Matthew Ferguson: History, Probability, and Miracles (2013)

Historian Matthew Ferguson uses Bayes' Theorem to analyze the historicity of miracle claims. Among other things, Ferguson compares the historical evidence for a purported miracle by Vespasian to the historical evidence for the purported resurrection of Jesus.LINKNote: as always, links do not constitute endorsement. … [Read more...]

Repost: Brittany Maynard and the Problem of Evil

In case you've been under a rock (or you're reading this in the future when it is an old, archived post), Brittany Maynard, a women with terminal brain cancer, died by assisted suicide last weekend in the U.S. state of Oregon, where it is legal.Brittany's life and death are an especially tragic combination of two or more aspects of the problem of evil.First, the tragic nature of her story is an example of the evidence appealed to in the atheistic argument from triumph and tragedy. Acc … [Read more...]

The Carrier-Barnes Exchange on Fine-Tuning

Reader GGDFan77 asked me for my thoughts on the exchange between Dr. Richard Carrier, who I respect and consider a friend, and Dr. Luke Barnes regarding fine-tuning arguments. I initially responded in a series of comments in the combox for my post about Hugh Ross's estimates for the probability of life-permitting prebiotic conditions. But those turned out to be so lengthy that I think the topic deserves its own dedicated post.Here's some brief context for readers not familiar with the … [Read more...]

How Hugh Ross Calculates the Improbability of Life on Earth due to Chance Alone

As someone who knows a thing or two about probability, I've always wanted to dive into the technical details for how proponents of cosmic fine-tuning arguments justify the probability estimates associated with such arguments. Along those lines, I just found this page on Hugh Ross's Reasons to Believe website:Probability for Life on Earth (APR 2004)Ross arrives at the conclusion that the probability of life on earth, conditional upon the hypothesis that it arose by chance alone, is 1 in 1 … [Read more...]

Torley’s Response to Cavin & Colombetti on the Resurrection of Jesus

This was apparently published last December, but I wasn't aware of it until today. Vincent Torley provides an interesting Intelligent Design perspective on C&C's slide presentation on the resurrection of Jesus.LINK … [Read more...]

How the Distinction between Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments Can Mask Uncertainty

Everyone who has taken a philosophy 101 class has learned the distinction between deductive and inductive arguments. It goes like this. Only deductive arguments may be valid; an argument is valid if and only if the truth of its premises guarantees the truth of its premises. Otherwise, the argument is invalid. If an argument is both valid and contains all true premises, then the argument is sound. Not all invalid arguments are worthless, however, and the concept of an inductive argument shows … [Read more...]

Loftus and Reppert on Probabilities

John Loftus stirs the pot with his recent post, "Should We Think Exclusively in Terms of Probabilities or Not?"Victor Reppert responds in, "But How Shall we Follow Probabilities?"I think I agree with Loftus when he writes, we "should think exclusively in terms of the probabilities." If I understand Reppert, I am pretty sure he agrees also.I'm not convinced, however, that a Christian's degree of belief that Jesus rose from the dead must necessarily exceed that which can be justified based on the … [Read more...]