Thursday, March 19, 2009

Carrier vs Carig debate

This was last night. I'm sure we will be getting the fallout for a while.

Here's a summary form one eye witness who posted on Carig's board:
Today at 02:52 AM
Fellow Reasonable Faithers,

Well I was at the Richard Carrier Vs Lane Craig debate tonight, and I will be as objectively accurate as I can, when I say that Craig literally wiped the table with Dr. Carrier. All Carrier talked about all night long was the fact that certain events in the new testament, mirror those of certain events in the old testament. He claimed that "Barnabas" was a fictional character based on the fact that his name means "son of a father", which I found to be an incredibly weak argument. He goes on about how mary magdaline was a dirrect reflection to merriam (of Moses I believe) and this is again evidence of mythical legend. Carrier did not even try to attack any of Dr. Craig's 4 main facts. He said nothing in regards to the empty tomb really, or the origin of the Christian Faith. He then claimed that ALL of the appearances to the disciples and Paul were 100 percent hallucinations and that none could be trusted...of course we all know the problems with the hallucination theory, mainly that the tomb's emptiness cannot be explained...(which Craig Failed to point out!!)

Anyway Dr. Craig opened with his typical 4 fact approach, the empty tomb, the location of the tomb, the postmortem appearanc]es, and the origin of the Christian faith. When it came time for rebuttal number 2, Craig simply scolded Carrier for tyring to Change the topic midlfight. Carrier was trying to poke errors in the NT gospels all night, rather then actually trying to disprove the resurrection. There were several Fine points in the debate that Craig had, including the end of his first rebuttal where he finally concluded after refuting ALL of Carrier's little claims that were not even relevant to the resurrection, quoting Craig "I honestly cannot think of any reason that one would reject the resurrection based on historical grounds, only on a presuposition against miracles. So the real question is if you have an open heart, and can actually allow the idea that God just actually Might exist" and he went silent for a few seconds, and closed the rebuttal....but it was very powerful, and he nearly got a STANDING ovation at a secular university! haha

Dr. Craig also had other very funny things that he did to poke holes, and fun at Carrier, he Claimed that Carrier had "Failed to learn how to read between the lines", he claimed that Carrier had used "crank exegies that no serious scholar would except", That Carrier invoked a "casper's ghost theory into the gospel narratives" and on and on. At one point after Craig sat down, Carrier got up and was very upset that Craig had accused him of invoking a Casper the Ghost type story, while Dr. Craig Simotaneously threw his hands up and made very humerous facial gestures toward Carrier, while the entire audience could not hold back the laughter....haha.

Anyway No doubt Dr. Craig made a slam dunk here, he made such an impact, that after his first rebuttal, even Dr. Carrier's first words at the podium were "Wow that certainly was a shotgun of an argument, there is simply no way I can respond to all of it". Craig seemed calm and sophisticated throughout the debate, while Carrier almost seemed lost at times, rummaging through papers with large amounts of time lapsing while he had no words, it was just not a good day for Carrier.

They were videotaping the debate, so I suspect Craig will have it on the site before long.,/.......... any questions comments???????!!!

Craig talks about it on his blog.

Carrier on Infidels:

Regarding historicity, Craig is right that (I'd say) at least 95% (probably more) of qualified experts agree Jesus existed, and that's enough for an expert consensus. So he can validly rely on that premise. Unless we were debating historicity (in which case presuming historicity would be circular and citing consensus would be only one argument in favor of it, subject to the very sorts of rebuttals you consider here), and we weren't, I see no reason to criticize him on this point. I have no problem granting historicity. I will be challenging historicity in my forthcoming book On the Historicity of Jesus Christ but that would only be a first step towards opening a more serious debate among experts, not a conclusive proof they're wrong.

Regarding the things he actually cites a consensus for, Craig's source is an article by Gary Habermas that appeared in the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus (with material repeated a few other places), which counted published authors. In his database nearly all authors conceded or argued for three basic points (Jesus was crucified, Jesus was buried, Jesus was then "seen" by followers), which I suspect is accurate (it matches my experience communicating with scholars around the world). Also in his database 75% of authors conceded or argued for a fourth basic point (Jesus' tomb was found empty). However, this is not a scientific data set, because he didn't control for publication bias (defenders of empty tombs specifically, and believers in Jesus as God generally, publish more papers than deniers of either).

Thus Craig is distorting the facts when he uses a study that measured a ratio of publications as measuring the ratio of opinions among scholars. The latter will be entirely different from the former, so no one can say what the latter really is (only that Habermas' findings do confirm a very large segment--I think possibly hundreds of scholars by his own count--don't believe there was an empty tomb). Another bias Habermas didn't control for was dogmatism (he includes even Christian apologists who have no relevant training in ancient history or documents, like Richard Swinburne, as statistically equal to qualified experts writing on-point papers in objectively peer-reviewed journals). I suspect a proper scientific poll (a valid random sample) of actual scholars (e.g. professors in directly pertinent fields at accredited universities worldwide) would find fewer than 50% are convinced there was an empty tomb (that would accord with my experience communicating with scholars around the world).

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