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December 31, 2021

Added Inference to the Best Explanation and Rejecting the Resurrection (2021) by David Kyle Johnson to the Argument from Miracles, Resurrection, and Christian Apologetics and Apologists pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

Christian apologists, like Willian Lane Craig and Stephen T. Davis, argue that belief in Jesus’ resurrection is reasonable because it provides the best explanation of the available evidence. In this article, David Kyle Johnson refutes that thesis by laying out how the logic of inference to the best explanation (IBE) operates and what good explanations must be and do by definition, and then applying IBE to the issue at hand. Multiple explanations—including the resurrection hypothesis, the lie hypothesis, the coma hypothesis, the imposter hypothesis, and the legend hypothesis—will be considered. While Johnson does not attempt to rank them all from worst to best, he reveals how and why the legend hypothesis is unquestionably the best explanation, while the resurrection hypothesis is undeniably the worst. Consequently, not only is Craig and Davis’ conclusion mistaken, but belief in the literal resurrection of Jesus is irrational. In presenting this argument, Johnson does intent to break new ground, as Robert Cavin and Carlos Colombetti have already presented a Bayesian refutation of Craig and Davis’ arguments. But he does take himself to be presenting an argument that the average person (and philosopher) can follow. The average person (and philosopher) should be able to clearly understand how and why the hypothesis “God supernaturally raised Jesus from the dead” fails utterly as an explanation of the evidence that Christian apologist cite for Jesus’ resurrection.