Monday, October 29, 2012

The ending to my Infidels paper on miracles.

The paper is here.

If my foregoing discussion is correct, opponents of, say, the resurrection of Jesus cannot appeal to a general theory of probability to prove that anyone who accepts the resurrection is being irrational. It is also a consequence that different people can reasonably expected to have different credence functions with respect to Christian (and other) miracle claims. If you want to convince some people that Christ was resurrected, you have a much heavier burden of proof than you have in convincing others. It must be noted that there is no way, on the model I have presented, to show that everyone who denies the Resurrection is irrational, or engaged in bad faith. Of course, one can still believe that unbelievers disbelieve because of "sin" or "suppressing the truth," or what have you. But given the legitimate differences that can exist concerning the antecedent probability of the miraculous, I don't see how such charges can be defended. So the lesson here, I think, is that both apologetics and anti-apologetics should be engaged in persuasion, not coercion, and that the attempt to ground irrationality charges against one's opponents is a misguided enterprise.[22]


Boz said...

Victor Reppert, what antecedent probability would you apply to a person being ressurected?

Mr. Mcgranor said...

The heck with them.

B. Prokop said...

He might answer your question after you learn how to spell "resurrection" correctly.

In any event (maybe it's because I'm not a philosopher) I've always found this probability stuff to be complete and utter nonsense. There are only two possible probabilities for an event that's already occurred (or not occurred) - one and zero.

Victor Reppert said...

Unfortunately, it's only possible to consider one piece of evidence at a time, so people are going to differ on their antecedent probability for the Resurrection.

How you answer questions like this is relevant:

How likely is it that there is a God?
How likely is it that God, if he existed, would try to so something to communicate with us?
How reasonable in general are the claims of Christianity.