Extraordinary Evidence?
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03-04-2016, 03:30 PM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
To put it more succinctly, the "evidence" believers have been handing over for thousands of years is extraordinarily lame.
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03-04-2016, 03:43 PM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 02:47 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(03-04-2016 01:51 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  I saw a video on Youtube by the friendly atheist Hemant Mehta of a list of things atheists need to stop saying and I honestly felt most of the list was fine but he said that we need to stop saying "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." He said it's not right because what we require is any evidence, it can even be small and only prove one thing like prayer works but that would at least open the door but I disagree with this.

I think what he's trying to say is that using the phrase "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." dilutes and diminishes the more potent "Claims require evidence."

I think this is a great way of clarifying what he meant. I do respect Hemant and enjoy his videos and writings even if I don't always agree with him but I just find that when I press a theist for evidence or ask them simply why they choose to believe the proof they offer is always watered down science confused by confirmation bias or a personal emotional appeal like "I feel God in my heart, you would too if you just seek him." I think if atheists could focus on pushing the theist to offer something more substantial and truly exceptional maybe we can get somewhere but if all you ask for is any evidence what you will get is usually very unsatisfying.

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03-04-2016, 03:54 PM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2016 04:07 PM by Stevil.)
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 01:51 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  he said that we need to stop saying "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." He said it's not right because what we require is any evidence, it can even be small and only prove one thing like prayer works but that would at least open the door
If a magician pulls a rabbit out of a previously "empty" hat are we to consider the evidence (empty hat, wave of wand, rabbit out of hat) to be evidence of magical conjuring, or are we to consider that we may have been deceived and that there is an otherwise more mundane but non obvious explanation for what we have observed?

Are we then to get some information from the Magician and devise our own set of tests, so that we can rule out mundane explanations?
For example, if it was the wand and magician that was magical rather than the hat, could we swap out the hat for a transparent bowl?
Could we provide the magician with five identical looking wands, only one of them being his magical one, and get him to do the magic conjuring. See if the magic event only occurs when he uses his real wand. Of course he won't know which is the real wand and which is the fake.

The magical event above is extraordinary, we do need to investigate it further and rule out other possibilities.

However in the case that a person tells us they have a set of keys in their pocket, they reach their hand into their pocket and pull the keys out. Do we need to set up various experiments to indeed accept that this person had a set of keys in their pocket, or do we simply accept that this was probably the case. That the evidence for this mundane event is enough?
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03-04-2016, 05:13 PM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 01:51 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  I saw a video on Youtube by the friendly atheist Hemant Mehta of a list of things atheists need to stop saying and I honestly felt most of the list was fine but he said that we need to stop saying "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." He said it's not right because what we require is any evidence, it can even be small and only prove one thing like prayer works but that would at least open the door but I disagree with this. All I get from Christians are small little stories and scientific claims that are not good enough to meet the burden of proof. I feel their claim is pretty extraordinary and it's not like I'm asking for whether nor not a God exists, I'm asking for proof their God exists, it would take more than one tiny bit of proof to convince me or even get me started down that road.

I'm not even sure what kind of evidence would be required to make me believe but it would have to be something life altering since it would require me to re-evaluate everything I have come to know about the nature of reality and my knowledge of science, morality and logic. It would also have to be something indisputable and independently verifiable.

So my question for you all is what kind of evidence would be good enough for you? Should we stop asking for extraordinary proof?

If you want to see the video here is the link, it's number 2 on the list: 9 Things Atheists Should Stop Saying

Any evidence at all would help get one moving their way, but the mostly think that looking at a toy or a watch and knowing it couldn't make itself without any intermediate steps proves that God made the universe in 7 24 hour segments.
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03-04-2016, 06:26 PM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 01:51 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  I saw a video on Youtube by the friendly atheist Hemant Mehta of a list of things atheists need to stop saying and I honestly felt most of the list was fine but he said that we need to stop saying "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." He said it's not right because what we require is any evidence, it can even be small and only prove one thing like prayer works but that would at least open the door but I disagree with this. All I get from Christians are small little stories and scientific claims that are not good enough to meet the burden of proof. I feel their claim is pretty extraordinary and it's not like I'm asking for whether nor not a God exists, I'm asking for proof their God exists, it would take more than one tiny bit of proof to convince me or even get me started down that road.

I'm not even sure what kind of evidence would be required to make me believe but it would have to be something life altering since it would require me to re-evaluate everything I have come to know about the nature of reality and my knowledge of science, morality and logic. It would also have to be something indisputable and independently verifiable.

So my question for you all is what kind of evidence would be good enough for you? Should we stop asking for extraordinary proof?

If you want to see the video here is the link, it's number 2 on the list: 9 Things Atheists Should Stop Saying

Actually all I would need would be a valid and sound argument.

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03-04-2016, 10:29 PM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 03:25 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  
(03-04-2016 03:21 PM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  Any evidence of a god would automatically be extraordinary, since there's never been any at all. Prayer actually working would go a long way to convincing me.

Idk. Prayer working could simply mean that you happened to speak the right words, during the prayer, needed to invoke some magical response, free from any God's intervention! Tongue Like in D&D, spells don't need no deities! Voodoo, dude! Confused

Well, either way I'd be highly impressed! Thumbsup
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03-04-2016, 10:54 PM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 03:25 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  Idk. Prayer working could simply mean that you happened to speak the right words, during the prayer, needed to invoke some magical response, free from any God's intervention! Tongue Like in D&D, spells don't need no deities! Voodoo, dude! Confused

Actually...

Divine spells do require deities. Clerics to particular deities, when they cast their spells, are in effect channeling the energy of their deity. Same applies to any being channeling such energies, they have to be channeled from a particular source.

On the other hand, Arcane spells aren't directly channeling a deity. However in many settings, such as the popular Forgotten Realms setting, arcane magic is purview of a single deity of magic. Thus the existence and operation of such magic is dependent upon the existence of the deity, and as often as not, the existence and the power of such a deity is determined by their followers and their level of devotion (such as prayer). Thus when something catastrophic happens to the god of magic, like death, all of magic (and just as often, the fundamental fabric of a magic-infused reality) tends goes to hell at the same time.


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03-04-2016, 10:58 PM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 01:51 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  I saw a video on Youtube by the friendly atheist Hemant Mehta of a list of things atheists need to stop saying and I honestly felt most of the list was fine but he said that we need to stop saying "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." He said it's not right because what we require is any evidence, it can even be small and only prove one thing like prayer works but that would at least open the door but I disagree with this. All I get from Christians are small little stories and scientific claims that are not good enough to meet the burden of proof. I feel their claim is pretty extraordinary and it's not like I'm asking for whether nor not a God exists, I'm asking for proof their God exists, it would take more than one tiny bit of proof to convince me or even get me started down that road.

I'm not even sure what kind of evidence would be required to make me believe but it would have to be something life altering since it would require me to re-evaluate everything I have come to know about the nature of reality and my knowledge of science, morality and logic. It would also have to be something indisputable and independently verifiable.

So my question for you all is what kind of evidence would be good enough for you? Should we stop asking for extraordinary proof?

If you want to see the video here is the link, it's number 2 on the list: 9 Things Atheists Should Stop Saying

It would depend on the exact nature of the claim.

Let's start with the notion that there's an omnipotent, omniscient, personal entity.

First of all, I'd need to see ANY evidence that this entity existed at ALL. Most likely this would take the form of someone pointing at some entity somehow (directly or indirectly). From there, if convincing (at least moderately weighted towards the uniquely indicative) evidence was present for the being's existence, we could move on to...

... try to establish a rough intuitive sense of whether there was any intelligent mind there at all, perhaps through a means akin to a Turing Test. This would require some means of communication or at least observation, which would consist of its own type of evidence.

Try to measure power levels by what it is capable of. Again, this would require some means of observing its capabilities. Though omnipotence could not truly be established (there'd always be SOMETHING that we hadn't checked yet), we could with enough observation of a truly powerful being get up to "so close to omnipotent that it doesn't make a difference".

The same, for omniscience.

But the point is that the type of evidence required would depend on the type of claim being made. Evidence for omniscience, for example, would greatly differ from evidence for omnibenevolence.
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05-04-2016, 09:31 AM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 01:51 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  I saw a video on Youtube by the friendly atheist Hemant Mehta of a list of things atheists need to stop saying and I honestly felt most of the list was fine but he said that we need to stop saying "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." He said it's not right because what we require is any evidence, it can even be small and only prove one thing like prayer works but that would at least open the door but I disagree with this. All I get from Christians are small little stories and scientific claims that are not good enough to meet the burden of proof. I feel their claim is pretty extraordinary and it's not like I'm asking for whether nor not a God exists, I'm asking for proof their God exists, it would take more than one tiny bit of proof to convince me or even get me started down that road.

I'm not even sure what kind of evidence would be required to make me believe but it would have to be something life altering since it would require me to re-evaluate everything I have come to know about the nature of reality and my knowledge of science, morality and logic. It would also have to be something indisputable and independently verifiable.

So my question for you all is what kind of evidence would be good enough for you? Should we stop asking for extraordinary proof?

If you want to see the video here is the link, it's number 2 on the list: 9 Things Atheists Should Stop Saying

It would take extraordinary evidence to convince me. I can't be convinced by something that can be explained by coincidence. Nor can I be convinced by something that I know our current level of technology can recreate. Right now, as far as I know it is not possible to stop time. If the creator exists and can literally do anything, how about freezing time for everyone but me and then have a discussion. If it is all powerful, then it can do it. For proof that it actually occurred, let me go around the room or town pantsing or tying the shoelaces together of whomever I choose. While I could not be 100% sure that it happened, stories of people all of a sudden having their shoelaces tied together or all of a sudden their pants were around their ankles would go quite far in proving the case for god.
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06-04-2016, 06:41 AM
RE: Extraordinary Evidence?
(03-04-2016 01:51 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  So my question for you all is what kind of evidence would be good enough for you? Should we stop asking for extraordinary proof?

Part of this whole issue is the corner that Christianity has painted itself in. Now, it's understandable; it was pretty vital for the religion to survive. Any religion that can be categorically, observably proven wrong is going to die out. It needs to become nonfalsifiable.

For example: take the notion of reward and punishment. The Old Testament promises literal life and death based on obedience. God was supposed to be a very active participant in judging people during their lives on earth. Everyone who dies goes to Sheol, regardless of if they were good or bad. Of course, this type of thing didn't really happen in the really real world. Wicked people would often prosper while the righteous suffered. Enter Jesus and his claims of deferring judgment until after death. This keeps everything nonfalsifiable. They retcon the OT to say that "life" and "death" meant spiritual life or death to try and harmonize everything. Modern Jews tend to read those old (obviously false) claims as allegorical, to remove any obvious contradiction.

So, we take something that is nonfalsifiable by design, and then note that everything in the Bible up until the Gospels takes place on an area of the globe the size of a dime. Sure, word starts to spread in the Epistles, but the actual magical events that supposedly happened all happened in a small area. From a skeptical point of view, it really looks like Hebrew mythology. It's really no different than Norse, Egyptian, or Greek mythology; they're all wild stories from a relatively small group of people that happen in nearby areas. We never have claims of Jesus visiting Madagascar to spread the good news. Hell, the one claim we do have of Jesus visiting North America is viewed to be utter bullshit by over 99% of Christians.

If we had very similar scriptures written across the globe by many different cultures who all saw the same god, I might be compelled to think there could be some truth behind this, but we don't. We have what looks to be Hebrew mythology in every reasonable way. In addition to trying to prove that a god exists, they have a very big uphill battle proving that this one specific god is the one that exists, and that all of those other ones that just appeared to other small cultures are fake. It's specifically designed to ward off questions and scrutiny, which has the side effect of making it next to impossible to prove right. Good luck.
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