Language" (Prejudicial Language).

OK, the bit about eating the Moon is hyperbole, but the rest of it is right there in the Gospels, all historical facts accepted without serious dispute by your consensus of historical scholars, or so you would apparently have us believe.  The teleportations and Jesus' ascension into heaven fall under the category of "post-resurrection appearances" and those are all covered by Minimal Fact #4, right?

So stop whinging and stand up for your so called "facts" with evidence that shows they're really facts or admit that they're not.
 1. There are ancient texts that say so, and skeptics can't go back in time and get proof that Circe didn't turn Greek soldiers into pigs, the Egyptian magicians in Exodus didn't turn sticks into snakes and so forth.
 2. And let me repeat: I.  Withdraw.  Those.  Scenarios.
 3. Geraldine Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt, pp. 86-87, 92-95, British Museum Press (University of Texas Press edition), 1994
 4. As in, "Yeah, that probably is true" as opposed to the implied 100% certainty of "It's a historical fact!"
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2010, 12:45:26 AM »
So then, what about the explanation he [the resurrection skeptic] does offer? How do we judge whether it is more reasonable than a Resurrection? Well, to me, it would seem obvious that we should look at his explanation see what, if any, holes are in his explanation. To me, the more reasonable explanation will have less holes and contradictions and inconsistancies in it. The more reasonable explanation will also have more facts behind it that do not contradict or call into question the FMF to begin with. The more reasonable explanation will also not have to rely so much on inventing "facts" or inventing unprovable "scenarios".

This is a neat trick, a way to bias things in favor of supernatural explanations no matter how improbable they might be.  Once you say "It's a miracle!" or "it's magic!" then all further analysis grinds to a halt.  Try to scrutinize a supernatural explanation to look for holes, and the supernaturalist just rolls their eyes and says, "But it's a miracle!  It transcends the limits of physics, space, and time!  It can't be grasped by the puny human mind.  God works in mysterious ways." 

Only natural explanations can be examined and tested in the way you're proposing.  This is the exact same technique young-earth creationists use when they demand that evolutionists answer every possible question they can think up with mountains of proof--and anytime the evolutionist can't do this counts as a "Gotcha!" for the creationist.  The creationist's model, being supernatural, is immune to any such analysis. 

"How did the koalas get all the way from Ararat to Australia without getting pounced on by wolves or cats, and what did they eat until a new ecosystem with eucalyptus trees grew in Australia?"

"God saw to it.  The Flood was a demonstration of His supernatural power and authority, so of course we can expect that he'd see it through with His unlimited might."

Likewise in this case.  Being the skeptic, I have to produce Jesus' body and prove it's his with DNA tests, otherwise you can point to the "hole" that the absence of Jesus' body leaves.  Your alternative is "POOF!"  There's nothing there to examine in search of "holes" or inconsistencies.  So by that standard, the supernatural is the best explanation for anything

"I saw a raven on the telephone wire outside my house when I left for work last year and got in a wreck that almost killed me.  I guess it must have been a bad omen."

"Oh, come on.  It's just a coincidence.  The raven was on the telephone wire because it was a convenient place to rest, and car accidents happen all the time."

"That's not a parsimonious explanation.  'It's a bad omen' is one hypothesis that explains both the raven and the car accident.  You've got two separate explanations, and that's less parsimonious right there.  Besides, can you prove the raven was just resting?  You've got no evidence at all for the raven's state of mind at the time!  You're just making up a scenario without any evidence!  'Bad omen' FTW!"

Edit: to fix quotage.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 01:19:39 AM by kcrady »
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2010, 03:26:24 AM »
To get back on track vis a vis discussing the "ground rules" of this debate, I do not accept the premise that I am the only one whose explanation of the 4MF is subject to scrutiny and searching for holes and inconsistencies.  If you get to try to pick the naturalistic explanation apart for inconsistencies (with the implication that success in this endeavor makes a supernatural explanation "better" or more likely to be the true answer), I get to do the same for your supernatural explanation, with the same results in my favor if I'm successful.  That is, inconsistencies between the various Resurrection accounts in the Gospels count just as much against the supernatural-resurrection hypothesis as any inconsistencies within my naturalistic scenario would count against it. 

Goose.  Gander.  No FranCalvinball.

As even you have already admitted, supernatural explanations are significantly less likely than naturalistic ones.  The probabalistic bias of reality is tilted against the supernatural.  That means you, as the advocate of the supernatural explanation, have a higher burden of proof to meet than I do, and your supernatural explanation and the evidence adduced for it must be able to meet a higher degree of scrutiny and critical analysis than a rival naturalistic theory.  If a supernatural theory with zero evidence is pitted against a naturalistic theory with zero evidence, the naturalistic theory wins by default.  That's the way historical method works, which is why we don't learn about the reality of wizards, genies and faeries in history class.

How steep should this tilt be?  That's arguably subjective, but in this case we're debating an event that, even if it happened, represents a single exception to an otherwise thoroughly-consistent principle (The Dead Stay Dead) governing ~99 billion permanent deaths in the history of the human species.  So, the closest thing we've got to numbers quantifying the likelihood of a resurrection (whether or not supernatural entities exist) is "1 in 99 billion."  So, in the case of two zero-evidence hypotheses, one naturalistic and one supernaturalistic (a miraculous resurrection), the naturalistic one is 99 billion times more likely to be true.

Quibble with the number if you like (maybe it's only ~88 billion deaths...), but no matter how you slice it, reality's tilt against supernatural resurrections of the dead is steep.  I think even you would agree with this, if we were talking about a resurrection of Apollonius of Tyana or Pythagoras or Osiris or Inanna or any figure from any other religion.

Since "the existence of the Christian God" has not been listed by you as one of your 4MF, there is no justification for assuming it a priori or acting as if a supernatural explanation involving the Christian God is any more likely for the purposes of this debate than "A necromancer summoned Jesus back to life with a spell." 

If you have now decided to agree with what I said earlier about needing to establish the existence of Yahweh by other means before trying to employ the 4MF argument to validate Jesus' resurrection, please say so now.  That would establish the uselessness of the 4MF argument as an apologetic (evidential argument in favor of Christianity) since Christianity must be accepted before the 4MF argument can seem convincing.  That is, it's only persuasive to the already persuaded.

If you wish to maintain that a supernatural resurrection of Jesus is more credible than a given natural explanation apart from an a priori acceptance of Christianity then you have the burden of proof, not the skeptic (me) offering the natural explanation--or at least my burden of proof to establish the plausibility of my naturalistic explanation (provided that it abides by the "The Dead Stay Dead" principle) is ~99 billion times lower than your burden of proof to establish the plausibility of a supernatural resurrection.
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Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2010, 04:58:14 AM »
Arrrrrgh.  I see that I just got on a tear and unleashed a multi-post zerg rush.  See Fran, I'm liable to do that too, which is why I think we ought to do the limits on posts-per-turn.  It probably feels more sensible now that you're up to your neck in kcrady posts, right?  Can we agree on the following ground rules:

1) A post-per-turn limit of one or two posts.

2) My "role" will  be to argue that:

  • The "Four Minimal Facts" are not established "beyond reasonable doubt" in the courtroom sense
  • I can provide evidence that there is, in fact, "reasonable doubt" as to their validity as historical facts
  • Even if the 4MF are historical facts, a plausible natural explanation is possible and I can provide at least one such possible explanation

Accomplishing either the first goal (showing that the 4MF are subject to reasonable doubt and thus insufficient grounds for acceptance of any supernatural claim) or the second (providing a natural explanation that fits the Four Minimal Facts or however many specified "Facts" you state as such in your Opening Statement and any legitimate external evidence to the 4MF) constitutes "victory conditions" for me.

Stipulation: I am not required to actually solve the riddle of what happened to Jesus' body and prove that my proposed solution is what really happened in order to defeat the 4MF Argument any more than an Egyptologist is required to actually solve the mystery of Tutankhamun's death or accept that "he was killed by a magic spell" is the best explanation.  I only have to provide a better explanation than "POOF!  He's alive again!"

Stipulation: I am not required to incorporate every Gospel detail into my proposed explanation as if they are all facts, unless you can demonstrate that the "Four Minimal Facts" are "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."  This would be impossible in any event, since the Gospel details contradict one another.[1]  I need only provide a plausible explanation for how the corpse of a crucified man could turn up missing, and for how it would be possible for the followers of Jesus to believe fervently that he was raised from the dead.

Stipulation: Since it is a violation of standard historical methodology to assume that any unsolved historical mystery is a supernatural event by default, debunking a particular proposed naturalistic explanation does not in itself establish that a supernatural resurrection is the best explanation for the 4MF.  Compelling positive evidence in favor of the supernatural explanation is required.

Your "role" in this debate would be something like:

  • Stipulate precisely what your Four (or however many) Minimal Facts are.[2],[3]
  • Show that there is no reasonable doubt as to the veracity of the [However Many] Minimal Facts.
  • Refute any natural explanation that I provide for the 4MF
  • Provide positive evidence that no natural explanation can fit the 4MF[4]
Accomplishing all three aims is necessary for you to accomplish your "victory conditions."  This steeper requirement for your side is due to the fact that you're claiming that supernatural resurrection is the best explanation for the 4MF despite ~99 billion-to-one odds against.

Do you agree with the proposed "ground rules?"  Are there any changes you'd make to what you'd consider to be your "role" in the debate and what your "victory conditions" would be?
 1. Example #1: How many angels were at the tomb, when did he/they first appear, and were their garments simply white, or glowing like lightning?  Example #2: To whom, and under what specific circumstances did Jesus first appear?
 2. In particular, MF #4 needs to be specified as to which particular post-mortem appearances by Jesus are historical fact how we know this.  Failing this, specific post-mortem appearance stories (as opposed to the more general idea that such stories exited as stories) cannot be treated as if they are themselves historical facts unless convincing demonstration is forthcoming.
 3. Other Gospel details which are not Minimal Facts themselves (such as Pilate washing his hands or Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead) may not be automatically treated as Facts unless you can demonstrate that they actually are facts.  Analogy: A District Attorney can't just whip something out of his pocket and say "See?  This proves that the defendant is guilty!"  S/he must submit the alleged evidence for examination first and have it entered into evidence by the judge.  Likewise, non-MF Gospel details need to be "entered into evidence."
 4. Since we both agree that supernatural explanations are far less likely than natural explanations for any given unknown, "unknown" (as in "We don't know what happened to Jesus' body and we are not in a position to find out") does not default to victory for a supernatural resurrection as the best explanation.
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Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2010, 12:05:30 PM »
i'm still writing. I was hoping to finish over the weekend.  sorry for the delay.

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2010, 07:00:50 PM »
Hello kcrady...

Quote
Kcrady
I really don't think this has to be overly laborious.  I think that I can present a fairly good case for doubting the 4MF (such as that Jesus was buried in a tomb, that the tomb was sealed and found empty, that Jesus showed up tangibly after his death for more than a month) and do it in the length of a post or two.  If NT scholars have evidence worthy of their certainty for claims that he was buried in a tomb, that the tomb was found empty, that (at least WRT where the goal posts are at the moment) Jesus tangibly returned after his death and spent 40 days letting his disciples poke their fingers in his crucifixion holes and laughing as the wine he drank with them spilled out of the spear-hole in his side like a Warner Bros. cartoon character after getting shot with a machine gun, then it ought to be easy to produce some examples.

Your last line is a Loaded Language fallacy... in my opinion.  Or something very similiar.   You seem to have a thing about wanting to mockingly put down those you disagree with thru the use of caricuture and strawman language. After reading  the description of some of the fallacies listed in "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy", I believe that your statement could also be easily  guilty of Poisoning the Well... or Questionable Analogy...  or Refutation by Caricature... or Slanting... or Smear Tactic... or Appeal to Emotions.

I really... really want to have a civil and mature discussion with you.  Throughout your post to me, you have continually used caricature and mocking language in describing my beliefs. Please... I'm asking you as a gentleman... please don't do this anymore.

As for the disciples' experience of spending 40 days with Jesus after his suppossed resurrection...  it is a description and/or amplification of what Minimal Fact #3 is stating.  It is describing the experience which is Fact #3.  This is the early disciples' testimony.   Ask yourself, what experience is Fact #3 describing?  How does ANYONE even know that the disciples had an experience of witnessing a post-mortem Jesus?  We only know because they WROTE about it and described their experience. That's how we know they had this experience.   If they hadn't written about it, we wouldn't have known about their experience and we wouldn't have Fact #3.   They wrote about their experience... they tell us what they saw and experienced and under what circumstances they witnessed the post-mortem Jesus.

Now... you can try and give a completely natural explanation for what they experiencd and saw... but you can't just MAKE UP what they saw or MAKE UP what they experienced or MAKE UP the circumstances in which they had their experience.  In other words, you can't say that what they experienced or saw was some kind of hazy, fuzzy, shimmering, floating, transculent image much like a ghost because THAT IS NOT WHAT THEY REPORTED.  You can say they were mistaken or fooled or deluded or hallucinating, etc... but you can't say that they DID NOT experience talking, eating, walking and fishing with Jesus after his death... because that is what they reported.

So... i'm sticking with what Fact #3 says.  I only gave you what they reported when they were describing what they experienced in Fact #3.   But I don't want this to be a stumbling block... so I won't bring up THE DESCRIPTION of the experience which Fact #3 is speaking of.   But... if you attempt to describe what they experienced as some kind of fuzzy, floating, transculent ghost material or visage,etc, then i will ask where you get this information from.  If you cannot show us that the disciples reported seeing something that is remeniscent of a ghost or some kind of hazy or fuzzy image... then you can't say that is what they saw.  Because WHATEVER they saw, they described it as spending 40 days with Jesus... eating, talking, walking, and fishing with him.   And it apparantly was real enough to them to explain Fact #4.

And by the way, not once, anywhere in the NT documents, can you point to them talking about poking their fingers in Jesus' crucifixion holes and laughing as the wine he drank with them spilled out of the spear-hole in his side like a Warner Bros. cartoon character after getting shot with a machine gun.  So this is strawman and a caricture... and as such, I can dismiss it as your attempt to sneer and mock their testimony... and my beliefs.    We should not let this kind of language be part of a sincere, honest, mature, civil, intellectual discussion.

And thirdly... it might indeed be true that you can present a fairly good case for doubting the FMF, but your case apparantly isn't thought to be all that convincing by the vast majority of scholars who have found the FMF to be historical facts.  Unless you're attempting to bring to the table a case that has never before been seen by the eyes of the vast majority of scholars studying the life of Jesus for many years.

Are you?

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Kcrady
When I say I want to present a case against this stuff, you ought to be chuckling to yourself and licking your chops, greedily anticipating the easy pwnage you expect to get when you deploy the scholars' overwhelming evidence--the way I would be if you were claiming to be able to cast doubt on the  heliocentric solar system model or the existence of Julius Caesar.  If the basis of their claims is a long and intricate daisy-chain of deductive dissections of the Gospels to reconstruct alleged earlier versions of the Gospel manuscripts based on some technical use of a participle or word-ending in a group of verses or some such[1]--equivalent to reading Moby Dick and deducing a reconstruction of Melville's earliest research notes and first rough draft from the text--then you and/or your favored NT scholars are going to have to stop selling the 4MF as if you've got video and CSI-style forensic proof, and admit that the "4MF" are based on a pretty flimsy tower of speculative deduction.

The evidence is deduced by using the same historical methdology as used for the rest of Ancient History.  There is no apodeictic proof for the Resurrection or for the FMF.  And equally true, there is no apodeictic proof for MOST of Ancient History, if not  for all of it.  History deals in probabilities.  We can't go back in time and interview people.  What we can do and what we actually do is make educated guesses based on whatever material we can find that relates to the personality or time period in question.

And unfortunately, it's a fact that most manuscripts and archeological evidence has been lost by erosion and time, etc, so historians are left with analyzing what is left, and this sometimes takes hard work and an expertise that is beyond most laymen.  It's the nature of historical inquiry.

BTW... it was a Christian, GALILEO,  who debunked the heliocentric solar system... while it was the Aristoleans (non-Christians) who embraced it and who fought Galileo over it.  It was the Aristoleans who was in large part responsible for bringing on and encouraging the persecuting of Galileo which we are familiar with.  Although staying in an opulent house under house-arrest is hardly what we usually associate with the word persecution.  

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Kcrady
Either the 4MF are not in the same class of evidential certainty as, say, the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown (there's a certain rather large and powerful nation whose existence derives from that fact, and no one including the British military then or now disputes it), or they are and you've got so much evidence for them that you can smugly wait to bronto-stomp me with the proof as soon as I try to dispute them.  Merely saying "But the scholars all agree!" without being able to provide any examples of the basis for their agreement--as if they could decree facts into existence by holding a Council in Chalcedon and pronouncing anathemas upon all heretics who dispute the received dogma--doesn't cut the mustard.  If the argument is based on the authority of the scholars as scholars rather than the evidence they're using, it's an Argument From Authority.

So which is it?  Are the 4MF derived from a lacy tower of delicate deductions based on minute analysis of Greek phraseology in the Gospel manuscripts (upon which the existence of such creatures as "M" and "L" is assumed), or are they Really Solid History on a par with "Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire?"  If it's the former, then I can see why you couldn't make a concise case for the 4MF.  In that case though, they'd be on a par with "Socrates was gay and had sex with Plato" rather than "King Agamemnon was a real person."

The FMF are considered to be historical facts by the vast majority of scholars and historians who have spent years researching this topic.  If that is not good enough for you... and if you can't explain what error these historians are making in their analysis of the available evidence... then there is nothing more that we can say.. is there?  

You're disagreement is with the experts.  You're disagreement is with those who have spent years studying this issue.  And that's fine, but at least go one step further and show us why you disagree with the assesment that these FMF are historical facts, instead of just saying over and over that they aren't.  I've given you the evidence that have been persuasive to them. Now it's up to you to deal with it objectively and show us the error they are making.   Show us how the vast majority of scholars have gotten it wrong.

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Kcrady
And if you're counting Doubting Thomas or Undead Jesus Goes Fishing as elements of the "Four" Minimal "Facts," then they're on a par with "Pharaoh Ramses II defeated the Hittite Army at Qadesh by himself after being separated from his troops because (as he put it) 'Amon Re strengthened my arm.'"[2]  I know of no mainstream Egyptologist who believes that Ramses II, all by himself, defeated the Hittite Army with the supernatural assistance of Amun-Re, despite manuscript evidence for the claim far better than anything in the Bible.

Doubting Thomas is one of the original 11 disciples who claimed to have the experience of seeing the post-mortem Jesus.  So I don't understand you're objection here about Thomas.  All 11 claimed to have had the experience of seeing a post-mortem Jesus... along with James (the brother of Jesus) and Paul who persecuted the Christians... which changed their lives. And then they go on and describe what they saw when they interacted with this post-mortem Jesus.   Which explains Fact #4 better than any other explanation I think.   So I just don't undersand you're point.

Also, and I bring this up again later... the Resurrection hypothesis DOES NOT REST solely on one Fact.  It rests on multiple facts.  So there is no comparision between the Resurrection Hypothesis and the Ramses victory as you are trying imply.

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Kcrady
Of course I have a considerable degree of expectation that you'll move the goalposts back and say "Oh, all I ever did was cite as fact that the Disciples CLAIMED to have seen Jesus after he died" and quote yourself to that effect.  Then later go back to whipping out the Doubting Thomas story as if it were unimpeachable historical fact.  You've  been called out on that now.  You can't do it again as an honest error.

I don't get it.  How is this changing the goal posts? Doubting Thomas is ONE of the orginnal 11 disciples to begin with, and they ALL made the same claim reflected in Fact #3.  Doubting Thomas has always been a part of Fact #3.  

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Kcrady
To sum up:

I feel that I can make the case that:

1) The so-called "Four Minimal Facts" are subject to considerable doubt, based on evidence from the New Testament itself and external sources.

Not according to the vast majority of Biblical Scholars.  You'll have to explain how their reasoning and assesment is faulty instead of just saying it is.

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Kcrady
2) Even if we grant that 1. Jesus was crucified, 2. Jesus was buried in a tomb, 3. Jesus' tomb was later found empty, 4. the earliest Christians believed in a tangible Jesus who had been resurrected bodily from the dead and some of them claimed to have "seen" him alive after his death, I can provide a plausible naturalistic scenario for how these four things could be true without requiring a supernatural resurrection, which is based on relevant evidence.[3]

I never said you couldn't.  My contention the entire time i've been in this forum is that when put side by side... the natural explanation pales in comparison to the Resurrection in explanatory power and as the most reasonable explanation which best fits all the facts.  Now... for us to make such an assesment, we would have to know what are the signposts and/or indicators that we should be looking for to help us evaluate which explanation is objectively the most reasonable.  And I've listed some of them already.

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Kcrady
3.  I am not claiming to be able to prove what actually happened--only to show that a natural explanation without the ad hoc details of my previous scenarios is possible.  If you're saying that skeptics have to actually solve "the Jesus Case" and provide historical proof for their proposed solution or we have to accept a miraculous resurrection as the best answer, then can I assume you also think that all unsolved murders were committed by demons, wizards and rogue Fey Folk?

I keep saying that the challenge is to look for the most reasonable explanation of the many hypothesis' put forth. If the evidence leads to the fact that the Resurrection is the most reasonable explanation for the facts, then we should be brave and honest enough to seriously consider it.

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Kcrady
And that I can do this within a reasonable length of space, about 1 or 2 posts per claim.  We can debate each point in greater detail in subsequent posts, but I don't think either one or both together would represent a Herculean labor for either of us.

That's what we are here for... to see if you can.  You've already tried and after failing, you later wrote:

Arrrrrgh.  I see that I just got on a tear and unleashed a multi-post zerg rush.  See Fran, I'm liable to do that too, which is why I think we ought to do the limits on posts-per-turn.[/b]

You saw that you wre liable to do this, and yet you still unleashed a "multi-post zerg rush".   I don't know if this is going to be practical or not.

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Kcrady
I would like to be able to make that case in our debate, rather than being limited to the second point.

You've kind of lost me here.

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Kcrady
I think we can avoid extensive diversions into argument about historical method if we just agree to judge the supernatural claims of the Gospels by the same standard that Egyptologists judge the supernatural claims of Ramses II's Battle of Qadesh mural or tales of the feats of renowned Egyptian magicians like Djedi or the court magician who parted the waters of a lake for Pharaoh Senefru so a harem girl could retrieve a dropped necklace.

To me this is a backhanded way of using the "Stack the Deck (slanting) Fallacy".  It is reminiscent of the "Persuasive Definition" Fallacy as described in "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy".

Why on earth would I want to try and defend other claimed miracles when we are only talking about this one?  This other claimed miracle you mentioned DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO COMPARE  to the Resurrection in terms of evidences... so why would I care to even discuss it?  It has nothing to do with the evidences for the Resurrection.  So I don't get it.

If you can find any Egypotologists or Ramses' apologists who believe the above, then go ahead and debate them over the evidence they present for their case.  As for the Resurrection, I'v presented evidence for my case, not for Ramses... so I'm not going to let you introduce a red herring or introduce a tactic similiar to the "Persuasive Definition" fallacy as a way to stack or slant the deck in your perceived favor.

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Kcrady
This isn't as hard as you're making it.

I'm not making it difficult, I think you are.

Fran


MORE TO FOLLOW IMMEDIATELY
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 06:16:40 PM by Fran »

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2010, 07:02:54 PM »
Hello Kcrady

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Fran
See... to me this shows that no matter what I say... it seems to be completely misunderstood.  Not once... at least that I'm aware of... have I said  that the Resurrection was a historical fact.

Kcrady
Then who the hell is this guy: (Kcrady here quotes the following statements of mine which i wrote previously)

Fran
In my view... the early disciples.... Doubting Thomas... Paul of Tarsaus... and James, Jesus' brother DID ALL THAT first, before they were willing to undergo horrible torture and death.

They also were willing to suffer scorn, ridicule, mockery and become outcasts from their friends, families, and culture.  They were also willing to throw out and leave behind they're MOST CHERSIHED beliefs and rituals and cultural IDENTITY as Jews to accept that Jesus was literally resurrected and had appeared before them... and ate with them... and walked with them... and fished with them... and talked with them... and spent 40 days with them.

They got to CLOSELY EXAMINE the evidence before them.  As I did in here about what you wrote to me. 

>snip<

They had that very hard evidence and 40 days of living with Jesus after His Resurrection to know the difference between bad memory and good memory. Between perception and hard evidence.  Between wishful thinking and reality.  They saw something spectacular... spectacular evidence that they were willing to lose everything and be tortured and killed rather than back down.

Kcrady is now responding to the above statements of mine
(bold emphasis added by Kcrady)

If you're going to state, as fact, that the disciples lived with Undead Jesus for 40 days--on the same par as the fact that you conjured PM's from Anfauglir wanting a PM-only discussion in your mind, hence your use of these "facts" as contrast to your present situation--then claim that you're not asserting the resurrection of Jesus as a fact--well, then, yeah, I'm going to have to join you in doubting your sanity.  I really doubt that I can debate you now, because you can't even agree with yourself on the issues at hand.  Maybe I should wait until the Fran vs. Fran debate is over?

This is a free country and so you're free to call my sanity into question... and you can mock my arguments and beliefs... sneer at me... be snobbish and look down your nose at me and my arguments and beliefs... use red herrings and false comparisons and any other tactic you want to get out of discussing this topic.  No one is going to stop you.

But if this is going to be your strategy, then count me out because I was looking for a mature and civil and respectful discussion.

The fact is, we are talking about the written testimony within the NT documents which has been around 1,000's of years before I came along in here.  They have always been open to scrutiny and analysis and have been in existence LONG before I came in here and made the possible mistake of transposing one phrase for another.... for which I apologized.

For you to compare the two is sad to say the least.

Please read again what Fact #3 says:

"On different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead."

All my statements above about Jesus who "ate with them... and walked with them... and fished with them... and talked with them... and spent 40 days with them" is the written testimony of what early disciples saw in Fact #3.   The vast majority (in fact, it's nearly unaminous) of Biblical scholars say that it is an historical fact that "on different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead."   What did they see?  What did they experience?  Under what circumstances did they see the post-mortem Jesus?  Well... they tell us in the NT.  They describe what they saw and experienced.  And Doubting Thomas is part of that group which Fact #3 is describing.

Now... unless you are calling all these people liars... or saying that the near unimanous number of Biblical Scholars are stupid... then I don't see what your concern is.

Otherwise, I've already said I won't use their specific language as found in their testimony.  We'll just go with how Fact #3 is written.  To be fair, this goes both ways.  The moment you try and be specific about what they saw, then i'll deem it fair to go back to their specific description of what they claimed to see... about eating and walking and talking with Jesus.

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Fran
Now, I do believe it happened, and I do believe that it is an historical fact... but  I never claimed that it is an historical fact IN MY LOGICAL  SYLLOGISIM... because that would be begging the question.

Kcrady
But whenever we try to respond the the claims you make in your "logical syllogism," you ambush us with all this other s**t as if we'd all agreed that it was factual.  It's not, or at least you and your Scholarly Magisterium have failed to produce the evidence that it is.  The inventory of "facts" we're supposed to explain keeps changing according to your needs of the moment.  And changing back when you get called on it.

First of all... I was talking about the Resurrection.  It is the Resurrection which I never claimed to be a historical fact in my logical syllogism even though I believe that it is.

Secondly... I'm just not sure what you are trying to say here.  If you want to leave out Doubting Thomas, even though he is part of Fact #3, fine.  I'll do that.  But you are still stuck with two even stronger conversions to Christ.   James, the brother of Jesus... and Paul, who persecuted the early church and was even part of the mob who killed Stephen.   These two conversions enjoy the near unaminous agreement among Biblical Scholars as being genuine historical facts.

What other "inventory of facts" are you refering to?

Maybe I'm making a mistake here... but I just don't see where it is.   The only other thing I see happening is that when you earlier presented your "natural explanation" for the FMF... you didn't offer any facts or evidences to undergird your explanation.  Your explanation appeared to be purely invented from whole cloth.  In contrast, when I rebut your imaginary explanation, I at least used written accounts to undergird my  arguement with.

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Fran
My entire contention has been that the Ressurection is the MOST reasonable explanation for the FMF... even more reasonable than any natural  explanation put forth yet by the best and brightest atheists.

Kcrady
WHICH "facts" is it the most reasonable explanation for?  Lay 'em on the table.  The Doubting Thomas story?  The "Jesus went fishing with his disciples" story?  The "he ate fish with them" story?  You keep turning "The disciples claimed to have seen Jesus alive after his death" into "they lived with him for 40 days, ate with him, drank with him, went fishing with him, and poked their fingers into his wounds"--and when we challenge the latter "facts," you change it back and tell us with a straight face that you are only talking about unspecified claims for resurrection appearances.

Pick a stance and stay put, OK?

Forget the Doubting Thomas story if that is a stumbling block for you.   The "Jesus went fishing with his disciples" story? That is describing the EXPERIENCE which Fact #3 is attesting to.  The "he ate fish with them" story?   That also is their description of what they experienced and saw in Fact #3.

Fact #3 says: "On different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead."

Eating fish with Jesus... going fishing with Jesus... walking with Jesus... talking with Jesus... these are all THEIR TESTIMONY as they describe  the different occasions and various circumstancdes in which they experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.

If someone claims to have seen and experienced a post-mortem person alive after they died... aren't we suppossed to ask them to explain all that they saw and under what circumstances they saw and experienced this?  Of course we are.  This is what scientists and historians and lawyers and philosophers and intelligent people do.    You want all the information you can get to better assess what they saw and experienced.   
Well... how can you make ANY determination or comment about what they saw if you don't care to listen to THEIR DESCRIPTION of what they experienced?  Isn't this like saying:  "So... you had an experience?  Well fine and dandy.  What's that?  You want to tell me what you saw and under what circumstances?  Nah.  I don't want to listen and  i dont' care.  I just think you are nuts to begin with and I don't want facts to get in the way of my opinion."   I think it is.

The disciples in the NT are telling us what they saw and experienced and the circumstances which Fact #3 is attesting to.

And as for the claim: "you change it back and tell us with a straight face that you are only talking about unspecified claims for resurrection appearances"... when did I do that?  My guess is that you are taking what I said out of context.  I bet when we see the CONTEXT of what I was saying, it would become clear that I was correcting someone's misrepresentation of the FMF or of what I had said.  I notice that this happened often in the other thread.   Would you mind pointing out where I did this?

However, if it can be shown that your claim have merit, then I will of course apologize.  And I think I have demonstrated in here that I am intellectually honest enough and humble enough to apologize if it can be shown that I'm in error in some respect.  Never once have I claimed to be intelligent or a genius or a top flight "debater", so I will make mistakes.  Indeed, mistakes will always be a part of my life because of how human and flawed I am.

Anyway... i've already addressed Fact #3 and your concern.  I will agree to not use the specific language of what they saw, if you don' try and give specific descriptions of what you think they saw.  What we both can agree on though, I hope, is that whatever they saw, they were entirely convinced that it was the SAME GENUINE REAL Jesus that they spent 3 years with.   And this led to Fact #4.

Would you agree with that much?

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Fran
As for the FMF,  I have already outlined the evidences found persuasive by the vast majority of historians who have dealt with this subject for  many years.

Kcrady
And on this basis these scholars believe the disciples lived with Undead Jesus for 40 days poking their fingers in his crucifixion wounds?  Yes or no.

First... not once in ANY of the NT written accounts or documents do we have any indication that any of the disciples poked their fingers in Jesus' crucifixion wounds.

Second... it's a nearly unaminous agreement among Biblical Scholars that Fact #3 is an historical fact.   The description of what  they saw and experienced... and the description of the circumstances in which they saw and experienced the post-mortem Jesus... is just that.  A description.  It's their testimony of what they experienced.

I mean, they saw and experienced SOMETHING under various circumstances.  That is what Fact #3 is saying.  And it is the disciples who are telling us what they specifically saw and experienced.  Now, you may want to say that it was all an halluciantion... and that is fine.  We can go from there.    But the minute you try and MAKE UP a specific description whereby what they saw was something like a fuzzy, hazzy, ghost-like appearance... or whatever... I will ask where you get that information from.   I'm willing to stick with and confine myself with the narrow language found in Fact #3 if this is what you want.. .and if you will have to do the same. 

I want this to go forward.

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Fran
But remember this, you can't ask of me something that you are not going to apply to yourself.  For ANY NATURAL explanation you put forth,  then you must support it WITH FACTS.. and not wishful thinking.

Kcrady
Oh, for crying out loud.  So now I need the fingerprints of the people that stole Jesus' body, or it was a miracle?

It seems that you want to be able to make up things WITH NO FACTS TO SUPPORT YOUR EXPLANATION... and at the same time, when I attempt to use WRITTEN TESTIMONY to support what I say, you won't accept it.  Am I to gather from your cry of expaseration that you wish to NOT USE ANY facts or evidences in our discussion?

I'm not asking for fingerprints.  But if you're going to critique my evidence as a way to discount my case, then I can expect the same standard be applied evenly...  and therefore demand that you present your evidence so that  I can critique it.  If you have no evidence for your side,  that doesn't mean you can complain when I present evidence for my side.

So this goes back to the DESCRIPTION AND TESTIMONY of what Doubting Thomas saw and what people saw when on different occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.  Whatever they saw, it was real enough to them that thought they were eating with Jesus... talking with Jesus... walking with Jesus and fishing with Jesus.  Whatever they saw, it was real enough that it lead to Fact #4.

Although I believe it to be the case, Fact #3 is NOT saying that the real Jesus appeared to them after his death.  It is simply saying that whatever they saw, they sincerely believed it was the real Jesus.  And it was convincing enough that it led to Fact #4.  If in your rebuttal, you attempt to describe what they saw with any specificity, then I will ask for evidence,  and I will rebut what you bring up by pointing to their testimony of spending 40 days with Jesus.

PART 2 FOLLOWS

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2010, 07:04:38 PM »
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Kcrady
Alright then, I guess magic really worked in the ol' days.  1001 Arabian Nights proves that flying carpets and genies existed in Baghdad under the Caliphs.  Medieval woodcuts of witches flying on broomsticks proves that really happened.  Unless skeptics can produce video showing the witches using wires or some such, right?  Ramses II singlehandedly whupped the Hittite Army at Qadesh from his chariot.  I can point to a 50-foot tall stone relief saying he did.  I can post a picture of his actual mummy, and if you'll pony up the money we can both go to the Cairo Museum and see it together.  That's more than you've got for Jesus and all his Disciples/Apostles put together.  You got any actual proof that says Ramses' claims are false?  He had a whole fucking army of eyewitnesses (the Egyptian troops he got separated from, not to mention the Hittites he was singlehandedly ass-kicking).  Since it would be "wishful thinking" without any "facts" to assert (on the basis that one guy whipping an army with supernatural help is highly improbable) that "Ramses was exaggerating" is the more likely hypothesis, then Amun-Re exists!  QED!

So, when did magic stop working?  I mean, you're a magician yourself, but you admit that your magic is trickery rather than actual supernatural sorcery.  Since magic did work in the past[1] there must have been some point when it stopped working, and magicians like you had to start resorting to sleight of hand instead of real supernatural powers.  When was that?  Surely somebody must have said something when the flying broomsticks and carpets suddenly crashed and spells stopped working.

People do not have, and never have had, some kind of supernatural power or ability to control the forces of nature or move objects or actually do parlor magic tricks without resorting to tricks.   Humans cannot actually make flying carpets at all wihout trickery.  They have no power to do such things.   People cannot fly on broomsticks without trickery.  They don't have any such power.  People can't fly unaided using their own power.  Humans have no such ability or power. 

Any claims that humans can use enchanments, sorcery, witchcraft, spells, occult forces, necromancy, etc is an admission by that person that that they themselves don't have that power they are seeking.  They are admitting that the power and influence they are seeking cannot be found within themselves, but that they must rely on a force or an influence outside of themselves.  If humans had the power to do supernatural things themselves, then they wouldn't have to resort to spells, sorcery, magic, etc.

The same is true for miracles vis-a-vis Christians.  Christians do not have any innate or intrinsic power to perform a miracle.   Humans have no ability to perform the supernatural. None.

Therefore... magic did not really work in the ol' days as you seem to be implying that I believe are true.   There were no flying carpets or genies or flying witches or anything like that... and never will be. Humans have no innate or intrinsic supernatural abilities or powers.   So your question: "when did magic stop working?" is nonsensical as far as I am concerned and as far as it applies to what I believe.

But all of this is beside the point and completely irrelevant to the discussion we are having.  What you want to try and do is make the uncritical and unfounded assumption that if miracles are possible, then it must somewhow logically follow that all this other "magic" stuff must also have happened.  This is a nonsequitur because even the dictionary shows that miracles are not magic and magic is not a miracle.  Not to mention the fact that it's not an "all or none" choice.  All these witches and othe magic could be false, and yet the Resurrection still be true.  You can't make sweeping and all-inclusive assertions about the supernatural without falling headlong into the trap of begging the question because the Resurrection (a supernatural event) is what we are debating in the first place.   

Even so, all this so called "magic" does not exist in either of our worldviews anyway.  If you were to "win" the debate and show that the Resurrection is not the most reasonable explanation of the facts... this would only underscore the idea that "magic" does not exist... an idea I concur with.   And if I was somehow able to show that the Resurrection was the most reasonable explanation for the facts, then that would also demonstrate that flying carpets and genies and flying witches are all nonesense.  So no matter who "wins" the debate, it will go against the idea of real "magic" being a possibility.   So as you can see, all this magic business you are bringing up has NO EFFECT or bearing or relevancy to the Resurrection.   Miracles are not magic at all... and a quick look in the dictionary confirms this.

ANYWAY... you keep assuming that the Resurrection is THE SAME as all this "magic" business you keep bringing up... hoping, I guess... to win by using the "guilt by association" fallacy... or by using the "Persuasive Definition" Fallacy... or by using the Poisoning the Well fallacy... or by using the Questionable Analogy fallacy...  or by using the Refutation by Caricature fallacy, etc.

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Ramses II singlehandedly whupped the Hittite Army at Qadesh from his chariot.  I can point to a 50-foot tall stone relief saying he did.  I can post a picture of his actual mummy, and if you'll pony up the money we can both go to the Cairo Museum and see it together.  That's more than you've got for Jesus and all his Disciples/Apostles put together.  You got any actual proof that says Ramses' claims are false?

See, this sounds awfully like a strawman argument because I NEVER relied solely on Fact #3 for the Resurrection hypothesis.   Just because a 50-foot tall sone relief says that Ramses II singlehandedly whupped the Hittite Army, doesn't mean it actually happened anymore than Jesus must have been Resurrected because the disciples said He did.

If all we had to go on was Fact #3 in my case, then it would be incredibly reasonable for all of us to discount the disciples belief that Jesus was Resurrected as much as we all discount the possibility that Ramses II singlehandedly beat the Hittite Army.  To me, you're comitting the Questionable Analogy fallacy here.   The Resurrection does not rely on one fact... on just the testimony of his discples alone.  There are 3 other facts and more if I introduce the conversion of James (Jesus' brother) and Paul of Tarsuas.

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Fran
At the very least,  bring to the table as much as I do... which is written material  written around the same time period as the written material I use.  In fact, the earlier the better.

Kcrady
This is question begging.  You want me to find some passage in the Gospels that says Herod stole Jesus' body so he could have it stuffed and displayed in his drawing room?

If you reread what I wrote above, you'll see that I was asking for  "written material  written around the same time period as the written material I use".  No where am I asking that you find a passage in the Gospels.. .or even USE the NT.

Even then, I was only asking for evidence for your explanations because you were attempting to attribute to Joseph and the Sanhedrin all kinds of motives and conspiracies.  Well.. how does one rebut sheer imaginations?   Is this what this debate is about?  You present an explanation built out of whole cloth, and then I rebut your explanation by presenting an explanation equally built out of whole cloth?  Is this what you want to happen? Is this an example of what intelligent people do in their debates?

Now... i'm not saying that you MUST present evidence for your side.  What I've been trying to encourage you to do is to try and come up with a a natural explanation that better explains the 4 facts than the resurrection.  But in doing so, you certainly can't simply contradict the 4 facts or make up stuff that clearly contradicts my case without at least bringing up something to convince us that your "made up stuff" is more convincing than pieces of my own case.  For example...

Let's take the Sanhedrin  and Joseph.  They were a key part of many of your prior explanations... and rightly so, because they both played a major role in the FMF.   We both used Joseph.  You used him as some kind of puppet-master who created an elaborate conspiracy.   Conversly... I used Joseph in a competely different and opposite manner.  All right then.  We both used Joseph.  We both attributed things to Joesph that he did.  We have two different explanations concerning Joseph.  The question we are trying to assess is, which explanation...  and which role did Joseph play, is the more reasonable?  Yours or mine?  Is your use of Jospeh more reasonable than my use of Joseph?   Can we determine which is more reasonable?  Or are we reduced to a statemate?  In other words, are both uses of Joseph equally valid?  We know that they both cannot be true (law of non-contradiction)... but are they equally valid?  How do we determine which usage was more reasonable?

For your side, you presented no evidence for us to think for one minute that your use of Joseph as a master manipulater involved in conspiracies, is valid or serious. Whereas I was using Joseph which is far more consistent with what is written in the NT, than your use of Joseph.   In my Joseph scenario, his motives and actions make more sense than in yours in the religious, social/political envirnoment and history of the Jewish nation at that time.  My Joseph scenario is far less ad hoc than yours.  And my Joseph scenario follows Ockman's razor principle more effectively than yours.   

To sum up this point i'm trying to make... at that point or juncture when we are using the same person or entity or organization, etc... if we attributed mutually contradictory scenarios or motives or actions for them... we need to present some kind of written evidence (or any evidence for that matter) which will clear a stalemate.   We need to see which side has the more reasonable position at that point where we have a contradiction concerning a person or organization, etc.

Doesn't this sound reasonable?  How else do we do things?  If our goal is to find out which side has the more reasonable explanation... then we need to look for that whenever we arrive at a point in our discussion when we are attributing mutally contradictory motives and actions to the same person, etc.

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Kcrady
I'll do that when you can prove to me from the Star Wars movies that Darth Vader wasn't Luke Skywalker's father.  Or, if you can't do that, I expect you to accept that Darth Vader really did exist a long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away, that he had Jedi powers, and really was Luke Skywalker's father.  What, are you biased against the possibility that Jedi and Sith could exist in other Galaxies?

First of all... we are dealing with historical facts. Jesus is factually a historical figure.   Joseph is factually a historical figure.  The crucifixion is an historical fact.   The Sanherin is factually a historical religious body.  The empty tomb is an historical fact.  The various experiences of a post-mortem Jesus is an historical fact.   The establishment of the early church, etc is an historical fact.

Conversly, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker andJedi, etc, are not historical figures or facts.  So this analogy does not work at all.

We have some historical figures and facs before us.  We are trying to come up with the best and most reasonable explanation for those facts.  You are trying to come with a a purely natural explanation THAT EXPLAINS THE FACTS MORE REASONABLY AND BETTER than the Resurrection explanation.  This does not mean we can run roughsod over the facts.  This means we need to work WITH THE FACTS.  And if there is a stalemate at some point, we need to see if that stalemate can be overcome by looking for facts and evidences to help us get past that logjam... because we both know that mutually contradictory hypothesis' and explanations cannot equally be valid or true.

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Kcrady
When I wrote those earlier scenarios--which I've publicly withdrawn at least three times now, and which I withdraw one more time,[2] I wrote them thinking I was being challenged to provide some sort of non-supernatural explanation for the alleged "Four (or however many) Minimal Facts."  I did not understand the challenge as being "Find out exactly what happened to Jesus' body, and prove it with ancient texts or artifacts."  If I had understood that this was what you were calling for, I would not have written the scenarios as I did.

This does not logically follow.  The challenge has always been... and still is...  to provide some sort of non-supernatural explanation for the alleged "Four (or however many) Minimal Facts."   But you seem to be overlooking part of challenge which has always been that we are looking for THE MOST REASONABLE explanation... whether it be a fully natural explanation... or the Resurrection.

As I understand it, you are trying to present a fully natural explanation that can be shown to be more reasonable... and fits the facts better in terms of explanatory power... than my explanation for those same facts which is the Resurrection.

We don't have to know exactly what happened to Jesus' body.  But something happened to it.  You are trying to give a natural explanation for the body's disappearance which IS MORE REASONABLE AND WHICH EXPLAINS THE FACTS BETTER than the Resurrection.  Just saying the body was Resurrected doesn't mean it did happen.  Just saying that the body was stolen, doesn't mean it was.  Just saying that the post-mortem appearances of Jesus to his followers was really Jesus, doesn't mean it was.

But we come up with explanations for the facts.  We both can do this.  And even though you've retracted your previous explanations... the point was that it was an explanation for the fact.  But not all explanations are equal.  The challenge is to look for the MOST REASONABLE explanation for the facts.  THAT HAS BEEN THE CHALLENGE ALL ALONG.

Well... how do we ascertain or determine which explanation is the most reasonable?  I've already outlined some indicators or criteria to help us.   And it was those indicators and criteria I was using by which to critique the explanations you have since withdrawn.

Am I wrong?

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Kcrady
I think that I can propose a new, more probable scenario with ancient historical support for its probability (i.e., that the conditions for it happening did actually exist at the time), but I do not claim to be able to find Jesus' body or prove than any particular suspect stole it.

This is what I'm looking for.  Nothing has changed.   As for whether someone stole the body or not... what I'm saying is that if you do say someone stole it, it doesn't mean it was.  I will say it wasn't stolen.  Now what?  Is that a stalemate?  No.  Because we do have evidences and facts and reason and logic by which to help us and guide us in our attempt to determine which hypothesis (was the body stolen or not) is more reasonable and in line with known facts and evidences.

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Kcrady
It's a 2,000 year-old cold case with no forensic evidence, and I'm not even a detective.  Historians dispute the causes of King Tutankhamun's death (Murder?  Accident?) but just because they can't solve it conclusively doesn't mean that "He was killed by a hostile magic spell" becomes a reasonable answer to the question.  This despite the fact that the Egyptian priesthoods went to considerable expense and effort using magic to defend Pharaohs against wizards in the employ of hostile nations and coup plotters using magic to assassinate the king[3]

I'm not asking for what can be conclusively demonstrated because I don't think much of ancient history can determined with absolute certainity.  I have only asked for the MOST REASONABLE hypothesis.

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Kcrady
I think I still want to present my case, but I'm really doubting that it's even possible to "debate" you given the dodgy tactics you're using.  I can't even identify what "facts" you're calling "facts" from one moment to the next, so I can't even begin to try to provide an explanation for them.

Well then... why proceed?

If you look at WLC's debates... he presents the FMF.  But then he goes into detail with each one. He spends a half-hour going into detail about each fact.   Maybe that is where the hangup is.  You're confusing the introduction of the details and background information for each fact as some kind of dodgy tactic.   Look again at his debates.  For each fact, he gives a wealth of background material and information to support it.

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Fran
When you keep saying that the resurrection is improbable, and therefore we shouldn't believe it... this is an example of you not letting the facts  lead you to a conclusion... but of you filtering facts thru your pre-conceived and biased glasses against the possibility of miracles.

kcrady
I'm saying that the resurrection is improbable, so we shouldn't treat the claim that it happened the same way we'd treat a claim that Jesus wore sandals.

And i'm saying that regardless of how imporbable something might be, we need to go where the evidence leads us and go with the best and most reasonable hypothesis that fits the facts the best.   If purely natural explanations are found to be less reasonable than the Resurrection explanation, then common sense and intellectual honesty and bravery suggests that we put aside our prejudices and ego, and seriously consider the Resurrection.

PART 3 FOLLOWS

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2010, 07:06:08 PM »
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Kcrady
A level of evidence that would be valid for provisional acceptance that Jesus was from Nazareth[4] is not sufficient to validate the claim that he hung out with his disciples for 40 days after his death, teleporting in and out of rooms, shape-shifting to look like other people until he gave some catch-phrase and "their eyes were opened," eating in their presence, etc. and flying off into the sky in public at the end.  Just like the claim that "kcrady loves cats" can be accepted on far less evidence than the claim that "kcrady is a real-life Jedi Knight with Force powers."  Understand?

You keep misunderstanding the challenge here.  I'm not asking you to accept that the Resurrection can be shown to be as strong as a historical fact as Jesus' existence is.  I never have.   The challenge is to find the most reasonable explanation for the FMF. 

The very nature of historical inquiry precludes apodeictic proof for an historical event.. .especially in the Ancient Past.... so the challenge as never been about what we can prove with absolute certainity. 

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Fran
The fact is that I NEVER said that the Resurrection was not wildly unlikely.

kcrady
Even though you think the disciples lived with Jesus for 40 days after his death as a proven historical fact (or will imply such without actually saying so when it's useful)? 

*Helicopter SFX--opening bars of Pink Floyd's "The Wall"*  YOU!  YES YOU!  STAND STILL WOULDJA!!! 

What does "for 40 days" have to do with the statement "I never said that the Resurrection was not wildly unlikely"?  The Resurrection and the post-mortem appearances are two different events.  And indeed, the Resurrection could not have happened, and yet the disicples could STILL have believed that they lived with Jesus for 40 days after his death.  Such a thing could possibly be explained as a delusion.

So I don't understand your point.

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Fran
I think what this comes down to is that you simply reject the added step that WLC said is needed to make the Resurrection possible.   If God exists (the Christian God), then the Resurrection IS POSSIBLE after  all.  I'm sure that you can see this very plainly.

kcrady
Well, yeah, if I already believed in the Christian God as you and WLC do, then acceptance of the resurrection of Jesus would follow as a matter of course.  I wouldn't need any evidence at all to accept it then.  The Christian God is by definition the one that raised Jesus from the dead.  So sure.  Provide compelling evidence that the Christian God exists, and I won't need any evidence at all for the resurrection of Jesus as a separate question.

1... Many Christians do accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour without needing any evidence that the Resurrection occured.  This is true, but very sad as well.  The fact that many of today's Christians do accept the Resurrection without looking at the evidence, is not a plus or something to rejoice about.  On the contrary, it is horrible that such Christians are willing to ignore the case for the Resurrection.   This is something that WLC and others are fighting against... and are trying to reverse this trend and sad fact.

2... The Christian God by definition has the motive and means and characteristics required to raise Jesus from the dead thru a Resurrection.

3... You're last statement only raises the question I listed earlier about what we should be debating in here.  Maybe the Resurrection is premature.  Maybe you need to debate whether the Christian God exists.

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Kcrady
But since you're trying to use the 4MF to show that the resurrection happened as a supernatural event, and to go from there to the Christian God as an an explanation for a supernatural resurrection of Jesus, then I need really strong evidence for a supernatural resurrection.  Why?  Because the claim of the existence of the Christian God has not been already established!

Well... i'm not sure how WLC's argues about this point.. but my understanding is to challenge a skeptic to come up with a purely natural explanation/hypothesis that is MORE REASONABLE than the Resurrection hypothesis/explanation in explaning the FMF.

This does not prove that the Resurrection occured... or prove that God exists....  because the added step of God is required before we can say that the Resurrection occured.  But if it can be shown the Resurrection is more reasonable and better explains the facts than ANY natural explanation put forth, then at the very least, this should give pause to the skeptic and encourage them to investigate the next logical step. which is to ask the question: Does the Christian God exist?

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Kcrady
Apart from that, a supernatural resurrection of Jesus is as unlikely as any other supernatural claim, and there's no reason to pre-bias it as needing less (or no) evidence to validate it than the claim of Circe's magic, Achilles' heel, Ramses' solo whipping of the Hittite Army, etc..  Do you understand?

It doesn't matter what is unlikely.. what matters is what the evidence points to.  Even Flew, a very atheist,  said that he became a theist because he had to follow the evidence.  That is what we should all be doing.  As intelligent, objective, critical thinkers, we need to follow the evidence... no matter where it leads us.

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Kcrady
You can't use the claim that the Christian God exists to make Jesus' resurrection historically equivalent to the claim that Caesar wore a toga (just another ordinary claim that can be validated with ordinary evidence), and then use the resurrection to substantiate the claim that the Christian God exists.  Circular reasoning!

Of course this is circular reasoning.. which is PRECISELY why I don't reason as you claim.  You've committed a strawman.  If you follow WLC's debates on the issue of God's existence... he NEVER uses the Resurrection as evidence for the existence of God.  What he does instead is to say is God's existence makes sense of Jesus' life and death, etc.

Look again at his debates.

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Fran
So maybe for a person like you... the Resurrection debate of Jesus is really a moot excercise because you first need to engage in a debate  about the existence of God.  Maybe for a person like you... the Resurrection Debate is really putting the cart before the horse.

Kcrady
Cut the smug bullshit.  "A person like you..."  Like I'm some kind of freak because I don't accept the resurrection of Jesus without evidence.  You sanctimonious asshole.  Tell me, would "a person like you" accept the claim that there were flying craft called Vimanas piloted by gods in ancient India because the Vedas say so...or would you have to be convinced first that the Hindu gods are real and the Vedas are true before you'd just take their word that their tales of aerial combat aboard Vimanas were real historical facts?

Dude.  There is no way you can extrapolate from the phrase "a person like you" to mean that I think you are some kind of freak.  That's a classic nonsequitur because there is simply too little information within that phrase to suggest what you are claiming.   You're allowing emotions to overrule you're objectivity.

I was speaking about you as being a hyper skeptic.  If you do not believe that God exists... then you obviously would never add that one final step which WLC was speaking of, and which I brought up about God existence... to make the Resurrection even remotely plausible to you.   In such a case... and this might be in your case... we should be debating the existence of God FIRST.  That was my only point.

I thought I said it very plainly, and so i have no idea why you got so defensive.  I was not using caricture or using "put down" langauge like you have directed at me.

You have no moral or intellectual or logical reasons for using the words "bullshit" or "sanctimonious asshole"  or "fucking" (found earlier in your post) with me.  You are the one who keeps mocking my beliefs with carictures and strawmans and offensive/vulgar language.

I have to say in all candor... the only reason I agreed to this debate was because I had a high regard and respect for you.  But your language and mocking attitude towards my beliefs and myself personally, as made me re-evaluate if my high opinion of you was made in haste,  and ultimately unwarranted.

Since I've been in here... I have apologized a few times whenever I felt I was in error.. or it was demonstrated  that I was in error.   I would lilke to think we are like minded in that way.   It would make me feel you are serious and sincere about this debate if you were to apologize for your language.  I never used that kind of language with you.


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Fran
And BTW... your language: "teleported around, flew like Superman, or ate the Moon in one bite and shat it out a week later" is another example  fo the logical fallacy called "Loaded Language" (Prejudicial Language).

Kcrady
OK, the bit about eating the Moon is hyperbole, but the rest of it is right there in the Gospels, all historical facts accepted without serious dispute by your consensus of historical scholars, or so you would apparently have us believe.  The teleportations and Jesus' ascension into heaven fall under the category of "post-resurrection appearances" and those are all covered by Minimal Fact #4, right?

There is absolutely no comparison between God and superman... or even Jesus and superman.  Neither God nor Jesus flies like superman.  Superman is mortal, but neither God or Jesus are mortal.    Teleportation is the hypothetical method of transportation in which matter or information is dematerialized, usually instantaneously, at one point and recreated at another.   Superman doesn't do this.. and neither does God nor Jesus.

God does not have matter to dematerilize.  Jesus has a body... but not like ours.  And even then, Jesus' ascension into heaven is not an example of teleportation.  I gave you the definition for the word "teleportation" from the dictionary above.   The body would dematerialize at one point and then be recreated at another.  That is not what an ascension does.   

So the fact is, is that your entire sentence was hyperbole and prejuidical.

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Kcrady
So stop whinging and stand up for your so called "facts" with evidence that shows they're really facts or admit that they're not.

I have been.  What have you been doing?

END OF THIS PARTICULAR REPLY TO KCRADY

NEW POST FOLLOWS

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2010, 07:07:30 PM »
Hello Kcrady...

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Fran
So then, what about the explanation he [the resurrection skeptic] does offer? How do we judge whether it is more reasonable than a Resurrection? Well, to me, it would seem obvious that we should look at his explanation see what, if any, holes are in his explanation. To me, the more reasonable explanation will have less holes and contradictions and inconsistancies in it. The more reasonable explanation will also have more facts behind it that do not contradict or call into question the FMF to begin with. The more reasonable explanation will also not have to rely so much on inventing "facts" or inventing unprovable "scenarios".

Kcrady
This is a neat trick, a way to bias things in favor of supernatural explanations no matter how improbable they might be.  Once you say "It's a miracle!" or "it's magic!" then all further analysis grinds to a halt.  Try to scrutinize a supernatural explanation to look for holes, and the supernaturalist just rolls their eyes and says, "But it's a miracle!  It transcends the limits of physics, space, and time!  It can't be grasped by the puny human mind.  God works in mysterious ways." 

Neat trick?!?!?!    The disciples and various people SAW Jesus' post-mortem.  That is a fact.  It doesn't HAVE to be a miracle.  It could be a delusion... and hallucination... a trick of some sort.   We NEED to examine and explain Fact #3.  It's there in front of us.  It is a fact.  It needs to be explained. 

What's the problem?  Why don't you just tell us you think they were hallucinating, and then go forward.  If you don't think they were hallucinating, then what did they see?    I don't understand the hang up on your part.

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Kcrady
Only natural explanations can be examined and tested in the way you're proposing.

?? This is not difficult.  If natural explanations can be examined and tested, then you shouldn't protest if I'm examining and testing your natural hypothesis.   As for the Resurrection?  That is easy.  Give us a natural explanation that is more reasonable and explains the facts more reasonably, then presto!!   You've effectively rebutted the Resurrection hypothesis.

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Kcrady
This is the exact same technique young-earth creationists use when they demand that evolutionists answer every possible question they can think up with mountains of proof--and anytime the evolutionist can't do this counts as a "Gotcha!" for the creationist.  The creationist's model, being supernatural, is immune to any such analysis.

First of all.. we are not talking about creationism. 

Secondly I'm not asking for scientific proof.  And I am not asking that you answer every possible question with mountains of proof.

We are asking for the MOST REASONABLE explanation that best satisfies the facts.  The facts themselves are not even scientific in nature.  We are talking about reason and reasonableness.   I'm not even suggesting that you can't MAKE UP stuff.  But when you do, it has to be reasonable and fit it vis-a-vis with  the background information and facts we do have.  Like the culture.  Human psychology.  Customs.  The Political landscape.  The religious landscape.  The military landscape.  The beliefs of the players involved.  etc.  All these things are part of any historical narrative and inquiry when we investigate a person and an event.  These FMF facts are not isolated and played out in limbo.  They are part and parcel of an existing landscape peculiar to the people we are looking at.

For example... we can't translpant a 21st century (or any century for that matter) American society/mores ONTO the Jewish landscape during Jesus' time when trying to understand the FMF.  This is what I mean about looking for the most reasonable explanation.  It has to make sense in relation to the background information and landscape.  Otherwise, it is less reasonable than an explanation that does take into account the background.

Thirdly... as I said before... all you would need to do to rebut my case is to give a natural explanation that is more reasonable than a supernatural explanation... and you've won.  You don't need to answer all questions.  Not even the Resurrection answers all questions.   We are only looking for the most reasonable explanation.  So the resurrection is NOT immune to being rebutted.  It's very easy.

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Kcrady
"How did the koalas get all the way from Ararat to Australia without getting pounced on by wolves or cats, and what did they eat until a new ecosystem with eucalyptus trees grew in Australia?"

"God saw to it.  The Flood was a demonstration of His supernatural power and authority, so of course we can expect that he'd see it through with His unlimited might."

You're still not getting the point.  I've said repeatedly now, that the Bible can be full of errors and it doesn't touch the FMF case because we are ONLY TALKING about the FMF.  The FMF DOES NOT DEPEND on a Bible that is completely wihtout error.    The Flood could be completely wrong, and yet the Resurrection could still have happened.  The Bible could be full of errors, and yet the Resurrection could still be true.  We are looking at the FACTS that we do have... FACTS that the vast majority of Biblical Scholars have said were actual historical facts.   So deal with those facts at hand.

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Kcrady
Likewise in this case.  Being the skeptic, I have to produce Jesus' body and prove it's his with DNA tests, otherwise you can point to the "hole" that the absence of Jesus' body leaves.  Your alternative is "POOF!"  There's nothing there to examine in search of "holes" or inconsistencies.  So by that standard, the supernatural is the best explanation for anything. 

But don't you see that the "missing body" is only one of the facts we are looking at?  How does a missing body explain Fact #3 or Fact #4?   Indeed, EVEN the women who came upon the empty tomb had thought that the body had been moved.  See that?  When they saw the body was missing, they DID NOT assume that Jesus was Resurrected.  When Peter saw that the body was missing... he also did not assume that Jesus was Resurrected.   And when the women told the other disciples that Jesus' body was missing... they also did not believe that Jesus was Resurrected.

The Resurrection hypothesis is a cummulative case, and the missing body is only one part of the entire case.   

So once again you resort to hyperbole by suggesting that my immediate explanation for the empty tomb is "POOF!".

Now.. if you can't offer a reasonable explanation that for the FMF that is more reasonable than the Resurrection... then just admit ignorance and leave at that.  Just say that you don't know... and reserve judgment.

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Kcrady
"I saw a raven on the telephone wire outside my house when I left for work last year and got in a wreck that almost killed me.  I guess it must have been a bad omen."

"Oh, come on.  It's just a coincidence.  The raven was on the telephone wire because it was a convenient place to rest, and car accidents happen all the time."

"That's not a parsimonious explanation.  'It's a bad omen' is one hypothesis that explains both the raven and the car accident.  You've got two separate explanations, and that's less parsimonious right there.  Besides, can you prove the raven was just resting?  You've got no evidence at all for the raven's state of mind at the time!  You're just making up a scenario without any evidence!  'Bad omen' FTW!"'

But the difference between us is that my explanation is THE LAST RESORT EXPLANATION.  We all try and figure out what explanation is the most reasonable for the FMF... looking for a purely natural explanation first.  We look at all the evidence... we look at all the explanations... we compare all explanations to all the facts we have at our disposable... within the socialogical/religious/geopolitical landscape during that time period in that geographic location.

And then we let the evidence and reason and logic lead us to wherever it leads us... just like Flew did when he became a theist.


Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2010, 07:08:20 PM »
Hello Kcrady....

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To get back on track vis a vis discussing the "ground rules" of this debate, I do not accept the premise that I am the only one whose explanation of the 4MF is subject to scrutiny and searching for holes and inconsistencies.  If you get to try to pick the naturalistic explanation apart for inconsistencies (with the implication that success in this endeavor makes a supernatural explanation "better" or more likely to be the true answer), I get to do the same for your supernatural explanation, with the same results in my favor if I'm successful.  That is, inconsistencies between the various Resurrection accounts in the Gospels count just as much against the supernatural-resurrection hypothesis as any inconsistencies within my naturalistic scenario would count against it. 

Goose.  Gander.  No FranCalvinball.

I totally agree.  But once again it is apparant that you do not understand my case.   I never said that the Bible was inerrant.  The FMF case does not depend on an inerrant Bible.  And indeed, historians (and lawyers and police) expect descrepancies to occur between eyewitness accounts.  So I'm not sure what you are going to achieve.

I mean, look at the facts again.  The FMF are all consistent with all Resurrection accounts in the Gospels.  Look again at the FMF and compare them to all the well know so called "descrepancies" in the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection.  None of the FMF talks about angels or time of discovery or anything like this at all.

But anyway, I agree.  If you can find descrepancies within my case, point them out.   But remember that BOTH of our cases can have descrepancies.  So we would be back at square one as we try and figure out which explanation is most reasonable, in spite of the descrepancies.

But yeah...  I completely agree with you here.  Check everything out.  Don't ever take my word for something without checking it out.

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Kcrady
As even you have already admitted, supernatural explanations are significantly less likely than naturalistic ones.  The probabalistic bias of reality is tilted against the supernatural.  That means you, as the advocate of the supernatural explanation, have a higher burden of proof to meet than I do, and your supernatural explanation and the evidence adduced for it must be able to meet a higher degree of scrutiny and critical analysis than a rival naturalistic theory.  If a supernatural theory with zero evidence is pitted against a naturalistic theory with zero evidence, the naturalistic theory wins by default.  That's the way historical method works, which is why we don't learn about the reality of wizards, genies and faeries in history class.

Yes.. I agree completely.  Bu since that isn't the case here, I'm not sure why you said all the above, because what you've said is as obvious as breathing.

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Kcrady
How steep should this tilt be?  That's arguably subjective, but in this case we're debating an event that, even if it happened, represents a single exception to an otherwise thoroughly-consistent principle (The Dead Stay Dead) governing ~99 billion permanent deaths in the history of the human species.

The "thoroughly-consistent principle" is a natural principle.  Not once have I argued that the Resurrection was a natural event which contradicted the natural principle you've just stated.   What you haven't shown though is whether a miracle actually CONTRADICTS a natural principle.  How can a supernatural principle (miracle) violate a natural principle?  We are talking about two different things.  Where in all of science does it say that a supernatural agency or principle (miracle) cannot manipulate or circumvent a natural principle?  The natural principles ONLY DEALS with what we see occuring naturally.  That is ALL the natural principle records.  It says NOTHING about supernatural principles or agencies.

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Kcrady
So, the closest thing we've got to numbers quantifying the likelihood of a resurrection (whether or not supernatural entities exist) is "1 in 99 billion."  So, in the case of two zero-evidence hypotheses, one naturalistic and one supernaturalistic (a miraculous resurrection), the naturalistic one is 99 billion times more likely to be true.

Isn't this a classic category fallacy?  How can you compare two completely different principles and treat them as similiar?   What does a natural principle have in common with a supernatural principle?  Nothing.  So if they have nothing in common, why do you compare them as you do?  You can't, which is why I think you're committing a category fallacy.

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Kcrady
Quibble with the number if you like (maybe it's only ~88 billion deaths...), but no matter how you slice it, reality's tilt against supernatural resurrections of the dead is steep.  I think even you would agree with this, if we were talking about a resurrection of Apollonius of Tyana or Pythagoras or Osiris or Inanna or any figure from any other religion.

Again, I think you are guilty of committing a category fallacy.  How can one tilt against another when the two principles you are comparing are not even remotely similiar to each other?

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Kcrady
Since "the existence of the Christian God" has not been listed by you as one of your 4MF, there is no justification for assuming it a priori or acting as if a supernatural explanation involving the Christian God is any more likely for the purposes of this debate than "A necromancer summoned Jesus back to life with a spell."

I don't see where I have introduced God in any part of my premises.   God is the LAST thing we look towards after we've EXHAUSTED ALL natural explanations.  If we look at all possible natural explanations for the FMF.. and they all fall short.... then whatever we have left over... no matter who unlikely... we must be brave enough to follow the evidence.  Just like Flew did.

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Kcrady
If you have now decided to agree with what I said earlier about needing to establish the existence of Yahweh by other means before trying to employ the 4MF argument to validate Jesus' resurrection, please say so now.

I don't need to anymore that WLC has needed to in ALL OF HIS DEBATES with atheists about the Resurrection.  My concern was for you as a hyper skeptic.  If you are not able to even consider that a supernatural explanation is possible... then maybe you're prejudice is so deep that we need to debate God's existence first.  But I dont need to.  It's you who has to make that decision.

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Kcrady
That would establish the uselessness of the 4MF argument as an apologetic (evidential argument in favor of Christianity) since Christianity must be accepted before the 4MF argument can seem convincing.  That is, it's only persuasive to the already persuaded.

I've already dealt with this above.  You've framed it differently than eithe I or WLC have framed the debate.

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Kcrady
If you wish to maintain that a supernatural resurrection of Jesus is more credible than a given natural explanation apart from an a priori acceptance of Christianity then you have the burden of proof, not the skeptic (me) offering the natural explanation--or at least my burden of proof to establish the plausibility of my naturalistic explanation (provided that it abides by the "The Dead Stay Dead" principle) is ~99 billion times lower than your burden of proof to establish the plausibility of a supernatural resurrection.

I must be getting tired because I don't see how I have not already gone over this earlier. 

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2010, 07:09:55 PM »
Hello Kcrady.....

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Kcrady
Arrrrrgh.  I see that I just got on a tear and unleashed a multi-post zerg rush.  See Fran, I'm liable to do that too, which is why I think we ought to do the limits on posts-per-turn.  It probably feels more sensible now that you're up to your neck in kcrady posts, right?  Can we agree on the following ground rules:

1) A post-per-turn limit of one or two posts.

seeing how even you... the person who is being passionate about this limitation on the number of posts per turn... couldn't help but go over it.... I don't see how this is going to be constructive.

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Kcrady
2) My "role" will  be to argue that:

The "Four Minimal Facts" are not established "beyond reasonable doubt" in the courtroom sense
I can provide evidence that there is, in fact, "reasonable doubt" as to their validity as historical facts
Even if the 4MF are historical facts, a plausible natural explanation is possible and I can provide at least one such possible explanation

First of all, we are not in a courtroom looking at law... we are talking about history and the standard use of the historical method.  I have already given you the evidences which has proved to be persuasive to the vast majority of Biblical scholars and historians to render the verdict that the FMF are actual historical facts.  You're beef is with them, not with me.

If you want to explain how the Biblical scholars are wrong in their assesment that the FMF are historical facts, then go ahead and give me the evidence and i will relay it to WLC.  Because the last thing he wrote to me when I asked him a question on his website was that he would be very interested to know the logic and evidences a person would bring to the table to argue against these FMF as being historical facts. 

Secondly... if you can provide at least  one possible natural explanation for the FMF, then let me hear it.  But remember.... I never said that a person couldn't offer an explanation.  That is not the dispute.  The challenge is to provide one that is MORE REASONABLE than the resurrection hypothesis.

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Kcrady
Accomplishing either the first goal (showing that the 4MF are subject to reasonable doubt and thus insufficient grounds for acceptance of any supernatural claim) or the second (providing a natural explanation that fits the Four Minimal Facts or however many specified "Facts" you state as such in your Opening Statement and any legitimate external evidence to the 4MF) constitutes "victory conditions" for me.

I'm not a historian (and neither are you)... so I don't know how useful i would be in the first goal.  That is why I would like for you to show me the error that the vast majority of Biblical scholars and historians have all made when they assesed the FMF as being historical facts.  Show me that at least.

And about the second point you made above, I think I already gave my answer above.  The debate is not about whether someone can come up with a natural explanation... it has always been about coming up with a natural explanation that is MORE REASONABLE... and EXPLAINS BETTER the FMF than the Resurrection hypothesis.

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Kcrady
Stipulation: I am not required to actually solve the riddle of what happened to Jesus' body and prove that my proposed solution is what really happened in order to defeat the 4MF Argument any more than an Egyptologist is required to actually solve the mystery of Tutankhamun's death or accept that "he was killed by a magic spell" is the best explanation.  I only have to provide a better explanation than "POOF!  He's alive again!"

I don't think anyone is asking you to actually solve the riddle fo what happened to Jesus' body and prove it.  Christians can't even do that with the Resurrection.  No one is looking for absolute certainity and/or apodeictic proof in relation to the Resurrection or the location of Jesus' body.

We are looking for the MOST REASONABLE hypothesis which BEST EXPLAINS the FMF... out of the multiple hypothesis' we can choose from.   So whatever hypothesis or explanation you put forth, it has to at least deal with the empty tomb.  It has to deal with all of  the 4 facts.  As rational people... we can't just bury our heads and cherry pick which facts we are going to deal with just so that we can come with the conclusion we want to come to in order to protect our pet theories and beliefs.

In other words... you can say that the body was stolen by such and such person or group of people or that the wrong tomb was visited, etc.  You don't have to know where they took the body or what they did with it or even know where the tomb is.  Instead,  this would be an attempt to deal with the empty tomb because this one of the facts that is part of history.  It has to be accounted for in some way.

Maybe you have a different idea of what makes for a reasonable hypothesis?  How would you judge between competing hypothesis' as to which is the more reasonable?

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Kcrady
Stipulation: I am not required to incorporate every Gospel detail into my proposed explanation as if they are all facts, unless you can demonstrate that the "Four Minimal Facts" are "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."  This would be impossible in any event, since the Gospel details contradict one another.[1]  I need only provide a plausible explanation for how the corpse of a crucified man could turn up missing, and for how it would be possible for the followers of Jesus to believe fervently that he was raised from the dead.

I'm not sure if I understand you.   We're dealing with a peculiar and unique people who, as a society, shared many beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, customs, traditions and history.  The most reasonable and plausible explanation will take all that into account and fit better within that context.

The historical facts themselves were not created in a vacuum or in isolation from the surrounding geopolitical/religious/economic society.    So the MOST reasonable explanation will take into account the societal  background at that time.   The MOST reasonable explanation will fit BETTER and be more consistant within the context of  Jewish/Roman/Greek society at that time.

This is why WLC will bring up the role of women in that society when he speaks about the empty tomb.  How a woman's testimony is viewed as eyewitnisses in the Jewish society at that time,  can help us to determine which hypothesis might be more reasonable or plausible as it takes into account that kind of background facts and information.  Now does WLC list the role of women as one of his "facts" in his FMF?  No.  He amplifies and uses such background information and facts and knowledge  within the debate itself as he explains the reasoning behind why the  FMF are considered as historical facts by the vast majority of Biblical Scholars.  The role of women would be part of the geopolitical/religious/economic context within the Jewish soceity at that time.

So while i'm not asking for an explanation from you which incorporates every Gospel detail, the more reasonable explanation will take into account the prevailing geopolitical/religious/economic conditions in that Jewish society at that time.  The more reasonable explanation will take all that into account.

And while the Gospel details may contradict one another (I don't believe it is true), this is irrelevant because none of the FMF incorporates any part of the Gospel details which are in dispute.  As I said before, the FMF is not dependent on an inerrant Bible.  The FMF are those facts which can be gleened from an imperfect Bible.   And this is a not unique methodology for the Bible.  Historians CAN OFTEN gleen facts from imperfect documents filled with contradictions.  This is what historians do.

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I need only provide a plausible explanation for how the corpse of a crucified man could turn up missing, and for how it would be possible for the followers of Jesus to believe fervently that he was raised from the dead.

We are looking for more than simply a plausible explanation.  We are looking for the MOST reasonable explanation among all the hypothesis' presented which takes into account all FMF.


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Kcrady
Stipulation: Since it is a violation of standard historical methodology to assume that any unsolved historical mystery is a supernatural event by default, debunking a particular proposed naturalistic explanation does not in itself establish that a supernatural resurrection is the best explanation for the 4MF.  Compelling positive evidence in favor of the supernatural explanation is required.

 I think the FMF are compelling positive evidence.  And I think the Resurrection hypothesis becomes even more compelling when the other side cannot present a natural explanation that is more reasonable than the Resurrection hypothesis.

It has always been standard practice to look for a natural explanation before we look for a supernatural explanation.  But if there comes a point in our inquiry.... after we've exhausted all possible natural explanation... if what is left is a supernatural hypothesis that is more reasonable and has more explanatory power than a natural hypothesis which best explains the FMF... then we must be intellectually brave enough and honest enough to let the evidence lead us,  instead of the other way around.  Flew is a perfect example of an atheist who did just that... and was finally persuaded by the evidence to become a theist.  That is what it means to be a critical thinker... to let the evidence lead us instead of us leading the evidence.

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Kcrady
Your "role" in this debate would be something like:

Stipulate precisely what your Four (or however many) Minimal Facts are.[2],[3]

Show that there is no reasonable doubt as to the veracity of the [However Many] Minimal Facts.

Refute any natural explanation that I provide for the 4MF

Provide positive evidence that no natural explanation can fit the 4MF[4]

Accomplishing all three aims is necessary for you to accomplish your "victory conditions."  This steeper requirement for your side is due to the fact that you're claiming that supernatural resurrection is the best explanation for the 4MF despite ~99 billion-to-one odds against.

I... I've already answered this I think.  The historical facts themselves were not created in a vacuum or in isolation from the surrounding geopolitical/religious/economic society.   The FMF are EMBEDDED in actual history.   We're dealing with a peculiar and unique people who, as a society, shared many beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, customs, traditions and history.  The most reasonable and plausible explanation will take all that into account and fit better within that context.  The more reasonable hypothesis will be more consistant within the context of  Jewish/Roman/Greek society at that time.   The more reasonable hypothesis will be less ad hoc in nature versus a competing hypothesis.   The more reasonable hypothesis will have less holes and less contradictions and less problems to deal with.

2... I've already answered this I think.  No one is looking for absolute certainity and/or apodeictic proof in relation to a particular hypothesis or in relation to historical facts.  History does not work that way.  Only in math do we find examples of absolute certainity and apodeictic proofs.  So I don't know what "reasonable doubt" means to you.

The vast majority of Biblical scholars and historians have considered "doubt" and have considered the lines of evidence and have come to conclude that the FMF are actual historical facts.  If you want to show me how they are in error when they made their judgment, then by all means, show us all their error.  Show us how they incorrectly or misused the historical method in their assessment.  The burden of proof is on you to show us why you disagree with them.  They have given their lines of evidence, and I have produced them for you.   The ball is in your court now.

3... The challenge is not to refute that you can provide a natural explanation for the FMF... but to show that your natural explanation is less reasonable than the Resurrection hypothesis.  Any natural explanation you do provide, it is my role to show that it is less reasonable than the Resurrection hypothesis.

4... I think #3 applies here as well.  I've never said that "no natural explanation can fit the 4MF".  Instead,  I've consistenly maintained that no natural explanation has been found to be more reasonable than the Resurrection Hypothesis.

5... I'm not looking for "victory conditions".  By framing the debate/discussion in terms of victory and defeat,  this can only create a blind, unbending, closed minded attitude to "stick to our guns" at all costs and in the face of all contrary evidence so that we won't "lose" face.   It puts our egos and pride on line.

If I were to somehow convince you that the Resurrection hypothesis is more reasonable than any natural hypothesis you put forth... I wouldn't consider that a victory for me... instead, i would consider it a victory for you because it showed that you are brave enough to follow the evidence wherever it will lead you.

I would prefer to reword what you said in this way: "Accomplishing all three aims is necessary for you to show that the Resurrection is the most reasonable hypothesis for the FMF."

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Kcrady
Do you agree with the proposed "ground rules?"  Are there any changes you'd make to what you'd consider to be your "role" in the debate and what your "victory conditions" would be?

I think I've voiced all of my objections and concerns above.

I think it would help greatly if we could hear from you as to how you would assess competing hypothesis in trying to find the most reasonable one.  I've mentioned a few indicators/criteria in my responses to you.  I think this is important because the challenge after all hinges on the words "most reasonable".... and "best explanation for the FMF", etc.

As for number of facts... it would help if you were to look at WLC's debates and tell me if the same issue arises for you.   Because NOT ONE atheist IN ALL OF HIS DEBATES has argued as you have.   

And I gave you one example of how women were viewed as witnessess in the Jewish culture at that time.  This is a fact that WLC would use to argue for the empty tomb.  And yet not once did the atheist opposite WLC in any of his debates protest and say: "AHA!!!!  Hold on a second.  That fact was not among the FMF.   So you can't use it!!!!"

If there is an issue concering a fact as being a legitmate fact of history, then it should rightly be voiced.  But the FMF themselves rests on facts and evidence which when put together, persuaded the vast majority of Biblical Scholars to arrive at the verdict that the FMF were historical facts.  And I listed those facts and evidences for you already which is the foundation for the FMF.

Anyway, I don't want to  repeat myself.  I think I've already covered everything.  But if you want, I will write to WLC for amplification.  I'm not a debator.  I'm not into "tricks".   I want this discussion to be fair and instructive and entertaining and informative for the both of us.   

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Kcrady
1.  Example #1: How many angels were at the tomb, when did he/they first appear, and were their garments simply white, or glowing like lightning?  Example #2: To whom, and under what specific circumstances did Jesus first appear?

All of these are irrelevant.  None of these details are part of the FMF.  It is easy to gleen facts from witness testimony that is inconsistent with other witness testimony.  Every good lawyer and detective and cop know this to be true.

How many angels? It doesn't matter.  What we can gleen from the testimonies is that angels were involved.

Were their garments simply white, or glowing like lightning?  It doesn't matter.  What we can gleen from the testimonies is that angels were involved and that garments were being worn by them.

To whom, and under what specific circumstances did Jesus first appear?  It doesn't matter.  What we can gleen from the testimonies is Fact #3: "On different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead"  See how the order of appearances is irrelevant?

Now, if you don't want me to use anything specific like the 40 days I was using... then fine, I won't.  But likewise, neither can you attempt to give any specific look or structure to the experienced appearances of a post-mortem Jesus.  You can't tell us what they looked like or what they were similiar to.   You can't try and say it was fuzzy and ghost like.  That would be imposing a "non-fact" unto the testimony.    What we can both agree on however is whatever the appearances looked like, it was convincing enough for them to believe they were actually seeing the real Jesus.  Real enough that it led to Fact #4.  Real enough that nothing could persuade them to alter or retract their testimony.

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Kcrady
 2.  In particular, MF #4 needs to be specified as to which particular post-mortem appearances by Jesus are historical fact how we know this.  Failing this, specific post-mortem appearance stories (as opposed to the more general idea that such stories exited as stories) cannot be treated as if they are themselves historical facts unless convincing demonstration is forthcoming.


I think I answered this above.

PART 2 FOLLOWS

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2010, 07:10:28 PM »
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Kcrady
3.  Other Gospel details which are not Minimal Facts themselves (such as Pilate washing his hands or Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead) may not be automatically treated as Facts unless you can demonstrate that they actually are facts.  Analogy: A District Attorney can't just whip something out of his pocket and say "See?  This proves that the defendant is guilty!"  S/he must submit the alleged evidence for examination first and have it entered into evidence by the judge.  Likewise, non-MF Gospel details need to be "entered into evidence."

I can't make heads or tails about what you are asking for.   I mean, this goes both ways, doesn't it?   If you can't provide any specific facts for your explanations, then what are we to do with your hypothesis?   I tell you what, why don't you list the non-MF facts you are going to use for your explanations to help me see what you are driving at?

Until then, I will write to WLC.

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Kcrady
 4.  Since we both agree that supernatural explanations are far less likely than natural explanations for any given unknown, "unknown" (as in "We don't know what happened to Jesus' body and we are not in a position to find out") does not default to victory for a supernatural resurrection as the best explanation.

It seems there can only be two choices available in such a case.  Either reserve judgment about the Resurrection, or agree that the Resurrection is the best explanation.  What other choice is there if you can't produce a natural explanation that is more reasonable than the Resurrection hypothesis?
 

FINALLY THE END

Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2010, 03:41:23 AM »
OK Fran, I do apologize for the language I used earlier.  I was out of line.

I do have a question for you though: Since the vast majority of Biblical scholars and historians of the relevant period/location accept the Four Minimal Facts as true history, and the third of those includes Jesus living with his disciples for ~40 days after his death and repeatedly demonstrating his tangible physical nature, can you cite me an example of one mainstream, non-Evangelical Christian Bible scholar or historian (such as a non-Christian Jew) who accepts, as a historical fact, that Jesus spent more than a month with his disciples after his death, living with them, touching them, fishing with them, eating with them, etc.?  Since the vast majority of Bible scholars/historians presumably accept this, it shouldn't be too hard to find one example.  Bonus points if you can cite an article by such an historian in a peer-reviewed, non-sectarian historical or archaeological journal and include a link.  Biblical Archaeology Review would do.
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Offline Inactive_1

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2010, 01:21:52 PM »
Break-break ... I'd like to have a debate moderator input here -

Arrrrrgh.  I see that I just got on a tear and unleashed a multi-post zerg rush.  See Fran, I'm liable to do that too, which is why I think we ought to do the limits on posts-per-turn.

Fran, you responded to kcrady's zerg-rush, and I understand why, but we need to stop that on both sides. We've got way too much on the menu at the moment. Way too much.

Here is what I'd propose. kcrady posted a good question above, and I'd like to concentrate on that rather than trying to debate everything all at once. Explore that point until you both reach an impasse and then move to another important point. If we can't focus this thing point by point we'll end up with a huge thread with multiple points per post and 4 parts per response and with nothing really resolved.

So, as the cop here, my direction is to explore the last point by kcrady untl it is fully debated, then we'll pick another important point.

This -

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I do have a question for you though: Since the vast majority of Biblical scholars and historians of the relevant period/location accept the Four Minimal Facts as true history, and the third of those includes Jesus living with his disciples for ~40 days after his death and repeatedly demonstrating his tangible physical nature, can you cite me an example of one mainstream, non-Evangelical Christian Bible scholar or historian (such as a non-Christian Jew) who accepts, as a historical fact, that Jesus spent more than a month with his disciples after his death, living with them, touching them, fishing with them, eating with them, etc.?  Since the vast majority of Bible scholars/historians presumably accept this, it shouldn't be too hard to find one example.  Bonus points if you can cite an article by such an historian in a peer-reviewed, non-sectarian historical or archaeological journal and include a link.  Biblical Archaeology Review would do.

Fran it's your turn to reply to kcrady's question above.

Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2010, 07:51:17 PM »
Hello Kcrady...

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OK Fran, I do apologize for the language I used earlier.  I was out of line.

Thank you so much for that.  I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

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Kcrady
I do have a question for you though: Since the vast majority of Biblical scholars and historians of the relevant period/location accept the Four  Minimal Facts as true history, and the third of those includes Jesus living with his disciples for ~40 days after his death and repeatedly  demonstrating his tangible physical nature, can you cite me an example of one mainstream, non-Evangelical Christian Bible scholar or  historian (such as a non-Christian Jew) who accepts, as a historical fact, that Jesus spent more than a month with his disciples after his death,  living with them, touching them, fishing with them, eating with them, etc.?  Since the vast majority of Bible scholars/historians presumably  accept this, it shouldn't be too hard to find one example.  Bonus points if you can cite an article by such an historian in a peer-reviewed,  non-sectarian historical or archaeological journal and include a link.  Biblical Archaeology Review would do.

Six times in my prior post I said I was willing to drop the specific description of his followers eating and fishing, etc with a post-mortem Jesus.   Six times.  It is actually seven times if I count my response to Anfauglir in the comment thread.  So why are you still bringing it up?

Fact #3 says: "On different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people experienced  appearances of Jesus alive from the dead."   It doesn't mention 40 days or eating or fishing or talking.  Indeed, I specifically said this was  their written testimony of what they experienced.   Fact #3 enjoys a near unimanous judgement of being classified as a historical fact, from the  vast majority of Biblical Scholars.  Jesus' followers experienced an appearance of Jesus alive from the dead.  And the disciples tell us what they  experienced.  

But I said I wouldn't use their descriptive testimony in this debate...  unless of course you were to make an attempt to use language outside of  the wording found in Fact #3.    I will instead confine myself to using the language stated in Fact #3.  I don't want this to be a stumbling block.

In light of the fact that I have previously stated 7 times to not use the "40 days description", I honestly don't understand why you have asked the  above question.  I don't know if there is some hidden agenda or an ulterior motive behind asking this question or not, but to get things moving  forward, I will do what you've already done yourself in regard to your earlier explanations for the FMF.  And that is to publicly withdraw the  description of the 40 days thing.  I've already done this 7 times before... so this makes it 8 times now.

I hope 8 times is enough.


As to Admin_1's suggestion of discussing one point at a time... I have no problems with that.  But I would like to bring up a side observation  about my posts and their lengths.

It has often been claimed in here that my posts are too long.  Whether or not this is true ("too long" is subjective), I found it very interesting that  my last response to your admitted "multi-post zerg rush",  actually falls within your request for "a post-per-turn limit of one or two posts" in this  debate.

You unleashed a 5 post blizzard.  My response was 8, and the 8th post was actually only a couple of short paragraphs.  So my response to your   5 posts was extremely close to 7 posts.  What makes this significant is that in all of my posts... I will usually copy and paste EVERY WORD  written by the person I'm responding to.  And that is what I did with your post.  I copied and pasted into my post,  EVERYTHING you wrote  before I responded.   So therefore, if we were to take your written stuff out of my posts, then my actual written response was really only 2 posts  in length... or 2 and 1/8th posts in length.  Well within range of your request for "a post-per-turn limit of one or two posts".

Anyway... I thought that was very interesting.

Take care
Fran
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 07:55:03 PM by Fran »

Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2010, 01:29:28 PM »
Six times in my prior post I said I was willing to drop the specific description of his followers eating and fishing, etc with a post-mortem Jesus.   Six times.  It is actually seven times if I count my response to Anfauglir in the comment thread.  So why are you still bringing it up?

Fran, all I'm trying to do is get you to clearly define what your scholarly consensus actually says with regard to the alleged post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.  You whipped out the Doubting Thomas story and the "they lived with Jesus for 40 days" thing as if those were historical facts, and tried to include them under the umbrella of Fact #3.  We called you on it, asking you to cite your scholars to that effect.  You can't do that, because the scholarly consensus does not accept those accounts as factual.  Now you're backpedaling and taking a crybaby attitude.   

Fact #3 says: "On different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead."

The problem here is the vague, and arguably misleading wording of the statement itself.  It can easily be interpreted to mean anything from mystic visions or apparitions to hanging out with Jesus for more than a month and poking fingers in his wounds every day of that time.  That's a huge blur when it comes to figuring out exactly what I'm being called upon to explain. 

Analogy: there's a big difference between someone claiming to see an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (such as that experienced by the "visionaries" at Madugorje) vs. someone claiming to have had her move in for a month in physical form, teleport in and out of his house, eat with him, go fishing, and play tennis with him in public every afternoon.  The latter is by far a more extraordinary claim than the former.  To lump both sorts of claim together into one "Fact" by means of vague wording and call upon someone to "explain" it is muddying the waters on a grand scale. 

Since you have withdrawn from your efforts to incorporate the Doubting Thomas and "lived with him for 40 days" accounts into "Fact #3," I expect to be able to proceed with my explanation without having you say "But that doesn't explain how they were able to live with the resurrected Jesus for 40 days, eat with him, poke their fingers in his wounds and all that!  Gotcha!"

It doesn't mention 40 days or eating or fishing or talking.  Indeed, I specifically said this was  their written testimony of what they experienced.   Fact #3 enjoys a near unimanous judgement of being classified as a historical fact, from the  vast majority of Biblical Scholars.  Jesus' followers experienced an appearance of Jesus alive from the dead.  And the disciples tell us what they  experienced.

(emphasis added)

So now it looks like you're trying to sneak it back in again.  This is question begging.  It assumes that the Doubting Thomas and Acts accounts actually represent "the disciples telling us what they experienced" (and that this, therefore is what the historians mean when they say "Jesus' followers experienced an appearance of Jesus alive from the dead").  Those accounts could just as easily be urban legends that grew in the telling, when the disciples' actual experiences were visions like Paul's. 

Once again: can you cite any of your scholars, in particular a non-Evangelical Christian scholar who agrees that the disciples experienced living with post-mortem Jesus for 40 days poking their fingers in his wounds?  Yes or no?  What sort of "experiences" does this scholarly consensus of yours consider to be historically credible?  

But I said I wouldn't use their descriptive testimony in this debate...  unless of course you were to make an attempt to use language outside of  the wording found in Fact #3.

You're missing the point.  I'm not trying to ban you from using "descriptive testimony."  All I'm trying to do is get you to specify which descriptive testimony your scholarly consensus considers to be credible as elements of Fact #3.  If the consensus of scholars does not consider the Doubting Thomas story and the "they lived for 40 days with a tangible post-mortem Jesus" testimonies to be credible as history, then just admit it already, and give me some idea of what sort of "experiences" of Jesus they do consider to be credible.  If the "experiences of Jesus" historians consider credible are those that are comparable to Marian apparitions[1] that would call for an entirely different explanatory mechanism than "experiences of a resurrected Jesus" that include living in his physical presence for a month, physically exploring his crucifixion wounds, etc.. 

The two ends of the spectrum (visions vs. living with a tangible resurrected Jesus for an extended period) are entirely different phenomena.  All I'm asking is that you specify what sort of phenomenon the scholarly consensus accepts as historically credible and what I'm being called upon to explain.  Is that so hard?

I will instead confine myself to using the language stated in Fact #3.  I don't want this to be a stumbling block.

The "language" isn't the issue.  The issue is "what sort of phenomenon do the historians accept as credible history and on what basis?" 

In light of the fact that I have previously stated 7 times to not use the "40 days description", I honestly don't understand why you have asked the  above question.  I don't know if there is some hidden agenda or an ulterior motive behind asking this question or not,

From crybaby to paranoia...  M'kaaay.  No, it's not a nefarious plot on my part.  You're challenging me to "explain Fact #3," but you're doing your damndest to make sure the actual content of "Fact #3" is as vague as you can possibly make it.  You apparently want "Fact #3" to be something you can shape-shift at will from something comparable to Marian apparitions (which is probably the sort of "experiences of a resurrected Jesus" the scholarly consensus accepts) to "they lived with Jesus for 40 days and regularly poked their fingers in his wounds!" (which, based on your reaction here, is probably something the historians do not accept as fact).[2]

but to get things moving  forward, I will do what you've already done yourself in regard to your earlier explanations for the FMF.  And that is to publicly withdraw the  description of the 40 days thing.  I've already done this 7 times before... so this makes it 8 times now.

I hope 8 times is enough.

There, there.  Dry your tears Fran.  I'm going to interpret this to mean that you will refrain from shape-shifting "Fact #3" into an implicit claim that historians accept that the disciples lived with, touched, etc. a tangible post-resurrection Jesus as an indisputable fact of history.  OK? 

As to Admin_1's suggestion of discussing one point at a time... I have no problems with that.  But I would like to bring up a side observation  about my posts and their lengths.

It has often been claimed in here that my posts are too long.  Whether or not this is true ("too long" is subjective), I found it very interesting that  my last response to your admitted "multi-post zerg rush", actually falls within your request for "a post-per-turn limit of one or two posts" in this  debate.

And?  I never denied that I have the same inclination to send Posts of Unusual Size.  This was my original proposal for the rule (emphasis added):

Quote
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.

See that, Fran?  Both of us.  I didn't propose it as a way to bash you for writing long posts.  All I want to do with this rule is to try to make this discussion easier for both of us (and our audience as well) by dividing the discussion up into smaller, more easily-digestible pieces.  That's it.  That's the extend of my mustache-twirling evil plan.

You unleashed a 5 post blizzard.

Something I admitted, from the very beginning, that I have a tendency to do.  As "Gotchas!" go, this is pretty damn weak sauce, Fran.  But OK, ya got me.  I have a tendency to write epic multi-post blizzards, and I think the rule's just as valuable to keep me concise as to keep you concise.  Go ahead, do a victory dance if it makes you feel better.  Never mind that the proposed rule isn't actually in force yet, since you have yet to agree to it...   

My response was 8, and the 8th post was actually only a couple of short paragraphs.  So my response to your   5 posts was extremely close to 7 posts.  What makes this significant is that in all of my posts... I will usually copy and paste EVERY WORD  written by the person I'm responding to.  And that is what I did with your post.  I copied and pasted into my post,  EVERYTHING you wrote  before I responded.   So therefore, if we were to take your written stuff out of my posts, then my actual written response was really only 2 posts  in length... or 2 and 1/8th posts in length.  Well within range of your request for "a post-per-turn limit of one or two posts".

Anyway... I thought that was very interesting.

Yeah...really, really interesting.  &)

Anyway, back on topic: I think a 1-2 post-per-turn limit would make this debate easier for both of us, since we wouldn't end up hurling book-length treatises at each other, and more digestible for our audience.  If you think it would be counter-productive and want no limit on number of posts per turn, just say so and decline to accept it as a rule for our debate.  It's that simple.
 1. Which could explain why historians would consider them credible--people have these sorts of experiences today.  They find them to be powerful confirmations of faith, and other people who do not see the apparitions can still be convinced that they're real through the testimony of the "visionaries."
 2. If they did, you would surely trumpet it from the hilltops with as many citations as you could produce, as it would make your case for a miraculous physical resurrection much stronger.
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Offline Fran

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2010, 01:41:21 PM »
Hello Kcrady...

Quote
Fran
Six times in my prior post I said I was willing to drop the specific description of his followers eating and fishing, etc with a post-mortem Jesus.    Six times.  It is actually seven times if I count my response to Anfauglir in the comment thread.  So why are you still bringing it up?

Kcrady
Fran, all I'm trying to do is get you to clearly define what your scholarly consensus actually says with regard to the alleged post-resurrection  appearances of Jesus.  You whipped out the Doubting Thomas story and the "they lived with Jesus for 40 days" thing as if those were historical  facts, and tried to include them under the umbrella of Fact #3.  We called you on it, asking you to cite your scholars to that effect.  You can't do  that, because the scholarly consensus does not accept those accounts as factual.  Now you're backpedaling and taking a crybaby attitude. 


Kcrady... I have repeatedly stated that the 40 days thing was a description/testimony of the appearances which is part of the NT documents.   That much is a fact.  It is a fact that what they witnessed was testified to and written in Acts and Gospels.  It's there in black and white for  everyone to read.  Even Anfauglir was able to read it and confirm that the description was written in the NT documents because he tells us  about it.

But whether it is a fact or not is completely irrelevant to my case... and that is my entire point... and the reason why I am very willing to not use  that language in our debate.  Unless of course you try and introduce your own language, in which case I will ask you to prove your point as you  have kept asking me to do so.

What you seem to fail to realize is that my case is called  the FMF case for a reason.  Both Craig and Habermas purposely wanted to use facts  and evidences with a high degree of certainity in their premises... in their syllogism.  This minimal facts approach considers only those data for  the premises that are so strongly attested historically that they are granted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, even the rather  skeptical ones.  And that is what is important... trying to find those facts agreed upon by both skeptics and non-skeptics.  A common ground if  you will.   Each FMF in the Resurrection hypothesis meets two criteria:  They are well evidenced and nearly every scholar accepts them. 

So in a very real sense, this approach would be an example of using the "lowest common denominator" of agreed-upon facts.  This is meant to  keep our attention on the central issue, instead of side-tracking into matters that are irrelevant.  And as I've repeatedly stated in this forum, this  approach avoids the debate over the inspiration of the Bible... it avoids the debate over the inerrancy of the Bible.

This is a very crucial component of the FMF case because neither you nor anyone else can use the argument: "Well, the Bible has errors, so  we can't believe that Jesus rose."  In such cases, my side can (and I have done so repeately in here) push this argument to the side with: "I am  not arguing at this time for the innerancy or inspiration of the Bible or even for its general trustworthiness.  Believers and skeptics alike accept  the FMF I'm using because they are so strongly supported. These FMF must be addressed."

So I don't need to defend the general reliability of the Bible or whether the 40 days thing is wrong or right.  It's irrelevant to the FMF case.  The  scholars can disagree about what the disciples actually saw... but they nearly all agree that different individuals and groups of people  experienced on different occasions and under various circumstances, appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.  That is a historical fact.  A  fact you need to address.

Can you see this?  Don't you see that I could be COMPLETELY WRONG about the 40 days thing, and yet that won't effect Fact #3 in the  least... or effect my case... because it is completely irrelevant to the Resurrection hypothesis.  What is relevant is the historical fact that many  people experienced an appearance of Jesus alive from the dead. That is a fact you need to address.  The Resurrection explains it.  And now  you need to postulate a natural hypothesis that explains Fact #3 more reasonably than the Resurrection hypothesis.

Are we clear now?  I could be completely wrong about the 40 days thing, and yet it doesn't matter a whit to the debate because it's completely  irrelevant.

Now, this does not mean there are not other background facts which comes into play during our debate.  For example, the FMF does not say  that Irael or Rome were real places.  But we all know they were.  Does that fact have to be listed BEFORE the debate?  The FMF doesn't say  that crucifixions were real historical events... but we all know they were.  Does it have to be listed?  The FMF does not say that women were  treated as 2nd class citizens (at least in law) in Israel... because we all know they were.  Does that have to be listed?  The FMF does not say  that Rome occupied Israel... but we all know it did.  Does that have to be listed?  On and on it goes. 

During our debate, You and I will undoubtedly be introducing many "facts" in an attempt to buttress our hypothesis... and it is during our debate  that we can challenge them.  Look at all the debates between WLC and atheists.  This is exactly what happens.

The FMF are not the only facts that come into play when we are trying to ascertain the most reasonable explanation for the FMF.   As I've said  before, we have a vast background to work with and within.  And for my case, I don't need to state that the 40 days thing is a fact (even if i  personally believe it is).  It is irrelevant for my case.

Quote
Kcrady
The two ends of the spectrum (visions vs. living with a tangible resurrected Jesus for an extended period) are entirely different phenomena.  All  I'm asking is that you specify what sort of phenomenon the scholarly consensus accepts as historically credible and what I'm being called upon  to explain.  Is that so hard?


And it's irrelevant.  It would also be begging the question.  If I say that it is a fact in my syllogism... in my premises that Jesus walked and talked  and ate and fished with his disciples after his death... does this not show that I have sneaked in the Resurrection (the thing we are debating)  into my premises?   Of course it does!!!!!

Anyway... we both know that the effects of visions vs. a real tangible resurrected Jesus with a physical body on people will be different.  And  so... Fact #3 allows you, the skeptic, to postulate that a vision or an hallucination may have occured.  But my argument is that neither has the  explanatory scope for Fact #4 as the Resurrection hypothesis does.  And that is all I need to demonstrate that the Resurrection is more  reasonable as a hypothesis than a natural explanation like a vision or an hallucination.  Because it has more explanatory scope and fits in with  the facts better than the natural explanation.

If you disagree, you'll have to explain why.

You see, a skeptic can agree that the disciples saw SOMETHING, but not agree on what was seen... and therefore a consensus can be  formed among both skeptic and non-skeptic scholars that something was seen by the disciples.  We may not be able to agree on what they  saw, but we can agree that they saw something.  And it is precisely for that reason that Fact #3 is worded as it is.  How can there be a  consensus among SKEPTICS and non-skeptics over what was seen by the disciples when skeptics themselves do not believe in the  Resurrection in the first place?  That is logically impossible.  Not to mention this would be begging the question as I mentioned above.

Quote
Kcrady
The "language" isn't the issue.  The issue is "what sort of phenomenon do the historians accept as credible history and on what basis?" 

There is no consensus between skeptics and non-skeptics about what sort of phenomenon occured in Fact #3.  Why would a skeptic agree  that the disciples ate and walked and fished with a post-mortem Jesus when as skeptics, they don't believe such things are possible in the first  place?  They wouldn't have of course.  That would be absured.   And so that is why I withdrew using the 40 days language... not to mention that  it actually begs the question.  But what is relevant and what is factual and agreed upon by both skeptics and non-skeptics alike is that different
individuals and groups of people experienced on different occasions and under various circumstances, appearances of Jesus alive from the  dead.

And it is that experience... that phenomen... that fact... which must be addressed in our competing hypothesis.  We can introduce ANY  explanation we want to address the phenomenon in an attempt to come up with a working hypthesis.  Once you 've introduced your explanation  for that phenomenon (whatever it might be)... we can then look at it and see if it is more reasonable than the Resurrection hypothesis for that  same phenomenon.  And we do that partly by looking at the next fact.... Fact #4.   Does your working natural hypothesis have more explanatory  power to address Fact #4 (and other facts) than the Resurrection hypothesis?


Quote
Fran
In light of the fact that I have previously stated 7 times to not use the "40 days description", I honestly don't understand why you have asked the   above question.  I don't know if there is some hidden agenda or an ulterior motive behind asking this question or not,

Kcrady
From crybaby to paranoia...  M'kaaay.  No, it's not a nefarious plot on my part.  You're challenging me to "explain Fact #3," but you're doing your  damndest to make sure the actual content of "Fact #3" is as vague as you can possibly make it.  You apparently want "Fact #3" to be  something you can shape-shift at will from something comparable to Marian apparitions (which is probably the sort of "experiences of a  resurrected Jesus" the scholarly consensus accepts) to "they lived with Jesus for 40 days and regularly poked their fingers in his wounds!"  (which, based on your reaction here, is probably something the historians do not accept as fact).[2]

I've already said this, but I will say it again.

If it was not vague... but if Fact #3 was clearly stated to say that it was REALLY Jesus eating and walking and talking and fishing with the disciples, that would beg the question by introducing the conclusion INTO the premise since we are debating what the phenomonen was in the first place.  Was what they saw a Resurrected Jesus or a vision, etc?  See this?

Anyway... Fact #3 is not vague in telling us that a phenomenon occured in which different individuals and groups of people experienced on different occasions and under various circumstances, appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.   This is absolutely no different than all the UFO sightings we have.   Eyewitness reports and descriptions about UFO's are often contradictory and incomplete.  And there is always different opinions about what was seen.  Some say it was a craft from outer space.  Others say it was the result of a more mundane explanation like balloons, etc.

The descriptions from UFO eyewitnesses are vague and incomplete and contradictory.  The only thing you can say for sure... as a  fact... was that something was seen and experienced by all the UFO eyewitnesses.   What they actually saw is not agreed upon.   

This is exactly what is happening with Fact #3 in the FMF's case.   You are not going to get a vast majority of scholars to agree on what was seen by the disciples because you are dealing with both skeptics and non-skeptics.   What is agreed upon though is that different individuals and groups of people experienced on different occasions and under various circumstances, appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.

Can we know for sure what they saw?   Well, we are not looking for absolute certainity.  We are looking for what is most reasonable.   And that is why the FMF introduces multiple facts... not just one.   Fact #3 is not isolated from the other facts in my case.   The other facts (premises) surrounding Fact #3 offer clues as to what is the most reasonable explanation.  Whatever explanation we put forth to explain Fact #3 has to fit in and gel with the surrounding facts more reasonably than a competing hypothesis.

Vague?  It doesn't tell us what they saw.  But that is where logic and common sense and reason and facts and critical thinking and research come into play.  You can theorize ANY explanation for Fact #3 you want.  You have that room.  You can postulate a fake Jesus... an hallucination... a vision... a twin Jesus... a ghost... an apperition... a Resurrected Jesus... anything you want.   

But it doesnt end there.  Because whatever you postulate, it needs to explain and fit it with the other premises and facts and background (context) of the society and the people in question.  And it needs to do it more reasonably than the Resurrection hypothesis.

Quote
Fran
but to get things moving  forward, I will do what you've already done yourself in regard to your earlier explanations for the FMF.  And that is to  publicly withdraw the  description of the 40 days thing.  I've already done this 7 times before... so this makes it 8 times now.

I hope 8 times is enough.

Kcrady
There, there.  Dry your tears Fran.  I'm going to interpret this to mean that you will refrain from shape-shifting "Fact #3" into an implicit claim that  historians accept that the disciples lived with, touched, etc. a tangible post-resurrection Jesus as an indisputable fact of history.  OK?

Making an implicit claim in my FMF and in my premises that historians accept that the disciples lived with, touched, etc. a tangible post-resurrection Jesus as an indisputable fact of history would beg the question, as noted above.

Also, like with the UFO phenomenon or with abortion or with taxes or with the economic stimulus package or any other controversial topics, you will not get a unaminous consensus about what the facts are... or about what the conclusions from the facts should be.   So it would be foolish to think that you will get a skeptic to agree that the disciples saw a Resurrected Jesus just because the disciples said so.  That is why Fact #3 cannot be worded in such a way as to include within it,  the conclusion which is being debated.

But this goes both ways also.  If there is no consensus among scholars about  what precisely the disciples saw, then how can a skeptic say they saw a vision or an hullicination or even a martian?    In fact, when a skeptic does this, they are attempting to explain Fact #3.  And this would be no different than if I try and explain it by saying they saw and experienced a Resurrected Jesus.

The 40 days thing is how I explain Fact #3.  But that would beg the question if it was inserted in my syllogism.  And so in actuality,  the 40 days things (Resurrectd Jesus) is really the conclusion i'm after.  The Resurrected Jesus (40 days thing) is the explanation... not the premise.  It's my conclusion based on the FMF.

Just as there is no clear consensus that Jesus was Resurrected among scholars (skeptics and nonskeptics), so there would be no clear consensus about the 40 days thing, because both ideas are talking about the same thing... a Resurrection.

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Kcrady
That's the extend of my mustache-twirling evil plan.

I don't think you are evil or that you have any evil plans.  I never implied it or said it.

Quote
Fran
You unleashed a 5 post blizzard.

Kcrady
Something I admitted, from the very beginning, that I have a tendency to do.  As "Gotchas!" go, this is pretty damn weak sauce, Fran.  But OK,  ya got me.  I have a tendency to write epic multi-post blizzards, and I think the rule's just as valuable to keep me concise as to keep you  concise.  Go ahead, do a victory dance if it makes you feel better.  Never mind that the proposed rule isn't actually in force yet, since you have  yet to agree to it...

This wasn't meant to be a "Gotcha".  I wasn't trying to score points here. I am not doing any victory dances or even thought of it.   I think you are projecting here.   I was only recognizing what even you understood about yourself, that we both may have a tendency to write multi-posts. It's that simple.

Quote
Kcrady
Anyway, back on topic: I think a 1-2 post-per-turn limit would make this debate easier for both of us, since we wouldn't end up hurling  book-length treatises at each other, and more digestible for our audience.  If you think it would be counter-productive and want no limit on  number of posts per turn, just say so and decline to accept it as a rule for our debate.  It's that simple.

Well, I don't know if it's that simple.  The reason why I will include in my posts what is written by the person I'm responding to, is so that they, the audience, and myself do not have to keep looking back into previous posts to see what I'm responding to.

Context is very important to me.  And personally, when I read debate transcripts with time limits, it can be time-consuming and frustrating to have to keep flipping pages or scroll back to find out exactly was said that a person is responding to.   What I love is the idea of what debate judges do when they develop a horizontal timeline of responses to see what was responded to and what was not responded to.  That is part of the criteria by which they judge a "winner".    For me, as a reader, this is great because I can then see very plainly the progression of the argument and see if a person is really answering the question as it was being asked.

This is part of the reason why my posts are long... and this was why I was showing you earlier that my 7 post response could easily be a 2 post response if I did not include all the quotes from the other person.   But including them is vital i think to establish continuity and context and precision about what was said.  I think it also makes it easier for the audience so that they don't have to keep scrolling back to an earlier post to see what response is addressing.

It is for that reason that I hesitate to agree to a hard and fast rule about length.  I don't mind making a good faith effort to try and shorten my posts.  But at the moment, because of the reasons above, I'm not comfortable with a hard rule about length.  Yet.

Take Care
Fran

Offline kcrady

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Re: Did a man named Jesus rise from the dead - Thread #2?
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2010, 07:42:45 AM »
I believe that - in this debate - it is encumbent on Fran to either state from the outset which of the Gospel descriptions he believes are valid and must be explained, or to agree that none of them can later be called in by him as rebuttal to a particular scenario.

I think Anfauglir is quite right here.  The only thing I would change is to replace "he believes are" above with "the scholarly consensus accepts as" since the putative strength of the 4MF argument is the scholarly consensus behind the alleged "facts."  And if (as you seem to state in your previous post) the scholarly consensus does not agree that any particular Gospel description represents historical fact, then Anfauglir's latter option is the only proper choice.   So how 'bout it, Fran? 
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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