Jonathan McLatchie*, Christian apologist: Unfortunately, [skeptics] fail to justify [their] criterion of what counts as acceptable evidence [for an extra-ordinary claim]. …[Skeptics] appear to be assigning the sort of evidence required to justify [extra-ordinary claims] arbitrarily and subjectively. Before any discussion about miracles can proceed, there need to be clear standards of evidence which are relevant to the sort of claims being made. One cannot simply gerrymander the standards of evidence to conveniently fit either their faith or their skepticism.
Gary: Theists often howl when skeptics demand extraordinary evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus claim. They insist we skeptics have no valid justification for demanding extra-ordinary evidence for this claim and proceed to give reasons why we non-supernaturalists are being unreasonable and irrational. So instead of engaging in an endless debate regarding what kind of claim requires extra-ordinary evidence and what that extra-ordinary evidence would consist of, I simply respond with this:
I demand the same quality of evidence that you demand to believe Mohammad’s claim that he rode on a winged horse into outer space (heaven), the Buddha’s claim that he caused a water buffalo to speak in a human language for 30 minutes, or Joseph Smith’s claim that he was visited by an angel with golden plates.
If Christian apologists will admit that the above Muslim, Hindu, and Mormon claims are “highly plausible” I am more than happy to admit that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is “highly plausible”.
McLatchie: Deviation from the physical regularities, therefore, is hardly a useful consideration in determining the prior probability of a miraculous occurrence such as the resurrection
Gary: Let’s go with the Christian claim that supernatural events do occur in our universe. Let’s also assume that thousands if not millions of supernatural events occur each and every year (all manner of answered prayers, including healings). Even if we include these supernatural events in our calculation of probability, it does not change the fact that even Christians believe that a resurrection has only happened ONCE in history. So when an individual or group of people claims/claim that they have seen a “risen from the dead” body, probability still suggests that a there is another more probable explanation than a resurrection.
*Dr Jonathan McLatchie is a Christian writer, international speaker, debater, assistant professor at Sattler College, Boston, and fellow of the Discovery Institute. He holds a Bachelor’s degree (with Honors) in Forensic Biology, a Masters (M.Res) degree in Evolutionary Biology, a second Master’s degree in Medical and Molecular Bioscience, and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology. Currently, Jonathan is an assistant professor at Sattler College in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also working on his MA in Biblical Studies at Southern Evangelical Seminary. Jonathan is a contributor to various apologetics websites, including CrossExamined.org and AnsweringMuslims.com. He is also a contributor at Evolution News & Science Today, the official blog of the Discovery Institute.
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