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Sunday, January 03, 2016

John Loftus does math. (Hoooowwwww?)

I returned to North America two days ago and found the copy of John Loftus' How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist that I had ordered, in a box from Amazon in my office. I bought it because Loftus attacks me in it, and of course I wanted to see what he would say this time.   But that's late in the book, and I haven't gotten to that chapter, yet.



Much of the book so far consists of (frankly) second-rate pleading of the sort you'd expect in a book written for an audience that enjoys high self-regard and a broad capacity for sneering, but has only weakly developed its skills in self-criticism, or has allowed them to atrophy.  The general assumption seems to be that "apologists" and atheists like John are separate species.  While apologists have evolved in a slip-shod fashion, so that their brains lie to them regularly, and they make astounding rational errors with frightening frequency, skeptics like John have been specially designed (in Evolution's secret laboratory underneath Palo Alto) as cool, collected, honest seekers for truth.  Often the effect of these two conceits is rather comical -- one might casually wonder, for instance, why those ever-so-rational skeptics (John especially) keep losing debates to those emotive and delusional Christians, in print even more than on the air.


But the most amusing part of the book comes about a hundred pages in, when Loftus takes a break from the lofty exercise of pure reason and attempts a mathematical argument. 



This is how it's done, folks.  As Robert the Bruce might put it, "You've bled Bayesian Mathematics with Richard Carrier.  Now bleed Statistical Analysis with me!"  This example might not do those incompetently-evolved apologists any good (what ever will?), but at least it will provide a path forward into Statistical Valhalla for the Brights.


Do Christian Apologists Swear by, or against, Evidence?


In Chapter 5, Loftus tells prospective apologists, "Accept Nothing Less Than Sufficient Evidence."  (That's after a chapter with a title offering similar good advice, "Get a Good Education"  -- which I daily attempt to help our students achieve.) 


Who disagrees with such a seemingly innocuous chapter title?  Who advocates believing for insufficient reasons?  Well, it turns out four fifths -- that's 80%, no problems so far -- of those crazy Christian apologists think one should believe without good evidence. 

On page 103, Loftus informs his readers that the "Evidential Method" is an "admitted failure by 80% of apologists."

Having admittedly skipped a bit, I wanted to know where John got that figure.   A few pages earlier, he explains that he finds five approaches to defending Christianity, only one of which is in his view legitimate, "apologetics based on sufficient objective evidence." The problem is, there isn't really much (if any) good evidence for Christianity, so apologists keep jumping ship from this paradigm.  They go looking for some other reason to believe besides good evidence -- the other four approaches.  On page 101, Loftus explains in full his method for determining that 80% of apologists "do not think there is sufficient objective evidence to believe:"

"There are roughly five overarching major apologetics methods.  If we grant that an equal number of Christian apologists defend these respective approaches, then any given one of them is rejected by 80 percent of all Christian apologists.  Since evidentialism is the only method that accepts the need for sufficient evidence, and it only has 20 percent support among apologists, then 80 percent of all Christian apologists do not think there is sufficient objective evidence to believe.  If that's not a crisis then what is?"



Obviously, the only real crisis this "argument" demonstrates is in the mind of John Loftus, and of his publishers, those who could blurb a book containing such a world-record stinker of an argument (yes, Dan Barker, Hector Avalos, Richard Dawkins, of course), and the New Atheism in general.


If your cognitive functions are as impaired by Christianity (or some other blow to the head) as mine are, you may think you spot a few problems with this argument:


(1) Loftus has categorized apologetic approaches into five groups.  Why should we take his categorization as normative?  He often seems to feel that whatever he seems to feel should be convincing -- that's a repeated theme of this book.  But speaking objectively, why should anyone else accept this system?  What if you find thirty categories, or I just find three?  


(2)  The entire argument appears to rest upon a grotesque category error.  Loftus seems to me to conflate five categories with the percentage of members of those categories

There is a 20% chance this dog of an argument
already lives in your brain.

To explain, suppose Loftus, that wily proto-scientist, were surveying the dog population of his home continent.  Here, I am afraid, is how we would have to translate the reasoning he offers above:


"There are roughly five species of dog in North America: the arctic wolf, the timber wolf, the fox, the coyote, and the domestic dog.  If we grant that an equal number of animals belong to each of these species, then only 20% of dogs in North America are domestic.  Since domestication is the only process that allows dogs to live with human beings, but it has only affected 20% of dogs, then 80% of dogs in North America are wild, ravenous beasts ready to eat your children and spread diseases. If that's not a crisis then what is?"


If that's not a bad argument, then what is?  Having translated it into biological categories, perhaps Richard Dawkins, a fan of John Loftus and fond of arguments involving canines, can now spy the error here -- if it is not a figment of my imagination.  (A reader suggests another good analogy for this bad argument: "You have either won or lost the lottery.  That means there's a 50% chance you won!")




(3) Note that Loftus also assumes not only that his categories are right, and that apologists belong to them in equal numbers, but that these categories are mutually-exclusive, when it comes to the question of evidence.  If you don't belong to Category One, you as much as admit that evidence for Christianity cannot be found.


Unfortunately this assumption is false, and Loftus knows it is false.  After the evidentialists, the second form of apologetics he identifies, he tendentiously calls "Apologetics based on special pleading," but notes is more often identified as "Classical Method, or Natural Theology."  This, he says, involves two steps, proving God from traditional arguments of various sorts, and then proving Christianity from historical or other arguments.


But this fails, Loftus asserts, because (he thinks) the traditional arguments are no good, can cite a few Christians who admit they don't like one or other of them that much (lesson: be honest, like an apologist?  nah!), and then wields his handy-dandy Outsider Test for Faith on the natural theologians.  (Even though Natural Theology purposefully begins by arguing to a God who transcends particular theistic religions: that's the whole point of a two-step approach!  And even though I've already shown, and Loftus has fumbled to respond in the year since I send him my book showing it, that Christianity passes the OTF in four ways.)


The key point, though, is it is simply and baldly false to say that Natural Theologians agree with Loftus' main claim, here:


"They) do not think there is sufficient evidence to believe."


Natural theologians think there is a lot of good evidence to believe in Christianity, whatever cheap tricks John Loftus may play to marginalize or deride their arguments.  Even Alvin Plantinga and others Loftus places in the "presuppositional" category think there are plenty of good arguments for Christianity.  And being a Natural Theologian myself (though I don't care about the two-step polka), I think there are, too.


And John KNOWS that.  He is simply choosing to paper over evident reality, to smooth the way for his grotesquely tendentious and scientifically-inept argument.


He also no doubt knows that people like C. S. Lewis and Richard Swinburne, whom he places in his Category Five, "Cumulative Case Method," not only don't "reject evidentialism" or "do not think there is sufficient evidence to believe," they in fact robustly argue that the evidence for Christian faith is powerful and extremely convincing.


John attacks this group of apologists, as usual, by sneering at them.  He calls this category "Eclectic Pragmatic Apologetics Based on Prior Conclusions."  He derides it thus:


"If the available evidence doesn't work, then first use the theistic proofs.  If the theistic proofs don't work, then switch back to presupposing what needs to be proved.  If presuppositionalism asks way more than any reasonable person should accept, then switch to the need for private subjective experiences of God somehow someway someday."


I have been trying, for some time now, to avoid the word "lie."  But I am finding it harder and harder to do so.


John Loftus is, I am sorry to say, not telling his readers what he surely knows to be true.  He knows, I am confident, that C. S. Lewis never admitted or implied that the evidence for Christianity was poor.  Lewis said just the opposite, many times, in many ways.


Lewis did use theistic proofs, especially the moral argument, and he certainly thought it worked.  He also thought miracles happened -- he recorded a few he himself, or friends, experienced, in letters and elsewhere.  He helped pioneer the sorts of anthropological arguments that I have developed in my books, and that tell so powerfully against Loftus' own OTF, and do so much more than that.  He also thought the argument for the deity of Christ -- and no, it was not limited to the Trilemma, our evolutionary superiors should read more of Lewis than his deliberately dumbed-down Mere Christianity, as they should read more of the great Blaise Pascal than his Wager, taken out of context -- he thought that the argument for Christianity from the life of Jesus was powerful and effective.  And those are not post-hoc rationalizations, those are reasons why Lewis himself came to believe, as he explains in Surprised by Joy and elsewhere.


So it is patently false that apologists in these other camps all admit that evidence for Christianity is poor.


(4) Loftus' reasoning appears to be, "If someone says a certain kind of evidence is not needed, then he is as much as admitting that such evidence either does not exist, or is insufficient."


But neither conclusion follows at all.  If I say, "I don't need to look outside to know that it's raining," that in no way constitutes an admission that visual inspection would show that the sun is now out.  Such a claim may be just an expression of laziness (I don't want to move the drapes) or of self-confidence, or bragging about a new bit of software or the acuity of one's ears ("I can hear the rain striking the roof!")   Watching such clumsy rhetorical weapons wielded on real philosophers, like Alvin Plantinga (who does say both that Christians may not need evidence, but that we have a lot of it), is just embarrassing.  One sees, in one's mind's eye, Plantinga's eyebrow rise a millimeter, and one cringes on John's behalf at that more-than-sufficient rebuke.




(5) In general, Loftus is here attempting a "divide and conquer" strategy that a child should see through.  He's trying to get apologists squabbling among themselves, so that they will take one another out, and Gnus can inherit an earth emptied of native teepees after all that fraternal strife.  This is much the same game Loftus plays with the Outsider Test for Faith, getting religions fighting over who has the "right religion,"positioning himself and his buddies as objective and above the fray.  Secular Humanists, after all, evolved --were specially designed by evolution -- to be free of such cognitive biases as afflict lesser mortals. 




If religious folks disagree with one another, that's evidence that they're all wrong, and we're right.  But if they agree with one another against us -- as on the fact that miracles do happen -- well that's evidence that they're all wrong, too, somehow.  (Don't ask John to explain the details, because he doesn't know a thing about theology of religions, even after skimming my book designed to explain it to Brights like John.  But besides bright, once also needs to be open.)




(6) So do apologists actually think as John says they do, that "There is insufficient evidence to believe in Christianity?"


With my lesser-evolved brain, I figured that the best way to find out what a given group of people think, would be to ask them.


So I posted the following question on an ecumenical site for Christian apologists:


How many of you agree with the statement "There is insufficient objective evidence to believe in Christianity?" How many disagree? How many unsure?


I need a strong response for this, please. "Agree" "Disagree" or "Unsure," is all that's required, though say more if you like. Five seconds. Thanks.


So far, 69 people have answered, mostly pretty clearly, adding just a few bells and whistles. 


The results?   So far:



"Disagree:" 65.  "Agree:" 2.  "Unsure:" 2. 

Some of the adverbial bells and whistles hung around the first answer have included "strongly" "profoundly," and "from the rock bottom."   

This, folks, is kind of what empirical evidence looks like.  You might want to check out the concept, John, if you want to continue your budding career as a social scientist. 

I am not going to argue, of course, that given this survey, "94% of Christian apologists think there is good evidence for Christianity, and only 3% disagree."  After all, while more categorically appropriate than "five groups," this is still a fairly small sample, and the particularly website I obtained it from -- ecumenical in philosophy as well as denomination though it is -- no doubt still suffers from peculiar biases, as does every group of humans. 


But I am inclined to suggest, in the face of even this much real empirical evidence, that John Loftus' argument be tossed into the trash compactor, with the apple cores and cantaloupe rinds.  That is a primitive reaction on my part, no doubt, due to the weakly-evolved state of my cognitive functions and an addiction to faith-based reasoning.  (Faith in reasoning and in the need for empirical evidence, for examples.) 

Send in the clowns . . .

Being prisoner of such irrational defenestrating  impulses, I thus let loose at the end of this post and say to my friend John Loftus:





"And you dare talk about honesty, science, caring for truth, and getting a good education?  Any movement in which such an argument fails to be laughed off circus grounds within minutes, even by the circus clowns, truly is a movement in crisis." 

97 comments:

Robert Childress said...

Oh, man. My mother has three dogs. Loftus Math means 2.4 of those dogs are disease ridden monsters. I HAVE TO WARN MY MOTHER.

More seriously, that anyone buys into any of this nonsense is kind of troubling. How is it possible to separate the so-called "Cumulative Case Method" from the so-called "Evidential Method," when generally a cumulative case is made from multiple arguments each of which are based on evidence? Likewise with Natural Theology. Natural Theology typically relies on observation and evidence to support premises.

Is Loftus playing games with the word "Evidential"?

im-skeptical said...

This sounds like a rather odd criticism coming from someone who divides humanity into two mutually exclusive categories: theists and communists.

I haven't read Loftus' book, but something tells me that you are not giving a fully accurate representation of what he is saying. What a surprise.

David B Marshall said...

Huh? Where did I do that? Can you please furnish a quote from me that says what you allege I say -- while we're being "skeptical?"

As for what "something tells you," again, unlike modern atheists, apparently, my standards for epistemology are too high to accept so nebulous a justification for belief -- Mr. "Skeptic." Come back when you have something.

Jackie Miller said...

Why would anyone consider a person's testimony from 2,000 years that claimed to have "visions" - Apostle Paul, as reliable? Would a courtroom today take that seriously?

David B Marshall said...

I don't know, Jackie. Do you have any evidence that courts systematically exclude testimony by people who see visions? Would you "skeptics" quit with the speculation, already, and offer a few facts to support your biases?

im-skeptical said...

"Where did I do that?"

We have discussed this before. You told me that communism is essentially equivalent to atheism, and you told me that you know this because of your expert knowledge of communism. Sorry, I don't particularly recall exactly which blog post this exchange took place in. It was a few years ago.

As for your interpretation of Loftus, I admit that I could be completely wrong, but I have read several of his books, and I think he's much more intelligent than you make him out to be. But then, it appears you didn't read the book, either.

David B Marshall said...

I don't think you're remembering correctly. Marxist-Leninist communism takes atheism as a premise. But that doesn't mean the two are the same. All M-L communism is atheistic. Not all atheism is communistic. So no, they are not "equivalent."

The point about Loftus is, if you're going to claim I'm misrepresenting him somehow (without having read the book!), you should give some evidence, not just throw out a blind assertion.

Jackie Miller said...

"I don't know, Jackie. Do you have any evidence that courts systematically exclude testimony by people who see visions?"

Do you have any evidence of a court of law admitting such evidence? There are plenty of people down at the psych ward who claim to have such experiences.

"Would you "skeptics" quit with the speculation, already, and offer a few facts to support your biases?"

Ok here's a fact. Paul equates his Damascus road vision with the appearances to the others in 1 Cor 15:5-8. He makes no distinction. Therefore, you can't claim that they were any different than Paul's experience which only involved a bright light and a disembodied voice. How about that one?

David B Marshall said...

You made the claim, Jackie. You have to back it up. That's how it works. Evidence that charismatic Christians are legally excluded from giving evidence in the US might work. But clearly you have no such evidence: you were just guessing, and guessing wrongly.

And where in I Cor 15 does Paul mention a "disembodied voice?" We know Paul was blinded by the experience: so when a blind man tells you he doesn't see someone but hears his voice, do you take that at evidence that the person he fails to see is a ghost? Interesting logic, but I'm not sure you're going to convince anyone with that argument.

Unknown said...

I made no claim. I asked two questions which you refuse to answer.

And if Paul was blinded then how could he have actually "seen" anything? The report says that Paul had a vision in which the companions did not see or hear properly. The voice comes from heaven so we can't be sure if it came from the physically resurrected corpse of Jesus or this was just a subjective heavenly vision. The bottom line is that Paul experienced a "vision" involving a bright light and a voice. This is not the same thing as physically touching a revivified corpse like the later gospels describe. Paul makes no distinction between the appearance to him and the appearances to the others.

David B Marshall said...

OK, your question, then: "Why would anyone consider a person's testimony from 2,000 years that claimed to have "visions" - Apostle Paul, as reliable? Would a courtroom today take that seriously?"

Then my answer is, unless you can provide contrary evidence, I know of no law or statute that excludes the testimony of people who have had visions. I have met people like that, and they weren't crazy, nor do I have any reason to think that their testimony would be particularly unreliable.

David B Marshall said...

Aside from which, I have read Paul, and it is obvious he was not nuts.

22056 said...

As is usually the case, always check the claims of non-Christians when it comes to scripture. Here is why...

Unknown said:

And if Paul was blinded then how could he have actually "seen" anything? The report says that Paul had a vision in which the companions did not see or hear properly. The voice comes from heaven so we can't be sure if it came from the physically resurrected corpse of Jesus or this was just a subjective heavenly vision. The bottom line is that Paul experienced a "vision" involving a bright light and a voice. This is not the same thing as physically touching a revivified corpse like the later gospels describe. Paul makes no distinction between the appearance to him and the appearances to the others.

Actually, what the text says is the following:

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:3-9, ESV)

First, notice that the text, when taken directly, only articulates that Paul was blind after he had the vision, not before.

Second, notice that there is the strong inference that Paul did see someone given that the text clearly points out that his companions also heard the voice but did not see anyone, which seems to imply that Paul both heard and saw someone whereas his companions did not.

Third, notice that the second point is supported by Acts 9:26-27 (ESV):

26 And when he [Paul] had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.

Cont...

2056 said...

Cont...

Finally, there are other relevant texts to take into account:

12 “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And [h]at that very time I looked up at him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an [i]utterance from His mouth. 15 For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22:12-15)

10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks. 11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (Acts 23:10-11, ESV)

12 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:12-18, ESV)

When taken in totality, I think all these passages make it fairly clear that Paul did not just see a bright light, but he actually saw a person who called himself Jesus Christ, and so the claim that Paul did not see Jesus in the body simply does not stand up to scrutiny.

22056
www.investigativeapologetics.wordpress.com

Unknown said...

If Jesus was actually there then why didn't the other companions see him? Could this have been a vision that was only fully experienced by Paul as in he "saw" Jesus in his mind?

Unknown said...

So if someone stood on the witness stand and said they saw a vision of a dead guy that had come back to life you think they would take that seriously? Lol, living in a dream world!

David B Marshall said...

Actually, I'm living in a world in which almost 2 billion people DO believe Paul's testimony, including me -- for very good reasons.

You might want to start with "The Prior Probability of the Resurrection" on this site, if you want to figure out why. Then maybe try Wright, or Licona, for the historical evidence itself. That is, if you are open to that truth.

Unknown said...

The prior probability is actually quite low.

1. Nearly* 100% of people that die stay dead and are not raised by God.
2. Jesus was dead.
Therefore, it is nearly 100% certain that Jesus stayed dead and was not raised by God.

* encompasses all the claims throughout history of persons coming back to life. The argument also allows for God's existence and that miracles can happen.

David B Marshall said...

Read the article and fairly consider its arguments, which include a far greater range of factors than you apparently have yet to consider, then get back to me.

Unknown said...

I did.

1. That God exists does not increase the probability of a resurrection. It only makes it possible.
2. We can't know what God will probably do so we have to reason to expect that God would probably want to raise Jesus.
3. The evidence for Jesus would be posterior not prior.

So in the end as far as the prior probability goes, you're still left with near zero.

David B Marshall said...

Sorry. As a response that's just a joke.

3 is wrong. Prior probability not "for Jesus," whatever that means, but for the resurrection of Jesus, which is the historical event that all the historians focus on. My article is about prior probability for the resurrection, not "for Jesus."

I'm not sure of your point with 2. But I explain that in the article.

1 is confused. If God's existence makes it possible, whereas it wasn't before, of course that increases its probability. That's what "makes it possible" means.

David B Marshall said...

But please answer that article in the comments section for that article, where people will recognize the weakness of such comments, having read the article itself.

Cornell Anthony said...

"1. Nearly* 100% of people that die stay dead and are not raised by God. "

This is a false analogy

What you should have said is

1. Nearly* 100% of people that die * and don't have a specific purpose in which God wants to raise again* stay dead and are not raised by God.

I wish Non-Christians would just grasp this point and put more attention on "intentionality"

Cornell Anthony said...

Courtrooms aren't infallible and let OJ Simpson off the hook, and can be manipulated by $$$

This is a poor example that tries to make courtrooms as the absolute standard when in reality it is flawed.

That is one of the few problems that I see with this comment

Cornell Anthony said...

Second criticism

How many judges have Ph'ds in history?

Why should I care what a court room has to say about Ancient Rome?

Unknown said...

"1. Nearly* 100% of people that die * and don't have a specific purpose in which God wants to raise again* stay dead and are not raised by God."

Begging the question

Unknown said...

And you also can't possibly know God's purposes or what he will probably do.

Cornell Anthony said...

No it doesn't beg the question, because it is a logical entailment.

If I intend to do X to one person and only one person in particular that I normally wouldn't do for others then this means that we should expect such a high % of those in which I do not do X for.

Cornell Anthony said...

You don't need to, all you need to know is that if God had a purpose for Jesus rather than anyone else then we should expect Jesus to be raised where others were not and this refutes your claim, because your claim assumes that God has the same plan for everyone.

John Loftus said...

David, in that chapter I'm dealing with apologists not the rank in file Christian. I'm dealing with apologetical methods in that chapter. And I don't claim to know how many apologists fall into which camp. I used the conditional "if" when hypothetically saying 80% of them might reject evidentialism.

"If we grant that an equal number of Christian apologists defend these respective approaches, then any given one of them is rejected by 80 percent of all Christian apologists."

Did you notice the big "IF"?

When I say other apologetical schools of thought reject something I mean they reject something. As a disciple of Francis Schaeffer's apologetics in Seminary we rejected evidentialism. It is indeed a rejection of evidentialism as a method. It is not a rejection of the evidence. What apologists reject is the primary basis for defending the Christian faith. And we rejected evidentialism. You apparently don't know what you're talking about, but I find that typical of you.

You also missed my main point which is obvious.

Care to tell your readers what it is?

David B Marshall said...

No, John, I absolutely do NOT notice the word "if" anywhere on page 103, where you write:

"So let's rehearse what we've found using the standard nomenclature Christians themselves use:

"Evidential Method: Admitted failure by 80 percent of apologists."

Perhaps you can point to where that word appears on that page.

The "if" on the previous page, then, clearly refers to a hypothesis that you accept, since you base subsequent arguments upon it, and speak of it as a fact.

But it is not a fact. My survey of apologists is now it about up to 95% against your assumption.

So who doesn't know what he's talking about?

And surely even you admit that C. S. Lewis believed that the Christian faith was and must be supported by evidence?

Stephen Parrish said...

Unknown's argument is question begging. The determination of the probability of Jesus rising from the dead depends upon the probability structure being employed. There is no neutral probability structure--the different ones are inherent in different worldviews.

In philosophical naturalism, the probability of Jesus rising from the dead is remote. It cannot be a miracle, since on naturalism there is no God to work a miracle. The most that can be said is that an extremely unlikely physical event caused Jesus to rise from the dead.

In the Islamic worldview, it is impossible that Jesus rose from the dead, that is the probability is zero, since according to the Qur'an he never died.

In the Christian worldview, the probability of Jesus rising from the dead is 100%, as it is an intrinsic part of the Christian worldview. To therefore assume the probability structure of naturalism begs the question against Christianity.

There are other cases in the Bible where people apparently rise from the dead. Let us ignore them to keep things simple, and say that Jesus alone rose from the dead.

In this case, that Jesus alone of humanity rose from the dead is what Christianity would predict. To say that therefore that Jesus alone rose from the dead makes Christianity improbable is wrong, as that is what Christianity predicts.

For a more detailed discussion of this, see my book God and Necessity, chapter 6.

John Loftus said...

You quoted the "if" in this post. It's still based on that if.

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2016/01/david-marshall-not-only-lies-hes.html

Cornell Anthony said...

I'd disagree with you on the case that evidentialism is the only form of apologetics that deals with "sufficient evidence" because it assumes that Empiricism (moderate empiricism or radical empiricism) is true.

I think classical apologetics and cumulative case apologetics also are in need of "sufficient" evidence to work.

If that is what you meant, I do plan to read that book at some point in the future.

Unknown said...

"If I intend to do X to one person and only one person in particular that I normally wouldn't do for others then this means that we should expect such a high % of those in which I do not do X for."

And how can you possible know God's intentions? Doesn't he work in "mysterious ways" and have "morally sufficient reasons" for allowing evil that we can't possibly comprehend? Not trying to use the argument from evil here but why can't I use the same tactic apologists use as a response?

Unknown said...

"You don't need to, all you need to know is that if God had a purpose for Jesus rather than anyone else then we should expect Jesus to be raised where others were not and this refutes your claim, because your claim assumes that God has the same plan for everyone."

Again, begging the question. That God "has a purpose" is the exact point of contention. How do you know that without already believing it a priori?

Cornell Anthony said...

I don't need to know God's intentions to understand what "intentionality" means and the possibilities that it can lead to.

There is a difference between knowing that a purpose exists and knowing exactlt what the CONTENT of that purpose actually is.

I am making a case for the former.

Cornell Anthony said...

Because I know that "purpose" comes from an "intention" and this is not the first premise and my conclusion at the same time which therefore makes it the case that I am NOT begging the question.

Honestly I don't think you understand my point.

Unknown said...

Then you've only shown that such an event is possible not probable. Spot the difference.

Unknown said...

And "knowing that a purpose exists" is still question begging. This is philosophy 101.

Unknown said...

But you can't know the intentions of God therefore you can't claim what he probably will or won't do.

Stephen Parrish said...

Actually we can know the intention of God. In the Christian worldview, the divine reason for the death and resurrection of Jesus are know; to provide an atonement for sin and to show that Jesus was who he said he was, among other things. Is believing this question begging? No. The point is that the Christian worldview makes predictions about the resurrection (that it happened and the reason for it), as do the naturalist worldview (it didn't happen, or at most was a strange natural event) and the Muslim worldview (it didn't happen). We look at the historical evidence, and if the evidence is strong for the resurrection, which it is, this confirms the Christian worldview and dis-confirms the naturalist and Muslim worldview.

Cornell Anthony said...

"And "knowing that a purpose exists" is still question begging. This is philosophy 101."

You specifically said that

"The argument also allows for God's existence and that miracles can happen."

How could you allow for God's existence and yet tell me that a purpose existing is question begging?

God is a mind and minds have intentions which imply a purpose to states of affairs that are actualized, so what did you mean when you said

"I allow for God's existence"???

John Loftus said...

David, your poll was an example of your ignorance. Let this sink in.

I'm writing about metapologetics in chapter five, something the people in your poll would have no clue about. Every metapologetics system includes evidence to some degree except fideism (and even then they don't discount the need for evidence). So you asked the wrong poll question. If you asked the correct question these people wouldn't even understand it, and I doubt even now you know what the correct question is. It would be more complicated of a question than can probably be asked since you would have to inform these people what the various metapologetical systems are before they could answer it. But since you asked them then you don't know enough to understand what I'm even writing about. How then could you possibly help me write that chapter. You are ignorant beyond words if you think you can help me write a chapter on a topic you're clueless about. Clueless.

Cornell Anthony said...

"But you can't know the intentions of God therefore you can't claim what he probably will or won't do."

So what? I don't need to know what God probably will or won't do to address your claim that was originally in contention.

Cornell Anthony said...

"Then you've only shown that such an event is possible not probable. Spot the difference"

Yes, I just need one of those two to show that this claim of yours is trivial


"1. Nearly* 100% of people that die stay dead and are not raised by God. "

It is a trivial point, because you ASSUME that it isn't possible for God to have a plan in which God raises someone from the dead.

It is actually YOU who begs the question, and Stephen Parrish pointed out another problem.

investigativeapologetics said...

Dear Mr. S. Parrish,

Just wanted to let you know that I have had your 'God and Necessity' book on my 'To Buy' List for sometime, and I just purchased it today after being catalysed to do so by your comment. I have heard very good things about it and I look forward to reading it!

Take care,

22056
www.investigativeapologetics.wordpress.com

David B Marshall said...

John: The question I asked was a direct quotation from you. If people like Tim McGrew (who answered the poll, emphatically) and I don't understand your point, then neither do any of your readers. And yes, I read the chapter.

You claimed in that chapter, over and over again, that Christian apologists deny that there is "sufficient evidence" for Christian faith. But we don't. That was the question that I asked -- not "do you include evidence to some degree." And your 80% figure -- which yes you do clearly and in so many words say is genuine -- is nonsense, as you admit by trying to borrow an "if" from several pages earlier and pretend you didn't really mean it.

Look, John, I recognize that you try to be more nuanced than the average Gnu on this, who defines "faith" as "believing not only without evidence, but against the evidence." You know that's wrong. But you feel this compulsion to support your teammates, and not rock the boat, by spinning your "more nuanced" position to make it sound enough like their perception of strong fideism as possible. You're a team player, you know better than most your team, so you're against a rock and a hard place. Well, your attempt to have your cake and eat it in that chapter didn't work. The cake flopped, and it stuck in your teeth. You tried making a case against Christianity that just didn't work, because in fact, most apologists DO think there is excellent, and yes sufficient, evidence for Christian faith -- adding a little philosophy or natural theology is no contradiction to that notion, at all.

John Loftus said...

I argue in that chapter that if Christian apologists themselves had sufficient evidence then no other metapologetic would have been invented. I argue that the best explanation for the differing metapologetics is because Christian apologists themselves admit there isn't sufficient evidence for their faith.

But I never ever once said, and i quote you, that I "claimed in that chapter, over and over again, that Christian apologists deny that there is "sufficient evidence" for Christian faith."

That is a lie. You are a liar.

David B Marshall said...

I've been hearing you, and Matthew, and your crew, calling me a liar all day. Then I switched over to a Gnu website where Gnus were all calling one another liars, where Richard was calling Bart a liar, where every pimple-faced village atheist on the planet seems to have nothing better to do that unload on everyone he disagrees with the same predictable, inelegantly-expressed accusation. Honestly, I'm getting tired of atheists and their ways. I have seen better grounds for calling both you and Matthew "liar" a dozens times over, reading your materials, but I refrain, because I am an adult.

"Only one method outlined above says yes, that Christianity stands or falls on the evidence. All of the other methods try to fix the problems with evidentialism because sufficient evidence simply is not there."

So you yourself ascribe as a motive for joining those four other schools the fact that "sufficient evidence simply is not there."

How that is supposed to be different from what you just denied saying in the chapter, is a complete mystery to me. How you manage to persuade yourself of that, appears to me to be an almost heroic act of self-delusion. But to turn around and call ME a liar because you've been backed in a corner, is tiresome in the extreme.

This is my house. We have rules here. Courtesy is one of them. Please obey the house rules.

Unknown said...

Sure Stephen. Just approach Christianity as true and therefore it is true. That's not circular at all.... :/

Unknown said...

Actually my argument was about prior probability. Nearly 100% of people aren't raised by God and stay dead. Saying that "God has a plan" just begs the question but you can't even know that because you're claiming to read God's mind! God could have a plan but without knowing what the plan is we have no reason to believe he would probably want to raise someone from the dead. That's where the posterior evidence comes in and you can use the letters of Paul and the anonymous accounts that were written 40-60 years after Jesus'death.

David B Marshall said...

BTW, John, I noticed you still haven't answered my question about whether you have read past page 26 before posting a "review" of my last book. Cat got your tongue? Feeling guilty about cutting corners, is that why you're so eager to impugn my honesty, today? There are, let's see, eight page citations in the end of the book, none past page 26. What are the odds of that?

John Loftus said...

I answered you most certainly. You still haven't answered me by saying what the main point of my chapter is. What is it? I would think if you want to review something you should be fair about it.

--------------

I argued in chapter five that apologists TACITLY admit there isn't sufficient evidence to believe. This can be ascertained by the fact that they invent new metapologetics and then debate metapologetics. I never said apologists honestly and openly admit they don't believe there is sufficient evidence for their faith, you fool!

Cornell Anthony said...

If you want to put it that way then the prior probability is an argument from incredulity for one, because we don't have access to the lives of every human that has ever lived on Earth and you just assume that they all die and stay dead, only with the justification of how this appears in this time period, so you are guilty of a fallacy of composition. Your posterior evidence comes from living in this time period and you haven't experienced all time periods in which humans lived so your argument fails.

Cornell Anthony said...

"I argue in that chapter that if Christian apologists themselves had sufficient evidence then no other metapologetic would have been invented. I"

But you can say that about secularists too

Why do so many different epistemologies exist between atheists?

Thomas Nagel thinks that objective truths exist and can be known a priori, but yet an atheist who holds to empiricism like Lawerence Krauss would disagree.

Your argument could just be thrown back at you, and this is why it is not convincing. Also if you try to make religious people an exception with respect to disagreement for whatever reason then you commit to special pleading.

John Loftus said...

Cornell, this is about the lack of evidence to be a Christian. My claim is that Christian apologists tacitly admit there isn't sufficient evidence to believe. That is an extremely important difference.

Atheists by contrast all agree there isn't sufficient evidence to believe in any of the gods.

There is no parity here at all.

Have you read my book? You should. If you rely on what Marshall says you are being deceived. Keep in mind he never told you what the aim is of my chapter 5, and that should give you a clue that he isn't telling you the truth about it.

Cornell Anthony said...

What exactly makes evidence "sufficient" in a way that we are not appealing subjectivity?

I feel like the word "sufficient" is just redundant

Something either has evidence or it doesn't. I'd argue that adding the word "sufficient" is unnecessary.

Cornell Anthony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cornell Anthony said...

Had to edit, because I missed some words
But I don't think we need the word "sufficient" because either something has evidence for it or it doesn't. The word "sufficient" appears to be superfluous.


Second, I wasnt talking about how atheists view God, I am talking about how atheists view their explanation of the world.

Christians think God is the explanation and atheists think that they have an explanation that doesn't involve the need for a God. Both atheists and Christians use different methods of interpretations when they argue their points related to how reality is.

So if atheists can disagree on which method best explains reality then it should be OK for Christians to disagree on which apologetic approach is the best way to argue for how God created the physical universe.

Once again to say that Christians disagree with other Christians with respect to the method they use to interpret how God made everything is a moot point.

John Loftus said...

Last comment from me before I unsubscribe.

Atheists all agree on the method used to determine the truth about the world and its workings, which is the scientific method, or rather the need for sufficient evidence. Faith has no method and has been proven wrong by the scientific method in every single case where there has been a disagreement between them.

Christians by contrast, cannot agree on which method best defends what they believe precisely because they tacitly admit there isn't enough evidence to believe. That's my argument anyway, which you would do well to read outside the comfort zone to test your faith as an adult for the first time in your life, now that you no longer live at home I presume.

Cheers





David B Marshall said...

But adding extra reasons for faith (which you don't like) is not a tacit admission that the evidence is bad. That's just psychobabble on your part, John.

Or when evolutionists argue philosophically (as they often do), does that mean they are admitting they don't have any evidence for evolution?

David B Marshall said...

Twice, now, John has posted phony one-star reviews of my books on Amazon, in revenge for detailed, critical reviews of his books.

He is calling me a "liar" and a "fool" on my own site -- I am sure worse on his site.

I have never stooped to returning such insults in kind.

Nor have I stooped to using material from John's former friends and colleagues to undermine his character. (I could: they sometimes contact me with dirt.)

In fact, I have often defended John to other Christians.

But John persists in vitriol, crude and baseless accusations, and the most uncharitable readings possible.

I think, John, that it is time that you take a break from commenting here.

Cornell Anthony said...

There are atheists who don't think that science can explain everything so they would argue that the scientific method just isn't enough.

For one look at Thomas Nagel who even denies materialism which is a position held by many atheists


The fact that there are atheists who deny materialism is evidence of the fact that atheists disagree with each other on how to best interpret the world.

Yes I live away from home and have a wife and kid. I test my beliefs all the time and I think you should too since your book isn't immune to criticism.

Everyone should test their beliefs to see if it holds up to scrutiny IMO, and this why you have to expect some pushback on your material. I am not saying your book is garbage, but I am saying that it has flaws, and you should expect that since humans are fallible beings.

Cornell Anthony said...

Thanks for engaging the conversation by the way.

Cornell Anthony said...

David I am glad you brought this up, because I think John is making a point in favor of Christianity by showing how Christians are in fact free thinkers that can be skeptical of one another if someone puts out a point that they are not persuaded with

I think that John should realize that it is good for Christians that Christians don't all agree with each other, because we aren't mindless drones that don't challenge what we are told.

Christians are skeptical just like atheists and this explains the differences. I find the differences to be a good thing, so as the old saying goes.

One man's modus tollens is another man's modus ponens.

Unknown said...

I said nearly* which includes all the unverifiable reports throughout history of persons coming back from the dead. Besides, according to Christians, none of these mere resuscitations were like Jesus' resurrection in which he was raised to immortality after death.

Cornell Anthony said...

So support your claim that goes over *nearly*

How could you know this given the fact that people have lived waaaay before people know how to write up a report. So for all we know there could have been people who were raised from the dead and yet nobody was able to write down the report, because people didn't know how to write. As silly as this sounds we have to hold to metaphysical principles to show how silly this is, and these principles rely on absolutes rather that probability.

You obviously can't do this by a posteriori means. This is why I am not sold on using Bayes Theorem to argue against the Resurrection.

Cornell Anthony said...

Therefore when you come up with your probability for how many people that die stay dead you are doing with ignorance and arbitrariness.

Stephen Parrish said...

I am not begging the question. The argument is NOT "Christianity is true, therefore we know what God's plan is, and thus the probability is of the resurrection is not very low." The argument is "If Christianity is true, then the resurrection is true and not at all improbable, and the historical evidence will support it. If naturalism (or Islam) is true, the the resurrection is either impossible or extremely improbable, and the evidence should support that." The argument is abductive.

Unknown's post show why considerations like this are needed. If events like resurrections were philosophically uncontroversial, no one would question the historicity of Jesus rising from the dead. But because atheists and others make assumptions that make the resurrection improbable a priori, it needs to be shown that they are assuming the truth of a naturalistic probability structure, and are thus begging the question.

Stephen Parrish said...

Dear investigativeapologetics: Thanks, I hope you like the book. Most of it is an argument to show the transcendental necessity of theism, but chapter 6 argues that atheist attempts to discount miracles a priori all fail.

Unknown said...

The argument allows for the existence of God and miracles so there's no naturalistic presuppositions. Even if miracles occur, we have no prior of someone being raised to immortality after death by God. Bringing "God's plan" into the picture doesn't help because we can't assess the probability of what God will or will not do. It's just speculation at that point.

Unknown said...

"How could you know this given the fact that people have lived waaaay before people know how to write up a report."

It's pretty obvious that most people that die stay dead. This is not a controversial premise in the slightest. Even if we were to grant all the reports of persons coming back to life compared to the billions that didn't the argument would still be nearly 100%.

Cornell Anthony said...

"We have no prior"

Who is this "we"????

I don't make such claims and I don't care about some arbitrary probability that has no standard and ends up being a let's make it up as we go along probability %, what I care about is what explanation best fits the data.

God's plan makes your arbitrary make it up as you go along probability % a moot point anyways, because God can either raise someone from the dead or leave them dead. We don't need to know God's plan to realize that God can actualize a state of affairs where someone who is dead can be brought back to life.

Therefore it doesn't matter if we can't access God's plan, it has no bearing at all on my response.

Stephen Parrish said...

We can assess the probability of what God will do based on the different worldviews and their inherent probability structures. Taking the Christian worldview (CWV), even if only for the sake of argument, we have a worldview where the resurrection is not only probable but necessary. Again, granting for the sake of argument that the historical evidence for the resurrection is strong, this ties in with what the CWV claims. It thus supports the CWV. Given a naturalistic worldview (NWV) or the Islamic one (IWV), which claim that either the resurrection is impossible or at least extremely unlikely, then strong evidence for the resurrection of Jesus supports the CWV and argues against the MNWV and the IWV. I add the IWV to show that it is not just naturalists who disbelieve the resurrection, many theists do too.

Two minor points: (1) it seems to me that unknown confuses rarity improbability. They are different concepts. (2) Also, suppose that we have examined billions or even trillions of crows and they have all been black. Given this, we should certainly be entitled to say that all crows are black, or that the next crow we see will be black, and that the existence of non-black crows is extremely improbable. However, if the next crow we see is an albino, and we have good reason to think it genuine, our calculations go out the window. A priori improbability does not outweigh strong evidence.

Cornell Anthony said...

It is obvious for our time and our small area of a reality which could possibly not represent the whole, and ignores possibilities of a mulitverse or other possible worlds that we have no current access too.

The only reason why I am bringing this up is because you are making universal claim with no knowledge of how many people have existed in reality.

If you say "most people on Earth stay dead" I wouldn't have a problem with that.

Unknown said...

"A priori improbability does not outweigh strong evidence."

Strong evidence? You mean the letters of Paul who claims to have "visions" and the 4 anonymous accounts that were written 40-60 years after Jesus' death that contain internal inconsistencies and exhibit legendary growth in chronological order?

I would say exaggerations, literary embellishment, and legendary accretion outweigh such "strong" evidence.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

//Who is this "we"????

I don't make such claims and I don't care about some arbitrary probability that has no standard and ends up being a let's make it up as we go along probability %, what I care about is what explanation best fits the data.//

I'm sorry, do you have another prior of someone being raised immortally from the dead by God? If not, then the prior probability remains near zero.

//God's plan makes your arbitrary make it up as you go along probability % a moot point anyways, because God can either raise someone from the dead or leave them dead. We don't need to know God's plan to realize that God can actualize a state of affairs where someone who is dead can be brought back to life.//

Are you arguing that "God's plan" increases the prior probability or posterior? For the prior, as far as I'm aware there was no expectation of a dying and rising Messiah in Judaism so that is a pretty big strike against Jesus' resurrection. This leaves us with the posterior, which is better explained by exaggerations, literary embellishment, and legendary growth.

Unknown said...

Also, better explained by Jewish midrash and making Jesus look as if he fulfilled the prophecies of the OT post facto.

Cornell Anthony said...

Yes that is something similar to what I am saying.

If we don't know all the conditions with respect how many people have actually died then we are basing our probability on a guess.

One mishap in the system that you are basing your estimated guess on could have huge implications on the whether we should trust the estimated guess itself.

Unknown said...

//Also, suppose that we have examined billions or even trillions of crows and they have all been black. Given this, we should certainly be entitled to say that all crows are black, or that the next crow we see will be black, and that the existence of non-black crows is extremely improbable. However, if the next crow we see is an albino, and we have good reason to think it genuine, our calculations go out the window. //

The problem is we have both a known causal explanation for albino crows as well as confirmed observations of them so this is a very poor analogy.

Cornell Anthony said...

"I'm sorry, do you have another prior of someone being raised immortally from the dead by God? If not, then the prior probability remains near zero."

Category error once again

The probability that someone will be raised from the dead if intended by God is 100% so it becomes pointless to look at the number of people on Earth who have not been raised from the dead.

" Are you arguing that "God's plan" increases the prior probability or posterior? For the prior, as far as I'm aware there was no expectation of a dying and rising Messiah in Judaism so that is a pretty big strike against Jesus' resurrection. This leaves us with the posterior, which is better explained by exaggerations, literary embellishment, and legendary growth."

It increases the probability to a certainty. If God wanted to raise someone from the dead this intention actualizes a state of affairs to the point where we can now say that 100% people who God wanted to raise from the dead were raised from dead.

This is why you can't just accept Theism for the sake of argument and assume that it doesn't help Christianity, of course it does.

Christianity can't be true if Theism is false

So your best bet is to just argue against Theism if you want take away any hope for a Resurrection of Jesus.

Cornell Anthony said...

Makes no sense why one would make Jesus up to look this way, but yet plug in so many unnecessary embarrassing features at the same time

Richard Carrier has not dealt with the criterion of embarrassment in a convincing matter.

One still needs to explain away why so many ridiculous things were added considering Jesus was made up to be the hero who fulfilled prophecies.

Stephen Parrish said...

The point about crows is simply that even events with a very low a priori probability can be confirmed if strong evidence is available. Whether this conforms to our real world experience with crows is irrelevant.

And of course, if the Christian God exists, we have a good explanation of why Jesus rose from the dead.

Regarding the point unknown makes about the evidence for the resurrection being weak: I disagree, but this is a different argument than the one from a priori improbability. Again, the point is, if the evidence for the resurrection is strong, then this helps confirm Christianity, while disconfirming other worldviews.

(Regarding the evidence, see Licona. Also, my friend Gary Habermas is writing a book defending the resurrection that will be about 3,000 pages. Unfortunately, it won't be available for at least 5 years.)

Unknown said...

//The probability that someone will be raised from the dead if intended by God is 100% so it becomes pointless to look at the number of people on Earth who have not been raised from the dead.//

1. Jesus' resurrection was intended by God
2. Jesus was resurrected
3. Therefore, Jesus' resurrection was intended by God

Do I have your circular argument correct or can you somehow phrase it so it's not so circular?

Unknown said...

//(Regarding the evidence, see Licona. Also, my friend Gary Habermas is writing a book defending the resurrection that will be about 3,000 pages. Unfortunately, it won't be available for at least 5 years.)//

In my opinion Gerd Ludemann, Maurice Casey, and Bart Ehrman give a much more objective read of the evidence. Habermas treats the empty tomb as an absolute fact but objective critical inquiry casts reasonable doubt on that.

David B Marshall said...

Ehrman is hardly "objective:" he follows Hume far too closely, and comes very close to ruling miracles out a priori, because such things just don't happen in polite ivory tower circles. He certainly didn't SOUND objective when he debated Craig, or McGrew.

Unknown said...

"Ehrman is hardly "objective:" he follows Hume far too closely"

In regards to how he treats the gospels his scholarship is pretty much standard stuff from critical scholars. He just presents it in an effective way to a lay audience. You may have a problem with his acceptance of miracles but that has nothing to do with the scholarly treatment of the NT.

Cornell Anthony said...

No it isn't correct

1) should be

If God raises someone from the dead then that someone was 'intended' to be raised from the dead.

I also wouldn't start with

Jesus' Resurrection was intended by God, that wouldn't be my starting premise.

Cornell Anthony said...

Maurice Casey is very good

I'll give you that

Probably my favorite nonconservative scholar

David B Marshall said...

Unknown: Actually, I do have serious problems with Ehrman's scholarship, for reasons I give in detail in a couple fairly recent, and long, posts. I now feel that he simply cannot be relied upon to give the straight scoop.

Unknown said...

//1) should be

If God raises someone from the dead then that someone was 'intended' to be raised from the dead.

I also wouldn't start with

Jesus' Resurrection was intended by God, that wouldn't be my starting premise.//

I don't think your rewording avoids the circularity. Your rephrasing can be argued as follows:

1. God intended to raise Jesus
2. Jesus was raised
3. Therefore, God intended to raise Jesus

You're still assuming your conclusion in the premises.

Unknown said...

or 3. Therefore, God intended to and did raise Jesus

Cornell Anthony said...

Nope

I have a looooong way to go before I could put forth this premise,

God intended to raise Jesus

Which wouldn't even be the conclusion

So you just end up with a strawman

Cornell Anthony said...

"or 3. Therefore, God intended to and did raise Jesus"

Still something I'd never use, because there is no need to repeat the same proposition twice in one syllogism.

Dave said...

Depending on how you define "evidence," I think it could be argued that metapologetics has more to do with how the evidence is framed than it does with whether or not evidence is important.