Debate: The External Evidence for Jesus – Part 1

Joe Hinman's first argument for the existence of Jesus is based on references to Jesus in the Talmud: We know Jesus was in the Talmud and that is a fact admitted by Rabbis.  Some references use his name (Yeshua) some use code words such as "such a one" or "Panthera".  The reason codes are used, is that the commentators censored the works and removed overt reverences [sic] to Jesus (although they missed some) to prevent Christians from inflicting persecution.  We have many of the out takes in va … [Read more...]

The Debate about Jesus has Begun

The debate between me and Joe Hinman about the existence of Jesus has begun.We are focusing on just the external (non-biblical) evidence.Joe has published his positive case for the claim that:...the external (not in Bible) evidence is strong enough to warrant belief in Jesus' historicity.Here is a link to Joe's initial post that summarizes his positive case: has divided his case into … [Read more...]

Half of a Debate about the Existence of Jesus

Joe Hinman has requested that I debate him about the existence of Jesus, and I have agreed to do so.We will not, however, attempt to answer the BIG question: Did Jesus exist?  But we will be arguing about a significant issue closely related to that question:Does the external evidence warrant the belief that Jesus existed?The phrase "external evidence" means evidence other than evidence from the Bible.  So, we are excluding the internal evidence from the four canonical Gospels, from Ac … [Read more...]

Debate 101

If your debate opponent defends a position (call it H1), argue against H1. Don't argue against positions they don't hold (H2 or H3 or ...). … [Read more...]

Response to William Lane Craig – Part 15

Here is my main objection to William Craig's case for the resurrection of Jesus:In order to prove that Jesus rose from the dead, one must first prove that Jesus died on the cross. But in most of William Craig's various books, articles, and debates, he simply ignores this issue. He makes no serious attempt to show that it is an historical fact that Jesus died on the cross.  For that reason, Craig's case for the resurrection is a complete failure.Here is WLC's main reply to my … [Read more...]

William Lane Craig’s Logic Lesson – Part 4

In the March Reasonable Faith Newsletter William Craig asserted this FALSE principle about valid deductive arguments that have premises that are probable:... in a deductive argument the probability of the premises establishes only a minimum probability of the conclusion: even if the premises are only 51% probable, that doesn’t imply that the conclusion is only 51% probable. It implies that the conclusion is at least 51% probable.There are a variety of natural tendencies that people have t … [Read more...]

William Lane Craig’s Logic Lesson – Part 3

I had planned to discuss counterexamples (to Craig's principle) that were based on dependencies existing between the premises in some valid deductive arguments.  But I am putting that off for a later post, in order to present a brief analysis of some key concepts.It seems to me that an important part of understanding the relationship between valid deductive arguments and probability is keeping in mind the distincition between necessary conditions and sufficient conditions. So, I'm going to d … [Read more...]

William Lane Craig’s Logic Lesson – Part 2

I admit it.  I enjoyed pointing out that William Lane Craig had made a major blunder in his recent discussion of the logic of deductive arguments (with premises that are probable rather than certain).However, there are a variety of natural tendencies that people have to reason poorly and illogically when it comes to reasoning about evidence and probability.  The fact that a sharp philosopher who is very experienced in presenting and analyzing arguments could make such a goof just goes to sh … [Read more...]