Increasing the risk that I’m moving closer to this site becoming little more than a mindless portal to DagoodS‘s excellent article posts, I simply can’t help but post about yet another very excellent article of his.
In Prove It!, DagoodS argues insightfully that theists and atheists will often walk away from debating, each feeling secure in the knowledge that their argument was won—and both being correct—because of a fundamental difference in their concepts of what the Standard of Proof is:
A good example of this is the[…] debate on inerrancy. What is it that we often see? A person proposes a contradiction.[…]
And what does the inerrantist do? Proposes a solution that, while technically possible, stretches one’s credibility. Then the person proposing the contradiction points out more details within the account that appear contradictory. The inerrantist proposes a solution that is logically possible.
Back and forth, each making essentially the same point over and over. Never moving. Why? Because they are using two completely different standards of proof!
The person proposing a contradiction is using the “more plausible” standard. Whereas the inerrantist is using the “any logical possibility” standard.
So the skeptic keeps talking in terms of how this claim is not plausible, or how this does not plausibly fall into line with the other account. And, frankly, is prevailing under their standard of proof. The inerrantist talks in what could possibly have happened, or how it is possible that Judas suffered three mortal injuries, none of which was fatal. And, frankly, the inerrantist is prevailing under their standard of proof.
Each walks away, thinking, “Gee, I won, because the other person failed under my standard of proof,” neither realizing what a waste of time it was.