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Dr. R. Greg Cavin: "The Barren Vine: Why Arguments for the Resurrection Fail"

  • Sep 9, 2012 · 1:30 PM
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Greg Cavin provided this summary of his talk, which he entitles "The Barren Vine: Why Arguments for the Resurrection Fail" :

Since my own research is on the Resurrection of Jesus, I will discuss why arguments for the Resurrection fail, with an emphasis upon Timothy and Lydia McGrew's recent Bayesian argument for the Resurrection and the critique that my colleague Carlos Colombetti and I have formulated against this. Our approach is highly original.

The McGrews argue that the power of the Resurrection theory (R) to explain the (alleged) historical facts (F) of the empty tomb and postmortem appearances of Jesus is 10^44 times that of the denial of the Resurrection theory (not-R), and they challenge the skeptic to show that the prior probability of R is less than 10^-43.

Our critique attacks their claim that P(F|R) > 10^44 x P(F|~R). I can also show that the prior probability of R is far lower than 10^-43.


Here is a short Vita for Robert Greg Cavin: He has a BA in Religious Studies from USC, an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from UCI. His dissertation under Nelson Pike, Brian Skyrms, and Karel Lambert was a probabilistic analysis and critique of William Lane Craig's argument for the Resurrection. His article "Is There Sufficient Historical Evidence to Establish the Resurrection of Jesus?" was published in Faith & Philosophy in 1995 and anthologized in *The Empty Tomb*, edited by Jeff Lowder (founder of and Robert Price, in 2005.

Cavin has been a member of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Cypress College since 1996. He and a colleague, Carlos A. Colombetti, have been working on a series of articles and a book on the Resurrection.


As usual our program allows for a Q&A period following the presentation.

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  • Juan B.

    Interesting account of Cavin's refutation of the mathematically sophisticated argument in support of the factuality of Resurrection by Timothy and Lydia McGrew. Cavin showed that the McGrew's arguments do not succeed, and that other similar attempts by other Christian apologists also do not succeed in showing that the Resurrection probably did happen.
    The consensus of those who contributed to the discussion was that the alleged Resurrection of Jesus is likely no more than a religious, doctrinal claim, maybe no more credible than the variety of resurrections by other figures of religious myths.

    September 10, 2012

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