Evidence
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02-06-2012, 06:42 AM
Evidence
Hey, Erbody.

Quote:What we call "science" is only one particular science, a style of filtering experience that has been designed by and for a culture of uniformity and central control. It accepts only experiences that can be translated into numbers, that are available to everyone, and that can be reproduced on command. This is what scientists mean when they demand "proof." But this is only a tiny thread of all possible experiences, most of which are unique, not quantifiable, not reproducible, and not the same for all observers.
-Ran Prieur

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over expecting a different result.

Now I'm a fan of science as much as the next guy. I dig me some empirical evidence and I, more than a lot of people, base what I know off of what has been proven. I do jive with what Prieur is saying and I do feel that there are other ways of experiencing the world. I am a subjectivist after all Cool

We all know that many people look to things other than evidence to form their beliefs. They trust experience, feeling, revelation, the spiritual journey, spiritual awakening, miracles, omens, a whole host of other things including, most notably, faith.

The thing that seems weird to me is that we all know that when it comes to talking to them about those beliefs, we already know that not only do they not have scientific evidence, but that they don't give a rat's ass that they don't have scientific evidence.

I'm having trouble wording this point of mine, so please bear with me.

Why do we tell them things like, "You don't have evidence, don't you see that that invalidates your belief?" Basically, we ourselves put such a high value on evidence and for some reason, expect those that do not place the same value on it to do the same even knowing that they don't. It strikes me that that sort of approach will never yield results. It strikes me as square peg, round hole. To do it over and over again, well, seems insane.

Thoughts?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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02-06-2012, 07:20 AM
RE: Evidence
If someone wants to eat a hot dog from a street vendor on faith, go for it. That decision has ramifications and could be good or bad. If that were all we were talking about with the concept of 'faith' then no discussion would be necessary, but people base their whole lives on a concept because of faith. It dictates what they eat, how they think, what they read, and how they live their entire lives. That is too great a cost for me to accept based on faith, and I would require actual evidence in order to live my life in such a way.

I'm not a big fan of the quote you posted. I fundamentally disagree with his definition of science and evidence. Not all scientific evidence is quantitative, some is qualitative (like describing anatomy, shapes, color, etc).

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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02-06-2012, 09:05 AM
RE: Evidence
I define doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results as stupidity and not insanity. Sorry Einstein.

As for expecting evidence from those who either don't understand what constitutes evidence, or don't value it as highly and instead prefer faith.... Well I think we should expect evidence but not get our hopes up.

We can't demand that people look to the evidence, because we don't have evidence that actually disproves a god. The only thing we can really do is ask that people really think about likely-hood. Having a debate with someone and not debating on common ground is a bit absurd as it won't get you anywhere. But in truth, it's not very likely that when debating theists, they will want to find a common ground for debate either. So it's a wall.

I've pretty well stepped out of the ring so far as religious conversation with theists because I've heard it all before, it's one long resuscitation. We all have. You never get anywhere with the majority of theists, just as they never get anywhere with us. It's futility most of the time.
Frustrating too.

I can usually only have a really deep and meaningful religious discussion with those who are already questioning their faith. Because the cogs are already turning, and the ability to look at things more objectively is growing. The only theist in this community I haven't been annoyed with tremendously while discussing theology, has been KC. Only because he has admitted not knowing for sure. It's refreshing. No matter what he believes.

So in a way you're right, but what's the viable solution?

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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02-06-2012, 11:00 AM
RE: Evidence
(02-06-2012 06:42 AM)Ghost Wrote:  It strikes me that that sort of approach will never yield results. It strikes me as square peg, round hole. To do it over and over again, well, seems insane.
Like many things in life, saying "never" can serve to make one wrong. I spent a life-time refuting and ignoring the claims and the challenges of agnostics and atheists. I heard their evidence and gave my evidence. Over and over again. I could never have been de-converted with one discussion or one line of reasoning. It took a long time to learn that I had blinders on my eyes and even longer to rid myself of the blinders. If not for the persistence of the New Atheism movement, I'd probably still be an unhappy Christian instead of an slightly annoyed atheist. So, we keep trying because results can happen.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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02-06-2012, 12:15 PM
RE: Evidence
Quote: They trust experience, feeling, revelation, the spiritual journey, spiritual awakening, miracles, omens, a whole host of other things including, most notably, faith.



Even atheists take a lot of things on "faith" if that's what you want to call it. Everyone does, or you'd never get anywhere in life.

I take it on faith that I'll wake up tomorrow and that I will want food tomorrow, or I would not bother going to the supermarket. Of course I could die in my sleep, or have the stomach flu and not want to eat. But, I believe I will be eating tomorrow. So off to the market I go.

When I order something online, I take it on faith that I will actually get it, that my identity won't be stolen and that I will be here to enjoy/use it.

And so on and so on.

You take many things on faith every day, do things based on experience, and you trust your "gut feelings" all the time when deciding whether you want to approach a person, agree to meet them, do a business deal with them etc.

It's when you depart from experience and act on ideas and dreams of supernatural stuff etc. that you go astray.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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02-06-2012, 01:25 PM
RE: Evidence
We all value science and evidence, but some of us ignore it when it's inconvenient. Even superstition arrives from the scientific method used with a bad analysis -- if you draw a correlation between a pair of socks that you wear and luck, believing that you own lucky socks is a conclusion from experimentation. But even though all of us naturally experiment and gather data before forming conclusions, not all of us are experts at analyzing that data. Who is more likely to invest the time in understanding the proper way to analyze data -- the person that values science of the person that values faith?

Quote:But this is only a tiny thread of all possible experiences, most of which are unique, not quantifiable, not reproducible, and not the same for all observers.

Not all experiences are scientific or well-reasoned, and these are all fantastic examples that answer "why not". Experience has proven to be an extremely bad source of information because we are naturally horrible at interpretation thanks to the 100+ biases that Michael Shermer lists in "The Believing Brain". Of course we can become better at interpreting our experiences when we understand natural flaws in cognition, but who is more likely to invest the time in learning and understanding human frailty -- the person that values science or the person that values faith?

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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02-06-2012, 03:57 PM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2012 04:01 PM by morondog.)
RE: Evidence
Helps if evidence is a well defined...

I think that religious people just have a totally different way of finding truth.

For example, often miracles are quoted as evidence for God. But there's no logical connection that says "because the known laws of how the universe have been apparently violated therefore an invisible being who created us 6000 years ago is showing his existence". But to a religious person it's very easy to see a pattern of intent behind what to us look like random incidents. So to them "miracles" are clear evidence for God.

Personal evidence too - religion places high value on personal experiences. Whereas we are aware of the human capacity to fool oneself - and therefore, we discount personal experience as next to worthless - possibly showing that something interesting might be going on, but not hard evidence of anything. So a man who sees angels- literal angels - and talks to them, for us, that's personal experience easily explained as a mental health issue and probably not "of God", but for a religious person again, it seems like we are unreasonably finding ways to reject that man's testimony.

Religion has this deeply entrenched mythology that makes us forget how totally unreasonable it is. It's been refined over time so that it's next to impossible, once you've been sucked in, to find the way out again... all of us, in another age, without access to books, education, the internet, would have been deeply religious because although religion is unreasonable, if it's part of the fabric of your society it seems totally legit to you. If you've always been told that the reason the wind blows is because a giant is blowing, then if someone asks why the wind changed direction it's easy to say that a different giant started blowing... an answer not of the mythology would be incomprehensible to you.

Lastly... yeah, our entire worldview is built on a web of assumption, some of which goes unchallenged, even in the scientific world. The difference is, that at least under science it is open to question, if anyone ever thinks to do so.

Apologies if I rambled - some fairly disconnected thoughts in there.
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02-06-2012, 11:29 PM
RE: Evidence
An equation… can be a common ground, in fact I think it can also be a measure in the progress of our being civilized:

Gays = Christians

Regardless of evidence or lack of evidence:

Both believe: it is in their mind, body, soul, conscience: it is their nature.
… maybe even screaming inside: it is in our nature!

Since Christians are already the majority: acceptance of gays will be the measure.

I am pro-gay marriage… and I am a conservative person as well.

I believe that the couple should be FAITH-full to each other in their marriage.

To quote:

“I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.’’
- David Cameron, PM-United Kingdom
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03-06-2012, 08:13 PM
RE: Evidence
Hey, BD.

I'm not so much after what you base your life on, I assumed it went without saying. My question has more to do with speaking to those people who don't believe in the primacy of evidence.

Hey, Lucradis.

I'm curious. Why you feel we should expect evidence (hopes up or otherwise)?

I'm digging something about common ground. Do you feel that you are looking for common ground, or do you feel the conversation is pointless unless they play in your sandbox? It strikes me that this speaks to what I'm trying to get at.

Hey, Erxomai.

Can you speak to what you then considered evidence?

I don't think that I'm talking specifically about attempts to convert. I imagine that demanding they accept science and evidence alone is actually a prerequisite for that. I'm just talking about engaging them.

Hey, Dom.

Word.

(Although I don't know that I totally jive with your final conclusion)

Hey, Morondog.

Now that you've identified all those different ways that Theists view the world, how, if at all, do you engage with that; accepting that you think one way and they think another?

The following is a digression: I like that you recognised that all world views have many unchallenged assumptions. Hegemony naturalises ideology and sutures contradictions. I would argue; however, that religious doctrine does in fact leave room for debate and is not the absolutist inviolable position you make it out to be. It might not have the same mechanisms as science to explore change, but it is not without mechanisms. But as I said, this is a digression from the topic at hand.

Hey, Ahoy.





Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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03-06-2012, 09:18 PM
RE: Evidence
(03-06-2012 08:13 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Erxomai.

Can you speak to what you then considered evidence?

I don't think that I'm talking specifically about attempts to convert. I imagine that demanding they accept science and evidence alone is actually a prerequisite for that. I'm just talking about engaging them.
Ghost, I can't give "evidence" because it doesn't exist, but I used to think it existed. I was indoctrinated from an early age to believe in miracles, meaning if you prayed to get a job before you interview, if you got the job it meant God was answering prayer. Now I know it just means you interviewed well and you had the correct qualifications. If you didn't get the job, it meant God had something better in store for you. The Bible was evidence. How can a book written over thousands of years on 3 different continents by hundreds of authors be human inspired if it has no contradictions and is the "living, breathing Word of God." It still inspires as it's read devotionally today. Look at the intricacies of creation. How could it happen without the God of the Universe. (See the Kalam argument and Intelligent Design for my theological underpinnings.(

The evidence of evolution and cosmology were the biggest chinks in the armor for me, but I didn't accept any of it for many, many years.

I could go on, but it all feels too silly to talk about now.

Looking back at your comments, I don't think I used "evidence" the same way you did. Support for what I believed is what I meant. And most of the support was a tautology. I believe because God told me to believe.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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