Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ehrman's nonrepeatability argument against the resurrection

Doug Benscoter argues that this argument wouldn't just rule out the Resurrection, it would rule out the Big Bang.

19 comments:

B. Prokop said...

Ehrman's exclusion of non-repeatable events seems a bit arbitrary there. Worse, it is putting the cart before the horse. Worst, it is assuming the conclusion before presenting the case.

The miraculous are by definition non-repeatable events. So if you are going to throw out all events that cannot be repeated (essentially by fiat and personal whim) you have very much begged the question.

"Move along, move along, nothing to see here..."

Papalinton said...

To construe miracles as 'events' is misleading and tendentious. It is by strict definition an outcome.

People falling to earth in a broken plane will all experience this same event. Most will die, by reason of gravity, and altitude and orientation of the plane. One, or a few may survive. The miracle of the few is the tragic reality for the rest. Unless of course, their deaths are construed as miracles because their god has decided to call in their chips well before they are due, to meet up with Him.

Miracles by definition is the scoring of the positive to the total exclusion of all the correlative negatives. A miracle is truly an asinine concept, by definition. Miracles are the substitute for explanations within the primitive mindset.

BeingItself said...

That's an exceptionally feeble argument by Ehrman.

Doug Benscoter said...

Here's the transcript to the debate: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-there-historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-the-craig-ehrman

I don't want to misinterpret Ehrman. It's possible that his objection is more sophisticated than I've made it out to be, but I wouldn't know how to make it any stronger.

Papalinton said...

Doug
"I don't want to misinterpret Ehrman. It's possible that his objection is more sophisticated than I've made it out to be, but I wouldn't know how to make it any stronger."

Could it be you are addressing the issue through your theologized stance which would by its very nature disallow alternative perspectives to be entertained as bona fide?

Syllabus said...

Could it be you are addressing the issue through your theologized stance which would by its very nature disallow alternative perspectives to be entertained as bona fide?

People in glass houses...

Dan Gillson said...

... should change in the basement.

Doug Benscoter said...

Papalinton, I'm more interested in the soundness of an argument than the psychology of myself or anyone else.

Papalinton said...

Erhman is the foremost scholar and intellectual on the historicity of the NT.

I would venture that Erhman's understanding and expertise of the NT would be far in excess of your somewhat glib aside about the questionable sophistication of his argument, Doug.

A little vainglory in the comment, methinks with Victor gleefully sweeping up anything that props up the Christian fable?

As for the claim of non-repeatability, Erhman is correct. The Jesus mythos is a-historical in that it does not meet the minimum benchmark to be considered historical in the ordinary sense. Indeed the Jesus mythos is a sequence of cascading miracles; virgin birth, resurrection and physical levitation into the blue beyond, each miracle in and of themselves constituting non-repeatable events that are a-historical in the true sense and understanding of the pre-requisites necessary to establish events as historically verified. Unless of course Christian are prepared to accept the repeatability requirement to verify Jesus's birth, resurrection and ascension.

There are innumerable other gods that have resulted from virgin births, been resurrected and gone to Valhalla, to the heavens, to the home of gods etc. With the strength of history of so many and varied contemporaneous and past Gods to support the Christian claim, there is no question Jesus's story would meet the minimum standard of repeatability required for historical verifiability.

And Erhman is right, without this criterion, the Jesus story is a crock of mythological shit.

It's not rocket science folks. It's a myth to which we have become conditioned and habituated. But. It. is. still. a. myth.

B. Prokop said...

"Erhman is the foremost scholar and intellectual on the historicity of the NT."

Mmmm... I believe that title ought to go to Pope Emeritus Benedict. His Jesus of Nazareth trilogy sets the standard.

Doug Benscoter said...

Papalinton, Ehrman is a Biblical scholar, but he's not a philosopher. The "glib" criticism I make has to do with a philosophical argument he offers. People can be brilliant in one area, and ignorant in another. By the way, I use "ignorant" in a technical sense, and not in an insulting manner.

Papalinton said...

Doug
The non-repeatability criterion is a factor of historical research not philosophy. So whatever philosophical assessment you make is irrelevant and inconsequential to the central issue of determining evidence. Philosophy by its very nature is a moving feast, depending exclusively on the initial premise one uses and how it is framed. That is why there are as many philosophers on one side of the fence as there are on the other.

Philosophy at the level of blog comments are little more than talkfests.

Papalinton said...

Philosophy at the level of blog comments are little more than talkfests.

should read:

Philosophy at the level of blog comments is little more than a folksy talkfest.

Doug Benscoter said...

Historical research, much like scientific research, has philosophical presuppositions. I once wrote a paper critiquing Karl Popper's philosophy of science. Likewise, it's perfectly legitimate to criticize a philosophical assumption that one historian (Ehrman) makes.

Doug Benscoter said...

Also, you may be right that philosophy done on blog comments are a bit hit-or-miss, but I am a qualified philosopher and theologian. Not that you care about the theology part, but at the risk of tooting my own horn, I do know my philosophy.

Papalinton said...

I have no doubt you know how to philosophize as an expert, because you have told me as much.
Your philosophy however is practised with one objective in mind, the misdirected and ultimately fruitless attempt at legitimating primitive theological concepts going forward.

Theology and philosophy can relatively easily engender a perception of being natural bedfellows. But it is a false perception, nonetheless. Clearly, your disposition towards theology and philosophy is inextricable, despite any protestation you may raise.

For me, I don't apologize for my atheism and I freely declare it a properly basic grounding that informs my POV.

Papalinton said...

Doug
In follow-up, you comment:
" Historical research, much like scientific research, has philosophical presuppositions. I once wrote a paper critiquing Karl Popper's philosophy of science. Likewise, it's perfectly legitimate to criticize a philosophical assumption that one historian (Ehrman) makes."

They do. But the presuppositions in science is supported by the evidence of the research. Philosophy has no such supervening grounding onto which it can attach, unless it is declared within and accounted for in the context of its initial premise.

Philosophy as practised by theologians is not disciplined by evidence and proofs and fact. Rather there is an over-reliance on the nature of the logic flow to substantiate a claim. But as we know the logic flow of a philosophical argument cannot of itself prove or disprove the veridicality of the initial premise. In philosophy it is easy to reach a logical conclusion and generate a false positive in proof of the false premise.

With science, not so much because of the mandated requirement to satisfy the criterion of falsifiability.

B. Prokop said...

"At the risk of tooting my own horn, I do know my philosophy."

Doug, you should have known better than that. When dealing with the gnus, an expertise in philosophy is considered by them to be a negative!

Doug Benscoter said...

Haha Bob, you may be onto something! It's as if philosophy and theology are necessarily antithetical, which is patently false.