Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Jeff Lowder on "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" here.

6 comments:

Mike D said...

I'm a bit mixed on stuff like this. To say it's esoteric would be a colossal understatement, but for academics who are interesting in sifting through that mumbo-jumbo, it's fine.

But the elephant in the room with all of Craig's Resurrection arguments is that he simply assumes that the Biblical account is unequivocally established as historical fact. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and that's where, in my judgment at least, Craig really needs to be hammered on these arguments.

Steven Carr said...

What sort of evidence, even in theory, would support Paul's claim that the resurrected Jesus 'became a life-giving spirit'?

Thomas Larsen said...

Mike, you wrote, "The elephant in the room with all of Craig's Resurrection arguments is that he simply assumes that the Biblical account is unequivocally established as historical fact."

What led you to that conclusion?

Steven Carr said...

I don't think Craig does assume the Bible story is true.

I think he claims that 75% of scholars believe the tomb was empty.

Tony Lloyd said...

Hi Mike

You can re-word Bayes Theorem not-so-mathematically to say that to find the probability of H when you have E you divide:

A. All the times you'd have E because of H

by

B. All the times you'd have E, whether because of H or not

If H were very, very unlikely (ie "extraordinary!") then the times you'd get E because of H would be very, very, few. This makes the probability of H (A/B) smaller and smaller the more and more extraordinary H is.

A/B would still be a large number if B were very, very small. The smaller A (the more extraordinary H) then the smaller B would need to be: ie the frequency of E from whatever cause would need to be lower and lower the more extraordinary H was.

And very, very infrequent events are, when they happen, "extraordinary!".

WLC, in his response, seems to take "extraordinary" evidence as "extraordinarily reliable evidence" and contrast this with "evidence that would be unlikely to arise if the hypothesis were not true". But this contrast is a sleight. "Reliable" evidence is rarely wrong: that is to say reliable evidence is evidence that would be unlikely to arise if the hypothesis were not true".

S Johnson said...

It's nice if you can use Bayes' Theorem to assess claims, but in practice I think you would just endlessly argue the numbers.

Isn't it just as straightforward to concede that what is extraordinary about extraordinary claims is that they violate our scientific knowledge of how reality works? They say sicence is not justifiable by introspection and logical a priori arguments. But can't you turn it around, say that cumulatively science now justifies the metaphysics of naturalism? That it is the notion of logical a priori proof that philosophy has refuted, leaving only experiential, after the fact justification (ex posteriori, I think the phrase is?) Yes that implies that only science produces knowledge in the sense of justified true (corresponding to reality) belief?