bookmark_borderLink: Matthew Ferguson on “Understanding the Spirit vs. the Letter of Probability”

A while back, I wrote a brief commentary on William Lane Craig’s critique of Bart Ehrman on the probability of miracles. Matthew Ferguson recently weighed in. He agrees with my conclusions, but greatly amplified them by writing an entire essay expounding on supporting points. I highly recommend his essay to anyone interested in the topic of the probability of miracles in general and the probability of Jesus’ alleged resurrection in particular.

bookmark_borderMatthew Ferguson: PAMLA 2014 Paper: Philosophically Defining the Supernatural

From Ferguson’s website:

Yesterday I presented a conference paper at the 112th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association (PAMLA). The conference theme for this year was “Familiar Spirits,” and I presented a paper titled “Philosophically Defining the Supernatural.” The topic relates to previous articles that I have written, both here in my blog series on metaphysical naturalism and in an earlier article here.
The paper that I presented yesterday represents my most up-to-date view on how to metaphysically define “supernatural” phenomena in opposition to “natural” phenomena. I discuss five areas of metaphysical distinction between the two:
* Physicality
* Uniformity
* Open vs. Closed Causality
* Mental Objects & Properties
* Teleology

Note: as always, links do not necessarily constitute endorsement.

bookmark_borderMatthew Ferguson: History, Probability, and Miracles (2013)

Historian Matthew Ferguson uses Bayes’ Theorem to analyze the historicity of miracle claims. Among other things, Ferguson compares the historical evidence for a purported miracle by Vespasian to the historical evidence for the purported resurrection of Jesus.
Note: as always, links do not constitute endorsement.

bookmark_borderMatthew Ferguson: Ten Reasons to Reject the Apologetic 10/42 Source Slogan (2012)

The “10/42 source slogan” refers to the claim that “42 ancient sources record Jesus 150 years within his lifetime, whereas only 10 mention the contemporary Roman emperor Tiberius.” Matthew Ferguson, a Ph.D. student at the University of California at Irvine, has written a detailed critique of the 10/42 source slogan.
Here is an excerpt from the article’s conclusion:

Upon investigation of the “10/42” statistic, it is clear that Habermas and Licona exaggerated the number of authors who allegedly wrote about Jesus, including authors such as Mara Bar-Serapion and the Younger Pliny who make no direct reference to Jesus. Habermas and Licona missed at least 34 narrative accounts that mention Tiberius within 150 years of his life. When you re-crunch the numbers, the count for Tiberius versus Jesus comes out to 44/42. Furthermore, the flawed statistic had to stretch out the date range to an extreme 150 years in order to skew the numbers in favor of late Christian authors. When analyzing contemporary sources during Tiberius and Jesus’ own lifetime, 14 sources document Tiberius and a whopping 0 account for Jesus.
The total score card for contemporary written sources comes out to 14 literary, 100+ epigraphical, and ~100 papyrological for Tiberius in comparison to 0/0/0 for Jesus.

I haven’t yet read this article, but I’m passing this along because I think it will be of interest to many readers.
Note: as always, links do not necessarily constitute endorsement.