Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Response to comments on April DeConick's blog

A final response to the comments on April's blog re-resurrection


Dear Wade (and April),

"...Either we use inductive reasoning, knowing its flaws mean we can never have absolute certainty and that we may well have to revise theories based on new evidence, or we don't and we basically give up the search for knowledge...."

Please don't attribute to me any kind of nonsense about how we may as well just give up and go bake cookies or something. I have no problem with April's historical methodologies if we all agree that what we are trying to do is make good arguments about the probability of things happening and basing them on the data we have (such as it is). All I am trying to do here is make a technical point. Such probability cannot be a function of induction because if it were it would always be zero. (Don't shoot the messenger - go read Hume!) Instead it is a psychological probability - what we think is most likely to have happened. That is fine, normal and what historians (amongst others) base their lives on, but it is no use to us if we wish to claim that we have absolute certainty about the impossibility of something like the resurrection. Induction just won’t give us that.

Best wishes,



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