True or False: The More Outrageous the Claim, the Less Credible even the most Respected of Eyewitnesses

Image result for image of a red camaro

 

Conservative Christian:  If a person wishes to tie the reliability of an eyewitness of an event to the probability of that event taking place, then the reliability of an eyewitness of any event is eroded completely. Not only has the person eliminated the reliability of the New Testament eyewitnesses, but he has eliminated the reliability of eyewitnesses of crimes, eyewitnesses of non-criminal events, and eyewitnesses of events in his own life- himself included.

Gary:  I would bet that most people in the United States, regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion would agree that the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, is an honorable, very intelligent, trustworthy man.

So if today, Chief Justice Roberts claims on national television that he saw a beautiful red Chevy Camaro pass in front of his house yesterday, I would bet that 99.99% of the American public would accept the historical factuality of this claim based solely on the word of Justice Roberts.

Now, let’s change the claim:  Let’s say that Chief Justice Roberts says on national television today that, yesterday, he saw Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton parked in front of his house, making out with one another.

That is a pretty startling accusation, wouldn’t you say?  My personal opinion (and I would bet that of the majority of the American public) would be that Justice Roberts may have sincerely BELIEVED that he saw Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton making out in a car in front of his house yesterday, but he is most probably wrong.  The people in the car simply LOOKED like Trump and Clinton, but it wasn’t really them.  However, since Justice Roberts has such a stellar reputation for honesty and integrity, I will bet that as outrageous as this claim is, a significant minority of the American people would believe his claim.

Now, let’s make the claim even more bizarre (extra-ordinary):  Today, on national television, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, claimed that yesterday, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant suddenly appeared in his bedroom, chatted with him for three hours, allowed him to touch them, and was then taken up into heaven by them where he chatted with his deceased grandparents…and then was brought down back to his bedroom and the three former presidents disappeared after a warm hand-shake.

What percentage of the American public would believe this claim?  I would bet a very, very small percentage.  I would bet that the overwhelming majority of the American public would suggest that Justice Roberts be examined by a team of doctors for some physical or mental disorder which has led him to conceive such a wild, outrageous, tale.

Do you see how the improbability of a claim very definitely affects the credibility of even the most respectable, trustworthy of eyewitnesses?

Image result for image of ulysses grant

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