Saturday, April 03, 2010

resurrection and evolution: the irony

Resurrection

Jim: Resurrections are highly improbable events, so it's highly unlikely that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Bob: As for the probabilities of Jesus rising from the dead, yes its highly improbable--however we know that highly improbable things do happen. What are the statistical odds that you and I would be carrying on this conversation right now? What are the odds of someone being struck by lightning twice at different times in their life? What are the odds of someone winning the powerball lottery? All of these are statistically "off the chart" yet they happen.


Evolution

Bob: It is highly improbable that life would evolve naturally, so it is unlikely that humans evolved.

Jim: As for the probabilities of live evolving naturally, yes its highly improbable--however we know that highly improbable things do happen. What are the statistical odds that you and I would be carrying on this conversation right now? What are the odds of someone being struck by lightning twice at different times in their life? What are the odds of someone winning the powerball lottery? All of these are statistically "off the chart" yet they happen.


Does anybody else see the irony? I suspect some people reading this may think I'm just making it up, but I can assure you I'm not. Jim's argument against resurrections comes up all the time, and usually David Hume is invoked. Bob's answer comes up all the time, too. Here's one example.

Bob's argument against evolution comes up all the time, too, in discussions of intelligent design, the origin of life, and the fine tuning of the universe to permit life. Jim's answer came up on a blog I saw just today (which is what prompted this post). In fact, I quoted it verbatim, which you can read in the comments here.

3 Comments:

At 4/03/2010 3:50 PM , Blogger Brian said...

Very true, Sam.

The commenter you refer to used that very "resurrection is improbable" thing on the blog about a week ago. Now he switches his tune and gives the answer that was given to him about the probabilities.

 
At 4/04/2010 11:03 AM , Blogger DagoodS said...

Would it still be ironic if we approach the premises that both the claimed resurrection and the claimed evolution are highly improbable, only the evidence overcomes the probability in one situation, whereas it does not in the other?

Just wondering where I fall on the irony scale…*grin*

 
At 4/04/2010 12:12 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Whether the evidence is enough to overcome the statistical improbability in each is definitely where the argument lies, but that doesn't diminish the irony. The irony, as I see it, is that Jim and Bob are making the exact same arguments in both cases, only the roles are reversed.

 

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