Dr. Vincent Torley Argues there’s about a 60-65% chance that Jesus rose from the dead

Vince has dogged my steps for a few years in the best possible way. Unlike David Marshall, who comes to taunt us with brief unsubstantiated comments from time to time, Torley tries to be as fair as possible with what I write and responds with some serious thought and writing. This time he's criticizing my arguments regarding the resurrection of Jesus. There are a few things Torley expresses and argues for that are creative and new. His case for the resurrection does not depend on a burial by Joseph of Arimathea or the empty tomb on Sunday (although he believes these myths). He distinguishes between a Type A an B skepticism and deals with them separately, saying,
I propose to distinguish between two kinds of skepticism: Type A and Type B. Type A skepticism casts doubt on people’s claims to have had an extraordinary experience, while Type B skepticism questions whether a miraculous explanation of this extraordinary experience is the best one. In the case of the Resurrection, Type A skepticism seeks to undermine one or more of the key facts...whereas Type B skepticism doesn’t question the key facts, but looks for a non-miraculous explanation of those key facts.
He's also laudably trying to think in terms of the probabilities.

Readers can read his essay. I'm just going to quote from his conclusion and begin responding there.
Since my estimate of the total probability of the various Type A skeptical explanations is less than 50%, and since the posterior probability of the Resurrection is much greater than that of the various Type B explanations, belief in the Resurrection is rational, from my perspective.

Based on the evidence, I estimate that there’s about a 60-65% chance that Jesus rose from the dead. That means I accept that there’s a 35-40% chance that my Christian faith is wrong.

However, I can understand why someone might rate the probabilities of hypotheses 3(a), 3(b) and 3(c) at 20% each, instead of 10%. For such a person, belief in the Resurrection would be irrational, since the total probability of the Type A skeptical hypotheses would exceed 50%.
I wonder how familiar Torley is with Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard? He considered basing one's faith on historical probabilities to be antithetical to the kind of ultimate commitment to action his god demanded. To become familiarized with this argument perhaps one should read the late Louis J. Pojman's essay, Kierkegaard On Faith and History:

I myself wonder. Let's take the following situations as examples:

Say we're 63% sure a piece of candy is not going to poison us to death. Would we eat it?
Say we're 63% sure someone loves us romantically? Would we act upon those probabilities and marry that person?
Say we're 63% sure our airplane is flight-worthy? Would we act upon those probabilities and fly it?

63% sure doesn't cut it. That should be the end of the story.

But what about Torley's claim we're 63% sure Jesus arose from the dead? Is that any different?

How much time would you spend writing blog posts, if one's faith was only 63% probable?
How active would we be in Christian church functions?
How great of a commitment would we have to obey the sect-specific commands of this god?, like praying, devotional reading, church attendance, tithing, marriage till death do us part...
Is this the kind of faith that leads to the commitment Jesus demands of his disciples? "Deny self" "Take up your cross" Abandon and even hate your family...
Would anyone become a full-time life-long missionary to a lost region of the earth?
Would anyone die for that kind of probability?
Would his god condemn the rest of us to hell because we saw things differently and could not believe?

Kirkegaard has a really important point.

Another important issue is why Torley's god supposedly provided the very first disciples with strong observable eyewitness evidence, but the strength of that evidence, beginning with those who presumably heard the testimonies of the first disciples, is being significantly watered down with each succeeding generation? Why are the rest of us commanded to believe with the threat of hell when Torley's god supposedly provided proof to the twelve but not us? Why is it Torley cannot convince outsiders to his faith, non-believing people born into other religions or none at all, with anything better than this?

Summing up: a strong case can be made for the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection. However, a responsible historian would not be justified in asserting that Jesus’ Resurrection is historically certain. As we’ve seen, such a conclusion depends, at the very least, on the claim that there is a significant likelihood that there exists a supernatural Being Who is capable of working miracles, which is something the historian cannot prove.

Dr. John Dickson is the Director, Centre for Public Christianity; Minister, St Andrew's Roseville; Honorary Fellow, Ancient History, Macquarie University, who agrees with historians and myself on the really important question of the historian and miracles.
Dickson: Contemporary secular specialists agree: Jesus did what ancients deemed miracles. It's just that history can't adjudicate.

Loftus: Agreed! Now tell us why you believe what historians cannot adjudicate. If they cannot do it how else can we know? Or, are you a psychic?

Dickson: Simple: my background convictions about the existence of God make evidence of miracle working believable as miracle working.

Loftus: Special pleading! Jews Muslims and others believe in God but deny the historical evidence for the resurrection. God belief gets you nowhere!
I'll address the problem of history and miracles first, then the fact that God belief gets apologists no where.

Torley, no matter how you look at it the historian can never turn an improbability (i.e., the resurrection of Jesus) into a probability. The historian qua historian, using the tried and true methods of an historian, can never say a miracle took place, much less pronounce any degree of probability to such a supposed event. Now that's not the problem for the historian. That's the problem for your god who should have known better, knowing that historians would come to better ways of determining what took place in the past which leaves no room for proclaiming miracles took place, and no room for your special pleading. For all apologetics is special pleading, as I argued in my book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist. This is a book you should get and read before you write another sentence in defense of your faith. You clearly don't know what you should know, if you want to be an apologist. That book will teach you.

Backing up then, earlier in Torley's essay he criticized me as follows:
Basically, there are two errors in John Loftus’ case against the Resurrection: first, he overlooks the fact that the probabilities of the various Type B skeptical explanations are posterior probabilities, rather than prior probabilities; and second, he thinks that because the prior probability of a resurrection is very small, any Type A skeptical explanation whose prior probability is greater than that of the Resurrection of Jesus is a more likely explanation of whatever took place.
It's almost mind-numbing to me how apologists come up with distinctions, some important, then proceed to claim that because I didn't label them the way they did (i.e., A and B) I didn't take them into consideration. Listen up, my whole case against the resurrection is a Type A skepticism, which casts doubt on the supposed testimonies in the New Testament concerning the myth of the resurrection of Jesus. If I succeed then I don't have to propose an alternative explanation based in Type B skepticism for the supposed evidence, since I previously debunked that which I'm supposed to base any explanation on. It's perfectly acceptable to say the claim of the resurrection miracle is unsubstantiated without having to propose what happened instead, just like we would do with any other miracle claim. For instance, I can know that a particular explanation for what happened at Custer's Last Stand is false without having to propose a better explanation of the data. Why is it Christian apologists cannot digest this small moral of reasoning? It's mind-numbing to me to have to say it again and again, only to have Torely claim I didn't address it. But in fact I did address it. I have done so in many places. I have proposed the scenario Bart Erhman did here.

As to the method of the historian and miracles, I sincerely ask that Dr. Torley read through this essay by classical scholar Matthew Ferguson, along with his links, titled History, Probability, and Miracles. I hope Torely reads my aforementioned book and through the writings of Ferguson sometime soon.

Finally, the kicker.

God belief gets you no where. God belief gets you no where. God belief gets you no where.

How many times must we say this?

Why is it Christian apologists cannot digest THIS small moral of reasoning either? Let me end my brief discussion on the claim made by Torley (and Dickson above) that the case for the resurrection,
depends, at the very least, on the claim that there is a significant likelihood that there exists a supernatural Being Who is capable of working miracles, which is something the historian cannot prove. --Torley.
Two things about this faith-based statement without any verifiable objective evidence for it at all.

One) Can we rationally believe in existence of god based on the sufficient evidence for the miracle of the resurrection, or not? Apparently not, per Dickson and Torley. That is to say, there isn't sufficient historical evidence to conclude Jesus arose from the dead unless one first believes there is a god who raised him from the dead. Isn't that crazy when we think about it, since if one believes in a different deity that deity wouldn't have raised Jesus from the dead. Why isn't the evidence better than this? I wrote a whole chapter on why this is significant in my aforementioned book.. This agreed upon lack of evidence has provoked Christian apologists to come up with four rival apologetical methods to evidentialism (the only one accepting the challenge of sufficient evidence) because most apologists reject the claim that there's sufficient historical evidence to accept the resurrection myth of Jesus. THAT is significant! Christian apologists themselves, about 80% of them, do not think there is sufficient historical evidence to believe Jesus was raised from the dead. That alone, all by itself, should be all the rest of us need to know to reject the claim of the resurrection. That's 80% of the very ones who are in the business of defending the Christian faith!

The historical evidence is not there to believe in the god who supposedly raised Jesus to life again. Let that sink in before moving on to my last point. The evidence, the historical evidence alone, cannot convince reasonable outsiders to believe in Torley or Dickson's god. One must first believe in such a god.

Two) Any believer who thinks there are good philosophical arguments to the existence of a sect-specific god cannot assume those arguments lead to the god they were raised to believe, whether it's the Christian one, the Islamic one, the Jewish one or others. The only thing theism grants is that a miracle working god probably exists. So with such a god, miracles are on the boards, that is, they are possible. That's it. But even as an atheist I don't technically claim miracles are impossible. Miracles might have taken place and there might be a miracle working god. I just don't think so at all. I'm interested in the evidence just as theists are. But just as theists in different religions reject each other's miracle stories, so do I. I go on to reject them all for the same reasons they reject the other ones. But like them I'm interested in considering them.

Here's a good case in point. What do Christians do with Michael Alter's Encyclopedic Book On the Resurrection? He's a Jewish theist, a believer in a miracle-working god, in the Old Testament and it's prophecies for a messiah. If god belief is supposed to get you somewhere then what about other theists who are just as skeptical of the resurrection claim as I am?