Discussion:
The "no evidence" argument.
(too old to reply)
Malcolm
2004-06-19 21:04:26 UTC
Permalink
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported by
any evidence"

Now at one level, the "no evidence" argument is childishly simple to refute.
People seldom make claims and offer absolutely no evidence. For instance
Loch Ness monster enthusiasts will show you various photographs, Uri Geller
produces bent spoons, frtune tellers will tell you your past life as well as
the future. In all these cases I believe the evidence is less than
conclusive, but the claim of "no evidence" is quite false.

What has happened is that the atheists have used the phrase "no evidence" as
hyperbole for "I think the evidence isn't very good",and then been seduced
by their own rhetoric into elevating it to a philosophical position. "No
evidence" just boils down to "I don't find the evidence conclusive", which
is more or less the same as saying "I'm an atheist".

However there is a deeper reason for the "no evidence" argument. The Deists
disbelieved in the Christian God who begot Jesus and inspired Scripture, but
they still accepted a sort of cut-down version of God the Father, who was
omnipotent and omniscient, the creator of the universe, but didn't do much
except set it in motion. There are very few Deists left, because there
really is very little evidence for the Deist God. We simply don't find
incontrovertible evidence for God in the natural sciences - planets are not
moved by angels, animals are not imbued with vital force, geological
processes take billions of years.

Christians are agnostic on whether any particular natural process is
influenced by the direct action of God or not. At times the Church has been
the scientific establishment of the day, and as always radical new theories
have met with hostility, often justified, but causing scandal when they turn
out to be correct. St Augustine, in the 5th century, criticised the use of
scripture to determine issues of natural philosophy. The question "why isn't
the presence of God obvious to the natural scientist?" is a real one, but it
is not a fatal objection to Christianity.

As for positive evidence, there are literally thousands of alleged miracles.
An atheist has to hold that every one is false, if he isn't to seriously
damage his case.

Something obviously motivated the Early Christians. Christians say that this
was the personality of Jesus, the resurrection, and the coming of the Holy
Spirit.

We can also look at the ethical teachings of the church, and the disastrous
failure of most attempts to improve on them. (One attempt, liberalism, is
still in the balance but showing signs of failing, whilst history is
ambiguous about Protestantism.)

So miracles, 1st century history, and the present witness of the church are
three different types of evidence, which should totally scotch the "no
evidence" canard. Of course you can argue that no miracles are real, that St
Paul got Christianity moving despite the death of Jesus, that Christian
ethics are in fact worse than liberal, Communist, Islamic, Nazi (take your
pick) ethical systems. The evidence is not so conclusive that no intelligent
person can be an atheist without immediate absurdity. However let's conclude
that the evidence is there, and that atheist attacks on it are not
particularly convincing.
h***@yessiree.ca
2004-06-19 21:47:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
We can also look at the ethical teachings of the church, and the disastrous
failure of most attempts to improve on them. (One attempt, liberalism, is
still in the balance but showing signs of failing, whilst history is
ambiguous about Protestantism.)
I wouldn't write off liberalism just yet, it's pretty damn insidious.
Post by Malcolm
The evidence is not so conclusive that no intelligent
person can be an atheist without immediate absurdity.
Well put!
Post by Malcolm
However let's conclude
that the evidence is there, and that atheist attacks on it are not
particularly convincing.
Some atheists have a strong faith in their own 'lack-of-faith', and will go
to ludicrous lengths to hold onto it. Strange thing it is.

H.
--
"When truth is evident, it is impossible for parties and factions to rise.
There never has been a dispute as to whether there is daylight at noon."
- Francois Voltaire (a famous atheist, no doubt.)
Carol T
2004-06-21 11:33:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@yessiree.ca
Some atheists have a strong faith in their own
'lack-of-faith', and will go to ludicrous lengths to hold onto it.
Strange thing it is.<<<<<<<

It's difficult to have a lack of faith when people encounter The Holy
Spirit working in another. They simply see something which they want
for themselves, they might not know what it is, but they still want
it. The evidence for His existence is in this reality which believers
know.

Some people are more cautious of it because they are used to Satan's
let downs and trickery. So they hold His Holy Spirit at a distance,
but they still hang around believers hankering for what they see makes
them feel good. Others simply say that they have had enough of Satan's
ways in their lives, that what they lose in Satan was never worth
having, and they put their blind trust in Christ 100%.

No one can love all things that belong to man more than Christ
Himself. So no one can take Satan with them to open the door, they
have to leave his ways behind. That's a tough call because it means
addressing our hearts, minds, ways, morals, souls and all we value in
life, including relationships with our children. For some it means
making that tough call every day of their lives because Satan's ways
live very near.

None of Satan's ways let go without conflict, and in some the conflict
is quite bitter and public; maybe even lasting a life time until they
are utterly worn out.

All a Christian can do is be there to help lead them to their saviour
when they are finally ready and then through Him they will find their
Lord.

Carol T
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-21 06:37:44 UTC
Permalink
"Malcolm" <***@55bank.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message news:cb29i7$u3n$***@news7.svr.pol.co.uk...
<snip>
Post by Malcolm
As for positive evidence, there are literally thousands of alleged miracles.
An atheist has to hold that every one is false, if he isn't to seriously
damage his case.
Why don't you tell us what which alleged miracle is most convincing to you
and we can discuss it. If we find it not convincing we can eliminate the
others because you find them less convincing.
Post by Malcolm
Something obviously motivated the Early Christians. Christians say that this
was the personality of Jesus, the resurrection, and the coming of the Holy
Spirit.
We can also look at the ethical teachings of the church, and the disastrous
failure of most attempts to improve on them. (One attempt, liberalism, is
still in the balance but showing signs of failing, whilst history is
ambiguous about Protestantism.)
So miracles, 1st century history, and the present witness of the church are
three different types of evidence, which should totally scotch the "no
evidence" canard. Of course you can argue that no miracles are real, that St
Paul got Christianity moving despite the death of Jesus, that Christian
ethics are in fact worse than liberal, Communist, Islamic, Nazi (take your
pick) ethical systems. The evidence is not so conclusive that no intelligent
person can be an atheist without immediate absurdity. However let's conclude
that the evidence is there, and that atheist attacks on it are not
particularly convincing.
You seem to be doing a lot of bashing of liberals and communists. Obviously
you haven't read Acts 4:32-35 and Acts 2:42-47 where it describes the
apostils living in a commune where everyone had to sell their personal
belongings and the proceeds were distributed according to need. It
certainly sounds like the apostils were a bunch of early communists.
Carol T
2004-06-21 10:38:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Obviously
you haven't read Acts 4:32-35 and Acts 2:42-47 where it describes the
apostils living in a commune where everyone had to sell their personal
belongings and the proceeds were distributed according to need. It
certainly sounds like the apostils were a bunch of early communists.<<<<<<<
No one 'had' to sell their belongings, they became of one mind and
body so all they had between them was distributed according to their
needs (as happens in any family) If anyone had ever felt that their
wealth was souly their own then they had the freewill to keep it, just
as they have this freewill today.

Anyone who is restrained and ordered into giving their belongings is
not free and this is not Christ's way. THIS is communism, not an
example of strength in Jesus Christ.

"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were
assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and
they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them
that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of
them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but
they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles
witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was
upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as
many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the
prices of the things that were sold, And laid [them] down at the
apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as
he had need." KJ Act 4:31-35

If Satan saw the strength of God in the oneness of men, then who would
he make use of to try and break down that example of strength?

Carol T
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-21 13:16:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carol T
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Obviously
you haven't read Acts 4:32-35 and Acts 2:42-47 where it describes the
apostils living in a commune where everyone had to sell their personal
belongings and the proceeds were distributed according to need. It
certainly sounds like the apostils were a bunch of early
communists.<<<<<<<
Post by Carol T
No one 'had' to sell their belongings, they became of one mind and
body so all they had between them was distributed according to their
needs (as happens in any family) If anyone had ever felt that their
wealth was souly their own then they had the freewill to keep it, just
as they have this freewill today.
Anyone who is restrained and ordered into giving their belongings is
not free and this is not Christ's way. THIS is communism, not an
example of strength in Jesus Christ.
It's really a pity you Christians are too damn dumb to read your own Bible.
Look at Acts 5:1-11 where it describes the killing of two people who did not
give all of their belongings to the apostils. By both of our definitions
these apostils were communists.

"A man named Ananias, however, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of
property. He retained for himself, with his wife's knowledge, some of the
purchase price, took the remainder, and put it at the feet of the apostles.
But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you lied
to the holy Spirit and retained part of the price of the land? While it
remained unsold, did it not remain yours? And when it was sold, was it not
still under your control? Why did you contrive this deed? You have lied not
to human beings, but to God." When Ananias heard these words, he fell down
and breathed his last, and great fear came upon all who heard of it. The
young men came and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him.
After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, unaware of what
had happened. Peter said to her, "Tell me, did you sell the land for this
amount?" She answered, "Yes, for that amount." Then Peter said to her, "Why
did you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen, the footsteps of those
who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
At once, she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men
entered they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside
her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who
heard of these things. (Acts 5:1-11 NAB)
Carol T
2004-06-22 11:04:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Look at Acts 5:1-11 where it describes the killing of two
people who did not give all of their belongings to the apostils.
.<<<<<<<<<<


Ananias and his wife, died of their own doing. They could have kept
their belongings and gone on their way, but instead they conspired
together to lie to The Holy Spirit.

The reason they died was because they knew exactly what they were
doing. They were putting The Lord their God to the test. By choosing
to do this they choose their own death to Christ. No one forced them
to do what they did.

When they learned of The Spirit's knowledge of their plan, through
realising that Peter was with the Spirit their breathing stopped that
second (it was not by the hand of man).

I should think in the realisation of what they had done each one of
them had, had the same horror that Judas experienced before he hanged
himself. Who was responsible for their decisions, if it was not
themselves?


This is a fear of knowing the Lord's Spirit and power to know us. Not
in reverence, but by recognising the spirit of Satan within themselves
first.

If people know Satan's spirit, then they know that all they do of
Satan's work is done before God in defiance of Him. Even Satan knows
that he's not as powerful as God and he will leave them to their death
whilst they are pleading for the Spirit they rejected, or they die
suddenly in shock for lack of The Holy Spirit.

If you think of lovers who die for one another, and parents who die of
shock on losing a child, then think how much more people lose when
they give up His Holy Spirit.

"When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the
door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying,
Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know
you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and
drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he
shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me,
all [ye] workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the
prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you [yourselves] thrust out."
Luke 13:25 -28



Carol T
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-22 17:26:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carol T
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Look at Acts 5:1-11 where it describes the killing of two
people who did not give all of their belongings to the apostils.
.<<<<<<<<<<
Ananias and his wife, died of their own doing. They could have kept
their belongings and gone on their way, but instead they conspired
together to lie to The Holy Spirit.
It's kind of hard to go on your way when you and your wife have just been
murdered by Peter (or the Holy Spirit if you believe that nonsense). No one
is going to believe your bullshit that they could have gone on their way
when it is obviously wrong.
Carol T
2004-06-23 12:41:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
It's kind of hard to go on your way when you and your wife have just been
murdered by Peter (or the Holy Spirit if you believe that nonsense).
How did Peter stop their breath simply by putting a question to them?


Carol T
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-23 16:27:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carol T
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
It's kind of hard to go on your way when you and your wife have just been
murdered by Peter (or the Holy Spirit if you believe that nonsense).
How did Peter stop their breath simply by putting a question to them?
He lied. He most likely chocked them.

Why do you keep avoiding the question about how "they could have kept their
belongings and gone on their way"?
Malcolm
2004-06-21 19:58:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Why don't you tell us what which alleged miracle is most
convincing to you and we can discuss it. If we find it not
convincing we can eliminate the others because you find them
less convincing.
So the atheist case is that there is "no evidence", and now there appears to
be so much evidence that we are asked to throw away all but the most
convincing.
Of course there are several thousand claimed miracles, and no human can be
expected to examine every one in detail. I could choose one, but discussing
the merits of any one particular miracle is a distraction - we are
discussing the atheist claim that there is no evidence, no whether Padre Pio
really had the stigmata or not.

This also leads us to another common argument. if there are thousands of
miracles, why isn't any miracle so overwhelming that no-one could seriously
entertain atheism as a viable position? This is a slightly more educated
formulation of the "writing on the moon" argument, that we will deal with
later.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
You seem to be doing a lot of bashing of liberals and
communists. Obviously you haven't read Acts 4:32-35 and
Acts 2:42-47 where it describes the apostils living in a commune
where everyone had to sell their personal
belongings and the proceeds were distributed according to
need.
Strictly by "communism" I mean "the movement founded by Karl Marx", which
was explicitly atheist and tried to replace Christian morality, usually
labelled "bougeois morality", with revolutionary morality.
However Christians are not committed to any particular economic system, and
one of the ironies of history is that the only communists really left now
are the Catholic liberation theologians of Central America.
There is some evidence that the Early Christians practised a form of
communism, and certainly if the Pope and bishops wanted to insist on pooling
of worldly goods they would have the right to do so. However they have
decided not to take the church down this route.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-21 23:24:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Why don't you tell us what which alleged miracle is most
convincing to you and we can discuss it. If we find it not
convincing we can eliminate the others because you find them
less convincing.
So the atheist case is that there is "no evidence", and now there appears to
be so much evidence that we are asked to throw away all but the most
convincing.
You quoted the words of a single atheist and expanded it to include all
atheists. This seems to be a continuation of your strawman arguments.
Clearly it is absurd to claim that there is no evidence for the existence of
God. I suspect he/she meant to say that there was no convincing evidence,
or no evidence that is not absurd, but I don't wish to put words in other
people's mouths.

Atheists are a very diverse group of people. By definition, the only thing
they need to have in common is a disbelief in the existence of a God or
gods. It is quite absurd to claim that any one atheist's opinion is "the
atheist case".

I would suspect that most atheists would agree that there is a lot of
evidence for the existence of God, but that all of it is not convincing. I
my lifetime I can recall that frost on a hospital window was claimed to be
evidence of God, that the sun shining through cloud formations were claimed
to be a sign from God, not to mention the thousands of accident victims
everyday who claim that it is a miracle from God that they survived.
Post by Malcolm
Of course there are several thousand claimed miracles, and no human can be
expected to examine every one in detail. I could choose one, but discussing
the merits of any one particular miracle is a distraction - we are
discussing the atheist claim that there is no evidence, no whether Padre Pio
really had the stigmata or not.
I'm done discussing the claim by one atheist that there is no evidence. I
agree with you, it's absurd. This leads to the next logical question. How
convincing is the evidence? Since there is so much lousy evidence, I will
leave it up to you to pick what you think is the best evidence. Since you
are picking the best evidence, it is only logical that all the other
evidence (that you know of) is less convincing. So pick the best evidence
you have and let's put it to the test, if you have the balls.
Malcolm
2004-06-23 03:14:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
You quoted the words of a single atheist and expanded it to
include all atheists. This seems to be a continuation of your
strawman arguments.
Several atheists responded with versions of the "no evidence" argument. I
summarised and added to the list. There was ample opportunity to explain
that this argument was weak and that few atheists hold it.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
I'm done discussing the claim by one atheist that there is no
evidence. I agree with you, it's absurd. This leads to the next
logical question. How convincing is the evidence? Since there
is so much lousy evidence, I will leave it up to you to pick what
you think is the best evidence. Since you are picking the best
evidence, it is only logical that all the other evidence (that you
know of) is less convincing. So pick the best evidence
you have and let's put it to the test, if you have the balls.
OK, I've mentioned Padre Pio. Now he clearly had wounds on his hands and
claimed that these were miraculous. The only real alternative hypothesis is
that they were self-inflicted.
Now if this was the only evidence we had, then given a choice between
accepting that a man lied or that the whole panalopy of Christian dogma is
true, the choice would be obvious.

However Padre Pio is just one person. St Francis also had the stigmata. This
is where the atheist case starts getting into trouble, because as well as
one man, with a reputation for piety, committing fraud, we now have two,
both of whom convinced the public that they were living saintly lives.
Of course two bits of evidence aren't fatal to atheism, and in fact I think
that this is where we make an appeal to faith - not faith in a miracle with
absolutely no evidence, but faith that a Catholic saint is not a mere
charlatan. If you believe that the church's ethical teachings are
essentially wrong then you probably won't accept that St Francis and Padre
Pio were sincere, whilst if you believe they are right you will find it hard
to explain the phenomena except by a miracle.

This leads us to one of the other questions. Why can't an omnipotent God
make a miracle so overwhelming that no atheist position is tenable at all?
This of course is the "writing on the moon" argument.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-23 05:43:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
You quoted the words of a single atheist and expanded it to
include all atheists. This seems to be a continuation of your
strawman arguments.
Several atheists responded with versions of the "no evidence" argument. I
summarised and added to the list. There was ample opportunity to explain
that this argument was weak and that few atheists hold it.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
I'm done discussing the claim by one atheist that there is no
evidence. I agree with you, it's absurd. This leads to the next
logical question. How convincing is the evidence? Since there
is so much lousy evidence, I will leave it up to you to pick what
you think is the best evidence. Since you are picking the best
evidence, it is only logical that all the other evidence (that you
know of) is less convincing. So pick the best evidence
you have and let's put it to the test, if you have the balls.
OK, I've mentioned Padre Pio. Now he clearly had wounds on his hands and
claimed that these were miraculous. The only real alternative hypothesis is
that they were self-inflicted.
Now if this was the only evidence we had, then given a choice between
accepting that a man lied or that the whole panalopy of Christian dogma is
true, the choice would be obvious.
Yes, the answer is obvious .Padre Pio was a liar and his wounds were self
inflicted. He was probably repeating the acts of St. Francis.
Post by Malcolm
However Padre Pio is just one person. St Francis also had the stigmata. This
is where the atheist case starts getting into trouble, because as well as
one man, with a reputation for piety, committing fraud, we now have two,
both of whom convinced the public that they were living saintly lives.
Of course two bits of evidence aren't fatal to atheism, and in fact I think
that this is where we make an appeal to faith - not faith in a miracle with
absolutely no evidence, but faith that a Catholic saint is not a mere
charlatan. If you believe that the church's ethical teachings are
essentially wrong then you probably won't accept that St Francis and Padre
Pio were sincere, whilst if you believe they are right you will find it hard
to explain the phenomena except by a miracle.
So you admit there is a perfectly logical explanation for these wounds (self
infliction) but you don't accept it because you believe the words of these
priests. So your argument is simply that you believe the word of two
people. That is not convincing argument for Christianity at all!

If this is your best evidence, then all your evidence all belongs in the
trash can.
Malcolm
2004-06-23 19:36:53 UTC
Permalink
Yes, the answer is obvious .Padre Pio was a liar and his wounds > were
self inflicted. He was probably repeating the acts of St.
Francis.
So atheism commits you to the position that Padre Pio and St Francis were
both liars.
So you admit there is a perfectly logical explanation for these
wounds (self infliction) but you don't accept it because you
believe the words of these priests. So your argument is simply
that you believe the word of two people. That is not convincing
argument for Christianity at all!
Exactly. As I said, if the choice was between accepting that Padre Pio lied,
or accepting that God became incarnate as a man, was crucified, and now
bestows wounds on a few chosen faithful, then obviously I would conclude
that Pio was a liar. However when we have to suppose two liars, the atheist
case gets weaker, and we can add bit after bit of evidence for many
miracles.
So the atheist case is tenable, but not that strong. Padre Pio and St
Francis were not your typical charlatans. But if you don't accept the
essential goodness of the church, you will be much less likely to reject the
"liars" hypothesis.
If this is your best evidence, then all your evidence all belongs in > the
trash can.
Obviously as an atheist, you're going to reject the evidence from miracles.
Anyway, we've disposed of the "no evidence" argument, it's become the "I've
got a better explanation for the evidence" argument.

However this leads us neatly to the next thread. Granted that there is
evidence of miracles, why doesn't God perform a miracle so overwhelming that
no-one could doubt for five minutes that He is really behind it. This of
course is the "Writing on the Moon" argumnet.
George Tirebiter
2004-06-23 19:54:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Yes, the answer is obvious .Padre Pio was a liar and his wounds > were
self inflicted. He was probably repeating the acts of St.
Francis.
So atheism commits you to the position that Padre Pio and St Francis were
both liars.
So you admit there is a perfectly logical explanation for these
wounds (self infliction) but you don't accept it because you
believe the words of these priests. So your argument is simply
that you believe the word of two people. That is not convincing
argument for Christianity at all!
Exactly. As I said, if the choice was between accepting that Padre Pio lied,
or accepting that God became incarnate as a man, was crucified, and now
bestows wounds on a few chosen faithful, then obviously I would conclude
that Pio was a liar. However when we have to suppose two liars, the atheist
case gets weaker, and we can add bit after bit of evidence for many
miracles.
How many people claim to have been abducted onto UFOs and subjected to
painful rectal probing? Does their testimony make you believe in UFOs and
aliens with big eyes? At issue is the reliability of this "evidence" How
many of these miracles have been submitted to independent evaluation? The
few that do turn out to be not what are claimed: burial shrouds that are
medieval fakes and statues that cry mineral oil.
Post by Malcolm
So the atheist case is tenable, but not that strong. Padre Pio and St
Francis were not your typical charlatans.
What makes them atypical? How are they any different from the guys on late
night cable who cure the sick? Please provide some evidence for their
stigmata.
Post by Malcolm
But if you don't accept the
essential goodness of the church, you will be much less likely to reject the
"liars" hypothesis.
Unfortunately for you, the behavior of the church is a matter that can be
independently evaluated and it provides little basis for anyone to believe
in its essential goodness.
Post by Malcolm
If this is your best evidence, then all your evidence all belongs in > the
trash can.
Obviously as an atheist, you're going to reject the evidence from miracles.
What evidence? Someone says they had a horrible disease and they were cured
after praying to some saint? The writer Anthony Burgess was diagnosed with
a brain tumor and given less than a year to live. Yet, he lived a long life
after that. Was that a miracle? He attributes his miraculous recovery to
benzedrine and raw gin.
Post by Malcolm
Anyway, we've disposed of the "no evidence" argument, it's become the "I've
got a better explanation for the evidence" argument.
Actually, you haven't presented any evidence. You claim that some guys
bleed from wounds (which happen not to mimic those of crucifixion). What
investigations produced what evidence? What about these miracles? Do you
have MRIs and biopsies?
Post by Malcolm
However this leads us neatly to the next thread. Granted that there is
evidence of miracles,
No, that is not granted. People claim there are miracles. People also claim
to have seen Elvis coming out of the 7-11.
Post by Malcolm
why doesn't God perform a miracle so overwhelming that
no-one could doubt for five minutes that He is really behind it. This of
course is the "Writing on the Moon" argumnet.
And the answer to this is what? Your god used to appear to folks, hand them
tablets, etc. Now he's a no-show. Any idea why god and the heavenly hymen
in the grotto only appear to backwards peasants?
Didymos
2004-06-24 19:51:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Yes, the answer is obvious .Padre Pio was a liar and his wounds > were
self inflicted. He was probably repeating the acts of St.
Francis.
So atheism commits you to the position that Padre Pio and St Francis were
both liars.
So you admit there is a perfectly logical explanation for these
wounds (self infliction) but you don't accept it because you
believe the words of these priests. So your argument is simply
that you believe the word of two people. That is not convincing
argument for Christianity at all!
Exactly. As I said, if the choice was between accepting that Padre Pio lied,
or accepting that God became incarnate as a man, was crucified, and now
bestows wounds on a few chosen faithful, then obviously I would conclude
that Pio was a liar. However when we have to suppose two liars, the atheist
case gets weaker, and we can add bit after bit of evidence for many
miracles.
So the atheist case is tenable, but not that strong. Padre Pio and St
Francis were not your typical charlatans. But if you don't accept the
essential goodness of the church, you will be much less likely to reject the
"liars" hypothesis.
If this is your best evidence, then all your evidence all belongs in
the
trash can.
Obviously as an atheist, you're going to reject the evidence from miracles.
Anyway, we've disposed of the "no evidence" argument, it's become the "I've
got a better explanation for the evidence" argument.
However this leads us neatly to the next thread. Granted that there is
evidence of miracles, why doesn't God perform a miracle so
overwhelming that
Post by Malcolm
no-one could doubt for five minutes that He is really behind it. This of
course is the "Writing on the Moon" argumnet.
May I suggest you ask Mr EditorofEvilBible the following questions. He
claims to be a microbiologist employed by the University of Maryland
College of Medicine, so should have some expecerience, at least
anecdoctal, with the issue. I would pose the questions myself, and do
if he perchance reads this post, but he may choose not to respond or
have kill filed me -- which is certainly his right and I take no
exception to that practice.

Can the art of medicine explain each and every physiological and
anatomical event?

Are there not events involving patients simply beyond the ken of the
medical arts and sciences to explain?

If the medicine cannot explain each and every symptom and manifestation
of injury or healing such as the stigmata of Padre Pio, does that not
leave open the possibility that Padre Pio and Francis of Assisi were not
dishonest?
George Tirebiter
2004-06-24 20:32:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Didymos
May I suggest you ask Mr EditorofEvilBible the following questions. He
claims to be a microbiologist employed by the University of Maryland
College of Medicine, so should have some expecerience, at least
anecdoctal, with the issue. I would pose the questions myself, and do
if he perchance reads this post, but he may choose not to respond or
have kill filed me -- which is certainly his right and I take no
exception to that practice.
Can the art of medicine explain each and every physiological and
anatomical event?
Are there not events involving patients simply beyond the ken of the
medical arts and sciences to explain?
If the medicine cannot explain each and every symptom and manifestation
of injury or healing such as the stigmata of Padre Pio, does that not
leave open the possibility that Padre Pio and Francis of Assisi were not
dishonest?
Sure, there are plenty of things that are hard to explain. But, it
certainly is a remarkably silly position to take that anything for which
there isn't a clear answer, must be miraculous. That's how superstitious
people thought that lightning was gods throwing thunderbolts or epileptics
being possessed by demons.

But frankly, this bleeding thing is not really terribly impressive as a
demonstration of divine power. First, if a stigmata is mimicking the wounds
of the savior on a stick, they should be in the wrists. Was there ever any
investigation of these marvelous wounds? Hell, I got a bad case of
athlete's foot once and my feet cracked and bled. Maybe I'm a saint.
Malcolm
2004-06-24 22:44:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Didymos
May I suggest you ask Mr EditorofEvilBible the following
questions.
Can the art of medicine explain each and every physiological
and anatomical event?
Are there not events involving patients simply beyond the ken of > the
medical arts and sciences to explain?
Actually I'd say that this is evidence against miraculous cures. We don't
understand all there is to know about the human body, so if, say, a cancer
starts to go into remission, this might be something to do with the way the
immune system is triggered rather than a totally inexplicable miracle.
Post by Didymos
If the medicine cannot explain each and every symptom and
manifestation of injury or healing such as the stigmata of Padre
Pio, does that not leave open the possibility that Padre Pio and
Francis of Assisi were not dishonest?
The stigmata are an exception. Here is a phenomenon which is quite clearly
beyond normal experience, and quite clearly Christian. I don't think there
is much mileage in claiming some sort of psychosomatically generated wound,
at best you are explaining the mechanism of the miracle. So you are left
with the fraud hypothesis. I don't think it's that convincing an explanation
when you look at the rest of those mens' lives. However it is not totally
untenable either - physically they could probably have inflicted the wounds
themselves.
George Tirebiter
2004-06-25 12:19:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Didymos
Post by Didymos
May I suggest you ask Mr EditorofEvilBible the following
questions.
Can the art of medicine explain each and every physiological
and anatomical event?
Are there not events involving patients simply beyond the ken of > the
medical arts and sciences to explain?
Actually I'd say that this is evidence against miraculous cures. We don't
understand all there is to know about the human body, so if, say, a cancer
starts to go into remission, this might be something to do with the way the
immune system is triggered rather than a totally inexplicable miracle.
That's right. People spontaneously recover (rarely, but it happens) from
seemingly hopeless diseases. Some call these miracles, if the person is
religious. If they aren't religious, it's just a mystery. Of course, the
religious people never call it a miracle when someone dies from some random
event. If inexplicable events are miracles, you have to include the bad
events along with the good.
Post by Didymos
Post by Didymos
If the medicine cannot explain each and every symptom and
manifestation of injury or healing such as the stigmata of Padre
Pio, does that not leave open the possibility that Padre Pio and
Francis of Assisi were not dishonest?
The stigmata are an exception. Here is a phenomenon which is quite clearly
beyond normal experience,
Maybe. You are assuming that these actually occur. You are assuming that
there is no natural explanation. Where is there any documentation for these
amazing phenomena?
Post by Didymos
and quite clearly Christian.
Then why don't they accurately represent the wounds on a real crucifiction
victim?
Post by Didymos
I don't think there
is much mileage in claiming some sort of psychosomatically generated wound,
at best you are explaining the mechanism of the miracle. So you are left
with the fraud hypothesis. I don't think it's that convincing an explanation
when you look at the rest of those mens' lives.
Actually, it's completely consistent. The supposed stigmata are selling
religion for a living. Exaggeration in advertising is not at all
unexpected. They may not even see it as fraud and may not be doing it in a
completely conscious way. It's a pretty common feature of hysterical
behavior.
Post by Didymos
However it is not totally
untenable either - physically they could probably have inflicted the wounds
themselves.
Exactly. So where are the investigations? These stigmatas are nothing more
than hearsay, folklore and allegations at this point. It's a mighty slender
thread on which to hang a mighty load of baggage.
Malcolm
2004-06-25 21:19:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Tirebiter
That's right. People spontaneously recover (rarely, but it
happens) from seemingly hopeless diseases. Some call these
miracles, if the person is religious. If they aren't religious, it's just
a mystery.
If you are seriously ill, and religious, you will pray for a cure. You won't
pray for a medically inexplicable cure. However if the cure is inexplicable,
is lasting, and occurs within reasonable association of the prayer, it is
considered a miracle.
Post by George Tirebiter
Of course, the religious people never call it a miracle
when someone dies from some random event. If inexplicable
events are miracles, you have to include the bad events along
with the good.
That's another problem which is difficult to control for.
Post by George Tirebiter
Maybe. You are assuming that these actually occur. You are
assuming that there is no natural explanation. Where is there any
documentation for these amazing phenomena?
The wounds actually occur, and the recipients claim they were spontaneous.
I've assumed that the only theories that have anything going for them are
fraud or some sort of supernatural intervention, though some people have
tried to argue for some psychosomatic mechanism.
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and quite clearly Christian.
Then why don't they accurately represent the wounds on a real >
crucifiction victim?
The idea that the nails were in the wrists is only a theory, also God might
decide to put the wounds where they are depicted rather than where they
actually occurred, just as an artist might depict Jesus in the conventional
manner despite his personal belief in the wrist theory.
Post by George Tirebiter
They may not even see it as fraud and may not be doing it in a
completely conscious way. It's a pretty common feature of
hysterical behavior.
Yes, if you feel that "Pio was a fraud" isn't too convincing you can try a
rather more sophisticated explanation that accounts for his apparent
integrity without admitting the supernatural.
Post by George Tirebiter
Exactly. So where are the investigations? These stigmatas are
nothing more than hearsay, folklore and allegations at this point.
It's a mighty slender thread on which to hang a mighty load of
baggage.
If Padre Pio's stigmata was the only evidence we had then there is no
doubt - I would accept that Pio lied and pulled the wool over everyone's
eyes about his sanctity sooner than I would accept a trinity of gods, etc
etc. However he is only one saint, which leads us to the conclusion that
either there are a lot of fraudulent saints about, and the Vatican is a bit
naive, or that there is something here which needs looking at. We've also
focussed entirely on mircales, and ignored the other two areas of evidence,
1st century history and Christian ethics.
This leads us right to the "writing on the moon" argument - if God is
omnipotent, why not create a miracle so convincing that atheism or other
non-Christian religions are simply untenable as philosophical positions?
George Tirebiter
2004-06-25 22:03:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
That's right. People spontaneously recover (rarely, but it
happens) from seemingly hopeless diseases. Some call these
miracles, if the person is religious. If they aren't religious, it's just
a mystery.
If you are seriously ill, and religious, you will pray for a cure. You won't
pray for a medically inexplicable cure. However if the cure is inexplicable,
is lasting, and occurs within reasonable association of the prayer, it is
considered a miracle.
And what about those that don't pray and have an inexplicable cure? And
those that do pray and they die anyway? Your definition of miracle is
essentially meaningless. You pick any happy unexplained event associated
with prayer and call it a miracle. You ignore the vast, vast majority of
times that prayer has no effect; and you ignore the fact that these
unexplained happy events happen without prayer.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Of course, the religious people never call it a miracle
when someone dies from some random event. If inexplicable
events are miracles, you have to include the bad events along
with the good.
That's another problem which is difficult to control for.
No, you simply have to open your eyes. If it's a miracle (divine
intervention) that someone survived a plane crash, then it's divine
intervention that caused those that died. Or maybe you need to give up the
religious explanations for events and take a course in probability.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Maybe. You are assuming that these actually occur. You are
assuming that there is no natural explanation. Where is there any
documentation for these amazing phenomena?
The wounds actually occur, and the recipients claim they were spontaneous.
"Claim" is the operative word here.
Post by Malcolm
I've assumed that the only theories that have anything going for them are
fraud or some sort of supernatural intervention, though some people have
tried to argue for some psychosomatic mechanism.
There's something in between: self delusion or hysteria. They are self
inflicted but perhaps not completely consciously or fraudulently. But given
the choice between divine intervention and self inflicted, the smart money
will be on self inflicted.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and quite clearly Christian.
Then why don't they accurately represent the wounds on a real >
crucifiction victim?
The idea that the nails were in the wrists is only a theory,
It's not a theory. A nail through the palm won't hold the weight of a man.
Post by Malcolm
also God might
decide to put the wounds where they are depicted rather than where they
actually occurred, just as an artist might depict Jesus in the conventional
manner despite his personal belief in the wrist theory.
How convenient. Just as all the people who describe the aliens who abducted
them look just like the aliens in the movies. A triumph of image over
reality.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
They may not even see it as fraud and may not be doing it in a
completely conscious way. It's a pretty common feature of
hysterical behavior.
Yes, if you feel that "Pio was a fraud" isn't too convincing you can try a
rather more sophisticated explanation that accounts for his apparent
integrity without admitting the supernatural.
Well, only an idiot would start out assuming supernatural explanations
until the common and rational explanations are ruled out. In the absense of
any real investigation, a mundane explanation is to be preferred.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Exactly. So where are the investigations? These stigmatas are
nothing more than hearsay, folklore and allegations at this point.
It's a mighty slender thread on which to hang a mighty load of
baggage.
If Padre Pio's stigmata was the only evidence
What evidence???? Some priest shows up with wounds on his hands. They don't
really match a real crucifiction. Nobody really checks these wounds out.
And you immediately jump to the absurdly implausible explanation that god
did this? Let me introduce you to PT Barnum.
Post by Malcolm
we had then there is no
doubt - I would accept that Pio lied and pulled the wool over everyone's
eyes about his sanctity sooner than I would accept a trinity of gods, etc
etc. However he is only one saint, which leads us to the conclusion that
either there are a lot of fraudulent saints about,
There are a hell of a lot of psychics and mediums in every town. What makes
you think your saints are any more genuine than Madame Rosa, Reader and
Advisor? Religion is a big business and the pool of gullibility is
unlimited.
Post by Malcolm
and the Vatican is a bit naive, or that there is something here which needs looking at.
Sure. Let's submit these miraculous saints to some serious scrutiny,
instead of this automatic credulity.
Post by Malcolm
We've also focussed entirely on mircales,
For which you have not given the slightest bit of support.
Post by Malcolm
and ignored the other two areas of evidence,
1st century history
From which Jesus is entirely absent. John the baptist made it in there, but
Jesus sank without a trace.
Post by Malcolm
and Christian ethics.
How the hell is this evidence? First off, there is no christian ethics.
There are thousands of interpretations. Even within a given church the
moral rules changed radically over the years.
Post by Malcolm
This leads us right to the "writing on the moon" argument
Huh? How does this lead to this argument?
Post by Malcolm
- if God is
omnipotent, why not create a miracle so convincing that atheism or other
non-Christian religions are simply untenable as philosophical positions?
A question you still have failed to address. This blather about miracles
simply demonstrates your fuzzy thinking. You don't have faith because of
miracles. You believe these tales of miracles because you have faith.
Malcolm
2004-06-25 22:59:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Tirebiter
And what about those that don't pray and have an inexplicable
cure? And those that do pray and they die anyway? Your
definition of miracle is essentially meaningless. You pick any
happy unexplained event associated with prayer and call it a
miracle. You ignore the vast, vast majority of times that prayer
has no effect; and you ignore the fact that these unexplained
happy events happen without prayer.
Lets say we pray for sausages.

Event one, a string of sausages materialises on the table. This is clearly a
miracle and a violation of normal physical laws, but this type of miracle
occurs only very rarely.

Event two. A few minutes after the prayer, a man from Walls calls round
saying he's doing market research and could we sample some sausages. On
examination it turns out that the research was planned six months ago. The
coincidence is so great that it is hard to exclude the action of God, but no
physically abnormal event has occurred.

Event three. About an hour after the prayer for sausages someone remembers
that there is a tin of hot dogs at the back of the cupboard that everyone
had forgotten about. Again, it is hard to exclude some action of God, but it
isn't really impressive enough to be chalked up as a miracle.

Event four. The supermarket is open and we have enough money in our pocket
to pay for some sausages if we want. However we never really make the
connection. No miracle, but the prayer isn't exactly unanswered.

There aren't sharp lines between these events, even between types one and
two (because we don't know the difference between a physically impossible
event and an inexplicable event). However a type one event is clearly
miraculous.
Post by George Tirebiter
No, you simply have to open your eyes. If it's a miracle (divine
intervention) that someone survived a plane crash, then it's divine
intervention that caused those that died. Or maybe you need to > give up
the religious explanations for events and take a course in
Post by George Tirebiter
probability.
Only if someone prayed for the crash to happen would it be in the same
category as a divine deliverance after prayer. Statistical probability is OK
for toy problems, or experiments set up specially so that the results are
tractable, but it isn't useful in assessing essentially uncontrollable real
world events, particularly when definitions are so subjective.
Post by George Tirebiter
It's not a theory. A nail through the palm won't hold the weight of a man.
I'll leave you to figure out alternative explanations to the wrist theory.
Post by George Tirebiter
Well, only an idiot would start out assuming supernatural
explanations until the common and rational explanations are
ruled out. In the absense of any real investigation, a mundane
explanation is to be preferred.
So if you take the position that any non-miraculous explanation, however
far-fetched, is to be preferred to a miraculous explanantion, you can
concoct such explanations.
Post by George Tirebiter
There are a hell of a lot of psychics and mediums in every town. > What
makes you think your saints are any more genuine than
Post by George Tirebiter
Madame Rosa, Reader and Advisor? Religion is a big business
and the pool of gullibility is unlimited.
The Christian ethics argument.
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and the Vatican is a bit naive,
Sure. Let's submit these miraculous saints to some serious
scrutiny, instead of this automatic credulity.
The Vatican rejects plenty of claims.
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and ignored the other two areas of evidence, 1st century .
history
From which Jesus is entirely absent. John the baptist made it in > there,
but Jesus sank without a trace.
Is this the "Jesus myth" argument doing the rounds?
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and Christian ethics.
How the hell is this evidence? First off, there is no christian ethics.
There are thousands of interpretations. Even within a given
church the moral rules changed radically over the years.
Well Marxism was offered as an alternative hypothesis to Christianity, and
it was one of those systems that had its own ethics built in. By common
consent those ethics are now acknowledged to be severely defective, and that
has contributed to the demise of Marxism as a serious force.
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
This leads us right to the "writing on the moon" argument
Huh? How does this lead to this argument?
We've stopped arguing about "no evidence" and started arguing about how good
the evidence actually is. Now its common ground that an omnipotent God could
create a really overwhelming miracle if He wanted, and make atheism totally
untenable. Though we disagree about the strength of the evidence from
miracles, it is also common ground that no miracle is that well-attested.
This is the question I address in the "writing on the moon" thread (using
writing on the moon as an example of a miraculous spectacular).
Post by George Tirebiter
This blather about miracles simply demonstrates your fuzzy
thinking. You don't have faith because of miracles. You believe
these tales of miracles because you have faith.
I agree with that, almost. I think the miracles show that there is evidence,
but unless you are convinced of the integrity of the people who report them
then no, I don't think many atheists will come to believe that they are a
real phenomenon just by investigating miracle stories.
George Tirebiter
2004-06-26 01:49:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
And what about those that don't pray and have an inexplicable
cure? And those that do pray and they die anyway? Your
definition of miracle is essentially meaningless. You pick any
happy unexplained event associated with prayer and call it a
miracle. You ignore the vast, vast majority of times that prayer
has no effect; and you ignore the fact that these unexplained
happy events happen without prayer.
Lets say we pray for sausages.
Event one, a string of sausages materialises on the table. This is clearly a
miracle and a violation of normal physical laws, but this type of miracle
occurs only very rarely.
You mispelled never.
Post by Malcolm
Event two. A few minutes after the prayer, a man from Walls calls round
saying he's doing market research and could we sample some sausages. On
examination it turns out that the research was planned six months ago. The
coincidence is so great that it is hard to exclude the action of God, but no
physically abnormal event has occurred.
You must be kidding. The coincidence is not that great at all. And again,
were this to happen, you fall prey to the fallacy of the selection bias.
Maybe it happens once in your life. But you ignore the thousands of times
you prayed for sausage and none appeared.
Post by Malcolm
Event three. About an hour after the prayer for sausages someone remembers
that there is a tin of hot dogs at the back of the cupboard that everyone
had forgotten about. Again, it is hard to exclude some action of God, but it
isn't really impressive enough to be chalked up as a miracle.
I can see that you are easily impressed. Apparently you don't exclude the
action of god if a leaf falls from a tree in autumn.
Post by Malcolm
Event four. The supermarket is open and we have enough money in our pocket
to pay for some sausages if we want. However we never really make the
connection. No miracle, but the prayer isn't exactly unanswered.
Gimme a break.
Post by Malcolm
There aren't sharp lines between these events, even between types one and
two (because we don't know the difference between a physically impossible
event and an inexplicable event). However a type one event is clearly
miraculous.
So miraculous that it has never happened.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
No, you simply have to open your eyes. If it's a miracle (divine
intervention) that someone survived a plane crash, then it's divine
intervention that caused those that died. Or maybe you need to > give up
the religious explanations for events and take a course in
Post by George Tirebiter
probability.
Only if someone prayed for the crash to happen would it be in the same
category as a divine deliverance after prayer. Statistical probability is OK
for toy problems, or experiments set up specially so that the results are
tractable, but it isn't useful in assessing essentially uncontrollable real
world events, particularly when definitions are so subjective.
Wrong. Probability works perfectly fine in the real world. People are
easily amazed that extremely rare coincidences happen and they make up
supernatural explanations for them. But something with a 1 in 10 million
chance of happening will occur pretty often in a country of 280 million
people. You simply ignore all the times it didn't happen.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
It's not a theory. A nail through the palm won't hold the weight of a man.
I'll leave you to figure out alternative explanations to the wrist theory.
The alternative theory is the more likely one: the romans usually tied the
wrists. Big iron nails were difficult to make and expensive. None of your
stigmatas go around with rope burns on their wrists.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Well, only an idiot would start out assuming supernatural
explanations until the common and rational explanations are
ruled out. In the absense of any real investigation, a mundane
explanation is to be preferred.
So if you take the position that any non-miraculous explanation, however
far-fetched, is to be preferred to a miraculous explanantion, you can
concoct such explanations.
Yes, it's called living in the real world. Provide an example of a miracle
which was really subjected to a rigorous independent investigation. All the
things you've mentioned are hearsay and folklore. Under these
circumstances, natural explanations come to the rational mind before
supernatural ones.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
There are a hell of a lot of psychics and mediums in every town. > What
makes you think your saints are any more genuine than
Post by George Tirebiter
Madame Rosa, Reader and Advisor? Religion is a big business
and the pool of gullibility is unlimited.
The Christian ethics argument.
What are you talking about?
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and the Vatican is a bit naive,
Sure. Let's submit these miraculous saints to some serious
scrutiny, instead of this automatic credulity.
The Vatican rejects plenty of claims.
So? That doesn't validate the ones they don't reject. There are people who
believe in ghosts but reject belief in vampires. That doesn't prove ghosts
exist.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and ignored the other two areas of evidence, 1st century .
history
From which Jesus is entirely absent. John the baptist made it in > there,
but Jesus sank without a trace.
Is this the "Jesus myth" argument doing the rounds?
No, I think there probably was some guy whose followers thought he was the
messiah. But like the poor hassids and Rabbi Schneerson, he died without
fulfilling the prophecy. But apparently Jesus didn't make enough of an
impression to attract the attention of jewish historians who recorded the
exploits of other false messiahs.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
and Christian ethics.
How the hell is this evidence? First off, there is no christian ethics.
There are thousands of interpretations. Even within a given
church the moral rules changed radically over the years.
Well Marxism was offered as an alternative hypothesis to Christianity, and
it was one of those systems that had its own ethics built in. By common
consent those ethics are now acknowledged to be severely defective, and that
has contributed to the demise of Marxism as a serious force.
What exactly does this non sequitur have to do with anything? The failures
of marxism doesn't mean shit. The point is, there is no such thing as
christian ethics. Every branch of christianity has its own ethics and all
of them change those ethics as they go along.
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
Post by Malcolm
This leads us right to the "writing on the moon" argument
Huh? How does this lead to this argument?
We've stopped arguing about "no evidence" and started arguing about how good
the evidence actually is.
No. So far, you haven't presented any evidence of any kind. Just that you
read once that some antisemitic priest in italy bled from his palms and
that must be evidence. Provide some independent medical examination of this
bleeding. Tell us why pious fraud isn't the most likely explanation.
Post by Malcolm
Now its common ground that an omnipotent God could
create a really overwhelming miracle if He wanted, and make atheism totally
untenable. Though we disagree about the strength of the evidence from
miracles, it is also common ground that no miracle is that well-attested.
An understatement. Testimonials from people anxious to promote the cause of
some favorite figure don't count. Oral Roberts told us a 900 foot jesus
appeared to him and said build a medical school. He built a medical school,
so would you say that was a miracle and Oral Roberts is a saint?
Post by Malcolm
This is the question I address in the "writing on the moon" thread (using
writing on the moon as an example of a miraculous spectacular).
Post by George Tirebiter
This blather about miracles simply demonstrates your fuzzy
thinking. You don't have faith because of miracles. You believe
these tales of miracles because you have faith.
I agree with that, almost. I think the miracles show that there is evidence,
Give us an example that stands up to scientific scrutiny. There are still
people convinced that the shroud of turin is a miracle. Unfortunately, it's
a fraud. How many other miracles have been tested by someone who doesn't
already believe it?
Post by Malcolm
but unless you are convinced of the integrity of the people who report them
If it was really a miracle, then we wouldn't need to trust some religious
nutcase. It would not require us to accept their interpretation of divine
origin. The problem is that these are exactly the people who can't be
trusted in a case like this. They are hoping for miracles to shore up their
faith. So, when something unexpected happens, their automatic assumption is
that it must be a miracle.
Post by Malcolm
then no, I don't think many atheists will come to believe that they are a
real phenomenon just by investigating miracle stories.
Give us your best case. Give us a verified example of something that
violated physical laws.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-26 04:46:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
No, you simply have to open your eyes. If it's a miracle (divine
intervention) that someone survived a plane crash, then it's divine
intervention that caused those that died. Or maybe you need to > give up
the religious explanations for events and take a course in
Post by George Tirebiter
probability.
Only if someone prayed for the crash to happen would it be in the same
category as a divine deliverance after prayer. Statistical probability is OK
for toy problems, or experiments set up specially so that the results are
tractable, but it isn't useful in assessing essentially uncontrollable real
world events, particularly when definitions are so subjective.
Let's put your theory to a logical analysis of the World Trade Center
disaster. I'm sure Ossama bin Laden was praying to Allah for the planes to
hit the towers, kill lots of people, and maybe even knock them down. All of
this came true.

After the planes hit and the buildings were on fire, hundreds of millions of
people were praying for all the people to be saved. There were obviously
people of many different religions, including Moslems, praying to different
gods. But still 3,000 people died.

There is a perfectly logical scientific explanation of how the towers fell
and when they fell, but many people still claim it as a miracle performed by
their favorite god.
Malcolm
2004-06-26 09:34:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Statistical probability is OK for toy problems, or experiments
set up specially so that the results are tractable, but it isn't
useful in assessing essentially uncontrollable real
world events, particularly when definitions are so subjective.
Let's put your theory to a logical analysis of the World Trade
Center disaster. I'm sure Ossama bin Laden was praying to
Allah for the planes to hit the towers, kill lots of people, and
maybe even knock them down. All of this came true.
After the planes hit and the buildings were on fire, hundreds of
millions of people were praying for all the people to be saved.
There were obviously people of many different religions,
including Moslems, praying to different gods. But still 3,000
people died.
This shows exactly the problem. There isn't a clear distinction between an
answer to a prayer, and a miraculous answer to a prayer. Bin Laden probably
prayed to Allah for success, but he took action to make the twin Towers
attack work as intended, so we couldn't call this a miracle.
On the other hand if some poor African prays "God, punish that evil World
Trade organisation which is paying me nothing for my sorghum crop", and then
five minutes later hears of the attack on the dusty village radio, he would
probably regard it as pretty miraculous. However there are millions of
African peasants, with varying degrees of dislike for the WTO, offering
prayers of varying specificity, so any sort of rigorous statistical analysis
is in fact impossible.

I remember watching TV when the Pope visited Poland. The camera cut to a
group of Catholics praying in church, and the voice-over came "their prayers
will almost certainly not be answered". And indeed, Communism didn't
collapse during the Pope's visit. However can we really say that the prayers
weren't answered? However not dramtically enough to really count as a
miraculous answer to prayer.
George Tirebiter
2004-06-26 13:53:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Statistical probability is OK for toy problems, or experiments
set up specially so that the results are tractable, but it isn't
useful in assessing essentially uncontrollable real
world events, particularly when definitions are so subjective.
Let's put your theory to a logical analysis of the World Trade
Center disaster. I'm sure Ossama bin Laden was praying to
Allah for the planes to hit the towers, kill lots of people, and
maybe even knock them down. All of this came true.
After the planes hit and the buildings were on fire, hundreds of
millions of people were praying for all the people to be saved.
There were obviously people of many different religions,
including Moslems, praying to different gods. But still 3,000
people died.
This shows exactly the problem. There isn't a clear distinction between an
answer to a prayer, and a miraculous answer to a prayer. Bin Laden probably
prayed to Allah for success, but he took action to make the twin Towers
attack work as intended, so we couldn't call this a miracle.
But the people who prayed for a cure to cancer also went to hospitals and
got treatment. So, your case for miracles falls apart.
Post by Malcolm
On the other hand if some poor African prays "God, punish that evil World
Trade organisation which is paying me nothing for my sorghum crop", and then
five minutes later hears of the attack on the dusty village radio, he would
probably regard it as pretty miraculous. However there are millions of
African peasants, with varying degrees of dislike for the WTO, offering
prayers of varying specificity, so any sort of rigorous statistical analysis
is in fact impossible.
Exactly. Miracles don't exist. They are simply superstitious people trying
to create explanations for random events.
Post by Malcolm
I remember watching TV when the Pope visited Poland. The camera cut to a
group of Catholics praying in church, and the voice-over came "their prayers
will almost certainly not be answered". And indeed, Communism didn't
collapse during the Pope's visit. However can we really say that the prayers
weren't answered? However not dramtically enough to really count as a
miraculous answer to prayer.
So, when are you going to provide us with an example of what you consider
to be an unambiguous miraculous event?
Malcolm
2004-06-26 17:09:25 UTC
Permalink
So, when are you going to provide us with an example of what > you
consider to be an unambiguous miraculous event?
Padre Pio's stigmata is unambiguous in that it is a type 1 event (violation
of a physical law, as far as we can tell), in that any "biased statistical
sample" argument is unfeasible, and in that it is explicitly Christian
(whoever caused it is obviously trying to make a connection with Jesus of
Nazareth).

It is not unambiguous in that you cannot provide any alternative
explanation - the obvious one is fraud but you could also try a
sophisticated version of "pious deception which he thought was justifiable".
However no miracle is as unambigous as that, which is why I also discuss the
"writing on the moon" argument, why can't an omnipotent God do a miracle
which is so overwhelming that any philosophical position other than
Christianity is simply untenable?
George Tirebiter
2004-06-26 17:45:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
So, when are you going to provide us with an example of what > you
consider to be an unambiguous miraculous event?
Padre Pio's stigmata is unambiguous in that it is a type 1 event (violation
of a physical law, as far as we can tell), in that any "biased statistical
sample" argument is unfeasible,
This is it? This is the best case for a real miracle? First of all, it is
not in any way a violation of physical law. People bleed all the time for
all kinds of reasons. A violation of physical law would be if Pio suddenly
floated up to the sky during consecration. Most importantly, people SAY
that Pio bled from his hands spontaneously. Do we actually know this? Was
it really blood or was it ketchup? What were the nature of the wounds? Did
they actually go all the way through, in imitation of cruci-fiction, or
were they superficial skin wounds? Was there ever any genuine examination
of this? The discussion is about evidence, and hearsay is not evidence.
Post by Malcolm
and in that it is explicitly Christian
(whoever caused it is obviously trying to make a connection with Jesus of
Nazareth).
It is not unambiguous in that you cannot provide any alternative
explanation - the obvious one is fraud but you could also try a
sophisticated version of "pious deception which he thought was justifiable".
Any supernatural claim has to rule out natural explanations first. These
are highly plausible theories that require no divine intervention.
Post by Malcolm
However no miracle is as unambigous as that,
Not even close. Why is it you take this story at face value, but not the
clairvoyant on TV? What makes you suspend any skepticism about Pio and why
should we?
Post by Malcolm
which is why I also discuss the
"writing on the moon" argument, why can't an omnipotent God do a miracle
which is so overwhelming that any philosophical position other than
Christianity is simply untenable?
The answer is pretty clear to me. Of course the church has a handy
explanation that keeps you dependent on them. You'll never have a direct
experience of god, so you have to settle for chips of wallpaper paste
blessed by a guy in a dress.
Alan Ferris
2004-06-26 20:35:38 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 18:09:25 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Malcolm
So, when are you going to provide us with an example of what > you
consider to be an unambiguous miraculous event?
Padre Pio's stigmata is unambiguous in that it is a type 1 event (violation
of a physical law, as far as we can tell), in that any "biased statistical
sample" argument is unfeasible, and in that it is explicitly Christian
(whoever caused it is obviously trying to make a connection with Jesus of
Nazareth).
It is not unambiguous in that you cannot provide any alternative
explanation - the obvious one is fraud but you could also try a
sophisticated version of "pious deception which he thought was justifiable".
However no miracle is as unambigous as that, which is why I also discuss the
"writing on the moon" argument, why can't an omnipotent God do a miracle
which is so overwhelming that any philosophical position other than
Christianity is simply untenable?
So because I do not know how a magician flew over the stage, and
be3cause it would be wrong to accuse him of being a fraud we must
believe it!

Do get a life....but before that, can I offer you this once in a
lifetime chance to purchase a weeping statue of Mary. It will weep
blood or milk, just state your preference when ordering.


--
Alan "Ferrit" Ferris

()'.'.'()
( (T) )
( ) . ( )
(")_(")
Malcolm
2004-06-26 21:13:04 UTC
Permalink
So because I do not know how a magician flew over the stage, > and
be3cause it would be wrong to accuse him of being a fraud
we must believe it!
Either Uri Geller is a fraud or he can bend metal with the power of his
unaided mind. Either Padre Pio was a fraud or he received the stigmata.
You take your choice.
Alan Ferris
2004-06-27 09:55:20 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 22:13:04 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Alan Ferris
So because I do not know how a magician flew over the stage, > and
be3cause it would be wrong to accuse him of being a fraud
we must believe it!
Either Uri Geller is a fraud or he can bend metal with the power of his
unaided mind. Either Padre Pio was a fraud or he received the stigmata.
You take your choice.
There is no choice.


--
Alan "Ferrit" Ferris

()'.'.'()
( (T) )
( ) . ( )
(")_(")
maf&dog, inc.
2004-06-28 00:33:58 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 22:13:04 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Alan Ferris
So because I do not know how a magician flew over the stage, > and
be3cause it would be wrong to accuse him of being a fraud
we must believe it!
Either Uri Geller is a fraud or he can bend metal with the power of his
unaided mind.
Uri Gellar was a fraud. He admitted it a few years back. Where have
you been?
Post by Alan Ferris
Either Padre Pio was a fraud or he received the stigmata.
You take your choice.
OR -- Padre Pio was a deluded nutbucket who sincerely believed he was
stigmatized, despite having his personal secretary pour ketchup over
his hands before personal appearances...... see how that works?
Lawrence Seib
2004-06-22 03:41:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Why don't you tell us what which alleged miracle is most
convincing to you and we can discuss it. If we find it not
convincing we can eliminate the others because you find them
less convincing.
So the atheist case is that there is "no evidence", and now there appears to
be so much evidence that we are asked to throw away all but the most
convincing.
Most atheists claim there is no evidence, what they mean is that
there is no reproducible evidence. Reproducible evidence is good
enough to create science and actual communication with God,
but alas, for some strange reason, God does not cooperate.
Post by Malcolm
Of course there are several thousand claimed miracles, and no human can be
expected to examine every one in detail. I could choose one, but discussing
the merits of any one particular miracle is a distraction - we are
discussing the atheist claim that there is no evidence, no whether Padre Pio
really had the stigmata or not.
Let me choose one, God told me to worship toast. Now we have several
thousand plus one claimed miracles.
Post by Malcolm
This also leads us to another common argument. if there are thousands of
miracles, why isn't any miracle so overwhelming that no-one could seriously
entertain atheism as a viable position?
snip

Simple, God is a sadistic and gives us reasoning powers merely
to cut or own throat, or perhaps, Christians or wrong and faith
means nothing while knowledge is everything.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
You seem to be doing a lot of bashing of liberals and
communists. Obviously you haven't read Acts 4:32-35 and
Acts 2:42-47 where it describes the apostils living in a commune
where everyone had to sell their personal
belongings and the proceeds were distributed according to
need.
Strictly by "communism" I mean "the movement founded by Karl Marx", which
was explicitly atheist and tried to replace Christian morality, usually
labeled "bougeois morality", with revolutionary morality.
So you think God ordained 99.9 percent of humanity to furnish the
ruling class with toys. That was Christian morality in 1890, the
divine right of kings.

Larry
spakka
2004-06-21 22:26:43 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 19 Jun 2004 22:04:26 +0100, Malcolm wrote:

<alt.atheism added for my convenience>
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported by
any evidence"
Which particular claim or claims are you trying to demonstrate? It would
be helpful if you stated it/them, so we could evaluate your evidence.

<snip>
Post by Malcolm
There are very few Deists left, because there
really is very little evidence for the Deist God. We simply don't find
incontrovertible evidence for God in the natural sciences - planets are not
moved by angels, animals are not imbued with vital force, geological
processes take billions of years.
How do you know that planets aren't moved by angels? (I don't believe
they are myself - I'm just interested to know how a Christian eliminates
the possibility).

Of course, angels moving planets would be an example of theism, not deism.
So your example scores against theistic gods (e.g. the Christian god) but
not agaist the god of deism.

<snip>
Post by Malcolm
So miracles, 1st century history, and the present witness of the church are
three different types of evidence, which should totally scotch the "no
evidence" canard. Of course you can argue that no miracles are real, that St
Paul got Christianity moving despite the death of Jesus, that Christian
ethics are in fact worse than liberal, Communist, Islamic, Nazi (take your
pick) ethical systems. The evidence is not so conclusive that no intelligent
person can be an atheist without immediate absurdity.
What the hell is this stuff supposed to be evidence for? State what claim
you think is most strongly supported by it.
Post by Malcolm
However let's conclude
that the evidence is there, and that atheist attacks on it are not
particularly convincing.
Some way to go yet. Stating your position would be a useful first step.
Liz
2004-06-21 22:53:02 UTC
Permalink
[piggybacking]
Post by spakka
<alt.atheism added for my convenience>
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
There is plenty of evidence for Christianity. I am more than willing
to concede that the religion of Christianity exists. The evidence you
need to provide should support the existence of the deity that
Christians worship, not the existence of Christianity.
Post by spakka
Post by Malcolm
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported by
any evidence"
Which particular claim or claims are you trying to demonstrate? It would
be helpful if you stated it/them, so we could evaluate your evidence.
I think that he should start with the claim that the deity, God®, has
existence independent of the minds of those who believe in him.



Liz #658 BAAWA

Liz, you like most people do not want to have faith in
things which have no basis in reality. -- josalt
Michelle Malkin
2004-06-22 04:48:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Liz
[piggybacking]
Post by spakka
<alt.atheism added for my convenience>
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
There is plenty of evidence for Christianity. I am more than willing
to concede that the religion of Christianity exists. The evidence you
need to provide should support the existence of the deity that
Christians worship, not the existence of Christianity.
Post by spakka
Post by Malcolm
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported by
any evidence"
Which particular claim or claims are you trying to demonstrate? It would
be helpful if you stated it/them, so we could evaluate your evidence.
I think that he should start with the claim that the deity, God®, has
existence independent of the minds of those who believe in him.
And then add that we've seen all the apologetics and arguments
of all kinds to date and don't accept them. We don't want to see
them again, since we've seen them and given our reasons for not
accepting them many times. If theists want to bring up a brand
spanking new argument, not just an old one rephrased, we'll be
glad to respond to it. Show some originality, folks. You are
really getting boring.
--
^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^
Michelle Malkin (Mickey) aa list#1
alt.atheism atheist/agnostic list name collector
BAAWA Knight & EAC Bible thumper thumper
http://questioner.www2.50megs.com
^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^
Post by Liz
Liz #658 BAAWA
Liz, you like most people do not want to have faith in
things which have no basis in reality. -- josalt
Malcolm
2004-06-23 02:40:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michelle Malkin
And then add that we've seen all the apologetics and arguments
of all kinds to date and don't accept them. We don't want to see
them again, since we've seen them and given our reasons for not
accepting them many times. If theists want to bring up a brand
spanking new argument, not just an old one rephrased, we'll be
glad to respond to it. Show some originality, folks. You are
really getting boring.
The purpose of this series is to improve the quality of the debate on
alt.religion.christian.roman-catholic but summarising some
commonly-presented and weak atheist arguments and explaining the problems.
Since atheists are welcome to respond this will inevitably lead to the
discussion of some stronger atheist arguments as well, but that's not the
primary purpose.
It was necessary to establish what the arguments were in alt.atheism, but
the discussions of the merits is on arcrc. Someone else crossposted. Sorry
if we are boring you, but I really can't win - I was also criticised for not
including alt.atheism on the list.
Thomas P.
2004-06-23 07:53:04 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 03:40:10 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Malcolm
Post by Michelle Malkin
And then add that we've seen all the apologetics and arguments
of all kinds to date and don't accept them. We don't want to see
them again, since we've seen them and given our reasons for not
accepting them many times. If theists want to bring up a brand
spanking new argument, not just an old one rephrased, we'll be
glad to respond to it. Show some originality, folks. You are
really getting boring.
The purpose of this series is to improve the quality of the debate on
alt.religion.christian.roman-catholic but summarising some
commonly-presented and weak atheist arguments and explaining the problems.
Since atheists are welcome to respond this will inevitably lead to the
discussion of some stronger atheist arguments as well, but that's not the
primary purpose.
The primary purpose is to perpetuate strawman perceptions of atheists
so that one can then criticize them. In short the purpose is for you
to bear false witness.
Post by Malcolm
It was necessary to establish what the arguments were in alt.atheism, but
the discussions of the merits is on arcrc. Someone else crossposted. Sorry
if we are boring you, but I really can't win - I was also criticised for not
including alt.atheism on the list.
You were also criticized for your misrepresentation of atheists and
your list of non-arguments. You are not bothered much by the
limitations of integrity are you?

What a slimy piece of work you are.


Thomas P.

None of the Emperor's clothes had been so successful before.

"But he has nothing on," said a little child.
Malcolm
2004-06-23 19:03:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas P.
You were also criticized for your misrepresentation of atheists
and your list of non-arguments. You are not bothered much by
the limitations of integrity are you?
What a slimy piece of work you are.
This post crosses the line between debate and abuse.

The arguments were listed and posted to alt.atheism. Any atheist who thought
that a particular argument was weak had the opportunity to say why it was
weak. Kermit did so, with the "Mithraism" argument. Editor did so, but less
convincingly, with the "Evil Bible" and "Writing on the Moon" arguments.

The "no evidence" argument wasn't on my original list, but was added after
several people advanced it. It is now being discussed.
walksalone
2004-06-23 22:33:46 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 20:03:16 +0100, Malcolm wrote:

followup set tot rolls home group, did they do something bad wrong to
deserve him?
Post by Malcolm
Post by Thomas P.
You were also criticized for your misrepresentation of atheists
and your list of non-arguments. You are not bothered much by
the limitations of integrity are you?
What a slimy piece of work you are.
This post crosses the line between debate and abuse.
There never was a debate, just you making assertions pretending atheists
bought off on them. By & large, that is as phony as you have shown yourself
to be.
Post by Malcolm
The arguments were listed and posted to alt.atheism. Any atheist who thought
No, your assertions were posted.
Post by Malcolm
that a particular argument was weak had the opportunity to say why it was
& if they thought your assertion was not worth responding to you repeated
them until someone got annoyed enough to respond, but then, you are
special, your gods, as in plural, wuv you so much.
Post by Malcolm
weak. Kermit did so, with the "Mithraism" argument. Editor did so, but less
convincingly, with the "Evil Bible" and "Writing on the Moon" arguments.
Maybe due to the fact that only you have accepted them as arguments. most
of us have seen them for what they are. Pretentious claims.
Post by Malcolm
The "no evidence" argument wasn't on my original list, but was added after
several people advanced it. It is now being discussed.
Really, well there is no evidence for your gods, so where is this one sided
discussion taking place again?

walksalone who can understand Thomas P.'s disgust with Malcolm, but Malcolm
is just another pretender for gawd, so it is to be expected.
Thomas P.
2004-06-24 06:08:24 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 20:03:16 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Malcolm
Post by Thomas P.
You were also criticized for your misrepresentation of atheists
and your list of non-arguments. You are not bothered much by
the limitations of integrity are you?
What a slimy piece of work you are.
This post crosses the line between debate and abuse.
Your continuous and deliberate misrepresentations of atheists and of
the posts of atheists who have tried to engage you in discussion
amount to abuse. That is what I have responded to. You are a liar.
Post by Malcolm
The arguments were listed and posted to alt.atheism. Any atheist who thought
that a particular argument was weak had the opportunity to say why it was
weak. Kermit did so, with the "Mithraism" argument. Editor did so, but less
convincingly, with the "Evil Bible" and "Writing on the Moon" arguments.
The "no evidence" argument wasn't on my original list, but was added after
several people advanced it. It is now being discussed.
And you continue with your lying nonsense. You refuse to treat others
with respect; you deserve none.


Thomas P.

None of the Emperor's clothes had been so successful before.

"But he has nothing on," said a little child.
walksalone
2004-06-23 17:43:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Michelle Malkin
And then add that we've seen all the apologetics and arguments
of all kinds to date and don't accept them. We don't want to see
them again, since we've seen them and given our reasons for not
accepting them many times. If theists want to bring up a brand
spanking new argument, not just an old one rephrased, we'll be
glad to respond to it. Show some originality, folks. You are
really getting boring.
The purpose of this series is to improve the quality of the debate on
alt.religion.christian.roman-catholic but summarising some
?????????????????????? What debate?????????????????????????
Your continual applications of strawmen & phony positions posted as
arguments are not debate, but pimping your gods, sub rosa at that. What
that means is you are not even honest enough to say what you mean to start
with., & this is supposed to open discussion?
Post by Malcolm
commonly-presented and weak atheist arguments and explaining the problems.
Since atheists are welcome to respond this will inevitably lead to the
discussion of some stronger atheist arguments as well, but that's not the
primary purpose.
Inasmuch as it is your claims that atheists observations are only
applicable to your particularly odious myth, there is no need to take you
serious. You can not even establish any reason to accept the synthetic
mythology of xianity as being worth serious consideration. That would be a
first from any bleater, & you will ot be that bleater.
Post by Malcolm
It was necessary to establish what the arguments were in alt.atheism, but
It still is, the arguments as presented are your versions, so what
arguments do atheists use specifically against xianity & no other mythology
again?

The only deity that atheism can be futile if arguing against is the Deist
one. Can you figure out why?
Post by Malcolm
the discussions of the merits is on arcrc. Someone else crossposted. Sorry
if we are boring you, but I really can't win - I was also criticised for not
including alt.atheism on the list.
You can win, but pontificating portentous verbiage is not how it is done.
It is done with facts, not wishes, not redefining known concepts, facts.
Facts which all claimed gods & their followers lack.

It is not your fault that you never had the ability to research that, for
the desire was & is missing.


walksalone who really would not miss Malcolm were he to quit posting, for
his choice of discussion is not anything really new. Change the question &
back at it again is not discussion, nor is redefining concepts & back at it
again.
walksalone
2004-06-23 22:42:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Michelle Malkin
And then add that we've seen all the apologetics and arguments
of all kinds to date and don't accept them. We don't want to see
them again, since we've seen them and given our reasons for not
accepting them many times. If theists want to bring up a brand
spanking new argument, not just an old one rephrased, we'll be
glad to respond to it. Show some originality, folks. You are
really getting boring.
The purpose of this series is to improve the quality of the debate on
alt.religion.christian.roman-catholic but summarising some
The purpose of this series is to try and make Malcolm not look like a
pompous ass, & it is not working. Malcolm has provided the evidence for the
majority that he is a pompous ass, but then he is allowed that unique
position. He says he is xian.
BTW, who died & told you that any debate was even needed between atheists &
xians. Xians don't debate, they assert. Two different activity's.
Post by Malcolm
commonly-presented and weak atheist arguments and explaining the problems.
There are no weak atheist arguments. I don't believe in god[s] neither
requires additional supporting belief, nor requires a god to not believe
in. Yiur claims notwithstanding, you are a fool to imply other wise.
Post by Malcolm
Since atheists are welcome to respond this will inevitably lead to the
discussion of some stronger atheist arguments as well, but that's not the
primary purpose.
Other than playing the fool for the audience, is there a purpose?
Post by Malcolm
It was necessary to establish what the arguments were in alt.atheism, but
the discussions of the merits is on arcrc. Someone else crossposted. Sorry
There are no arguments against gods for a multitude of reasons. You
attempts to claim there are, & name them indicates that you haven't a clue
about what an atheist is, nor why you are one.
Post by Malcolm
if we are boring you, but I really can't win - I was also criticised for not
including alt.atheism on the list.
Well, I can understand that, after all, you need to be able to irritate
everyone in order to prove the lack of values of the xian community.

walksalone who suspects Malcolm will never realise why he is beginning to
be held in contempt.
--
The Hadith Qudsi 6

The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of
Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah
will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them.

The Almighty will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I
fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied - you did
but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was
said.

Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast
into Hell-fire.
Loki_666
2004-06-22 02:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported by
any evidence"
Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick with
"empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of
which can be tested through the scientific method.
Post by Malcolm
Now at one level, the "no evidence" argument is childishly simple to refute.
Only if you have a childish understanding of what constitutes
evidence. For instance, "because I feel it in my heart/because I want
to believe" does not constitute evidence.
Post by Malcolm
People seldom make claims and offer absolutely no evidence. For instance
Loch Ness monster enthusiasts will show you various photographs, Uri Geller
produces bent spoons, frtune tellers will tell you your past life as well as
the future. In all these cases I believe the evidence is less than
conclusive, but the claim of "no evidence" is quite false.
I'm delighted that you bring Uri Geller into this; the man is an
exposed fraud. As to the other two cases, I would say the "evidence"
is highly conclusive, and only the highly gullible would believe any
other such thing.
Post by Malcolm
What has happened is that the atheists have used the phrase "no evidence" as
hyperbole for "I think the evidence isn't very good",and then been seduced
by their own rhetoric into elevating it to a philosophical position. "No
evidence" just boils down to "I don't find the evidence conclusive", which
is more or less the same as saying "I'm an atheist".
You are wrong again. "No evidence" really does mean "no evidence."
Taht is exactly what I mean when I say it. Refer to the definition I
gave you at the beginning. The "alleged" evidence is conclusive--in
the fact that it really isn't evidence at all.
Post by Malcolm
We simply don't find incontrovertible evidence for God in the natural sciences - planets are not
moved by angels, animals are not imbued with vital force, geological
processes take billions of years.
Exactly our point, and exactly why most educated persons don't adhere
to superstition.
Post by Malcolm
As for positive evidence, there are literally thousands of alleged miracles.
Key word: "alleged."
Post by Malcolm
An atheist has to hold that every one is false, if he isn't to seriously
damage his case.
What is your point? As an atheist, I already maintain there has never
been, are now, nor ever will be any miracles.
Post by Malcolm
Something obviously motivated the Early Christians. Christians say that this
was the personality of Jesus, the resurrection, and the coming of the Holy
Spirit.
Irrelevent. Still no evidence.
Post by Malcolm
We can also look at the ethical teachings of the church, and the disastrous
failure of most attempts to improve on them. (One attempt, liberalism, is
still in the balance but showing signs of failing, whilst history is
ambiguous about Protestantism.)
Speculation and still irrelevant, besides the fact that your use of
"failure" is ambiguous. No evidence here either.
Post by Malcolm
So miracles, 1st century history, and the present witness of the church are
three different types of evidence, which should totally scotch the "no
evidence" canard.
No, they really are not. They are hearsay at best. The assertion that
"there is no evidence to support your claims" remains unscathed.
Post by Malcolm
Of course you can argue that no miracles are real, that St Paul got
Christianity moving despite the death of Jesus, that Christianethics are in fact worse than liberal, Communist, Islamic, Nazi (take your
pick) ethical systems. The evidence is not so conclusive that no intelligent
person can be an atheist without immediate absurdity. However let's conclude
that the evidence is there, and that atheist attacks on it are not
particularly convincing.
Let's in fact not conclude that, and attempt to use our brains for
something other than fuzzy reasoning.
Notice how you still provide no evidence?
Just say you cannot provide any empirically verifiable evidence and
we're good.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-22 02:56:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported by
any evidence"
Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick with
"empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of
which can be tested through the scientific method.
If you mean to say "empirically verifiable evidence" then you need to say
that explicitly each time. Otherwise you and Malcom will be talking about
two different things. The definitions of the word "evidence" in
dictionaries do not have to mean "empirically verifiable evidence".
Loki_666
2004-06-22 06:54:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism,
many
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for
Christianity,
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported
by
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
any evidence"
Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick with
"empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of
which can be tested through the scientific method.
If you mean to say "empirically verifiable evidence" then you need to say
that explicitly each time. Otherwise you and Malcom will be talking about
two different things. The definitions of the word "evidence" in
dictionaries do not have to mean "empirically verifiable evidence".
In formal arguments, you decide the definition at the outset and
procede with your argument, which is what I did. If we cannot agree
on a definition of a word, then we cannot argue the subject until that
is dealt with. It is my firm belief that if he means anything other
than "empirically verifiable" then this little debate has already
ended. Most atheists will not except so-called faith-based evidence
as real "evidence." This includes miracles, speculation, hearsay,
special feelings, etc.
This atheist means something vey specific when he says "evidence,"
whereas theists mean ...well... whatever they say they mean I suppose.
To say you have easily refuted an argument when operating off another
(and very broad) definition of a key word is dishonest.
Which, of course, is the point I am trying to drive home.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-22 17:54:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism,
many
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for
Christianity,
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are unsupported
by
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
any evidence"
Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick with
"empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of
which can be tested through the scientific method.
If you mean to say "empirically verifiable evidence" then you need to say
that explicitly each time. Otherwise you and Malcom will be talking about
two different things. The definitions of the word "evidence" in
dictionaries do not have to mean "empirically verifiable evidence".
In formal arguments, you decide the definition at the outset and
procede with your argument, which is what I did. If we cannot agree
on a definition of a word, then we cannot argue the subject until that
is dealt with. It is my firm belief that if he means anything other
than "empirically verifiable" then this little debate has already
ended. Most atheists will not except so-called faith-based evidence
as real "evidence." This includes miracles, speculation, hearsay,
special feelings, etc.
This atheist means something vey specific when he says "evidence,"
whereas theists mean ...well... whatever they say they mean I suppose.
To say you have easily refuted an argument when operating off another
(and very broad) definition of a key word is dishonest.
Which, of course, is the point I am trying to drive home.
If you are going to define a word it should be a commonly accepted
definition of the word as found in a reputable dictionary. There is no
reason why you would need to redefine "evidence" as "empirically verifiable
evidence" when you can quite easily type the extra words.

There are people who claim things like a potato that looks like Jesus, or a
tea stain that looks like the Virgin Mary, as evidence that God exists.
This is "empirically verifiable evidence" but it is not convincing.
Loki_666
2004-06-22 23:21:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
If you are going to define a word it should be a commonly accepted
definition of the word as found in a reputable dictionary. There is no
reason why you would need to redefine "evidence" as "empirically verifiable
evidence" when you can quite easily type the extra words.
Actually, dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to
definitions used in philosophical debate. Often the distinction is
made between a "loose and popular" sense of a word, and a "strictly
philosophical" sense of a word. The need to make this distinction is
self-evident. Not making this distinction results in equivocation,
and the whole debate will suffer. That was my original intent. Yes,
it is important to begin every argument by defining your terms, as in
my original post. And yes, it is often the practice of those using a
word to be very specific in usage.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
There are people who claim things like a potato that looks like Jesus, or a
tea stain that looks like the Virgin Mary, as evidence that God exists.
This is "empirically verifiable evidence" but it is not convincing.
Empirically verifiable in what sense? Tell me, what does Mary or God
look like, then we can see if the potato resembles them. Better yet,
provide a picture of either.

As taken from The American Heritage Dictionary:

empirical adj. 1. relying upon or derived from observation or
experiment: empirical methods b. capable of proof or verification by
means of observation or experiment. 2. relying solely on practical
experience and without regard for system or theory

verify adv 1. to prove the truth of by the presentation of evidence or
testimony; substantiate 2. To determine or test the truth or accuracy
of

evidence n. 1. the data on which a judgment or conclusion may be
based; something that furnishes proof 2. something that indicates

You see why the distinction is necessary? Your potato fails to
resemble anything close to "empirically verifiable." Embedded in that
claim are two statements: 1) I know what god/mary looks like, and 2)
this potato resembles him/her/hit. Obviously at least one of those
statements canot be tested. Anything may be counted as evidential to
an individual, but only empirical (i.e., testable), verifiable
(meaning can be demonstrated in front of an audience; i.e., presented)
evidence is important to most atheists.
I do not pretend to speak for all atheists, but instead make myself
very, very clear when presenting my argument. This is common
practice. I am sorry if my formalism in this case frightens or
offends you, but this is the way things are done.
Malcolm
2004-06-23 02:31:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
There are people who claim things like a potato that looks like > >
Jesus, or a tea stain that looks like the Virgin Mary, as
Post by Loki_666
evidence that God exists.
This is "empirically verifiable evidence" but it is not convincing.
Empirically verifiable in what sense? Tell me, what does Mary
or God look like, then we can see if the potato resembles them.
Better yet, provide a picture of either.
Childishly simple. The miracle is not that the potato looks like the actual
Virgin Mary, but that it looks like a common depiction of the Virgin Mary.
Since the potato is a physical object which can be examined, the evidence is
empirical. Whether it is objective or not is a moot point, but we could
probably work out some criteria for "resemblance".
Of course I agree with Editor that such evidence is rather weak.
On to your main point, for every saint who is canonised there must be two
miraculous cures attributed to that saint's intercession. Some of the people
allegedly cured are still living. Now the patient is a physical person, so
the evidence is empirical, and usually the criteria for disease or absence
of disease are objective.

What you really mean to say, I suspect, that that there is no repeatable
experimental evidence for any miracle. A miracle, by definition, is an
exception to the normal course of natural events brought about by
supernatural means. So miracles can't be repeated to order. Also, it is
impossible to subject an omnipotent and omniscient being to controlled
conditions.

This is a real objection to theism, which I will deal with at more length in
the "Deism" argument. Also in the "writing on the Moon" argument - why not
make the miracles so overwhelming that atheism is not a tenable position?
However it is not a fatal objection. For instance most sociologists would
say that cuts in British social security have caused the reappearance of
beggars on the streets, but we can't put society in a test tube and manipula
te welfare regimes to test that. This doesn't mean that sociological
theories are useless.

Miracles are empirical. The second area of evidence - 1st century history,
is of course almost entirely written evidence, and of course written from a
particular perspective. This doesn't mean it is not evidence, though it is
not "objective empirical" evidence. The third area, Christian ethics, is of
course entirely metaphysical. We can talk rationally about ethics, but you
cannot prove an ethical proposition empirically.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-23 05:47:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Also, it is
impossible to subject an omnipotent and omniscient being to controlled
conditions.
Why do you claim this absurdity? If God wanted to be scientifically
examined, he could allow it.
Loki_666
2004-06-23 06:27:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
There are people who claim things like a potato that looks like > >
Jesus, or a tea stain that looks like the Virgin Mary, as
Post by Loki_666
evidence that God exists.
This is "empirically verifiable evidence" but it is not convincing.
Empirically verifiable in what sense? Tell me, what does Mary
or God look like, then we can see if the potato resembles them.
Better yet, provide a picture of either.
Childishly simple. The miracle is not that the potato looks like the actual
Virgin Mary, but that it looks like a common depiction of the Virgin Mary.
Incorrect. As stated earlier, embedded in that concept are two
claims. One is what the potato looks like; the other is your
knowledge of the object of reference--the actual virgin Mary.
Post by Malcolm
Since the potato is a physical object which can be examined, the evidence is
empirical. Whether it is objective or not is a moot point, but we could
probably work out some criteria for "resemblance".
No, in fact, whether it is objective is critical to it being
considered empirically verifiable evidence. I would love to see how
you work out "resemblance" without an object of reference. Do you
mean, "the potato looks what I imagine Mary to look like?" If that is
so, then we are right back at square one.

<snip>
Post by Malcolm
What you really mean to say, I suspect, that that there is no repeatable
experimental evidence for any miracle. A miracle, by definition, is an
exception to the normal course of natural events brought about by
supernatural means. So miracles can't be repeated to order. Also, it is
impossible to subject an omnipotent and omniscient being to controlled
conditions.
You have struck on a key point: a miracle is by definition a
supernatural event, untestable by science. So, while it may pass for
evidence to another theist, you still have failed to satisfy your
run-of-the-mill atheist and have made no philosophical headway.

<snip>
Post by Malcolm
Miracles are empirical. The second area of evidence - 1st century history,
is of course almost entirely written evidence, and of course written from a
particular perspective. This doesn't mean it is not evidence, though it is
not "objective empirical" evidence. The third area, Christian ethics, is of
course entirely metaphysical. We can talk rationally about ethics, but you
cannot prove an ethical proposition empirically.
Miracles are not empirical, as evidenced by your first concession that
they cannot be reproduced using empirical methods, or "repeated to
order" as it were. You have also conceded that written accounts are
entirely subjective, as well as your ethical accounts. All you have
accomplished with this response is reinforcing what I already contend:
there is no evidence you have provided that any reasonable atheist
would be likely to accept.
Malcolm
2004-06-23 19:22:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Childishly simple. The miracle is not that the potato looks like > > the
actual Virgin Mary, but that it looks like a common
Post by Loki_666
depiction of the Virgin Mary.
Incorrect. As stated earlier, embedded in that concept are two
claims. One is what the potato looks like; the other is your
knowledge of the object of reference--the actual virgin Mary.
Engage intelligence.
Post by Loki_666
No, in fact, whether it is objective is critical to it being
considered empirically verifiable evidence. I would love to see > how you
work out "resemblance" without an object of
Post by Loki_666
reference. Do you mean, "the potato looks what I imagine
Mary to look like?" If that is so, then we are right back at
square one.
Well how about taking a group of naive subjects (who have been exposed to
cinema films and paintings of the Virgin Mary of course, but don't know
anything about the supposed miracle) and a selection of potatoes. Then ask
them what each potato most resembles. If a significant number say "The
Virgin Mary" for the allegedly miraculous potato, then that's pretty good
evidence that the resemblance is real. Of course they have not seen the
original Virgin Mary, only artists' conceptions, but that's good enough.
Post by Loki_666
You have struck on a key point: a miracle is by definition a
supernatural event, untestable by science.
It is by defintion unrepeatable to order, not necessarily "untestable".
Post by Loki_666
So, while it may pass for evidence to another theist, you still
have failed to satisfy your run-of-the-mill atheist and have made
no philosophical headway.
Only if the atheist thinks that the only evidence that counts is repeatable
experimental evidence. But that position is nonsense.
Post by Loki_666
Miracles are not empirical, as evidenced by your first
concession that they cannot be reproduced using empirical
methods, or "repeated to order" as it were.
If someone claims to have been cured of a disease than that is an empirical
claim. We can examine whether they suffered from the disease, and whether it
is still present. What we can't do is subject another patient to similar
conditions and expect the cure to be repeated (which you could do is the
claim was "Shredded Wheat cured my chilblaines").
Post by Loki_666
You have also conceded that written accounts are
entirely subjective, as well as your ethical accounts.
They are subjective, but not entirely subjective. If someone writes a letter
then presumably the recipient exists, for example.
As far as ethics goes, that leads us into deep waters.
Post by Loki_666
All you have accomplished with this response is reinforcing what
I already contend: there is no evidence you have provided that
any reasonable atheist would be likely to accept.
An atheist by definition doesn't accept the evidence for Christianity.
However the argument was that Christians offered "no evidence". This isn't
true.
Loki_666
2004-06-24 02:21:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Childishly simple. The miracle is not that the potato looks like > > the
actual Virgin Mary, but that it looks like a common
Post by Loki_666
depiction of the Virgin Mary.
Incorrect. As stated earlier, embedded in that concept are two
claims. One is what the potato looks like; the other is your
knowledge of the object of reference--the actual virgin Mary.
Engage intelligence.
Please do, then I won't have to repeat myself every time you post.
Avoid use of the adjective "childishly"; it makes it look like you
really have no clue what you are talking about.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
No, in fact, whether it is objective is critical to it being
considered empirically verifiable evidence. I would love to see > how you
work out "resemblance" without an object of
Post by Loki_666
reference. Do you mean, "the potato looks what I imagine
Mary to look like?" If that is so, then we are right back at
square one.
Well how about taking a group of naive subjects (who have been exposed to
cinema films and paintings of the Virgin Mary of course, but don't know
anything about the supposed miracle) and a selection of potatoes. Then ask
them what each potato most resembles. If a significant number say "The
Virgin Mary" for the allegedly miraculous potato, then that's pretty good
evidence that the resemblance is real. Of course they have not seen the
original Virgin Mary, only artists' conceptions, but that's good enough.
No, it's not good enough. You just stated why that is: they are only
someone's imagination. So the people believe a potato resembles a
painting of the virgin mary; all that you can walk away with here is
that the potato does/does not look like that picture. Even that
conclusion requires a great deal of subjectivity. It says nothing of
mary's existence in actuality.
Besides, argument ad populum, or "if a significant number say it is
so," is not a good way to go about proving anything.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
You have struck on a key point: a miracle is by definition a
supernatural event, untestable by science.
It is by defintion unrepeatable to order, not necessarily "untestable".
If you cannot repeat it, it is untestable.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
So, while it may pass for evidence to another theist, you still
have failed to satisfy your run-of-the-mill atheist and have made
no philosophical headway.
Only if the atheist thinks that the only evidence that counts is repeatable
experimental evidence. But that position is nonsense.
No, that is what we refer to as "the scientific method," but I don't
really expect you to understand that. Don't showboat your ignorance.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Miracles are not empirical, as evidenced by your first
concession that they cannot be reproduced using empirical
methods, or "repeated to order" as it were.
If someone claims to have been cured of a disease than that is an empirical
claim. We can examine whether they suffered from the disease, and whether it
is still present. What we can't do is subject another patient to similar
conditions and expect the cure to be repeated (which you could do is the
claim was "Shredded Wheat cured my chilblaines").
Proof of cure is not proof of a "miracle." The distinction is easily
made.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
You have also conceded that written accounts are
entirely subjective, as well as your ethical accounts.
They are subjective, but not entirely subjective. If someone writes a letter
then presumably the recipient exists, for example.
Irrelevant.
Post by Malcolm
As far as ethics goes, that leads us into deep waters.
Not particularly.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
All you have accomplished with this response is reinforcing what
I already contend: there is no evidence you have provided that
any reasonable atheist would be likely to accept.
An atheist by definition doesn't accept the evidence for Christianity.
Glad you finally realize that.
Post by Malcolm
However the argument was that Christians offered "no evidence". This isn't
true.
Others have made the point that this isn't really an atheist argument,
and they are correct. Atheists don't make this type of
argument--well, most don't. This is usually a response to someone
asking "why don't you believe in god, mr. atheist?" The only reason I
bothered to reply to your post was because you seem to have tricked
yourself into believing you can persuade an atheist you have "proof"
of god.
If you had wit enough to closely follow my line of reasoning, you
would have noticed that what I was proposing is that atheists don't
say "you have no evidence"; rather, I was trying to drive the point
home that atheists usually respond to such claims with "you have no
evidence (which fit my criteria for proving existence of god)." That
is why I stress my particular definition of "evidence." That is why I
make that distinction. Now I know Evilbiblguy dislikes my
methodology, but you seem smart enough to have understood at least
that much of what I was saying.
I have never made the claim that there are not different types of
evidence, depending on your system of beliefs. In fact, I even
admitted that sometimes other types of evidence (or no evidence) is
required. This, however, is irrelevant to this discussion.
What matters is that, in *this* context an atheist means something
very specific when they use the word "evidence." If you are trying to
persuade them, you must work inside their definition, or show where
that definition is wrong. That is, if you hope to convince them of
anything. To date, you have done neither.
Malcolm
2004-06-25 22:00:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
What matters is that, in *this* context an atheist means
something very specific when they use the word "evidence." If
you are trying to persuade them, you must work inside their
definition, or show where that definition is wrong.
We've agreed that the everyday definition of evidence, as some information
which would incline one to a particular opinion, isn't useful. Virtually
everyone offers some evidence for their pet theory.

So we tried "empirical objective evidence". That's not useful either, as the
potato Virgin Mary example showed, though you've been very slow in grasping
that this is indeed "empirical objective evidence".

So now we try "repeatable experimental" evidence. Now we're beginning to get
somewhere, since a miracle is not repeatable to order. We can still have
empirical evidence (a physical patient who is cured of a disease) and that
evidence can still be objective (disease defined by measurable critera), we
can even repeat the evidence (diagnosis made made several doctors acting
independently), but we can't experimentally manipulate the actual miracle.

However if you said "I want to find out about Neanderthals, but I'm a
historian, the only sort of evidence I will accept is written evidence" then
everyone would easily see the absurdity of the position. There are no
written records from 50,000 years ago, and though it would be nice to have
an account of Neanderthals, the chance of one turning up is virtually nil.
We can however piece together something of their life from archeological
excavation.

Similarly the demand for repeatable experiment evidence of a miracle is
unrealistic. This doesn't mean there is no evidence we can work with.

Also, there is repeatable experimental evidence for theism, but not related
to miracles. If you quiz people, you will find that consistently they report
a strong subjective impression of having free will. This is not something
that fits readily into our presently physical theories, and is evidence that
such theories are radically incomplete. I am not saying that this is a
particularly good argument for God, but evidence it certainly is, and of the
type you are looking for.
Post by Loki_666
That is, if you hope to convince them of anything. To date, you
have done neither.
Only very seldom does a discussion end with one party saying "OK, I change
my position".
George Tirebiter
2004-06-26 01:03:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
What matters is that, in *this* context an atheist means
something very specific when they use the word "evidence." If
you are trying to persuade them, you must work inside their
definition, or show where that definition is wrong.
We've agreed that the everyday definition of evidence, as some information
which would incline one to a particular opinion, isn't useful. Virtually
everyone offers some evidence for their pet theory.
So we tried "empirical objective evidence". That's not useful either, as the
potato Virgin Mary example showed, though you've been very slow in grasping
that this is indeed "empirical objective evidence".
Nonsense. He tried to explain it to you. It's not at all evidence since no
one has any idea what she looked like. Do you consider pictures of unicorns
and dragons evidence for their existence?
Post by Malcolm
So now we try "repeatable experimental" evidence. Now we're beginning to get
somewhere, since a miracle is not repeatable to order. We can still have
empirical evidence (a physical patient who is cured of a disease) and that
evidence can still be objective (disease defined by measurable critera), we
can even repeat the evidence (diagnosis made made several doctors acting
independently), but we can't experimentally manipulate the actual miracle.
Feel free to show us such a case. Then tell us why it's a miracle and
similar cases where no one prayed are not. Then explain why in 99.9999% of
the cases prayer doesn't do squat.
Post by Malcolm
However if you said "I want to find out about Neanderthals, but I'm a
historian, the only sort of evidence I will accept is written evidence" then
everyone would easily see the absurdity of the position. There are no
written records from 50,000 years ago, and though it would be nice to have
an account of Neanderthals, the chance of one turning up is virtually nil.
We can however piece together something of their life from archeological
excavation.
Similarly the demand for repeatable experiment evidence of a miracle is
unrealistic. This doesn't mean there is no evidence we can work with.
Repeatable experimental evidence is not required. Empirical objective
evidence will do. Unfortunately it doesn't exist. Either you have the god
disease or you don't. There is no rational basis for it.
Post by Malcolm
Also, there is repeatable experimental evidence for theism, but not related
to miracles. If you quiz people, you will find that consistently they report
a strong subjective impression of having free will.
First, the belief in free will doesn't require belief in a god. Second,
subjective impressions can be highly misleading. For example, everyone has
the subjective experience of a continuous visual field despite the fact
that we all have a clearly demonstrable blind spot in each eye.
Post by Malcolm
This is not something
that fits readily into our presently physical theories, and is evidence that
such theories are radically incomplete.
Actually, scientific theories and evidence cast strong doubt on this free
will. A small lesion in the frontal cortex turns people into sociopaths.
Post by Malcolm
I am not saying that this is a
particularly good argument for God,
A whopping understatement.
Post by Malcolm
but evidence it certainly is, and of the
type you are looking for.
More nonsense. The subjective impression is misleading and free will
doesn't need god.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
That is, if you hope to convince them of anything. To date, you
have done neither.
Only very seldom does a discussion end with one party saying "OK, I change
my position".
Oh, we can all hold out hope that you will eventually recognize that no
evidence of any type exists for your religious beliefs. You can't come up
with any.
Cunneen
2004-06-26 04:47:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Tirebiter
Then explain why in 99.9999% of
the cases prayer doesn't do squat.
You have proof of this contention? We aren't the only ones who ought to show
evidence for their beliefs. If there is no God, what rationally satisfying
explanation can YOU give for the existence of anything??? We live in an
orderly enough world for science to work. How is that possible??? Order has
come out of chaos ... randomly???

And you find that rationally satisfying?
George Tirebiter
2004-06-26 05:14:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cunneen
Post by George Tirebiter
Then explain why in 99.9999% of
the cases prayer doesn't do squat.
You have proof of this contention?
As a matter of fact, yes. It's been tested to determine if praying
influences medical outcomes. It doesn't. Patients with strong religious
beliefs don't fare any better.
Post by Cunneen
We aren't the only ones who ought to show
evidence for their beliefs. If there is no God, what rationally satisfying
explanation can YOU give for the existence of anything???
The same as you. It's unknown. Saying god did it answers nothing. What made
god? See, your beliefs don't answer anything.
Post by Cunneen
We live in an
orderly enough world for science to work. How is that possible??? Order has
come out of chaos ... randomly???
And you find that rationally satisfying?
I find it much more satisfying to actually be rational, instead of a little
scared child like you who needs fairy tales to sleep at night. And unlike
you, I don't aspire to be a sheep, a smelly, stupid animal that is fleeced
and then eaten by its pastors. And frankly, if your god is only able to
recruit stupid reactionary creeps like you, he doesn't deserve anyone's
respect, let alone worship. Don't you think a real god should be able to
attract someone talented?
Malcolm
2004-06-26 09:46:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by George Tirebiter
As a matter of fact, yes. It's been tested to determine if praying
influences medical outcomes. It doesn't. Patients with strong
religious beliefs don't fare any better.
Experiments with prayers have been done. You can divide pateints to
experimental and control groups, and ask unknown congragations to pray for
those in the experimental group. The problem is that there is no way to
control for the fact that God knows that the experiment is being conducted,
and adjusting His actions accordingly.
God has three main options. He can answer the prayers very dramatically so
that there is no reasonable doubt that prayer is highly effacious, He can
not answer the prayers so there is no difference between the prayed-for and
the control groups, of He can answer the prayers in such away that there is
a slight difference on the margins of statistical significance, so that
people argue about what the results show.

The ultimate medical outcome for everyone, regardless of religion, is of
course death. However you are wrong about patients with strong religious
beliefs not necessarily faring better. Religion does seem to provide a
protective effect against some common diseases. However this isn't
inexplicable, religious people probably engage in fewer risky activities
(and it is very hard to control for everything in human populations, though
of course you can control for obvious factors such as smoking), and also
have a better social network through their attendance at church.
George Tirebiter
2004-06-26 13:49:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
As a matter of fact, yes. It's been tested to determine if praying
influences medical outcomes. It doesn't. Patients with strong
religious beliefs don't fare any better.
Experiments with prayers have been done. You can divide pateints to
experimental and control groups, and ask unknown congragations to pray for
those in the experimental group. The problem is that there is no way to
control for the fact that God knows that the experiment is being conducted,
and adjusting His actions accordingly.
How convenient. So, by this logic, the fact that prayer doesn't work is
proof that there was divine intervention to prevent discovery of divine
intervention.
Post by Malcolm
God has three main options. He can answer the prayers very dramatically so
that there is no reasonable doubt that prayer is highly effacious,
Doesn't happen.
Post by Malcolm
He can
not answer the prayers so there is no difference between the prayed-for and
the control groups,
Or there is no god and prayers are pointless.
Post by Malcolm
of He can answer the prayers in such away that there is
a slight difference on the margins of statistical significance, so that
people argue about what the results show.
A very puny god you have there.
Post by Malcolm
The ultimate medical outcome for everyone, regardless of religion, is of
course death. However you are wrong about patients with strong religious
beliefs not necessarily faring better. Religion does seem to provide a
protective effect against some common diseases. However this isn't
inexplicable, religious people probably engage in fewer risky activities
(and it is very hard to control for everything in human populations, though
of course you can control for obvious factors such as smoking), and also
have a better social network through their attendance at church.
A better comparison then would be to compare people who are highly involved
with some kind of club or community group, compared to people highly
involved in their church. Also, people who are sickly will be less likely
to be involved in social activities in the first place. Religion likely has
nothing to do with it.
maf&dog, inc.
2004-06-28 00:42:59 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 26 Jun 2004 10:46:20 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Malcolm
Post by George Tirebiter
As a matter of fact, yes. It's been tested to determine if praying
influences medical outcomes. It doesn't. Patients with strong
religious beliefs don't fare any better.
Experiments with prayers have been done.
Yesisree, bob! And you know what happened: the prefrontal lobe (the
spot where morality comes from) and the cerebral cortex (where higher
reasoning occurs) both shut down, allowing the person to become
susceptible to the most outlandish of ideas, including people rising
from the dead, the transmutation of water into wine, and the silly
notion that bad people are subjected to infinite torture and
punishment fro finite transgressions, among other ridiculous notions.
Now personally, I would prefer to have my thinking and reasoning
centers at full operating capacity, but hey -- I know that's not for
everyone, or even you.
Loki_666
2004-07-02 08:29:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
What matters is that, in *this* context an atheist means
something very specific when they use the word "evidence." If
you are trying to persuade them, you must work inside their
definition, or show where that definition is wrong.
<snip>
Post by Malcolm
So we tried "empirical objective evidence". That's not useful either, as the
potato Virgin Mary example showed, though you've been very slow in grasping
that this is indeed "empirical objective evidence".
Wrong again. A potato you "think looks like the virgin mary" is not
empirical evidence of the virgin mary. It is yourself--not I--that
has failed to grasp this point. Very distinct difference, but I don't
suppose they teach logic in church.
Post by Malcolm
So now we try "repeatable experimental" evidence. Now we're beginning to get
somewhere, since a miracle is not repeatable to order. We can still have
empirical evidence (a physical patient who is cured of a disease) and that
evidence can still be objective (disease defined by measurable critera), we
can even repeat the evidence (diagnosis made made several doctors acting
independently), but we can't experimentally manipulate the actual miracle.
Say something new please. We know miracles are not evidence. You
have said nothing that adds to this discourse as of yet.

<snip>
Post by Malcolm
Similarly the demand for repeatable experiment evidence of a miracle is
unrealistic. This doesn't mean there is no evidence we can work with.
How unrealistic? If your god exists, have him provide something we
can work with. Oh that's right! You can't ask an omniscient,
all-powerful being to make it obvious he's somewhere in the great blue
yonder.
Post by Malcolm
Also, there is repeatable experimental evidence for theism, but not related
to miracles. If you quiz people, you will find that consistently they report
a strong subjective impression of having free will. This is not something
that fits readily into our presently physical theories, and is evidence that
such theories are radically incomplete. I am not saying that this is a
particularly good argument for God, but evidence it certainly is, and of the
type you are looking for.
We are not talking about whether theism exists. That is nonsensical.
We also do not care what the majority of fools on this planet believe.
Provide the evidence or give up your crusade.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
That is, if you hope to convince them of anything. To date, you
have done neither.
Only very seldom does a discussion end with one party saying "OK, I change
my position".
Which is beside the point. I repeat: to this date, you have not
refuted anything I have stated, nor have you provided any evidence.
Malcolm
2004-07-02 23:44:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Wrong again. A potato you "think looks like the virgin mary" is not
empirical evidence of the virgin mary. It is yourself--not I--that
has failed to grasp this point. Very distinct difference, but I don't
suppose they teach logic in church.
No, as I explained you would need some objective criteria for resemblance to
common images of the Virigin Mary (have you given up the red herring that we
don't know how accurate a representation the traditional image is of the
historical Virign Mary?).
Of course "resembles" means "is an acceptable rendering to the human eye".
Anyone would admit that a shot of a daffodil on TV resembles a daffodil.
However a bee, whose eye is constructed rather differently, probably
wouldn't see much similarity.
One way of doing this would be to take a group of people unaware of the
potato miracle and show them some potatoes, asking to say what each
resembles. If a substantial number say "Virigin Mary" for the test potato,
but not for the control potatoes, that is evidence that the potato does
resemble the Virgin Mary and that it is not just being read in by an
over-enthusiastic investigator.
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Say something new please. We know miracles are not evidence.
You have said nothing that adds to this discourse as of yet.
You need to firm up what you mean by "empirical evidence" "objective
evidence" etc before you are capable of holding a discussion on this point.
Post by Loki_666
Which is beside the point. I repeat: to this date, you have not
refuted anything I have stated, nor have you provided any evidence.
We've been discussing Pio's stigmata in this thread and others for several
days now. How could we do that if there was no evidence? Sure some atheists
still feel that the most likely explanation is some sort of fraud coupled by
wishful thinking on the part of the Vatican, but to come to that conclusion
they must have had evidence.
George Tirebiter
2004-07-03 03:38:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Wrong again. A potato you "think looks like the virgin mary" is not
empirical evidence of the virgin mary. It is yourself--not I--that
has failed to grasp this point. Very distinct difference, but I don't
suppose they teach logic in church.
No, as I explained you would need some objective criteria for resemblance to
common images of the Virigin Mary (have you given up the red herring that we
don't know how accurate a representation the traditional image is of the
historical Virign Mary?).
It's not a red herring, you idiot. If you claim that your turd looks like
the virgin mary, this claim requires us to have some knowledge of what the
heavenly hymen looked like. We don't. It's a simple as that.
Post by Malcolm
Of course "resembles" means "is an acceptable rendering to the human eye".
Anyone would admit that a shot of a daffodil on TV resembles a daffodil.
However a bee, whose eye is constructed rather differently, probably
wouldn't see much similarity.
One way of doing this would be to take a group of people unaware of the
potato miracle and show them some potatoes, asking to say what each
resembles. If a substantial number say "Virigin Mary" for the test potato,
but not for the control potatoes, that is evidence that the potato does
resemble the Virgin Mary and that it is not just being read in by an
over-enthusiastic investigator.
Oh my goodness, this is unbelievable! Tell me, are you crazy or just really
stupid? If one of your respondents says it looks like mary with the cherry,
how the fuck do they know? They never saw her. For all we know, she was
mishapen dwarf who could crack walnuts between her nose and chin.

Actually, you have inadvertantly recreated a famous statistical fallacy: Go
around london and ask everyone how tall the emperor of china is. Collect
enough responses and you get an estimate that is accurate to however many
decimal places. Despite the fact that there is NO emperor of china! Same
with your potato that looks like someone that no one knows what she looks
like.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Say something new please. We know miracles are not evidence.
You have said nothing that adds to this discourse as of yet.
You need to firm up what you mean by "empirical evidence" "objective
evidence" etc before you are capable of holding a discussion on this point.
We all know what empirical evidence means. Enthusiastic testimonials and
hearsay from uncritical and credulous witnesses do not provide sufficient
evidence to compel anyone to believe that the laws of physics were violated.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Which is beside the point. I repeat: to this date, you have not
refuted anything I have stated, nor have you provided any evidence.
We've been discussing Pio's stigmata in this thread and others for several
days now. How could we do that if there was no evidence?
People can talk about fairies and unicorns. The discussion was whether the
evidence about Pio had any validity. What you presented was laughable.
Post by Malcolm
Sure some atheists
still feel that the most likely explanation is some sort of fraud coupled by
wishful thinking on the part of the Vatican, but to come to that conclusion
they must have had evidence.
No, they don't. You are the one making an extraordinary claim. You claim
that miracles, where the laws of physics are suspended, happen. It is up to
YOU to present the evidence. Nobody is required to believe every crackpot
claim unless they disprove it. You have a crackpot claim asking us to
believe that something impossible happened. The burden of proof is on you.
And you have absolutely failed to present anything that is even remotely
close to convincing. Frankly, it isn't even convincing to serious catholics
who believe this stuff CAN happen. They concluded it didn't. And unless you
want people to think you are psychotic, you shouldn't believe it either.
Loki_666
2004-07-23 05:08:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Wrong again. A potato you "think looks like the virgin mary" is not
empirical evidence of the virgin mary. It is yourself--not I--that
has failed to grasp this point. Very distinct difference, but I don't
suppose they teach logic in church.
No, as I explained you would need some objective criteria for resemblance to
common images of the Virigin Mary (have you given up the red herring that we
don't know how accurate a representation the traditional image is of the
historical Virign Mary?).]
That is not a red herring. Do you even know what that phrase means?
It would be a red herring if it was irrelevant to the debate, but
wishing doesn't make it so, son. The fact is, it is very relevant to
your retarded argument that "enough people believing a potato
resembles the virgin mary means she really exists!!!"
You still haven't figured this out? For further enlightenment, refer
to above post.
Post by Malcolm
Of course "resembles" means "is an acceptable rendering to the human eye".
Anyone would admit that a shot of a daffodil on TV resembles a daffodil.
However a bee, whose eye is constructed rather differently, probably
wouldn't see much similarity.
Irrelevant. Then again, everything you post is irrelevant (kind of
like that ignorant evilbibleguy) but that should come to no surprise
to anyone.
Post by Malcolm
One way of doing this would be to take a group of people unaware of the
potato miracle and show them some potatoes, asking to say what each
resembles. If a substantial number say "Virigin Mary" for the test potato,
but not for the control potatoes, that is evidence that the potato does
resemble the Virgin Mary and that it is not just being read in by an
over-enthusiastic investigator.
Argument ad populum. And, again, only shows what those people "think"
the virgin mary looks like. You've got nothing here, as I have
pointed out about 5 or 6 times now. Try a new bad example please.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Say something new please. We know miracles are not evidence.
You have said nothing that adds to this discourse as of yet.
You need to firm up what you mean by "empirical evidence" "objective
evidence" etc before you are capable of holding a discussion on this point.
I have, repeatedly. Unfortunately, you have chosen to ignore that
definition.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Which is beside the point. I repeat: to this date, you have not
refuted anything I have stated, nor have you provided any evidence.
We've been discussing Pio's stigmata in this thread and others for several
days now. How could we do that if there was no evidence? Sure some atheists
still feel that the most likely explanation is some sort of fraud coupled by
wishful thinking on the part of the Vatican, but to come to that conclusion
they must have had evidence.
People can discuss many things without there being any evidence that
those things exist. For example: santa claus, the easter bunny,
ghosts, ufos. "Evidence" is a very broad word; something I have
repeated over and over and, well, you get the idea. That is why
definitions are important. I have shown you where your definition
lacks persuasive force, and rather than refute me you make the same
ignorant mistakes over and over and, well, you get the idea.
I am beginning to think the others are correct and you have no clue
how a logical debate is carried out. If that is so, I apologize for
confusing you with little "technicalities" that would get you eaten up
in any serious debate. Perhaps you should read a book or two (or
better yet, take a class!) in debate/philosophy before posting moronic
bullshit on the internet.
Joseph Geloso
2004-07-01 20:02:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Miracles are not empirical, as evidenced by your first
concession that they cannot be reproduced using empirical
methods, or "repeated to order" as it were.
If someone claims to have been cured of a disease than that is an empirical
claim. We can examine whether they suffered from the disease, and whether it
is still present. What we can't do is subject another patient to similar
conditions and expect the cure to be repeated (which you could do is the
claim was "Shredded Wheat cured my chilblaines").
Proof of cure is not proof of a "miracle." The distinction is easily
made.
What is the usual explanation given -- sans miracles -- for such cures
as happen at, for example, Lourdes, after the determination has been
made by competent physicians that they are "inexplicable according to
present scientific knowledge?"

http://www.lourdes-france.org/index.php?goto_centre=ru&contexte=en&id=491&id_rubrique=491

http://www.lourdes-france.org/upload/pdf/en_guerison.pdf
Alan Ferris
2004-07-02 07:55:54 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 01 Jul 2004 16:02:46 -0400, Joseph Geloso
Post by Joseph Geloso
What is the usual explanation given -- sans miracles -- for such cures
as happen at, for example, Lourdes, after the determination has been
made by competent physicians that they are "inexplicable according to
present scientific knowledge?"
Inexplicable cures happen all the time round the world. Does not make
them miracles.


--
Alan "Ferrit" Ferris

()'.'.'()
( (T) )
( ) . ( )
(")_(")
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-23 03:13:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
If you are going to define a word it should be a commonly accepted
definition of the word as found in a reputable dictionary. There is no
reason why you would need to redefine "evidence" as "empirically verifiable
evidence" when you can quite easily type the extra words.
Actually, dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to
definitions used in philosophical debate. Often the distinction is
made between a "loose and popular" sense of a word, and a "strictly
philosophical" sense of a word. The need to make this distinction is
self-evident. Not making this distinction results in equivocation,
and the whole debate will suffer. That was my original intent. Yes,
it is important to begin every argument by defining your terms, as in
my original post. And yes, it is often the practice of those using a
word to be very specific in usage.
I stand by my opinion that definitions of words should by standard
definitions, not something that you just make up. Otherwise, effective
communication is nearly impossible.

<snip>
Post by Loki_666
I do not pretend to speak for all atheists, but instead make myself
very, very clear when presenting my argument. This is common
practice. I am sorry if my formalism in this case frightens or
offends you, but this is the way things are done.
The correct way to make yourself clear is to say "empirically verifiable
evidence" when that's what you mean to say. There are many different types
of evidence and "empirically verifiable evidence" is only one type of
evidence. There are many other types of evidence that are not empirically
verifiable. It makes no sense to redefine the word "evidence" with your own
personal meaning when you can clearly and explicitly make your point with
the simple addition of two words.
Loki_666
2004-06-23 17:38:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
If you are going to define a word it should be a commonly accepted
definition of the word as found in a reputable dictionary. There is no
reason why you would need to redefine "evidence" as "empirically
verifiable
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
evidence" when you can quite easily type the extra words.
Actually, dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to
definitions used in philosophical debate. Often the distinction is
made between a "loose and popular" sense of a word, and a "strictly
philosophical" sense of a word. The need to make this distinction is
self-evident. Not making this distinction results in equivocation,
and the whole debate will suffer. That was my original intent. Yes,
it is important to begin every argument by defining your terms, as in
my original post. And yes, it is often the practice of those using a
word to be very specific in usage.
I stand by my opinion that definitions of words should by standard
definitions, not something that you just make up. Otherwise, effective
communication is nearly impossible.
I'm glad that you have an opinion; however, that has nothing to do
with the way adults conduct a debate. This is not something I "just
made up." This is called "clarity," something you are obviously
unfamiliar with and frightened by.
Post by Loki_666
<snip>
Post by Loki_666
I do not pretend to speak for all atheists, but instead make myself
very, very clear when presenting my argument. This is common
practice. I am sorry if my formalism in this case frightens or
offends you, but this is the way things are done.
The correct way to make yourself clear is to say "empirically verifiable
evidence" when that's what you mean to say. There are many different types
of evidence and "empirically verifiable evidence" is only one type of
evidence. There are many other types of evidence that are not empirically
verifiable. It makes no sense to redefine the word "evidence" with your own
personal meaning when you can clearly and explicitly make your point with
the simple addition of two words.
There is no redefinition anywhere in my post. Either provide a good
rationale for why I should open up my definition to allow for other
types of evidence or cease with the idiocy.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-06-25 22:48:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
If you are going to define a word it should be a commonly accepted
definition of the word as found in a reputable dictionary. There is no
reason why you would need to redefine "evidence" as "empirically
verifiable
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
evidence" when you can quite easily type the extra words.
Actually, dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to
definitions used in philosophical debate. Often the distinction is
made between a "loose and popular" sense of a word, and a "strictly
philosophical" sense of a word. The need to make this distinction is
self-evident. Not making this distinction results in equivocation,
and the whole debate will suffer. That was my original intent. Yes,
it is important to begin every argument by defining your terms, as in
my original post. And yes, it is often the practice of those using a
word to be very specific in usage.
I stand by my opinion that definitions of words should by standard
definitions, not something that you just make up. Otherwise, effective
communication is nearly impossible.
I'm glad that you have an opinion; however, that has nothing to do
with the way adults conduct a debate. This is not something I "just
made up." This is called "clarity," something you are obviously
unfamiliar with and frightened by.
Post by Loki_666
<snip>
Post by Loki_666
I do not pretend to speak for all atheists, but instead make myself
very, very clear when presenting my argument. This is common
practice. I am sorry if my formalism in this case frightens or
offends you, but this is the way things are done.
The correct way to make yourself clear is to say "empirically verifiable
evidence" when that's what you mean to say. There are many different types
of evidence and "empirically verifiable evidence" is only one type of
evidence. There are many other types of evidence that are not empirically
verifiable. It makes no sense to redefine the word "evidence" with your own
personal meaning when you can clearly and explicitly make your point with
the simple addition of two words.
There is no redefinition anywhere in my post. Either provide a good
rationale for why I should open up my definition to allow for other
types of evidence or cease with the idiocy.
You said: "Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick
with "empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of which
can be tested through the scientific method."

Then you said "This is not something I just made up." So which dictionary
did you find this definition of the word "evidence"?
Loki_666
2004-07-02 08:33:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
If you are going to define a word it should be a commonly accepted
definition of the word as found in a reputable dictionary. There is
no
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
reason why you would need to redefine "evidence" as "empirically
verifiable
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
evidence" when you can quite easily type the extra words.
Actually, dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to
definitions used in philosophical debate. Often the distinction is
made between a "loose and popular" sense of a word, and a "strictly
philosophical" sense of a word. The need to make this distinction is
self-evident. Not making this distinction results in equivocation,
and the whole debate will suffer. That was my original intent. Yes,
it is important to begin every argument by defining your terms, as in
my original post. And yes, it is often the practice of those using a
word to be very specific in usage.
I stand by my opinion that definitions of words should by standard
definitions, not something that you just make up. Otherwise, effective
communication is nearly impossible.
I'm glad that you have an opinion; however, that has nothing to do
with the way adults conduct a debate. This is not something I "just
made up." This is called "clarity," something you are obviously
unfamiliar with and frightened by.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
<snip>
Post by Loki_666
I do not pretend to speak for all atheists, but instead make myself
very, very clear when presenting my argument. This is common
practice. I am sorry if my formalism in this case frightens or
offends you, but this is the way things are done.
The correct way to make yourself clear is to say "empirically verifiable
evidence" when that's what you mean to say. There are many different
types
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
of evidence and "empirically verifiable evidence" is only one type of
evidence. There are many other types of evidence that are not
empirically
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
verifiable. It makes no sense to redefine the word "evidence" with your
own
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
personal meaning when you can clearly and explicitly make your point
with
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
the simple addition of two words.
There is no redefinition anywhere in my post. Either provide a good
rationale for why I should open up my definition to allow for other
types of evidence or cease with the idiocy.
You said: "Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick
with "empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of which
can be tested through the scientific method."
Then you said "This is not something I just made up." So which dictionary
did you find this definition of the word "evidence"?
I gave you three definitions, for three different words. I understand
if you have no college behind you, but "defining your terms" is an
oft-used phrase denoting the fact that you are lying down the
parameters of your argument, being very specific by what you mean.
No, a regular dictionary definition of a popular word will NOT do to
discuss important philosophical topics. Does this mean I "made up a
definition?"--not at all. What it does mean is that I took a
sub-category of "evidence" and restricted what I meant to "empirically
verifiable evidence."
I am done explaning this to you. If you have a problem looking like a
fool because you are the only person on this board who does not
understand why I phrase things the way I so, I am sorry for you. If
you have any further questions go talk to your local philosophy
professor.
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-07-02 18:22:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
If you are going to define a word it should be a commonly accepted
definition of the word as found in a reputable dictionary.
There is
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
no
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
reason why you would need to redefine "evidence" as "empirically
verifiable
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
evidence" when you can quite easily type the extra words.
Actually, dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to
definitions used in philosophical debate. Often the distinction is
made between a "loose and popular" sense of a word, and a "strictly
philosophical" sense of a word. The need to make this distinction is
self-evident. Not making this distinction results in
equivocation,
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
and the whole debate will suffer. That was my original intent.
Yes,
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
it is important to begin every argument by defining your terms, as in
my original post. And yes, it is often the practice of those using a
word to be very specific in usage.
I stand by my opinion that definitions of words should by standard
definitions, not something that you just make up. Otherwise, effective
communication is nearly impossible.
I'm glad that you have an opinion; however, that has nothing to do
with the way adults conduct a debate. This is not something I "just
made up." This is called "clarity," something you are obviously
unfamiliar with and frightened by.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
<snip>
Post by Loki_666
I do not pretend to speak for all atheists, but instead make myself
very, very clear when presenting my argument. This is common
practice. I am sorry if my formalism in this case frightens or
offends you, but this is the way things are done.
The correct way to make yourself clear is to say "empirically verifiable
evidence" when that's what you mean to say. There are many different
types
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
of evidence and "empirically verifiable evidence" is only one type of
evidence. There are many other types of evidence that are not
empirically
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
verifiable. It makes no sense to redefine the word "evidence" with your
own
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
personal meaning when you can clearly and explicitly make your point
with
Post by Loki_666
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
the simple addition of two words.
There is no redefinition anywhere in my post. Either provide a good
rationale for why I should open up my definition to allow for other
types of evidence or cease with the idiocy.
You said: "Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick
with "empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of which
can be tested through the scientific method."
Then you said "This is not something I just made up." So which dictionary
did you find this definition of the word "evidence"?
I gave you three definitions, for three different words. I understand
if you have no college behind you, but "defining your terms" is an
oft-used phrase denoting the fact that you are lying down the
parameters of your argument, being very specific by what you mean.
Malcolm started this thread by talking about evidence and he clearly did not
intend to define "evidence" as only "empirically verifiable evidence". You
redefined the word in the middle of the argument, even though it was you
first post in the thread. This is not acceptable.
Post by Loki_666
No, a regular dictionary definition of a popular word will NOT do to
discuss important philosophical topics.
That is absurd.
Post by Loki_666
Does this mean I "made up a
definition?"--not at all. What it does mean is that I took a
sub-category of "evidence" and restricted what I meant to "empirically
verifiable evidence."
This type of shorthand would have been perfectly acceptable if you were the
first one in the argument to define or use a word this way. However,
Malcolm started the argument and many others continued the argument by using
the word "evidence" as it is defined in dictionaries.
Post by Loki_666
I am done explaning this to you. If you have a problem looking like a
fool because you are the only person on this board who does not
understand why I phrase things the way I so, I am sorry for you. If
you have any further questions go talk to your local philosophy
professor.
Perhaps you should ask someone why it is unacceptable to change the meanings
of words in the middle of an argument.
Loki_666
2004-07-23 04:55:36 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Malcolm started this thread by talking about evidence and he clearly did not
intend to define "evidence" as only "empirically verifiable evidence". You
redefined the word in the middle of the argument, even though it was you
first post in the thread. This is not acceptable.
Post by Loki_666
No, a regular dictionary definition of a popular word will NOT do to
discuss important philosophical topics.
That is absurd.
No, it is not. As I have stated (repeatedly, I might add!)
dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to giving precise
meanings. Only the ignorant or uneducated would believe otherwise.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Does this mean I "made up a
definition?"--not at all. What it does mean is that I took a
sub-category of "evidence" and restricted what I meant to "empirically
verifiable evidence."
This type of shorthand would have been perfectly acceptable if you were the
first one in the argument to define or use a word this way. However,
Malcolm started the argument and many others continued the argument by using
the word "evidence" as it is defined in dictionaries.
And as I have stated over and over again, his "definition" of the word
"evidence" is not the same "definition" used by most atheists. This
cannot be that hard for you to grasp. Think it through a few times,
you will eventually get it.
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
I am done explaning this to you. If you have a problem looking like a
fool because you are the only person on this board who does not
understand why I phrase things the way I so, I am sorry for you. If
you have any further questions go talk to your local philosophy
professor.
<snip ignorant and irrelevant comment>
Editor of EvilBible.com
2004-07-23 19:19:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
<snip>
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Malcolm started this thread by talking about evidence and he clearly did not
intend to define "evidence" as only "empirically verifiable evidence".
You
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
redefined the word in the middle of the argument, even though it was you
first post in the thread. This is not acceptable.
Post by Loki_666
No, a regular dictionary definition of a popular word will NOT do to
discuss important philosophical topics.
That is absurd.
No, it is not. As I have stated (repeatedly, I might add!)
dictionaries are notoriously ambiguous when it comes to giving precise
meanings. Only the ignorant or uneducated would believe otherwise.
That probably explains why every college professor I know (which is quite a
few - I worked at a medical school for 12 years) has several dictionaries on
their bookshelf. They must use them for doorstops and bookends! If it
wasn't for you I would have never know how ignorant and stupid I am. Thanks
for pointing this out to me!
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Editor of EvilBible.com
Post by Loki_666
Does this mean I "made up a
definition?"--not at all. What it does mean is that I took a
sub-category of "evidence" and restricted what I meant to "empirically
verifiable evidence."
This type of shorthand would have been perfectly acceptable if you were the
first one in the argument to define or use a word this way. However,
Malcolm started the argument and many others continued the argument by using
the word "evidence" as it is defined in dictionaries.
And as I have stated over and over again, his "definition" of the word
"evidence" is not the same "definition" used by most atheists. This
cannot be that hard for you to grasp. Think it through a few times,
you will eventually get it.
All the atheists that I know use the word "evidence" the way it is defined
in dictionaries. But then again I'm just sooo ignorant that I thought that
college professors actually read their dictionaries. Now that you have
corrected me I will forever remember that dictionaries are to used as
doorstops.

Didymos
2004-06-22 19:25:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are
unsupported by
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
any evidence"
Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick with
"empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of
which can be tested through the scientific method.
Why do you insist only upon that which is empirically verifiable is of
any evidential value? Do you discount the evidentiary value of all
phenomena which are not empirically verifiable?

By the way, I am just asking as a point of curiosity which is solely my
own. I represent no group or organization. I offer no empirical proof
of God or gods, nor any other phenomena. The two questions above are
intended to mean only what they appear to mean, that is, to ascertain in
more detail your epistemological method.
Loki_666
2004-06-23 02:32:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism,
many
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for
Christianity,
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
go away until you can come up with some."
or as raven put it
"the claims of Christianity simply aren't credible, and are
unsupported by
Post by Loki_666
Post by Malcolm
any evidence"
Let us define evidence right off the bat, shall we? Let's stick with
"empirically verifiable evidence"; that is, evidence the truth of
which can be tested through the scientific method.
Why do you insist only upon that which is empirically verifiable is of
any evidential value? Do you discount the evidentiary value of all
phenomena which are not empirically verifiable?
By the way, I am just asking as a point of curiosity which is solely my
own. I represent no group or organization. I offer no empirical proof
of God or gods, nor any other phenomena. The two questions above are
intended to mean only what they appear to mean, that is, to ascertain in
more detail your epistemological method.
My method is: when it comes to the assertion that there is "evidence
for a supernatural being," I mean something very specific by the word
evidence.
That is why I provided my definition at the outset, and that is what I
understand most atheists (in my experience, if I am wrong here please
correct me) to mean when they speak of "no evidence for god/s."
Two seperate types of "evidence"; two seperate meanings.
To be aware of both meanings but to use only one to "refute" an
argument results only in equivocation, then you are back at square
one.
No, I do not discount the evidentiary value of all phenomena which are
not empirically verifiable. Some truths are self-evident; for
instance, I cannot provide evidence that "5+7=12." Nevertheless, I
think most people would agree that statement is true merely because it
is true. One could make this argument for god, as has been put forth
by some philosophers. Who has not seen the argument "god defies
reason, so reason cannot be used to find him?" The only evidence in
these cases is that god is self-evident.
These arguments are wonderful if one already accepts god's existence,
but do little to persuade those that hold lack of empirical evidence
as reason for not believing in god. All we learn from this is that
there are some people that believe in god, and some that don't. Not a
very interesting debate.
If you disagree with my definition of what is acceptable evidence that
is fine. We will just have to agree to disagree. But there is
definitely a need for clarity in this type of debate, and I was only
trying to make myself clear.
Half of philosophy is trying to get your definitions straight anyhow;
that should be nothing new to anyone.
Eric Pepke
2004-06-23 01:02:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
When I posted the list of common arguments to arcrc and alt.atheism, many
atheists responded with versions of "there is no evidence for Christianity,
go away until you can come up with some."
To your credit, at least you're dealing with a real argument against theism.
Post by Malcolm
Now at one level, the "no evidence" argument is childishly simple to refute.
People seldom make claims and offer absolutely no evidence. For instance
Loch Ness monster enthusiasts will show you various photographs, Uri Geller
produces bent spoons, frtune tellers will tell you your past life as well as
the future. In all these cases I believe the evidence is less than
conclusive, but the claim of "no evidence" is quite false.
What has happened is that the atheists have used the phrase "no evidence" as
hyperbole for "I think the evidence isn't very good",
It's common speech. "No evidence" means "no evidence that pushes me in
the direction of believing." Only politicians put qualifiers on everything they
say.
Post by Malcolm
and then been seduced
by their own rhetoric into elevating it to a philosophical position. "No
evidence" just boils down to "I don't find the evidence conclusive", which
is more or less the same as saying "I'm an atheist".
No, that's just you projecting. Atheism isn't a Philosophical Position(TM)
any more than not having a palm tree in your back yard is a Horticultural
Position(TM).

Atheists just don't believe in a god or gods. It's that simple. It really is.
How many times and how simply can it be stated before one of your
neurons fire?
Post by Malcolm
As for positive evidence, there are literally thousands of alleged miracles.
An atheist has to hold that every one is false, if he isn't to seriously
damage his case.
No, an atheist need merely wait around until something is presented that
is better than hearsay.

You think that the reports of miracles are convincing, or at least compelling.
Well, hooka dooka for you! And thus, you think that there must be some
sort of active denial on the part of atheists.

But that's your bag, not ours.
Liz
2004-06-24 01:53:58 UTC
Permalink
[piggybacking]

[-----]
Post by Malcolm
As for positive evidence, there are literally thousands of alleged miracles.
An atheist has to hold that every one is false, if he isn't to seriously
damage his case.
I see you use the word 'alleged', and therein lies the problem with
using miracles as evidence. Certainly, there can be unexplained
circumstances that are a benefit to the recipient, such as spontaneous
healing or surviving a car crash. Conversely, there are unexplained
circumstances that are detrimental to the recipient such as sudden
infant death syndrome or not surviving the same car crash. Believers
deem the good results to be miracles, but at the same time do not
consider the bad results to be miracles. Instead, the bad results are
called accidents or tragedies.

This counting of the "hits" and ignoring the misses is called a
confirmation bias or the observational selection fallacy. The
believer sees the good results as validation of his belief in God®,
but he does not see the bad results as a repudiation of his belief.

Then, there is the problem of providing evidence that these alleged
miracles actually emanate from the Christian God®. Because miracles,
by their nature, are unexplained events, any assigned causation is
merely a guess. Believers assume that the good result was caused by
God® because it agrees with their expectations that God® is the cause
of good unexplained events. Basically, this is an argument from
ignorance.

With these major weaknesses, miracles can not be presumed to be
evidence of a deity, but instead are evidence that unexplained things
sometimes happen.



Liz #658 BAAWA

I could not believe that anyone who had read this book
would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every
literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of
God? Have these people simply not read the text? Are they
hopelessly uninformed? Is there a different Bible? Are
they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naivete?
-- Bishop John Shelby Spong!
Malcolm
2004-06-25 21:40:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Liz
Then, there is the problem of providing evidence that these
alleged miracles actually emanate from the Christian God®.
Because miracles, by their nature, are unexplained events, any
assigned causation is merely a guess. Believers assume that the
good result was caused by God® because it agrees with their
expectations that God® is the cause of good unexplained
events. Basically, this is an argument from ignorance.
Since God isn't available for controlled laboratory investigation we can't
prove that any event is due to His intervention. However there can be
evidence - for instance if an unexplained cure occurs shortly after a
prayer, or if the miraculous event is clearly Christian in character.
Post by Liz
With these major weaknesses, miracles can not be presumed to > be evidence
of a deity, but instead are evidence that unexplained
Post by Liz
things sometimes happen.
We're talking about the "no evidence" argument, not the "no proof" argument
(which is a much more serious and powerful argument). It is alright to say
"no evidence" when you mean "no proof" as a rhetorical device, but not when
you get trapped by it, for instance into the "Wicca" argument (since there's
no evidence for any religion, all are intellectually of the same status).
Mike Painter
2004-06-25 22:38:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
Then, there is the problem of providing evidence that these
alleged miracles actually emanate from the Christian God®.
Because miracles, by their nature, are unexplained events, any
assigned causation is merely a guess. Believers assume that the
good result was caused by God® because it agrees with their
expectations that God® is the cause of good unexplained
events. Basically, this is an argument from ignorance.
Since God isn't available for controlled laboratory investigation we can't
prove that any event is due to His intervention. However there can be
evidence - for instance if an unexplained cure occurs shortly after a
prayer, or if the miraculous event is clearly Christian in character.
Most references to prayer in the christian bible are rather explicit.
Sometimes you have to have faith to ask and receive, but most just say ask.
If valid an unexplained *continuatuion* of such an illness might gain as
much press as the anechdotal information that follows these extremely rare
"cures".

Oddly enough "Christian in nature" miracles tend to happen in christian
communities and the non christian ones fall in the non christian
neighborhood. Either all the gods do it or none do it.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
With these major weaknesses, miracles can not be presumed to > be evidence
of a deity, but instead are evidence that unexplained
Post by Liz
things sometimes happen.
We're talking about the "no evidence" argument, not the "no proof" argument
(which is a much more serious and powerful argument). It is alright to say
"no evidence" when you mean "no proof" as a rhetorical device, but not when
you get trapped by it, for instance into the "Wicca" argument (since there's
no evidence for any religion, all are intellectually of the same status).
George Tirebiter
2004-06-26 01:10:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
Then, there is the problem of providing evidence that these
alleged miracles actually emanate from the Christian God®.
Because miracles, by their nature, are unexplained events, any
assigned causation is merely a guess. Believers assume that the
good result was caused by God® because it agrees with their
expectations that God® is the cause of good unexplained
events. Basically, this is an argument from ignorance.
Since God isn't available for controlled laboratory investigation we can't
prove that any event is due to His intervention. However there can be
evidence - for instance if an unexplained cure occurs shortly after a
prayer,
Actually, there have been scientific studies of prayer. It doesn't work.
You fail to take into account that unexplained things happen all the time.
Sometimes prayer is associated with some event, most of the time, prayer
isn't involved. Calling the random association of prayer and a rare event a
miracle is just a superstitious label for ignorance of probability.
Post by Malcolm
or if the miraculous event is clearly Christian in character.
Again, that's you reading something into it.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
With these major weaknesses, miracles can not be presumed to > be evidence
of a deity, but instead are evidence that unexplained
Post by Liz
things sometimes happen.
We're talking about the "no evidence" argument, not the "no proof" argument
(which is a much more serious and powerful argument). It is alright to say
"no evidence" when you mean "no proof" as a rhetorical device, but not when
you get trapped by it, for instance into the "Wicca" argument (since there's
no evidence for any religion, all are intellectually of the same status).
No, we're still talking about evidence. Everyone, even the most religiously
deluded, accepts that there is no proof for god. Feel free to provide some
evidence.
Phÿltêr
2004-06-26 04:38:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
Then, there is the problem of providing evidence that these
alleged miracles actually emanate from the Christian God®.
Because miracles, by their nature, are unexplained events, any
assigned causation is merely a guess. Believers assume that the
good result was caused by God® because it agrees with their
expectations that God® is the cause of good unexplained
events. Basically, this is an argument from ignorance.
Since God isn't available for controlled laboratory investigation we
can't prove that any event is due to His intervention. However there can
be evidence - for instance if an unexplained cure occurs shortly after a
prayer, or if the miraculous event is clearly Christian in character.
You're confusing "evidence" with "coincidence", but you're close, they both
end in "dence"
--
Phÿltêr
AA#1938
Denizen of Darkness #44 & AFJC Antipodean Attaché
Remove "s" to respond
Liz
2004-06-26 21:41:49 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 22:40:14 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
Then, there is the problem of providing evidence that these
alleged miracles actually emanate from the Christian God®.
Because miracles, by their nature, are unexplained events, any
assigned causation is merely a guess. Believers assume that the
good result was caused by God® because it agrees with their
expectations that God® is the cause of good unexplained
events. Basically, this is an argument from ignorance.
Since God isn't available for controlled laboratory investigation we can't
prove that any event is due to His intervention.
That is correct. However, believers insist that supernatural
intervention occurs anyway even without any supporting evidence.
Evidence need not be the product of a controlled experiment in the
laboratory, but evidence does need to be objective and offer
consistent results given the same circumstances. IOW, gravity need
not be tested in a lab in order to confirm for one's self that every
time one drops an object, the object falls toward the center of the
mass of the Earth. One should be able to confirm Christian God® in
the same manner -- such as that every time one asks, it shall be given
to him; that every time one seeks, he shall find; and that every time
one knocks, the door shall be opened. However, no such consistency is
available for God®, and the answering of such asking, seeking, and
knocking appear to be totally random. Believers explain that God®
should not be tested because he works in mysterious ways when actually
he *can not be tested because their is nothing to test. If their are
no rules that one can apply to the answering of prayers, then there
can not any evidence of the effectiveness of such prayers.
Post by Malcolm
However there can be
evidence - for instance if an unexplained cure occurs shortly after a
prayer, or if the miraculous event is clearly Christian in character.
You forgot the address the death that occurs shortly after prayer. I
see you ignored my first two paragraphs where I explained that theists
see confirmation in unexplained events that have good results, but
ignore the unexplained events with bad results. Do you contend that
those people who die instead of receiving a cure were never the
recipient of a prayer for their recovery? And then there are atheists
and those of non-Christian religions who do not pray or pray to the
"wrong" deity, and still become inexplicably cured of a disease or
injury.

The problem is that you can not offer evidence that the prayer caused
the cure. This is a prime example of the logical fallacy known by the
Latin "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" meaning "It happened after, so it
was caused by." You are assigning causation merely upon the basis of
a time correlation when there is no reason to consider that the prayer
was the cause of the cure. This is an common error in reasoning
whether one is talking about a cure following a prayer, a winning
gambling session following the wearing of a lucky shirt, or a downpour
after a rain dance. The prayer did not cause the cure; the win was
not caused by the lucky shirt; and the rain was not caused by the
dance, yet believers still believe.

You have also ignored the fact that there are unexplained events that
are *not Christian in nature. If you were honest and not committing
the observation selection fallacy, then you would need to admit that
if you allow unexplained events that you consider to have a Christian
nature as evidence for your God®, the unexplained events that were
not Christian in nature would be evidence *against the Christian God®.
I seriously doubt that there are many Christian themed miracles seen
by those who are not Christian, just as I seriously doubt that there
are many Islamic themed miracles that are seen by those who are not
Moslem. As I've stated before, people see and remember those things
that confirm their previously held beliefs while they ignore those
things that repudiate their previously held beliefs.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
With these major weaknesses, miracles can not be presumed to > be evidence
of a deity, but instead are evidence that unexplained
Post by Liz
things sometimes happen.
We're talking about the "no evidence" argument, not the "no proof" argument
(which is a much more serious and powerful argument).
Yes, we were. In fact, I haven't even mentioned proof. However, and
this is important to remember, wild supposition is not evidence.
Post by Malcolm
It is alright to say
"no evidence" when you mean "no proof" as a rhetorical device, but not when
you get trapped by it, for instance into the "Wicca" argument (since there's
no evidence for any religion, all are intellectually of the same status).
I do not mean "no proof", as no proof is available. However, evidence
for such a conclusion as "God® exists" should be available, and it is
not. You can't offer unexplained events as an explanation of an
undetected entity and expect to be taken seriously.

I have never made the "Wicca argument" and your continuous invocation
of it in this context is nothing but a red herring used to divert
attention from your inability to provide any actual evidence that
their is evidence for God®.



Liz #658 BAAWA

I could not believe that anyone who had read this book
would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every
literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of
God? Have these people simply not read the text? Are they
hopelessly uninformed? Is there a different Bible? Are
they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naivete?
-- Bishop John Shelby Spong!
Bill
2004-06-26 22:59:29 UTC
Permalink
Congratulations on your excellent expose of God and his miracles.

--
Bill
Post by Liz
On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 22:40:14 +0100, "Malcolm"
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
Then, there is the problem of providing evidence that these
alleged miracles actually emanate from the Christian God®.
Because miracles, by their nature, are unexplained events, any
assigned causation is merely a guess. Believers assume that the
good result was caused by God® because it agrees with their
expectations that God® is the cause of good unexplained
events. Basically, this is an argument from ignorance.
Since God isn't available for controlled laboratory investigation we can't
prove that any event is due to His intervention.
That is correct. However, believers insist that supernatural
intervention occurs anyway even without any supporting evidence.
Evidence need not be the product of a controlled experiment in the
laboratory, but evidence does need to be objective and offer
consistent results given the same circumstances. IOW, gravity need
not be tested in a lab in order to confirm for one's self that every
time one drops an object, the object falls toward the center of the
mass of the Earth. One should be able to confirm Christian God® in
the same manner -- such as that every time one asks, it shall be given
to him; that every time one seeks, he shall find; and that every time
one knocks, the door shall be opened. However, no such consistency is
available for God®, and the answering of such asking, seeking, and
knocking appear to be totally random. Believers explain that God®
should not be tested because he works in mysterious ways when actually
he *can not be tested because their is nothing to test. If their are
no rules that one can apply to the answering of prayers, then there
can not any evidence of the effectiveness of such prayers.
Post by Malcolm
However there can be
evidence - for instance if an unexplained cure occurs shortly after a
prayer, or if the miraculous event is clearly Christian in character.
You forgot the address the death that occurs shortly after prayer. I
see you ignored my first two paragraphs where I explained that theists
see confirmation in unexplained events that have good results, but
ignore the unexplained events with bad results. Do you contend that
those people who die instead of receiving a cure were never the
recipient of a prayer for their recovery? And then there are atheists
and those of non-Christian religions who do not pray or pray to the
"wrong" deity, and still become inexplicably cured of a disease or
injury.
The problem is that you can not offer evidence that the prayer caused
the cure. This is a prime example of the logical fallacy known by the
Latin "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" meaning "It happened after, so it
was caused by." You are assigning causation merely upon the basis of
a time correlation when there is no reason to consider that the prayer
was the cause of the cure. This is an common error in reasoning
whether one is talking about a cure following a prayer, a winning
gambling session following the wearing of a lucky shirt, or a downpour
after a rain dance. The prayer did not cause the cure; the win was
not caused by the lucky shirt; and the rain was not caused by the
dance, yet believers still believe.
You have also ignored the fact that there are unexplained events that
are *not Christian in nature. If you were honest and not committing
the observation selection fallacy, then you would need to admit that
if you allow unexplained events that you consider to have a Christian
nature as evidence for your God®, the unexplained events that were
not Christian in nature would be evidence *against the Christian God®.
I seriously doubt that there are many Christian themed miracles seen
by those who are not Christian, just as I seriously doubt that there
are many Islamic themed miracles that are seen by those who are not
Moslem. As I've stated before, people see and remember those things
that confirm their previously held beliefs while they ignore those
things that repudiate their previously held beliefs.
Post by Malcolm
Post by Liz
With these major weaknesses, miracles can not be presumed to > be evidence
of a deity, but instead are evidence that unexplained
Post by Liz
things sometimes happen.
We're talking about the "no evidence" argument, not the "no proof" argument
(which is a much more serious and powerful argument).
Yes, we were. In fact, I haven't even mentioned proof. However, and
this is important to remember, wild supposition is not evidence.
Post by Malcolm
It is alright to say
"no evidence" when you mean "no proof" as a rhetorical device, but not when
you get trapped by it, for instance into the "Wicca" argument (since there's
no evidence for any religion, all are intellectually of the same status).
I do not mean "no proof", as no proof is available. However, evidence
for such a conclusion as "God® exists" should be available, and it is
not. You can't offer unexplained events as an explanation of an
undetected entity and expect to be taken seriously.
I have never made the "Wicca argument" and your continuous invocation
of it in this context is nothing but a red herring used to divert
attention from your inability to provide any actual evidence that
their is evidence for God®.
Liz #658 BAAWA
I could not believe that anyone who had read this book
would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every
literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of
God? Have these people simply not read the text? Are they
hopelessly uninformed? Is there a different Bible? Are
they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naivete?
-- Bishop John Shelby Spong!
Liz
2004-06-27 02:50:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill
Congratulations on your excellent expose of God and his miracles.
I glad you enjoyed my post. I don't think of it as an exposé, but
rather as an attempt to demonstrate the difference between rational
thinking and magical thinking. There is really nothing to expose
about God® that a dose of rational thinking won't cure.



Liz #658 BAAWA

I could not believe that anyone who had read this book
would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every
literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of
God? Have these people simply not read the text? Are they
hopelessly uninformed? Is there a different Bible? Are
they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naivete?
-- Bishop John Shelby Spong!
Malcolm
2004-06-26 23:25:07 UTC
Permalink
One should be able to confirm Christian God® in the same
manner -- such as that every time one asks, it shall be given
to him; that every time one seeks, he shall find; and that every
time one knocks, the door shall be opened.
This can't apply to miracles, because they are an exception to the general
law of nature. If we have a game of football, and the side that is up offer
to send one of their men off, that's a miracle as far as the laws of the
game are concerned. However we do it so often that the winning side always
lose a man at half time, it becomes one of the rules of the game.
You forgot the address the death that occurs shortly after
prayer. I see you ignored my first two paragraphs where I
explained that theists see confirmation in unexplained events that
have good results, but ignore the unexplained events with bad
results. Do you contend that those people who die instead of
receiving a cure were never the recipient of a prayer for their
recovery? And then there are atheists and those of non-
Christian religions who do not pray or pray to the "wrong" deity,
and still become inexplicably cured of a disease or injury.
I think you can use the confirmation bias argument against miraculous cures,
in particular when they inhabit a grey area between a "miracle" and an
"answered prayer", bearing in mind that if I really want to get rid of my
illness I will pray for a cure, not for a miraculous cure.
However this doesn't apply to what I described as type 1 miracles. If you
pray for sausages and a string materialise on the table, it would be absurd
to list the number of prayers for sausages that weren't answered. Padre
Pio's stigmata are in this class - millions of devout Catholics don't
receive the stigmata, but this is beside the point.
You have also ignored the fact that there are unexplained events > that
are *not Christian in nature. If you were honest and not
committing the observation selection fallacy, then you would
need to admit that if you allow unexplained events that you
consider to have a Christian nature as evidence for your God®,
the unexplained events that were not Christian in nature would
be evidence *against the Christian God®.
I seriously doubt that there are many Christian themed miracles > seen by
those who are not Christian, just as I seriously doubt
that there are many Islamic themed miracles that are seen by
those who are not Moslem.
This is a legitimate argument. Just because a Christian-themed miracle
occurs to a Christian isn't proof that Christianity is true. An alternative
is that some form of Hinduism is true, and all religions are aspects of the
multifaceted reality that is the divine.
Yes, we were. In fact, I haven't even mentioned proof.
However, and this is important to remember, wild supposition is
not evidence.
Padre Pio was either lying or received the stigmata. That is clearly
evidence.
You can't offer unexplained events as an explanation of an
undetected entity and expect to be taken seriously.
If the events are Christian-themed then they are quite powerful evidence for
Christianity being true. However there are other possible theories. Saying
that a totally unexplained event, such as tea flying out of a cup resting on
a table and spilling on the sofa, is evidence for the Christian God is of
course rather silly.
I have never made the "Wicca argument" and your continuous
invocation of it in this context is nothing but a red herring used to
divert attention from your inability to provide any actual
evidence that their is evidence for God®.
The "Wicca" argument is a continuous refrain from atheists. It is connected
to the "no evidence" argument. The thread has been focused on miracles,
which are the most obvious type of evidence, but only one of the three
categories I mentioned (!st century history and Christian ethics are the
others). There are literally thousands of miracles, every single one of
which the atheist must hold to be entirely natural if he isn't to seriously
damage his case. So the idea that there is "no evidence" to discuss is
patently false. If you only mean "the evidence doesn't convince atheists"
then that of course is a tautology.
walksalone
2004-06-27 12:37:57 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 27 Jun 2004 00:25:07 +0100, Malcolm wrote:

much of nothing, follow up set to trolls home group.
Post by Malcolm
One should be able to confirm Christian God® in the same
manner -- such as that every time one asks, it shall be given
to him; that every time one seeks, he shall find; and that every
time one knocks, the door shall be opened.
This can't apply to miracles, because they are an exception to the general
According to your grimorie, promises on demand are available exclusively to
bleaters that pray for whatever they want, from moving mountains, to peace
on earth. Which one of those two have made the headlines lately?
All it takes is the prayer of a believer if your invisible man.
Post by Malcolm
law of nature. If we have a game of football, and the side that is up offer
Laws of nature, nor football are the object of discussion. How big a basket
that you need for all your red herrings anyway, or do you rent a fleet of
dump trucks?

snip routine attempted diversion.

Snip tail chasing.
Sorry Dame Liz, but I had to snip your comments as well, I can only watch
so much tail chasing before I get dizzy & need a break.

walksalone who almost feels sorry for Malcolm, but he insisted on being the
guest of honor at the all volunteer ridicule a bleater bash. He even
insisted on starting it.
--
If he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword holds true,
then jesus the carpenter met his end properly. After all, he
was nailed to a piece of wood, or was he?
Liz
2004-06-27 14:17:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by walksalone
much of nothing, follow up set to trolls home group.
Post by Malcolm
One should be able to confirm Christian God® in the same
manner -- such as that every time one asks, it shall be given
to him; that every time one seeks, he shall find; and that every
time one knocks, the door shall be opened.
This can't apply to miracles, because they are an exception to the general
According to your grimorie, promises on demand are available exclusively to
bleaters that pray for whatever they want, from moving mountains, to peace
on earth. Which one of those two have made the headlines lately?
All it takes is the prayer of a believer if your invisible man.
Post by Malcolm
law of nature. If we have a game of football, and the side that is up offer
Laws of nature, nor football are the object of discussion. How big a basket
that you need for all your red herrings anyway, or do you rent a fleet of
dump trucks?
He does seem to be getting off the subject of evidence in addition to
offering a boatload of special pleading.
Post by walksalone
snip routine attempted diversion.
Snip tail chasing.
Sorry Dame Liz, but I had to snip your comments as well, I can only watch
so much tail chasing before I get dizzy & need a break.
That's perfectly fine, walksalone. I must thank you for replying to
Malcolm. My ISP is having hiccups this morning and I seem to be
receiving only a portion of the posts, and retrieving an even smaller
number of the bodies. If you hadn't replied to Malcolm I wouldn't
have known that he had answered my post. When it appears on Google,
I'll go see what he had to say.
Post by walksalone
walksalone who almost feels sorry for Malcolm, but he insisted on being the
guest of honor at the all volunteer ridicule a bleater bash. He even
insisted on starting it.
Liz #658 BAAWA

Liz, you like most people do not want to have faith in
things which have no basis in reality. -- josalt
Liz
2004-06-27 16:28:35 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 27 Jun 2004 12:37:57 GMT, walksalone <***@fcc.gov> in news
message <***@news.teranews.com> wrote:

[piggybacking here after copying from Google]
Post by Malcolm
One should be able to confirm Christian God® in the same
manner -- such as that every time one asks, it shall be given
to him; that every time one seeks, he shall find; and that every
time one knocks, the door shall be opened.
This can't apply to miracles, because they are an exception to the general
law of nature.
This is known as "special pleading", a thing which theists claim a
lot.

You are assuming that miracles can't be tested or confirmed, but you
want to use them as evidence anyway. Evidence just doesn't work that
way.
Post by Malcolm
If we have a game of football, and the side that is up offer
to send one of their men off, that's a miracle as far as the laws of the
game are concerned. However we do it so often that the winning side always
lose a man at half time, it becomes one of the rules of the game.
Non sequitur.
Post by Malcolm
You forgot the address the death that occurs shortly after
prayer. I see you ignored my first two paragraphs where I
explained that theists see confirmation in unexplained events that
have good results, but ignore the unexplained events with bad
results. Do you contend that those people who die instead of
receiving a cure were never the recipient of a prayer for their
recovery? And then there are atheists and those of non-
Christian religions who do not pray or pray to the "wrong" deity,
and still become inexplicably cured of a disease or injury.
I think you can use the confirmation bias argument against miraculous cures,
in particular when they inhabit a grey area between a "miracle" and an
"answered prayer", bearing in mind that if I really want to get rid of my
illness I will pray for a cure, not for a miraculous cure.
However this doesn't apply to what I described as type 1 miracles. If you
pray for sausages and a string materialise on the table, it would be absurd
to list the number of prayers for sausages that weren't answered.
Why? If sausages can appear once in answer to a prayer, why would it
be absurd for them to appear each time they were prayed for? The
Christian God® gives his explicit promise to give in response to a
believer asking.
Post by Malcolm
Padre
Pio's stigmata are in this class - millions of devout Catholics don't
receive the stigmata, but this is beside the point.
No, it is the point. You are picking out one case out of millions and
claiming that the one unexplained case outweighs all the other
examples of nothing happening even though those people may have been
just as devout as the Padre. If that is not an example of
confirmation bias, I don't know what is.
Post by Malcolm
You have also ignored the fact that there are unexplained events > that are *not Christian in nature. If you were honest and not
committing the observation selection fallacy, then you would
need to admit that if you allow unexplained events that you
consider to have a Christian nature as evidence for your God®,
the unexplained events that were not Christian in nature would
be evidence *against the Christian God®.
I seriously doubt that there are many Christian themed miracles > seen by those who are not Christian, just as I seriously doubt
that there are many Islamic themed miracles that are seen by
those who are not Moslem.
This is a legitimate argument. Just because a Christian-themed miracle
occurs to a Christian isn't proof that Christianity is true. An alternative
is that some form of Hinduism is true, and all religions are aspects of the
multifaceted reality that is the divine.
Or that no religion is true and there is nothing that is divine.
Post by Malcolm
Yes, we were. In fact, I haven't even mentioned proof.
However, and this is important to remember, wild supposition is
not evidence.
Padre Pio was either lying or received the stigmata. That is clearly
evidence.
If he had stigmata, it is evidence that he has wounds from an
unexplained source. Being unexplained, it does not provide evidence
for any source of the stigmata. In the face of your ignorance about
the source, you assume that "goddidit". IOW, you make a wild
supposition -- strangely enough a supposition that just happens to
support your preconceived religious beliefs.
Post by Malcolm
You can't offer unexplained events as an explanation of an
undetected entity and expect to be taken seriously.
If the events are Christian-themed then they are quite powerful evidence for
Christianity being true. However there are other possible theories. Saying
that a totally unexplained event, such as tea flying out of a cup resting on
a table and spilling on the sofa, is evidence for the Christian God is of
course rather silly.
If you accept that Christian-themed unexplained events are evidence
for a Christian God®, but other unexplained events are silly, you are
again using the observation selection bias -- picking out only those
unexplained events which you seem to think support your opinion while
ignoring those unexplained events which are detrimental or neutral to
your position. This stance is completely disingenuous.
Post by Malcolm
I have never made the "Wicca argument" and your continuous
invocation of it in this context is nothing but a red herring used to
divert attention from your inability to provide any actual
evidence that their is evidence for God®.
The "Wicca" argument is a continuous refrain from atheists.
That I have never raised. I have continually stated that Christianity
must be judged on its own merit or failings, but you keep ignoring
such statements and bring up the "Wicca argument" as if I had made it.
You should try to actually address the post to which you are replying
rather than a post that I have never made.
Post by Malcolm
It is connected
to the "no evidence" argument.
But not in any way that you could actually demonstrate.
Post by Malcolm
The thread has been focused on miracles,
which are the most obvious type of evidence,
It is not evidence. You can not use unexplained phenomena as evidence
for the existence of an undetectable entity. That's like saying that
weird noises at night in Iowa are evidence that yeti exist.
Post by Malcolm
but only one of the three
categories
It is the only one of the categories that I have addressed.
Post by Malcolm
I mentioned (!st century history and Christian ethics are the
others). There are literally thousands of miracles, every single one of
which the atheist must hold to be entirely natural if he isn't to seriously
damage his case. So the idea that there is "no evidence" to discuss is
patently false. If you only mean "the evidence doesn't convince atheists"
then that of course is a tautology.
You keep repeating yourself without really addressing the problem with
miracles as evidence. The atheist is fully justified in believing
that miracles have purely natural explanations until a theist can
produce some evidence that any one, just one, miracle can be shown to
have a supernatural origin. Until you can support that contention
with other than your religious opinions, there is absolutely no reason
to accept unexplained events as evidence of anything other than a lack
of knowledge.



Liz #658 BAAWA

"Spiritually alive" apparently means that you are confusing your
internal mental constructs with actually existing things. Hans-Richard Gruemm
Malcolm
2004-06-27 19:32:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Liz
Post by Malcolm
This can't apply to miracles, because they are an exception to the
general law of nature.
This is known as "special pleading", a thing which theists claim a
lot.
You are assuming that miracles can't be tested or confirmed, but you
want to use them as evidence anyway. Evidence just doesn't work that
way.
No-one said that miracles can't be tested or even confirmed. They can't be
reproduced to order. That is because they are special interventions by an
intelligent and omnipotent (or at least exceptionally powerful) being. If
every time you pray for sausages a string of sausages materialises on the
table, that becomes a law of nature. Just as if you pick up a pencil no-one
would regard that as a miracle, but you've just done something that is
inexplicable in terms of current physics, namely made a voluntary action.
[ football example ]
Post by Liz
Post by Malcolm
Non sequitur.
If you read a bit more carefully you'd see that in fact it explains why
miracles can't be routine, or they cease to be miracles.
Post by Liz
Why? If sausages can appear once in answer to a prayer, why would it
be absurd for them to appear each time they were prayed for? The
Christian God® gives his explicit promise to give in response to a
believer asking.
Same question. However you do raise the point that "ask and it shall be
given" is a scripture, however it is patently obvious that all requests are
not met instantly - if I pray "please God materialise some sausages on the
table in the next five minutes" I don't have much realistic hope of that
prayer being answered. This was also obviously the experience of the Early
Church, when the New Testament was written.
[ confirmation bias ]
Post by Liz
Post by Malcolm
Padre Pio's stigmata are in this class - millions of devout Catholics
don't receive the stigmata, but this is beside the point.
No, it is the point. You are picking out one case out of millions and
claiming that the one unexplained case outweighs all the other
examples of nothing happening even though those people may have been
just as devout as the Padre. If that is not an example of
confirmation bias, I don't know what is.
So you don't really understand what confirmation bias is. We know that
inexplicable healings do occasionally occur, and so if millions of people
pray to Mother Theresa for healing, and we pick out the few case that result
in unexplained cures whilst ignoring the cases in which no cure occurs, then
this is confirmation bias. However wounds do not spontaneously occur on
hands and feet at all, except in te context of a claim that these represent
Christ's wounds on the cross. Now the explanation may be fraud, it may be
that Hinduism is the true religion, it may be psychosomatic, but it is not
confirmation bias.
Post by Liz
If you accept that Christian-themed unexplained events are evidence
for a Christian God®, but other unexplained events are silly, you are
again using the observation selection bias -- picking out only those
unexplained events which you seem to think support your opinion while
ignoring those unexplained events which are detrimental or neutral to
your position. This stance is completely disingenuous.
This is where the whole thing breaks down. If we allow "unexplained things
happen on occasion" to cause "confirmation bias", then there can be no
evidence of anything. If I find a fossil dinosaur with a baby in its stomach
this is evidence that we have a viviparous dinosaur. However if you say
"someone once found a cube of metal in a seam of coal, and that's totally
inexplicable, so maybe your dinosaur is just an inexplicable fossil as well"
we get nowhere.
Post by Liz
It is not evidence. You can not use unexplained phenomena as evidence
for the existence of an undetectable entity. That's like saying that
weird noises at night in Iowa are evidence that yeti exist.
Something must have caused the weird noise. If we have other reasons to
attribute them to yetis (such as reports of yetis in the district) then they
are evidence, but pretty weak evidence unless there really is something that
links them, for instance if we are familiar with chimpanzees and gorillas
and can say "that really sounds like a primate". What they are not is
conclusive evidence.
Post by Liz
The atheist is fully justified in believing that miracles have purely
natural
Post by Liz
explanations until a theist can produce some evidence that any one, just
one, miracle can be shown to have a supernatural origin. Until you can
support that contention with other than your religious opinions, there is
absolutely no reason to accept unexplained events as evidence of
anything other than a lack of knowledge.
You are using the word "evidence" when you really mean "proof". Padre Pio's
stigmata are evidence, and they commit the atheist to the position that Pio
was lying but still convincing enough to get himself canonised. I've never
argued that the atheist postion can be definitely disproved, only that it
commits the atheist to assertions which are not psychologically very
convincing, and are made only to exclude a miracle.

Why God doesn't provide overwhelming proof is the "writing on the moon"
argument, which we deal with later.

The list of common arguments against Christianity was cross-posted to
alt.atheism, by the way, as it had to be because atheists are the people
making the arguments. I'm starting a thread on each argument on
alt.religion.christian.roman-catholic only, because some a.a readers
complain about preaching. However atheists are encouraged to participate.
MrD
2004-06-28 14:10:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Liz
It is not evidence. You can not use unexplained phenomena as evidence
for the existence of an undetectable entity. That's like saying that
weird noises at night in Iowa are evidence that yeti exist.
That's an interesting thought. I live in Iowa and one of my son's nicknames
is 'Yeti'.
There are often weird noises at night since I go to bed well before he does.
He's 18 now and 'all grown up' in all ways that don't matter.
If you wonder how he got the nickname Yeti, I'm not sure, but it probably
has to do with his 6'5" stature.
Liz
2004-06-28 18:59:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by MrD
Post by Liz
It is not evidence. You can not use unexplained phenomena as evidence
for the existence of an undetectable entity. That's like saying that
weird noises at night in Iowa are evidence that yeti exist.
That's an interesting thought. I live in Iowa and one of my son's nicknames
is 'Yeti'.
There are often weird noises at night since I go to bed well before he does.
He's 18 now and 'all grown up' in all ways that don't matter.
If you wonder how he got the nickname Yeti, I'm not sure, but it probably
has to do with his 6'5" stature.
Well, there you go. (I'm laughing so hard I can't type. Give me a
few minutes.)

<huge intake of breathe>

Alrighty then. I think I remember those noises from when my own son
was that age. (He's only 6'4".) I have only one question. Is your
son more than averagely hirsute?


Liz #658 BAAWA
MrD
2004-06-28 19:55:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Liz
Post by MrD
Post by Liz
It is not evidence. You can not use unexplained phenomena as evidence
for the existence of an undetectable entity. That's like saying that
weird noises at night in Iowa are evidence that yeti exist.
That's an interesting thought. I live in Iowa and one of my son's nicknames
is 'Yeti'.
There are often weird noises at night since I go to bed well before he does.
He's 18 now and 'all grown up' in all ways that don't matter.
If you wonder how he got the nickname Yeti, I'm not sure, but it probably
has to do with his 6'5" stature.
Well, there you go. (I'm laughing so hard I can't type. Give me a
few minutes.)
<huge intake of breathe>
Alrighty then. I think I remember those noises from when my own son
was that age. (He's only 6'4".) I have only one question. Is your
son more than averagely hirsute?
I wouldn't classify him as overly hirsute. Perhaps it began as a quip about
his size 16 feet. Perhaps it was the smell of the shoes they fit into.
With boys, it's so hard to know.
I'd just ask him, but then I'd get one of those ' ' looks.
Eric Pepke
2004-06-27 03:36:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Liz
[piggybacking]
Yeah, and piggybacking is probably the only way to get a response from Malcolm.

Responding directly to me would require Thought, and Thought is the enemy
of Happiness.
Malcolm
2004-06-27 09:11:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Pepke
Responding directly to me would require Thought, and Thought is the
enemy of Happiness.
I can't reply to absolutely every post, and only a few other theists have
jumped in. Sorry if you feel excluded.
Malcolm
2004-06-27 09:10:11 UTC
Permalink
It's common speech. "No evidence" means "no evidence that pushes me > in
the direction of believing." Only politicians put qualifiers on everything
they say.
The problem is that now it is defined very subjectively. Padre Pio's
stigmata are obviously evidence, but not proof, and as I said if the entire
weight of Christian dogma hung by this then I would simply conclude that Pio
was a very clever liar. When you add St Francis, the atheist is forced to
posit two liars who were clever enough to persuade the church that they were
holy enough to be canonised. Now I would say that this is evidence, and any
sensible atheist must at least entertain the possibility that he is wrong.
However if an atheist says "no, liars, I don't see any other possibility"
then ultimately you can't refute him.
No, that's just you projecting. Atheism isn't a Philosophical Position
(TM) any more than not having a palm tree in your back yard is a
Horticultural Position(TM).
Atheists just don't believe in a god or gods. It's that simple. It really is.
How many times and how simply can it be stated before one of your
neurons fire?
A belief is a philosphical position, as long as the matter is of sufficient
general importance. (A belief that you put the oven on at 10.30 wouldn't be
philosophical, but a belief that the planets rotate in the same direction
because they were formed from a disk of spinning gas is a position in
natural philosophy).
There seems to be a tendency on the atheist ng to ignore the history of
atheism as unimportant, and to confuse a description with a formal
definition. Formally an atheist is indeed anyone with knowledge of a
theistic religion lacking belief in any god or gods. However to say that
this is an atheist, period, and we can't go beyond this is nonsense. Almost
every atheist derives his ideas from the 18th century enlightenment in the
West, for example. (You might turn up the odd Moslem who, disgusted by the
abominations of the Koran, decides independently that there is no God, and
he would also fit the definition of "atheist". However most Islamic secular
movements, like that in Turkey, are consciously trying to to push Muslim
countries in a Western liberal direction, and thus can be regarded as
deriving from the same source as Western atheism).
No, an atheist need merely wait around until something is presented that
is better than hearsay.
You think that the reports of miracles are convincing, or at least compelling.
Well, hooka dooka for you! And thus, you think that there must be
some sort of active denial on the part of atheists.
But that's your bag, not ours.
There are literally thousands of alleged miracles. Most are cures, which
certainly aren't hearsay in that usually it can be established that the
patient did suffer from a disease, no longer suffers from the disease, and
there isn't an obvious medical explanation. However a cure suffers from the
problem that we don't fully understand how the human body heals itself, and
the confirmation bias problem. It is very difficult to apply statistical
methods in any rigorous way.

Padre Pio's stigmata, on the other hand, were definitely real wounds, but it
is difficult to rule out fraud in a mechanical sense. This isn't "hearsay"
in the legal sense of the term (which is, "rumour has it that X did the
murder"), but it is the evidence of one witness. If you believe that many of
the saints are fraudsters and the people who canonise them fools you won't
believe the evidence is very good.

There is evidence. That atheists don't accept the evidence as conclusive is
a tautology. To say that the evidence is totally worthless is I think merely
overstating the case - atheism commits you to some tenable but rather
questionable positions.

But the "writing on the moon" argument deals with the problem of why an
omnipotent God doesn't make a miracle so compelling that no-one could
possibly be a non-Christian.
George Tirebiter
2004-06-27 22:29:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Pepke
It's common speech. "No evidence" means "no evidence that pushes me > in
the direction of believing." Only politicians put qualifiers on everything
they say.
The problem is that now it is defined very subjectively. Padre Pio's
stigmata are obviously evidence, but not proof,
No. They are not evidence. They are *claims* of evidence. That's a big
difference. Evidence means something that can be examined and evaluated.
There are claims that Pio had stigmata. What is the evidence that he did?
Even if he had wounds. what is the evidence that these weren't caused by
ordinary means? You are just repeating hearsay and folktales. Not evidence.
Post by Eric Pepke
and as I said if the entire
weight of Christian dogma hung by this then I would simply conclude that Pio
was a very clever liar.
Certainly the most likely explanation.
Post by Eric Pepke
When you add St Francis, the atheist is forced to
posit two liars who were clever enough to persuade the church
Look, adding two pieces of shit together, just gets you a bigger pile of
shit. There is no evidence for Francis' stigmata. And persuading the church
isn't exactly a high bar. They have a vested interest in using saints and
miracles. Look at the huge volume of fake relics. Enough pieces of the true
cross to build a ship.
Post by Eric Pepke
that they were
holy enough to be canonised. Now I would say that this is evidence,
Then obviously you are remarkably deficient in critical acumen.
Post by Eric Pepke
and any
sensible atheist must at least entertain the possibility that he is wrong.
Well, I would entertain the possibility that something unusual was
happening if there was anything to evaluate. There isn't. All you have is
claims of stigmata and claims that they are supernatural.
Post by Eric Pepke
However if an atheist says "no, liars, I don't see any other possibility"
then ultimately you can't refute him.
Especially when you have nothing whatsoever to support your argument.
Post by Eric Pepke
No, that's just you projecting. Atheism isn't a Philosophical Position
(TM) any more than not having a palm tree in your back yard is a
Horticultural Position(TM).
Atheists just don't believe in a god or gods. It's that simple. It
really is.
How many times and how simply can it be stated before one of your
neurons fire?
A belief is a philosphical position, as long as the matter is of sufficient
general importance. (A belief that you put the oven on at 10.30 wouldn't be
philosophical, but a belief that the planets rotate in the same direction
because they were formed from a disk of spinning gas is a position in
natural philosophy).
That's not a belief.
Post by Eric Pepke
There seems to be a tendency on the atheist ng to ignore the history of
atheism as unimportant, and to confuse a description with a formal
definition. Formally an atheist is indeed anyone with knowledge of a
theistic religion lacking belief in any god or gods. However to say that
this is an atheist, period, and we can't go beyond this is nonsense. Almost
every atheist derives his ideas from the 18th century enlightenment in the
West, for example. (You might turn up the odd Moslem who, disgusted by the
abominations of the Koran, decides independently that there is no God, and
he would also fit the definition of "atheist". However most Islamic secular
movements, like that in Turkey, are consciously trying to to push Muslim
countries in a Western liberal direction, and thus can be regarded as
deriving from the same source as Western atheism).
What a load of crap. There are atheists in all kinds of cultures.
Post by Eric Pepke
No, an atheist need merely wait around until something is presented that
is better than hearsay.
You think that the reports of miracles are convincing, or at least compelling.
Well, hooka dooka for you! And thus, you think that there must be
some sort of active denial on the part of atheists.
But that's your bag, not ours.
There are literally thousands of alleged miracles.
So what? Alleged. There are lots of alleged abduction by UFOs. Lots of
alleged sightings of Elvis.
Post by Eric Pepke
Most are cures, which
certainly aren't hearsay in that usually it can be established that the
patient did suffer from a disease, no longer suffers from the disease, and
there isn't an obvious medical explanation. However a cure suffers from the
problem that we don't fully understand how the human body heals itself, and
the confirmation bias problem. It is very difficult to apply statistical
methods in any rigorous way.
Oh, give me a break. That is just completely ignorant and wrong. That's
what statistics and clinical trials are all about. You can examine the
records and find out just how common recovery from any particular disease
is. What you find is that these really aren't either inexplicable or
miracles. People recover from desperate conditions on a fairly regular
basis. It may not be the most common or expected event. It certainly
doesn't make it a miracle, despite the post hoc connection with some
prayer..
Post by Eric Pepke
Padre Pio's stigmata, on the other hand, were definitely real wounds,
How do you know this? How was this verified?
Post by Eric Pepke
but it
is difficult to rule out fraud in a mechanical sense.
Especially if it never even occurred to anyone to check.
Post by Eric Pepke
This isn't "hearsay"
in the legal sense of the term
It's exactly hearsay. You claim these are real wounds. You didn't see them
That's hearsay.
Post by Eric Pepke
(which is, "rumour has it that X did the
murder"), but it is the evidence of one witness.
What witness?
Post by Eric Pepke
If you believe that many of
the saints are fraudsters and the people who canonise them fools you won't
believe the evidence is very good.
Actually, there is good evidence that the people who canonize them are not
fools, but cynical manipulators.
Post by Eric Pepke
There is evidence.
It is the same quality of evidence as the reports of abductions by UFO's.
Post by Eric Pepke
That atheists don't accept the evidence as conclusive is
a tautology. To say that the evidence is totally worthless is I think merely
overstating the case - atheism commits you to some tenable but rather
questionable positions.
The most questionable position is accepting a supernatural event on the
basis of credulous reports, without even attempting to rule out the most
likely explanations.
Post by Eric Pepke
But the "writing on the moon" argument deals with the problem of why an
omnipotent God doesn't make a miracle so compelling that no-one could
possibly be a non-Christian.
Which, once again, you have failed to answer. Instead you have blathered on
like some medieval peasant about some supposed miracle. In that case,
perhaps you would be interested in some wonderful relics I could sell you.
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