The Argument from Silence, Part 5: W.L. Craig on the Absence of Competing Burial Traditions as Evidence for the pre-Markan Burial Tradition

In this post, I want to revisit an argument from silence used by William Lane Craig in his case for the historicity of the empty tomb. According to Craig, the absence of competing burial traditions (to the pre-Markan burial story) is evidence for the historicity of the pre-Markan burial story. Craig then argues that the historicity of the pre-Markan burial story is, in turn, evidence for the historicity of the empty tomb of Jesus.For the record, Craig does not present his argument as a … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence, Part 4: Absence of Denials of Jesus’ Historicity as Evidence for Jesus’ Historicity

When one thinks about the historicity of Jesus and arguments from silence, one usually thinks of various arguments from silence against the historicity of Jesus. In this post, I want to sketch an argument from silence for the historicity of Jesus.The Argument Formulated B: The Relevant Background EvidenceB1.Both Christian and non-Christian sources in the first and second centuries refer to Jesus.E: The Evidence to be ExplainedE1. There is an absence of evidence that the historicity of Jesus was … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence: Related Resources

(Note: this section will be updated over time.) Academic PublicationsBrooks, E. Bruce. "Arguments from Silence." Warring States Papers 4 (2013).Carrier, Richard C. "Did Jesus Exist? Earl Doherty and the Argument to Ahistoricity" The Secular Web (2002).---. Proving History. Buffalo: Prometheus, 2012, 117-19. Garraghan, G.J., S.J. A Guide to Historical Method. J. Delanglez, S.J. (Ed.). New York: Fordham University Press, 1946.Duncan, Mike. "The Curious Silence of the Dog and Paul of Tarsus: … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence, Part 3: Peter Kirby’s Second Argument from Silence Against the Empty Tomb

Now that I have evaluated Peter Kirby's first argument from silence against the historicity of the empty tomb of Jesus, I now want to consider his second argument from silence against the historicity of the empty tomb of Jesus (hereafter, "Kirby's second argument"). According to that argument, the absence of evidence that Christians venerated Jesus' burial place is evidence against the historicity of the empty tomb.Kirby's Second Argument Formulated (as an Explanatory Argument)We are … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence, Part 2: Peter Kirby’s First Argument from Silence Against the Empty Tomb

Now that I have provided a Bayesian interpretation of arguments from silence, I want to evaluate my friend Peter Kirby's argument from silence against the historicity of the empty tomb of Jesus (hereafter, "Kirby's argument"). To be precise, in his essay, Kirby considers two arguments from silence. The first is based upon the silence of various writers regarding the empty tomb. The second is based upon the lack of veneration of the empty tomb. In this essay, I will be referring only to the … [Read more...]

Index: The Argument from Silence

The purpose this post is to provide an index for all of my Secular Outpost articles regarding the argument from silence."Part 1: The Bayesian Interpretation": the logical form of an explanatory argument from silence "Part 2: Peter Kirby's First Argument from Silence Against the Empty Tomb": a formal analysis and critique of Kirby's argument based upon the (alleged) silence of early Christian sources (other than the canonical gospels) regarding the empty tomb "Part 3: Peter Kirby's Second … [Read more...]

The Argument from Silence, Part 1: The Bayesian Interpretation

I want to provide a Bayesian interpretation of the argument from silence.Let S be some truth about the silence of a potential source of evidence fact and H1 and H2 be rival explanatory hypotheses.(1) S is known to be true, i.e., Pr(S) is close to 1. (2) H1 is not intrinsically much more probable than H2, i.e., Pr(H1 | B) is not much more probable than Pr(H2 | B). (3) Pr(S | H2) > Pr(S | H1). (4) Other evidence held equal, H1 is probably false, i.e., Pr(H1 | B & S) < … [Read more...]

Jeff’s Picks — 7-Jul-12

I have a huge list of links to share this time. Morality Uncredible Hallq reblogs a really good comparison between God and an abusive boyfriend. Dr. Peter Boghossian talks about the ethics of atheism on Freedomain Radio. (HT: The Morning Heresy)Self-described atheist Jesse Bering has written an essay in Salon entitled, "Don't Trust the Godless." Richard Dawkins argues, "Don't Need God to be Good ... or Generous"Editor's Note (Lowder): Dawkin's argument reminds me of Victor Reppert's … [Read more...]


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