Re: [ASA]RE: Flawed anthro views of RTB

From: george murphy (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 07:40:57 EST

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    Scott Tucker wrote:

    > Glen Morton wrote:
    > > ...
    > > Part of believing the sense data is believing the credible reports of
    > > others. We do this in trials, in science etc. We don't repeat every single
    > > experiment to be sure that our fellow scientists are not lying. Similarly,
    > > we have to believe the sense data the disciples experienced, or we have no
    > > basis for beleiving the resurrection. A guy was visibly dead and then he was
    > > alive. That conclusion can only be based upon various forms of sense
    > > data--feeling no pulse, seeing and feeling no breathing, seeing the palid
    > > skin, etc.
    > I agree with this, but as Moorad pointed out earlier, believing something
    > based on scientific observation vs. something based on testimony and
    > evidence seem to be of a different nature, epistemologically.
    > My impression from several on the list is that the former is regarded with a
    > higher "value" than the latter, and when in conflict, the former takes
    > precedence -- e.g. resurrection appears to violate known observational
    > principles, and is unique (more or less), therefore, it should be more
    > reasonable to attribute some other explanation to the resurrection story
    > than the evidential one (supernatural intervention -- a miracle).

            Your statement isn't entirely clear. I think you mean that the evidential
    explanation of the resurrection story is that it was a supernatural intervention.
            The observational evidence concerning the resurrection consists of:
            a) the accounts of Jesus' death by crucifixion,
            b) claimed encounters of Mary Magdalene, Peter &c with Jesus after his
    death, &
            c) the reports about the women finding the empty tomb.
    A good case can be made from these that Jesus was indeed alive after his death on
    the cross. That in itself does not force on to the conclusion that this was "a
    supernatural intervention, a miracle," though that seems to be the most reasonable
    explanation. Even less does the observational evidence compel one to conclude
    that Jesus is Messiah, Son of God &c.
            (What else could the resurrection be if not a miracle? Briefly, it could
    be a Tipleresque gathering of data concerning Jesus in the far future plus sending
    this information back in time via advanced potentials or some other technique plus
    appropriate cloning technologies. I DO NOT THINK THAT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED but
    the point is that it is something that we can envision without violating known
    laws of physics. We can use our scientific knowledge of the world to suggest an
    analogy with the resurrection, which is just what Paul did with the general
    resurrection in I Cor.15.)
            Observational data in itself seldom compels one to a unique conclusion.
    In this case it was their attempt to understand the data concerning Jesus' death
    and resurrection within the theological framework provided by the faith of Israel
    that led the first Christians to make the claims about Jesus that they made,
    claims that eventually resulted in the Nicene Creed.

       Applied to evolution (is this fair?), based on observation, we should

    > conclude that organic evolution is the more likely explanation for the
    > progression (and perhaps, origin) of life, rather than a supernatural
    > intervention/miracle, as one might conclude by the testimony of scripture.

            The idea that scripture requires the origin of life to have been "a
    supernatural intervention/miracle" is false. Of course scripture speaks of God as
    the creator of life - & of everything else. God is the one who puts the food on
    your table (Ps.145:15-16) but that seldom if ever happens via supernatural
    intervention. & in fact (as I have pointed out numerous times - no credit to me
    because many of the church fathers realized this) Genesis 1 speaks of the creation
    of life as something mediated, the earth & waters having the capacity to bring
    forth life when God wills it.
            (No, that doesn't mean that Gen.1 is a scientific account of chemical
    evolution. But the idea of mediated creation of life is one of the concepts that
    is used in this theological statement about creation.)

    > I am probably looking at it na´vely, but I can hardly blame the special
    > creationist for using the same line of reasoning used here to defend the
    > resurrection, by extension to defend things like YEC etc.

            In order to defend the truth of the resurrection you don't have to deny
    reams of data. You do in order to defend a YEC view.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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