Jon Curry said:
This hearkens back to that discussion we had a while back. Is it irrational to have mutually exclusive alternative hypothesis?
Does this reasoning apply to Christians when they offer multiple mutually exclusive hypothesis to bible contradictions?
You’re equivocating, for your question grossly oversimplifies the original claim. Therefore, the comparison is disanalogous.
Let’s refresh ourselves on the original claim:
1.Given metaphysical naturalism, any alternative explanation, however improbable, is more probably than the impossibility of a supernatural/miraculous explanation.
Hence, a naturalistic alternative which is devoid of any positive evidence whatsoever is still more plausible than a supernatural/miraculous explanation.
2.One can substitute methodological naturalism for metaphysical naturalism. It has the same cash value.
Without affirming or denying the metaphysical status of the miraculous, it will deny that a miracle can ever be verified, either (i) because, “by definition,” a scientific and/or historical explanation can only appeal to a naturalistic explanation by assuming the uniformity of nature as a closed system, or (ii) because a miracle is always so inherently and highly improbable that not amount of evidence can ever meet the threshold of justified belief.
3.Alternative explanations enjoy an independent probability value.
4.Contradictory explanations can be bundled together to count against the phenomenon they dispute.
5.Apropos (4), contradictory explanations acquire a cumulative probability value that outweighs the singular claim they oppose.
All this is quite disanalogous with a biblical harmonization:
1.There should be some positive evidence in favor of the proposed harmonization for it to enjoy any positive epistemic warrant.
2.At the same time, I can field your hypothetical objection with another hypothetical explanation. Even if my explanation may lack any positive warrant, it answers your objection on its own level. My conjecture is just as good as yours.
3.Even in case of 2, it should make use of known possibilities.
4.The probability of a proposed harmonization is also dependent, at least in part, on the veracity (rather than falsity) of the underlying phenomenon.
Given that x is a true statement, or given that x really happened, or given that both x and y are true, then there must be some correct explanation for the apparent discrepancy, whether or not it’s available to us.
In this case, the probability of the explanation is derivative of the phenomenon it explains, although it may or may not enjoy a measure of direct evidence as well.
By contrast, alternatives to the Resurrection assume the falsity of the Resurrection, and are treated as though they enjoy some independent level of probability due to the metaphysical or methodological assumption that any explanation, however improbable, is more probable than an impossible explanation (i.e. miraculous/supernatural).
5.Alternative biblical harmonizations are all proposed to explain the very same phenomenon. The phenomenon itself is not an explanation, but the thing to be explained.
For apologetic purposes, a phenomenon like the Resurrection can be treated as a theory or hypothesis which best accounts for the evidence of the empty tomb, post-Resurrection appearances, and so on—as an inference to the best explanation.
But the Resurrection is more than just another explanation. That is an apologetic application of the Resurrection.
In its primary identity, the Resurrection is the phenomenon to be explained. That is a direct datum of the historical record, and not a possible inference thereof.
Given the Resurrection, this phenomenon will also enjoy a measure of explanatory power. It will carry certain implications. But it isn’t just another theory of what happened on Easter Sunday.
Rather, the only accounts we have of the event in question are accounts of the Resurrection. There is no alternative version of events. So all of the positive evidence is evidence of a resurrection on Easter Sunday.
6.Apropos (5), there is a difference between saying that (i) alternative explanations of the same phenomenon all count in favor of the same phenomenon, and saying that (ii) alternative explanations all count against another opposing explanation.
Comparing one explanation with another, or with a set of explanations, is different from comparing an explanation or set of explanations with the phenomenon it purports to explain.
So you are committing a level-confusion.