Everyone relies on eyewitness testimony for their beliefs, even Darwinists

The question is whether you have good reasons to trust those witnesses.

Skeptics often claim that we believe that Jesus really rose from the dead based on blind faith and that you shouldn’t trust anything you can’t prove via scientific experiments.  But they haven’t thought carefully about how their own beliefs are formed.  You can also ask those raising that objection whether they have created all their own test equipment and replicated every single experiment upon which they rely.  Since no one has done this, you can then point out how they rely on the credibility of eye witnesses all day, every day.  You can also point out how many frauds we’ve seen even in peer reviewed publications.

Here is an excellent example of this reasoning, via Everything You Believe Is Based on Personal Experience and Testimony:

In other threads, certain people have claimed that personal experience and testimony are not as valid as other forms of evidence. In fact, some would dismiss thousands of years and the accumulation of perhaps billions of witness/experiencer testimonies because, in their view, personal experience and testimony is not really even evidence at all.

The problem with this position is that everything one knows and or believes is gained either through  (1) personal experience (and extrapolation thereof), or (2) testimony (and examination thereof), for the simple fact that if you did not experience X, the only information you can possibly have about X is from the testimony of others.

In a courtroom, for example, the entire case depends on testimony, even when there is physical evidence, because the jury relies upon the testimony of those that produce and explain what the physical evidence is, how it is relevant, and explains why it is important to the case. Unless the jurors are swabbing cheeks and conducting DNA tests themselves, the DNA evidence is in principle nothing more than the testimony of an expert witness. The jurors have no means of ascertaining the DNA “facts” for themselves; they entirely rely upon the testimony of what they assume to be a highly credible witness.

. . . Similarly, unless one is a research scientist in fields where one believes certain theories to be valid, he is (and we are as well) entirely dependent upon testimonial evidence – found in the form of research papers, books and articles written by such scientists. “Peer review” is nothing more to the reader than the testimomy of supposedly credible sources that the testimony of the authors is not blatantly false or contain factual errors.

Outside of what we personally experience, virtually all of our knowledge comes from testimony delivered via some form of media or another. We consider the source of the testimony, and the media it is delivered through, credible or non-credible to one degree or another – but that doesn’t change the fact that when we read or hear it, it is nothing more than testimony. If you are a scientist conducting research, you are personally experiencing the process and accumulation of data.  Beyond that, it is only testimony to others unless they perform the same experiments.  Often, the conclusions of scientific research hinge upon the testimony of other researchers, which may turn out to be fraudulent or mistaken.

We have very good reasons to trust the testimony handed down to us through the Bible. For those interested in why we find the Gospels and the rest of the Bible so reliable, here is an interesting book by a former atheist and cold-case homicide detective: Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels.

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