James B. Duke Library Serials Acquisitions Assistant Edward Babinski ignores the claims of eyewitness testimony regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This response to his claims is in bold.
"No eyewitnesses to the resurrection" can mean several things.
Apparently Mr. Babinski has difficulty with the English language. Either there were eyewitnesses to the resurrection or there were not. The eyewitnesses say there was a resurrection. The accounts were presented in this post. Babinski ignored the accounts. Therefore Babinski begins by
Logical fallacy #1: arguing from ignorance.
What was the context in which John made the statement?
For some reason, the statement from Brock’s Cleaning Service janitor Loftus, “Even if we assume that there are genuine eyewitnesses to the resurrection, which there are not ...” eludes Mr. Babinski’s mental grasp. Does Mr. Babinski wish readers to think he is stupid?
Nobody was apparently there to see Jesus' corpse rise from the dead.
That is a legal maxim, Mr. Babinski. Are you not familiar with it?
In Latin, it means ‘the facts speak for itself’. It is a legal principle applied in such court cases as Scott v London & St Katherine Docks Co. (1865) 2 H. & C. 596; Ward v Tesco Stores (1976) 1 W.L.R. 810. Examples are given in 1 Starkie on Evidence, p. 498. Wills on Circumstantial Evidence, § 128-129. [pp. 169-170, 1905 edition]
Legal scholar John Warwick Montgomery states this principle is chiefly employed in tort actions (e.g. patient wakes up after an operation and discovers that his surgeon has amputated the wrong leg; sues; and succeeds without the need to provide empirical evidence of the surgeon’s negligence).
Do you accept the principle of res ipsa loquitur, Mr. Babinski? If not, you are guilty of
Logical fallacy #2: Special pleading.
Logical fallacy #3: Double standards.
Logical fallacy #4: Fallacious appeal to authority. You are not above the law.
“If it is such as usually satisfies reasonable men, in matters of ordinary transaction, it is all which the greatest skeptic has a right to require; for it is by such evidence alone that our rights are determined in the civil tribunals; and on no other evidence do they proceed, even in capital cases. Thus where a house had been feloniously broken open with a knife, the blade of which was broken and left in the window, and the mutilated knife itself, the parts perfectly agreeing, was found in the pocket of the accused, who gave no satisfactory explanation of the fact, no reasonable doubt remained of his participation in the crime. And where a murder had been committed by shooting with a pistol, and the prisoner was connected with the transaction by proof that the wadding of the pistol was part of a letter addressed to him, the remainder of which was found upon his person, no juror’s conscience could have reproached him for assenting to the verdict of condemnation. 66 Yet the evidence, in both cases, is but the evidence of circumstances, amounting, it is true, to the highest degree of probability, but yet not utterly inconsistent with the innocence of the accused. The evidence which we have of the great facts of the Bible history belongs to this class, that is, it is moral evidence; sufficient to satisfy any rational mind, by carrying it to the highest degree of moral certainty. If such evidence well justify the taking away of human life or liberty, in the one case, surely it ought to be deemed sufficient to determine our faith in the other.”
Do you understand that, Mr. Babinski? Are you even capable of understanding that?
The first two Gospels also say that the tomb was empty.
What’s the matter with you, Mr. Babinski? Every single Christian, by definition, from the 1st century to the present day, says that the tomb is empty! The tomb itself is empty! Just how dense can you possibly be????
For some reason, Mr. Babinski’s brain is unable to fathom the empty tomb was reported in all four Gospels. It’s a simple concept: The empty tomb is the central event of the Christian Gospel, attested by those who spread the Gospel.
and Jesus has "gone before you to Galilee for there ye shall see him." But neither Paul nor Mark, the earliest sources, depict exactly what was seen.
This is a nonissue.
Perhaps Mr. Babinski is unfamiliar with the concept of eyewitness testimony. No testimony will be exactly alike. No reporter will report on an event exactly the same way.
§ 34. The character of their narratives is like that of all other true witnesses, containing, as Dr. Paley observes, substantial truth, under circumstantial variety. There is enough of discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them, and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they all were independent narrators of the same great transaction, as the events actually occurred. That they conspired to impose falsehood upon the world is, moreover, utterly inconsistent with the supposition that they were honest men; a fact, to the proofs of which we have already adverted. But if they were bad men, still the idea of any conspiracy among them is negatived, not only by the discrepancies alluded to, but by many other circumstances which will be mentioned hereafter; from all which, it is manifest that if they concerted a false story, they sought its accomplishment by a mode quite the opposite to that which all others are found to pursue, to attain the same end. On this point the profound remark of an eminent writer is to dour purpose; that “in a number of concurrent testimonies, where there has been no previous concert, there is a probability distinct from that which may be termed the sum of the probabilities resulting from the testimonies of the witnesses; a probability which would remain, even though the witnesses were of such a character as to merit no faith at all. This probability arises from the concurrence itself. That such a concurrence should spring from chance is as one to infinite; that is, in other words, morally impossible. If therefore concert be excluded, there remains no cause but the reality of the fact.”55
§ 35. The discrepancies between the narratives of the several evangelists, when carefully examined, will not be found sufficient to invalidate their testimony. Many seeming contradictions will prove, upon closer scrutiny, to be in substantial agreement; and it may be confidently asserted that there are none that will not yield, under fair and just criticism. If these different accounts of the same transactions were in strict verbal conformity with each other, the argument against their credibility would be much stronger. All that is asked for these witnesses is that their testimony may be regarded as we regard the testimony of men in the ordinary affairs of life. This they are justly entitled to; and this no honorable adversary can refuse. We might, indeed, take higher ground than this, and confidently claim for them the severest scrutiny; but our present purpose is merely to try their veracity by the ordinary tests of truth, admitted in human tribunals.
§ 36. If the evidence of the evangelists is to be rejected because of a few discrepancies among them, we shall be obliged to discard that of many of the contemporaneous histories on which we are accustomed to rely. Dr. Paley has noticed the contradiction between Lord Clarendon and Burnett and others in regard to Lord Strafford’s execution: the former stating that he was condemned to be hanged, which was done on the same day and the latter all relating that on a Saturday he was sentenced to the block, and was beheaded on the following Monday. Another striking instance of discrepancy has since occurred, in the narratives of the different members of the royal family of France, of their flight from Paris to Varennes, in 1792. These narratives, ten in number, and by eye-witnesses and personal actions in the transactions they relate, contradict each other, some in trivial and some on more essential points, but in every case in a wonderful and inexplicable manner. 56 Yet these contradictions do not, in the general public estimation, detract from the integrity of the narrators, nor from the credibility of their relations. In the points in which they agree, and which constitute the great body of their narratives, their testimony is of course not doubted where they differ, we reconcile them, as well as we may; and where this cannot be done at all, we follow that light which seems to us the clearest. Upon the principles of the skeptic, we should be bound utterly to disbelieve them all. On the contrary, we apply to such cases the rules which, in daily experience, our judges instruct juries to apply, in weighing and reconciling the testimony of different witnesses; and which the courts themselves observe, in comparing and reconciling different and sometimes discordant reports of the same decisions. This remark applies especially to some alleged discrepancies in the reports which the several evangelists have given of the same discourses of our Lord.57
Had all four accounts been exactly alike, the suspicion would have been irresistible that one was copied from the other, or that all were taken from one and the same original. But substantial uniformity with circumstantial variety is one of the surest tests of truth in all historical narratives. The several accounts of many important battles of the world, and of many other historical events, vary in many particulars, and yet no one thereby has any doubt of their occurrence. The four portraits of the Father of his country, painted by four different artists, viz., Stuart, Peale, Sharpless, and Wright, though all taken about the same period of his life, vary so much in expression that you would scarcely know them to represent the same person, and yet the same George Washington undoubtedly sat for them all. The various editions of Gray's Elegy, and of some of Shakespeare's plays, differ as much as do some chapters of Matthew and Luke in their respective accounts of the same transaction. Indeed, what four of us could go away from this meeting, and give exactly the same account of what transpires here? What four witnesses under oath in a court of justice ever describe a transaction precisely alike? And yet their testimony is taken as reliable, in cases involving the most important interests, even of life and death.
Indeed, judges and juries are apt to discredit a cause in which all the witnesses tell a long story in exactly the same words.
Thomas Chalmers, Evidence and Authority of the Christian Revelation:
If Christianity be not true, then the first Christians must have been mistaken as to the subject of their testimony. This supposition is destroyed by the nature of the subject. It was not testimony to a doctrine which might deceive the understanding. It was something more than testimony to a dream, or a trance, or a midnight fancy, which might deceive the imagination. It was testimony to a multitude and a succession of palpable facts, which could never have deceived the senses, and which preclude all possibility of mistake, even though it had been the testimony only of one individual. But when, in addition to this, we consider, that it is the testimony, not of one, but of many individuals ; that it is a story repeated in a variety of forms, but substantially the same; that it is the concurring testimony of different eyewitnesses, or the companions of eyewitnesses—we may, after this, take refuge in the idea of falsehood and collusion; but it is not to be admitted, that these eight different writers of the New Testament could have all blundered the matter with such method, and such uniformity.
Do you understand, Mr. Babinski? Or is it your desire to engage in:
Logical fallacy #5: Special pleading.
Logical fallacy #6: Double standards.
Logical fallacy #7: Fallacious appeal to authority. You are not above the law.
In fact there is no first hand depiction of what anyone witnessed,
Once again Mr. Babinski demonstrates
Logical fallacy #8: Argument from ignorance.
He ignored the relevant verses given here.
John stated he was a witness:
This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
Peter told the crowds, who also witnessed Christ’s post-resurrection appearances:
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
We know the apostles were witnesses:
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
Peter acknowledges himself with the eyewitnesses:
2 Peter 1:16
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
These were posted here but for some reason you’re being deliberately ignorant. Do you believe being deliberately ignorant demonstrates rational thinking?
every story is second hand (the Gospels are second hand),
No, Mr. Babinski. Matthew and John are first hand; Luke and Mark are reportage of first hand testimony and are acceptable as evidence in a court of law under the rules of legal evidence.
except for Paul who says briefly in first hand fashion that the Lord "appeared" to him (with no details given).
Logical fallacy #9: Argument from ignorance.
The details are provided in Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26.
And that was enough to make Paul in his opinion, an apostle equal to the rest.
It was more than Paul’s opinion. He was recognized as an apostle by the other apostles, by the church, and by God.
The use of the word "witness" as you dug up, is not the central point,
Logical fallacy #10: Argument from ignorance.
Reread the verses at
http://debunkingloftus.blogspot.com/2009/05/loftus-loft-of-ignorance.html and try to comprehend this time.
and certainly not the point John was alluding to.
Logical fallacy #11: Argument from ignorance.
What part of “Even if we assume that there are genuine eyewitnesses to the resurrection, which there are not ...” do you not understand?
Unless of course you feel that by repeating in typical ancient Near Eastern fashion such hyperbolic phrases as "we are surrounded by a vast sea of witnesses," or,"the Holy Spirit witneses," or, "God as my witness," is your point.
Logical fallacy #12: Argument from ignorance. Could it be you don’t know the meaning of these words?
Oxford English Dictionary:
10. to bear witness: (said properly of a person, a book, etc.) to give oral or written testimony or evidence; hence fig. to furnish or constitute evidence or proof; to testify, witness to (occas. of). to bear (one) witness: to corroborate one's statement or be a witness of one's action. (Cf. ON. bera vitni, OF. porter temoin.)
1. One who gives testimony to what he has seen with his own eyes. Obs.
3. The result of actual observation; a report made by one who was present. Obs.
Does Mr. Babinski’s inability to grasp such a simple concept demonstrate intelligence, or stupidity?
Thomas Chalmers, Evidence and Authority of the Christian Revelation:
We know that, in spite of the magnitude of their sufferings, there are infidels, who, driven from the first part of the alternative, have recurred to the second, and have affirmed, that the glory of establishing a new religion induced the first Christians to assert, and to persist in asserting, what they knew to be a falsehood. But (though we should be anticipating the last branch of the argument) they forget that we have the concurrence of two parties to the truth of Christianity, and that it is the conduct only of one of the parties which can be accounted for by the supposition in question. The two parties are the teachers and the taught. The former may aspire to the glory of founding a new faith; but what glory did the latter propose to themselves from being the dupes of an imposition so ruinous to every earthly interest, and held in such low and disgraceful estimation by the world at large? Abandon the teachers of Christianity to every imputation which infidelity, on the rack for conjectures to give plausibility to its system, can desire, how shall we explain the concurrence of its disciples? There may be a glory in leading, but we see no glory in being led. If Christianity were false, and Paul had the effrontery to appeal to his five hundred living witnesses, whom he alleges to have seen Christ after his resurrection, the submissive acquiescence of his disciples remains a very inexplicable circumstance. The same Paul, in his epistles to the Corinthians, tells them that some of them had the gift of healing, and the power of working miracles; and that the signs of an apostle had been wrought among them in wonders and mighty deeds. A man aspiring to the glory of an accredited teacher would never have committed himself on a subject where his falsehood could have been so readily exposed. And in the veneration with which we know his epistles to have been preserved by the church of Corinth, we have not merely the testimony of their writer to the truth of the Christian miracles, but the testimony of a whole people, who had no interest in being deceived.
Had Christianity been false, the reputation of its first teachers lay at the mercy of every individual among the numerous proselytes which they had gained to their system. It may not be competent for an unlettered peasant to detect the absurdity of a doctrine; but he can at all times lift his testimony against a fact said to 'have happened in his presence, and under the observation of his senses. Now it so happens, that in a number of the epistles, there are allusions to, or express intimations of, the miracles that had been wrought in the different churches to which these epistles are addressed. How comes it, if it be all a fabrication, that it was never exposed? We know, that some of the disciples were driven, by the terrors of persecuting violence, to resign their profession. How should it happen that none of them ever attempted to vindicate their apostacy by laying open the artifice and insincerity of their Christian teachers? We may be sure that such a testimony would have been highly acceptable to the existing authorities of that period. The Jews would have made the most of it; and the vigilant and discerning officers of the Roman government would not have failed to turn it to account. The mystery would have been exposed and laid open, and the curiosity of latter ages would have been satisfied as to the wonderful and unaccountable steps by which a religion could make such head in the world, though it rested its whole authority on facts, the falsehood of which was accessible to all who were at the trouble to inquire about them. But no! We hear of no such testimony from the apostates of that period. We read of some who, agonized at the reflection of their treachery, returned to their first profession, and expiated, by martyrdom, the guilt which they felt they had incurred by their dereliction of the truth. This furnishes a strong example of the power of conviction, and when we join with it, that it is conviction in the integrity of those teachers who appealed to miracles which had been wrought among them, it appears to us a testimony in favour of our religion which is altogether irresistible.
Does any of this information penetrate your brain, Mr. Babinski?
The rest of Mr. Babinski's diatribe is addressed here.