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Internet Infidels Newsletter

April 1996

In this issue:


Secular Web Recognition

 

Several Web reviewers have recently recognized the Secular Web with awards. The McKinley Group, maintainers of the Magellan Internet Directory, awarded the Secular Web four stars, its highest rating. GNN selected the Secular Web, along with its component Atheism Web, as its two "select" atheism links. Point rated the Secular Web with an overall average of 37/50. According to Point, the Secular Web ranks in "the top 5% of all web sites." April Issue of On-line magazine (http://www.realaudio.com) will cover the FFRF page and the Secular Web. Will debut at end of April.


Craig Blocks Electronic Publication of His Debates

Jeffery Jay Lowder

 

In spring 1995, Internet Infidel Jeff Lowder produced a transcript of the Craig-Washington Debate on the existence of God. The debate was held on February 9, 1995, between Dr. William Lane Craig, a philosopher and theologian on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, and Dr. Corey Washington, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington. The question for the debate was, "Does God Exist?"

After spending over sixty hours transcribing the debate, Lowder mailed the transcript to Craig for proofreading. Despite verbal assurances prior to the debate from UW Campus Crusade officials that it was okay to transcribe the debate, Craig informed Lowder that his remarks were copyrighted material and that Lowder did not have his permission to publish his remarks in any form, electronic or otherwise. Despite two more letters from Lowder, plus letters from several prominent net.Christians, Craig steadfastly refuses to change his mind. Craig claims that the Internet Infidels would use the transcript to develop an anti-Christian debating manual.

Craig, who debates about as often as Duane Gish (and uses virtually the same speech everytime), has since denied permission to electronically publish his remarks in any debate that we are aware of. For example, in response to an advance request that he allow publication of his remarks in his upcoming debate at the University of Minnesota with Quentin Smith, Craig again refused permission to publish his remarks, this time citing "bad experiences." One cannot help but wonder if "bad experiences" refers to the Craig-Washington Debate transcript.

Yet Craig does allow his debates to be distributed in other formats. His famous debate with Frank Zindler is available in both videotape and audiocassette format from Moody Bible Institute. Craig has hired a professionnal photographer to videotape the 4 April Craig-Smith debate at the University of Minnesota. Moreover, he has written extensively on at least two of his arguments for the existence of God, the kalam cosmological argument and the historicity of Jesus' resurrection. (Indeed, Christian Leadership Ministries has electronically published an essay by Craig on the kalam argument at http://www.iclnet.org/clm/truth/3truth11.html.) All of these publications can be easily accessed by his debating opponents, so why doesn't Craig allow electronic publication of his remarks?

His reluctance may stem from the following possibilities: First, Craig saw an early draft of the "DEBATE List Frequently Asked Questions" which at one time contained derogatory remarks concerning Christian speakers. (Lowder feels badly about this and apologized to Craig for this last summer.) Although the focus of this document has always been the existence of God, Craig now incorrectly believes this is a "training manual" on how to debate against Christian speakers.

Second, the nature of electronic publication may not excite Craig. After all, if a transcript is published on the World Wide Web, it is freely available to anyone with web access, and thus could not be published as a book for profit. Moreover, as a scholar, Craig is probably interested in expanding his vita and the Web is not yet a recognized venue for scholarly publication.

It appears that Craig has missed the point. Permitting one's opponents access to past writings or debates hardly gives them an unfair advantage. After all, we are supposed to be after the truth, NOT a cheap forensic victory. If Craig has confidence in his own arguments, he should not be afraid to subject them to critical (or even hostile) scrutiny. If an argument Craig gave a year ago is solid, it should still be solid today, and public access to it will not permit an opponent to refute it. Of course, if an opponent has prior access to an argument, they may be able to formulate a more polished response than if they are surprised by the argument during the debate. But dealing with such responses is part of the debater's job. Besides, I would think that Craig would want his opponents to be able to take their best shot and aim to triumph anyway.

These events highlight the need for the Internet Infidels. We are committed to making the best information on agnosticism, atheism, freethought, etc. available via the Internet. To that end, we will publish on our server any information written directly in response to any of our materials. (How many Christian sites do you know of that will do this?) That's why we wanted to publish one of Craig's debates. As one of the best Christian apologists today, he would have been an excellent representative for the "other side."

Still, the transcript is not a total loss: Dr. Washington is allowing us to publish his remarks, with annotations, on the Secular Web at <URL:http://www.infidels. org/library/modern/corey_washington/craig-washington/>. And if Craig ever changes his mind, we will gladly publish his remarks in the Craig-Washington Debate. In the meantime, we have replaced Craig's comments with the following notice:

 

Dr. Craig has denied permission to electronically publish his remarks on the grounds that they would be used "by Internet Infidels as, in effect, part of a training manual on how to debate against Christians."

Ironically, Craig's moves appear to be backfiring. Many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, are concluding from Craig's self-imposed censorship that Washington won the debate. Just last month, the Internet Infidels received a message from a self-described Christian who wrote, "Washington must have really done a good job for Craig to block publication of his remarks." The Internet could have been an enormous oppurtunity for Craig to promote his message. Instead, Craig has chosen to look like the loser of the debate.

[NOTE: A copy of this article has been mailed to Craig. If Craig wishes to respond, we will publish the full text of his response in a future edition of this newsletter.]


The Secular Web Now Hosts "The Atheism Web"

 

When net.celebrity Mathew joined the Internet Infidels, he brought his famous alt.atheism FAQs with him. (Net veterans will remember that prior to the Secular Web, the alt.atheism FAQs were the premier atheistic resource on the net.) Mathew, along with Jeffery Jay Lowder, have given the old alt.atheism FAQs a new name, a new look, and new content. The documents are now known simply as the "Atheism FAQs" and make up the new "Atheism Web." The Atheism FAQs consist of the following nine documents:

  1. Overview for New Readers
  2. Introduction to Atheism
  3. Constructing a Logical Argument
  4. Atheist Arguments
  5. Atheism and Society
  6. Atheist Organizations
  7. Atheist Media
  8. Electronic Resources for Atheists
  9. Credits, Corrections, and Copyrights

The Atheism Web also contains pointers to the specific FAQs for each of the *.atheism newsgroups.

The Atheism Web resides at http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/. If you have not yet viewed the Atheism Web, we encourage you to do so. Also, the Internet Infidels would appreciate your assistance in promoting the new Atheism FAQs. Please contact those people who still link to the outdated alt.atheism FAQs. And if you find a search engine on the Web that does not have the address for the new FAQs, please submit the URL above.


"Life In Our Anti-Christian America" Continues to Grow

Jeffery Jay Lowder

 

Robby Berry's classic piece, "Life in our Anti-Christian America" <URL:http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/robby_berry/lioaca.html> has grown substantially in the last two months. Readers have contributed over 75 additions to the list, effectively doubling its size. II supporters are encouraged to view the document if they have not recently.

On a related note, Robby Berry's file has generated so much discussion that it was the topic of a recent Christian talk radio show. Lief Moi, host of the nationally (U.S.) syndicated "Street Talk" (broadcast Saturdays 9pm-midnight Pacific Time), devoted an entire show on 23 March to Berry's file. II supporters will be pleased to learn that Moi endorsed the file, labelling Christians who complain that the U.S. is an anti-Christian nation as "whiners."


A List of Problems

 

We apologize to everyone who is subscribed to any of our electronic mail lists. We've been having enormous problems with our ListProcessor, which seems to have a knack for spontaneously dying. In the future, if you think there is something wrong with our ListProcessor, please do not send messages stating so to any of the email lists. Please send such mail to Infidels. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Progress Is Being Made on "Jury"

Jeffery Jay Lowder

 

If you have been wondering when The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's "Evidence" will be finished, we are proud to report that progress is being made. Jim Still has submitted a preliminary manuscript criticizing McDowell's chapter on the historical reliability of the Bible. As we have come to expect from Still, his work is very scholarly. We hope to have the final draft of Still's criticism publicly available on the Secular Web this summer.

Jeffery Jay Lowder has also been busy writing a criticism of McDowell's arguments for the historicity of Jesus. This should also be available this summer, after Still's contribution is available.


Upcoming Additions to the Secular Web

 


Moving the Secular Web?

Jeffery Jay Lowder

 

The Internet Infidels are investigating options for moving the Secular Web to a new domain (infidels.org) maintained by a commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP would be responsible for providing technical support for the Secular Web (ListProcessor maintenance, access statistics, etc.), allowing the Internet Infidels to focus on the content of the Secular Web. Three different ISPs have expressed interest in hosting the Secular Web.

First, Truth Seeker has offered to host the Secular Web for a "nominal fee."

Second, WorldWide News (http://www.theworld.com/) has also expressed interest in hosting the Secular Web. WWN is willing to host the Secular Web on its server for free; the Internet Infidels would only be required to pay for InterNIC domain name registration ($100 for the first year; $50/year thereafter). In return for their support, the Internet Infidels would prominently display the WWN logo on all Secular Web pages and allow WWN to advertise on its pages. Unlike Truth Seeker who wants to charge us so they can make money, WWN would pay the IIs some of the fees collected from advertisers. The only catch is that they are currently only running Windows NT; they may have a Unix box by this summer.

Third, Ellsworth (http://ellsworth.com/) has offered to host us *for free* on their Sparc5 with a T-3 connection. They are running Unix Sun OS. They would be willing to register a domain for us for free and are able to support our mailing lists.


New Internet Infidels

 

Stephen McIntyre has agreed to act as a co-manager of the Internet Infidels. He is responsible for coordinating all volunteer HTML efforts.

Directory                          Contact Person
--------------------------------   -----------------------
"The Atheism Web"                  Mathew
Criticisms (e.g., _Jury_)          Jeffery Jay Lowder
Debates                            Jeffery Jay Lowder
Events                             Clark Adams
Freethought Web                    Robby Berry
Internet Infidels (e.g., Feedback) Stephen McIntyre
Lists                              Jeffery Jay Lowder
Magazines                          see chart below
Organizations                      see chart below
People                             Brett Lemoine
Satire                             Jeffery Jay Lowder

Representatives of several organizations and publications have also joined the IIs, including Fred Edwords, Tim Madigan, Greg Erwin, and Brian Hinson. Dennis McKinsey, editor of Biblical Errancy, was invited to join the Internet Infidels, but declined due to time constraints. Thus our list of Internet representatives now looks as follows:

Organization or Magazine                Internet Representative
-------------------------------------   --------------------------------
American Atheists                       vacant
American Humanist Association           Fred Edwords <AP818>
Atheist Alliance (U.S.) vacant          vacant
Council for Secular Humanism (U.S.)     Tim Madigan <Tim Madigan>
Freedom From Religion Foundation        Dan Barker <FFRF Mailbag>
Humanist Association of Canada          Greg Erwin <Godfree Magi>
Society for Activist Freethought (U.S.) Brian Hinson <AntiReligS>
The Skeptical Review (U.S.)             Farrell Till <JF Till>
Truth Seeker (U.S.)                     vacant

Internet Infidels Speaking Engagements

 

Farrell Till will be debating Thomas Thrasher on prophecy fulfillment in Huntsville, AL on June 24th and 25th. For more information on this debate, please email Till directly at <(email address removed)>.

"The Lollapalooza of Freethought," scheduled to be held at FFRF's Lake Hypatia Freethought Hall on the weekend of July 4th, has also attracted several of the IIs. Jeffery Jay Lowder is tentatively scheduled to deliver a speech entitled, "Challenges Facing Freethought." And Dan Barker, along with Auburn Univ's Delos McKown, wil be giving a "Freethought Sermon" at a building that was once a chapel at Cheaha State Park in conjunction with the Lollapalooza of Freethought.


Kennedy Defends "Why I Believe"

Alex Matulich

 

In February, Alex Matulich was contacted by a person who works for Dr. D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Ministries, regarding Mr. Matulich's comprehensive critique of Kenney's book Why I Believe. This critique may be found at <URL:http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/alex_matulich/why_i_believe/>.

The contact at CRM informed Matulich that Kennedy may wish to respond publicly to this critique, and asked if Matulich was prepared to handle a rebuttal. Below is Matulich's reply. The identity of the person at CRM has been withheld because he was not speaking for CRM in an official capacity.

To date, no response has been received from anyone at CRM. And don't expect any. It's unlikely that Kennedy would be able to rebut all the instances of rank dishonesty exposed in Matulich's critique. Matulich wrote the following message in response:

Thank you for the information you provided regarding CRM's potential
response to my critique of Dr. Kennedy's _Why_I_Believe_. I have some
detailed answers to your questions. Plus a comment or two of my own.

> I have spoken to a couple of Dr. Kennedy's top researchers and
> so far everyone that I have spoken to about this are "shocked"
> that anyone would "challenge" the content of the book (WIB).

This comes as a real surprise to me. I'm more accustomed to
scientific circles, where constant scrutiny and criticism are the
norm. On matters of accuracy (not theology) I am surprised that
Kennedy's own research staff does not examine some of his claims
and the sources cited in Kennedy's book. I am amazed they are
shocked that someone else did, and that they aren't aware of the
criticisms and discreditings of Kennedy which already exist.

> Let me be the first to warn you Dr. Kennedy may take this
> "Public" what I mean is "Television". Are you ready for the
> response?

I'm not sure what you mean. I think my critique should stand or
fall on its own merits; I do not feel I need to defend it.
Furthermore, I rather doubt that Kennedy will take the time to
respond, considering his past record. For example: In April 1989,
Thomas J. Wheeler wrote an 85 page article entitled "A Response to
D. James Kennedy's 'John Ankerberg Show' Presentations on
Creationism and Evolution," which quite effectively tore up Kennedy's
creationism arguments. Dr. Kennedy and his staff were aware of this
article, but Kennedy's response to the article was no response, not
even to retract demonstrably false claims. Another example: Farrell
Till has written to Dr. Kennedy a few times, challenging him to debates
on his repeated statements that the USA is a Christian nation, and
other topics, but neither Kennedy nor CRM ever replied.
Mr. Till's email address is (email address removed) if you want to follow up on
this. I am still trying to find out Dr. Wheeler's address.
In light of Kennedy's past non-responsiveness, I doubt he will feel
inclined to take on my own critique. He has other responses to take care
of first.

Now to your questions:

> 1. Can I present the information as you provided it to Dr. Kennedy?

Yes. I have just made some minor corrections which would satisfy me for
providing to Dr. Kennedy, but the larger revision will have to wait.
If you like, I can make my original files available to you instead of
having you go through a Web browser to read the HTML versions like
you've been doing. They're in WordPerfect 6.0 DOS format now, but
I can convert them to Word. Let me know.

> 2. Do you need to modify any sections (Creation/Evolution)?

Yes, but for now some minor corrections are sufficient. So, it's
ready if you wish to use it.

> 3. Do you need additional time to prepare for a possible response?
>
> 4. If DJK responds publicly, can you handle it?

To both of those questions, here is my answer:
I'll gladly respond, if required, to any rebuttal Kennedy cares to
write, in the same public forum in which I presented my critique.
The administrator of the Freethought Web (where my critique resides)
has informed me that he will provide rebuttal space for Dr. Kennedy.
Kennedy's response would be presented, in its entirety, right
alongside my work, at http://www.infidels.org/criticism/.
If CRM wishes me to acknowledge any rebuttal to my criticism of Dr.
Kennedy, the rebuttal must be in writing, in a public forum such
as a relevant usenet newsgroup or a site on the World Wide Web.
If Dr. Kennedy wishes to respond on television also, I would hope
that he would also publicize the URL where both my critique and his
rebuttal may be found.

I am not interested in participating in a live televised forum where
Dr. Kennedy has complete editorial control over everything I say,
and where I would be unable to research his claims and citations.
Written discussions are much better because it keeps both parties
honest.

I also have other considerations regarding a live televised forum:

1. Dr. Kennedy has a full-time research staff at his disposal. I
must do all my own work. My critique took every moment of my spare
time for a full 5 months of my life (no regrets, it was a good
experience). At the moment, I could not devote enough time to do
justice to a preparation for a live discussion. I know of others
who might be willing, but not me.

2. Dr. Kennedy has a full-time job to devote to these issues. I
have only my spare time, and right now there's not much of it.

3. Finally, Dr. Kennedy is an experienced public speaker. I am
not. I find that arguments over deep theological and scientific
issues are better handled in a written forum; a live forum would
accomplish nothing constructive, in my opinion, especially if one
of the speakers has little experience speaking in public.
Let me know if you want me to provide my critique in a word processor
format, or if the revised WWW version will suit your needs.
I appreciate your offer to advise me by voice. I'll keep it in
mind, but I don't think it will be necessary since I will not be
appearing on television. I welcome Dr. Kennedy's response to my
critique in a written forum such as the site where my critique
currently resides.

Alex Matulich

Horner-Barker Debate on Jesus' Resurrection

Farrell Till

 

Dan Barker, the Public Relations Director of FFRF, debated Michael Horner, staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ of Canada, on April 2nd at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA. The topic for this debate was, "Did Jesus Rise From the Dead?"

The debate began with Horner reading essentially the same speech that he opened with in my debate with him at Seattle-Pacific University last May. I saw Dan Barker turning the pages of the copy that I had sent to him and following along as Horner went over the same points that he had made in Seattle. I thought that Barker made an excellent first speech that Horner didn't respond to except to brush it aside and essentially say, "It isn't so." In my opinion, he never recovered and just kept rehashing the same points again.

In Barker's first speech, he said that the burden of proof was on the one claiming the miracle of a resurrection but that he was going to offer to Horner what he has been asking for, and that is an alternative hypothesis that explains the data better than Horner's supposition that a resurrection literally occurred. He told Horner not to assume that this alternative hypothesis denies the possibility of miracles, because such a denial was not a part of the hypothesis. The hypothesis simply proposes a more likely explanation for the Christian belief in the resurrection.

Barker than proceeded by stating his hypothesis: belief in a bodily resurrection was a result of evolution that began with a belief in a spiritual resurrection. Barker then analyzed 1 Corinthians 15. He noted that Paul's statement in verses 3-8 is recognized by most biblical scholars to be the earliest known statement about the resurrection. He cited the usual reasons for believing that this was so and that Paul had merely quoted what Christians had been passing along orally, possibly even in hymns or poems that were orally transmitted. Barker noted that this earlier account makes no references to many of the elements that are found in the gospel accounts, which were written much later. There were no references to an earthquake and empty tomb, to women, to angels, etc. He asked the audience to think about why the earliest account of the resurrection would have left out such important events if they were so widely known as a part of the resurrection event. He then focused on the words "buried," "raised," and "appeared" in Paul's text and did an analysis of each as they were used in the Greek text of the NT. He pointed out that the word "thapto" (bury) meant to inter or bury and carried no necessary connotations of entombment, so this would be consistent with the known practice of taking the bodies of crucifixion victims and burying them in a common grave. He pointed out that the word translated "rose" or "raised" in English translations of this passage was "egeiro," which meant to "arouse" or "awaken." He noted that this was the word that Paul used in referring to the resurrection in such places as 2 Corinthians 5:15 and that it was the word used in Ephesians 5:14, where Paul said, "Awake (egeiro), thou that sleepest and arise (anistemi) from the dead." The latter word that means "arise" or "raise up" is the word used in reference to resurrection, but "egeiro" (awake) is the word that Paul used in 1 Corinthians 15:4, 12 in speaking of Christ arising.

[I don't recall that Barker said this, but "egeiro" was used by Paul eleven other times in 1 Corinthians 15:15-52, as he spoke about the apostles being false witnesses if the dead are not raised, faith being dead if the dead are not raised," and his analogy of seed and bodies that are sown corruptible but raised in incorruption, etc.]

Barker's argument was that the meaning of the word that Paul used in this earliest account of the resurrection was sufficient to believe that Christians at this time had believed only in a spiritual awakening of Christ after his death. Then, later, when legend had built the spiritual arising into a literal resurrection of the dead, the gospels were written to put the resurrection into a specific historical setting.

Barker than analyzed the word "appear" to show that Paul and others used it in visionary senses. In Matthew 17:3, Moses and Elijah "appeared" at the time of the transfiguration, and the Greek word here is the same one that Paul used in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 in listing the appearances that Jesus made to Cephas, to the twelve, to the 500 brethren, to James, and finally to Paul himself. Barker asked if Horner thought that Moses and Elijah had been bodily resurrected in their appearances at the transfiguration. In Acts 16:9, "a vision appreared [same word as in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8] to Paul in the night in which a man from Macedonia stood praying for Paul to come there to help them. Since the same word for "appear" was used in 1 Corinthians 15:8, where Paul said, "And last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also, Barker argued that there is sufficient reason to assume that the other appearances were like the appearance to Paul. Barker then showed that the only records that exist of the appearance of Jesus to Paul show clearly that this was just a vision that Paul had and that he had actually not even seen Jesus in the vision. He heard only a voice speaking from a bright light (Acts 9:3-8; 22:6-11; 26:12-18), and the men who were with him saw only the light but didn't hear the voice (according to one of the accounts). So if this was the way that Paul saw Jesus, and since the same word for "see" or "appeared' (depending on translation) was used for all of the appearances in this passage, why should we believe that the other appearances were any more than just visionary appearances? The actual bodily appearances came much later in the gospel narratives. Barker also referred to other places in 1 Corinthians 15 to show that Paul had had in mind a spiritual resurrection, not a bodily one. He referred to the gospel narratives to show that by the time they were written, there was sort of a composite view of the resurrection. It was a resurrected body that showed its wounds that could be touched and examined, yet it was also a body that could be teletransported, appear suddenly, and even pass through closed doors. At this point, Barker called to the audience's attention that Thomas who was a "buddy" of the apostles wouldn't believe the claim of his "buddies" that the body had been resurrected until he had seen it and touched it himself. "So why should we?" Barker asked.

In his "rebuttal," Horner said very little about Barker's points, which he had spent most of his speech developing. Horner simply said that it was silly to think that a spiritual resurrection meant that the body itself was spirit. He said that we speak about spiritual experiences and spiritual books, but we don't mean by this that the experiences and books are actually made out of spirits. Then he went on, and basically spent the rest of the night rehashing his major points, which he had on a transparency that he kept putting onto the overhead projector. Horner's favorite method of "rebutting" an opponent's argument seems to be the citation of a quotation from someone who agrees with him but disagrees with his opponent. We saw quite a bit of that during the debate.

One of Horner's points was that legends need two generations to develop, and so Barker showed examples of how legends develop quicker than that. During the cross-examination, Barker brought up the appearances of the virgin Mary in Yugoslovia and asked Horner if he believed these appearances were real or legendary. Horner was evasive, but Barker pressed him until he said that they could have been either. Barker immediately turned to the audience and announced that he had trapped Horner in a contradiction, and when Barker made his next speech, he pointed out that Horner's position is that legends need at least two generations to develop but that he had said during cross-examination that the appearances of the Virgin Mary in Yugoslovia could have been legendary, yet these stories had received wide circulation and belief within a matter of days. Hence, Horner was obviously inconsistent in his beliefs about legends.

[As a matter of interest to others, although I was unable to present it to Horner as a question, because I made a choice and selected another question instead, Wyatt Earp's wife wrote a biography of her husband after he died. Once when I was browsing in a Walden book store, I picked the book up out of curiosity and thumbed though it. I stopped to read her account of the "shoot-out at the OK Corral," and she said that it never happened. She was in Tombstone at the time with the touring company in which she was an actress. This was where she had met Earp. She said that her husband, his brothers, and Doc Holliday had had a brief skirmish with the Clantons that lasted no more than 30 seconds but that it did not occur at the OK Corral. It happened in front of a house owned by someone named Hayes but that nothing like what was later romanticized in pulp novels and movies had happened. It was later glamorized into a shoot-out at the OK Corral perhaps because a confrontation at Hayes' house didn't sound glamorous enough, she theorized. She stated that one of the Clanton brothers who had survived the incident and had later become a friend of her and her husband was still alive to confirm what she was saying. Her eyewitness testimony in this matter was interesting to me, because it does show that legends don't need two generations to develop. Furthermore, it also shows that legends can develop during the lifetimes of those that the legends are built around as well as the lifetimes of eyewitnesses to the events around which the legends are built. Horner and others claim that Paul's reference to the 500 brethren who saw Jesus at one time has to be true because it was made during the lifetime of some of these brethren, so if the claim were untrue these witnesses could have come forth and denied that it happened. First of all, this argument begs the question in that it assumes that the appearance to the 500 had actually happened. If it hadn't happened, there would have been no eyewitnesses to the fact that it had not happened. How can there be eyewitnesses that such a claim as this did not happen? I would say that Paul knew he was standing on pretty safe ground when he made this unlikely claim. It was the type of claim that gullible, superstitious people at that time would have believed, and if it was an event that didn't happen, he understood that there could be no eyewitnesses to come forth and testify that it hadn't happened. Even though the eyewitness testimony of Earp's wife clearly shows that legends can develop during the lifetime of the characters around whom the legends are built, I suspect that Horner and others will still drag out this same old discredited argument the next time they debate the resurrection, just as creationists continue to use claims and arguments that have been proven erroneous many times.]

Despite the fact that Barker clearly said from the beginning that his argument did not entail denial of the possibility of miracles, Horner kept referring throughout the debate to the extraordinary-claims- require-extraordinary-evidence argument against the resurrection. At one point, he went into a long spiel about an extraordinary claim would need extraordinary evidence to prove it and then that extraordinary evidence would need extraordinary evidence to prove it and so on until infinite regress. Yet Barker himself never presented this as an argument. He responded to Horner's references to it by saying that he would just like to see some good evidence like firsthand eyewitness testimony but that Horner can't even give that. I thought the debate was well worth the 8-hour trip for me, and I think it would be well worth the time and effort of transcribing it and posting it on the internet.


The opinions expressed in the Internet Infidels Newsletter are not necessarily those of Internet Infidels, Inc.

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