my ignoring your “mischaracterization” charge was intentional, for I never implied non-theistic scholars agree with my determination of the causing agent, only the fact of Christ's existence, crucifixion, death, and followers’ visions. Obviously, they deduce another causing agent must have been in force or else they would not be non-theists, now would they?The fact remains that your statement
nearly all NT scholars agree [..] there is no body [and] Jesus' followers saw SOMETHINGis an overt misrepresentation of what "nearly all NT scholars agree" on. What does it say about your commitment to truth that you are unwilling to acknowledge a prima facie misrepresentation in your oft-quoted creed-like "position" about what "nearly all NT scholars agree" on? I can only conclude that you are trying to give your thesis a level of scholarly backing that it simply does not deserve.
With that said, probabilities already came up in my mail with non-Christian theist Dr. Cavin. In his case, he rejects all secular theories as to the causing agent other than his own Twin Theory.Nothing in the linked article (about a Twin Jesus theory) comes close to evaluating the relative probabilities of any of the possibilities I listed.
Whilst an atheist, I held the position that if the Christ story was more than myth, the probability of science explaining the phenomenon was vastly higher than the probability of a preternatural entity raising Jesus from the dead. I still respect that position. Understand, however, the fact remains that such a position is science-based faith rather than theistic-based.Your ability to type the phrase "science-based faith" does not constitute an argument. Do you have a precise definition of 'faith', or are you just saying "I'm a mirror, you're glue..."? :-) My definition of faith is "belief based on revelation and exempt from doubt". The simplistic claim that all belief involves faith is addressed in my book at http://humanknowledge.net/Thoughts.html#WhatFaithIsNot:
The scientific principle of parsimony (Occam's razor) asserts that the best explanation for a set of facts is the simplest one.Parsimony is a principle of epistemology, from which science merely inherits it.
I would have to apply the notion that "highly improbable" translates into "impossible" equally to the swoon, twin, dog-and-bird-eating, legend-developing, joint-hallucinations, martyrdom-of- hoaxers, etc., explanations of the Resurrection account.You (yet again) fail to address my points that
All of those explanations are "an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment" in themselves. To combine any or all of them is yet another miracle.I say that a minority of disciples stealing the body is not "extremely" unlikely; but is (a posteriori) close to a 1 in 2 likelihood (with a prior plausibility of perhaps 1 in 1000) . If you disagree, I challenge you (for the third time) to tell me what you think that a posteriori likelihood is closer to: 1 in 10^2? 1 in a 10^6? 1 in 10^20?
One possible scenario is that Mary Magdelene arranges (through Joseph
of Arimathea?) to steal the body. The facts about her are suspicious: a
longtime disciple [Lk 8:2] "out of whom [Jesus] had driven seven demons"
[Mk 16:9, Lk 8:2] and who (unlike any apostle) attended both the crucifixion
and entombment. She was the first to visit the tomb on Easter [Mt 28:1,
Jn 20:1], and the possibility of removal [Jn 20:2,14,15] was not unimaginable
to her. She weepingly lingered [Jn 20:11] after the apostles left the empty
tomb, and thereupon was the first [Mk 16:9, Mt 28:9, Jn 20:14] to claim
seeing an appearance. Her claim was
initially "not believe[d] [by the apostles] because [the women's] words seemed to them like idle tales" [Lk 24:11]. After the apostles start having the visions too, she is expunged from Paul's list [1 Cor 15] of appearances, and indeed not mentioned again in all of Acts or anywhere else in the New Testament. (In the apocryphal Gospel of Mary, Peter tells her "we know that the Savior loved you more than any other woman. Tell us the words of the Savior that you know but which we haven't heard." She answers "I saw the Lord in a vision" and relates the conversation she had with him.)
Skeptics who value science often refer to the Resurrection as a matter of faith (in its veracity) and impossibility (of its veracity).Anyone who thinks of science as an alternative to religion is making a basic mistake. Science is not a worldview, and any "conflict" between science and religion is actually an epistemological conflict between skepticism and faith.
Yet scientists reject the idea of "impossibility." Skeptics who truly value truth and science should refer to the ResurrectionYou again fail to distinguish between differing possible theses that could be labeled "the Resurrection", as outlined at http://humanknowledge.net/Philosophy/Metaphysics/Theology/GospelProbabilities.html.
not as impossible but highly improbable.As I say in that article, your thesis of "the Resurrection" is not impossible, but rather has a probability of about 1 in 10000. However, I think that other possibilities raise the overall "Resurrection" probability to about 1 in 50. I'm sure you would reject these other possibilities (e.g. malevolent Yahweh), but I doubt you've ever written (or read?) a justification for doing so.
Who, I wondered, is on steadier ground: the Christian with the parsimonious explanation, or the skeptic with the convoluted explanation?You misunderstand parsimony if you think the shortest explanation is the most parsimonious, because then "miracle(s) happen(ed)" would always be the most parsimonious explanation for anything. Parsimony is about explanatory economy, and "miracle(s) happen(ed)" is not a very economic explanation. (However, it is not impossibly uneconomic, and I once debated into a corner some atheists who claimed that miracles by definition can never be the best explanation for any phenomenon.)
To reject the Resurrection, I would have to accept a conglomerate of highly improbable events, thereby accepting a set of miracles over one miracle, the Resurrection.The crucial issue is the overall comparative improbability of the competing theses. Calling one "a set" and the other a singleton is not a meaningful comparison.
I found it extraordinarily more probable that a single highly improbable item answers the resurrection story better than a conglomerate of highly improbable items.This finding is only valid if you have an argument that the "conglomerate" is indeed more improbable than the "single". I see such an argument against the (ludicrous, i.e. 1 in 10^9) Twin Jesus, but I see none against the Most Disciples Duped By Body Theft thesis.
Have a little fun with the improbability factor of the Jesus-was-eaten-by-animals theoryI made no mention of this subcase of the empty-tomb-story-resulted-innocently thesis.
As far as asserting a probability such as yours: “the perfect salvific plan of an omnipotent omniscient benevolent Yahweh: 0.99994”You here (yet again) ignore the question of the nature (e.g. benevolence, supernaturality) of the superhuman agency causing the Resurrection.
If a Yahweh exists,
which is possible,You here beg the question of the likelihood of whether your version of Yahweh exists. Nobody here is arguing that your version of Yahweh is impossible.
and all other variables remain constant, the probability skyrockets to near certainty.You (yet again) give no overall quantitative estimate of your confidence. Is the likelihood of a merely human explanation closer to 1 in hundred than it is to 1 in a trillion?