Is it Fair for Skeptics to use Probability to Counter Christian Supernatural Claims?

Christian: Consider two related propositions:

P1: “God exists.” (Or if you like, consider “The christian God exists.”)
P2: “No gods exist.” (Or “The christian God doesn’t exist.”)

Now, would you assign approximately the same probabilities to each proposition? Or would you give a greater level of assent to P2 than P1?  Unless you assign approximately 50% probability to each proposition, then you do indeed have a belief in the proposition you assign that larger probability to. I’d be interested in your answer here.

Gary: This statement presupposes that it is wrong for human beings to give a greater probability to two possible events; that doing so proves that you are biased. This is false.

Personal experience and collective human experience has given each one of us an internal “probability guide”. For instance, how many of us (who live in the United States) stop before crossing every bridge in the United States, requesting to see the latest safety inspection report for each bridge?

No one.

Based on personal and collective experience, we trust that the bridges in the United States are safe.

Now, transport us to a third world country; to the hinterland of that country, and set us in front of a rickety, old, wooden bridge that creaks, sways, and pieces of board give way and fall thousands of feet to the bottom of a deep ravine when the car ahead of you crosses it. So what’s the problem? It is a bridge. You have crossed thousands of bridges in your life and not one has collapsed, why worry about this one?

The problem is that you have never experienced seeing a bride sway, creak, and lose pieces of wood prior to driving over it. This is an “extra-ordinary” bridge. You are justified in being wary of it. You are justified in demanding extraordinary evidence to believe that this bridge is safe for you to cross. And so with the claims of the Bible. You have never seen, nor has anyone you know ever seen, a three-day-dead body walk out of his grave. You are very justified in being very skeptical of this claim and demanding extra-ordinary evidence to believe it.  And the same logic can be applied to the question of the existence of the Christian god, Yahweh.  Since no one has ever seen or heard Yahweh, you are justified to demand very extra-ordinary evidence to believe that Yahweh exists.


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