We respond to Stephen T. Davis’ criticism of our earlier essay, “Assessing the Resurrection Hypothesis.” We argue that the Standard Model of physics is relevant and decisive in establishing the implausibility and low explanatory power of the Resurrection hypothesis. We also argue that the laws of physics have entailments regarding God and the supernatural and, against Alvin Plantinga, that these same laws lack the proviso “no agent supernaturally interferes.” Finally, we offer Bayesian arguments for the Legend hypothesis and against the (...) Resurrection hypothesis. (shrink)
The hypothesis that God supernaturally raised Jesus from the dead is argued by William Lane Craig to be the best explanation for the empty tomb and postmortem appearances of Jesus because it satisfies seven criteria of adequacy better than rival naturalistic hypotheses. We identify problems with Craig’s criteria-based approach and show, most significantly, that the Resurrection hypothesis fails to fulfill any but the first of his criteria—especially explanatory scope and plausibility.
We respond to Swinburne’s reply to our critique of his argument for the Resurrection by defending the relevance of our counterexamples to his claim that God does not permit grand deception. We reaffirm and clarify our charge that Swinburne ignores two crucial items of Negative Natural Theology (NNT)—that God has an exceptionally weak tendency to raise the dead and that even people with exemplary public records sometimes sin. We show, accordingly, that our total evidence makes it highly probable that Jesus (...) was not sinless, incarnate, or resurrected and that God has permitted massive deception regarding these defining Christian dogmas. (shrink)
In response to Stephen Davis’s criticism of our previous essay, we revisit and defend our arguments that the Resurrection hypothesis is logically incompatible with the Standard Model of particle physics—and thus is maximally implausible—and that it cannot explain the sensory experiences of the Risen Jesus attributed to various witnesses in the New Testament—and thus has low explanatory power. We also review Davis’s reply, noting that he evades our arguments, misstates their conclusions, and distracts the reader with irrelevancies regarding, e.g., what (...) natural laws are, what a miracle is, and how “naturalism” and “supernaturalism” differ as worldviews. Contrary to what Davis claims (even in his abstract), we do not argue that “if the Standard Model of particle physics is true, then the resurrection of Jesus did not occur and physical things can only causally interact with other physical things.” Davis distorts our claims and criticizes straw men of his own creation. (shrink)
We use Bayesian tools to assess Law’s skeptical argument against the historicity of Jesus. We clarify and endorse his sub-argument for the conclusion that there is good reason to be skeptical about the miracle claims of the New Testament. However, we dispute Law’s contamination principle that he claims entails that we should be skeptical about the existence of Jesus. There are problems with Law’s defense of his principle, and we show, more importantly, that it is not supported by Bayesian considerations. (...) Finally, we show that Law’s principle is false in the specific case of Jesus and thereby show, contrary to the main conclusion of Law’s argument, that biblical historians are entitled to remain confident that Jesus existed. (shrink)
We consider the impact of negative natural theology on the prospects of Christian ramified natural theology with reference to Richard Swinburne’s argument for the Incarnation and Resurrection. We argue that Swinburne’s pivotal claim—that God would not allow deceptive evidence to exist for the Incarnation and Resurrection—is refuted by key evidence from negative natural theology. We argue, further, that Swinburne’s argument omits dominating items of evidence of negative natural theology which seem to critically weaken the probability of the Incarnation and Resurrection. (...) Negative natural theology thus serves as a formidable obstacle to Christian ramified natural theology. (shrink)
A number of Christian philosophers, most recently Gary R. Habermas and William Lane Craig, have claimed that there is sufficient historical evidence to establish the resurrection of Jesus conceived as the transformation of Jesus’ corpse into a living supernatural body that possesses such extraordinary dispositional properties as the inability to ever die again. I argue that, given this conception of resurrection, our only source of potential evidence, the New Testament Easter traditions, cannot provide adequate information to enable us to establish (...) the historicity of the resurrection---even on the assumption that these traditions are completely historically reliable. (shrink)