Materialist Bias?
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07-01-2014, 12:37 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
On Page 8 (Post #80), Alpha Male wrote: Regarding agendas - you have an agenda. I have an agenda. Most everyone has agendas. Scientists have agendas. As Dawkins said, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

Are you implying Darwin's agenda was to prove Genesis was hokum, that god doesn't exist? Darwin was a devout Christian and struggled endlessly with what he was discovering, arguing with himself over what he would ultimately have to present. He was no atheist with an agenda. Dawkins loves it, but Darwin had extreme internal struggle.

I've read his thread from the beginning, including where Alpha mentioned "author intent" where the fictional stories of FSM and Harry Potter weren't trying to convince the reader their characters were real, but the NT authors were trying to convince the reader Jesus was real. The NT authors weren't trying to prove that, they were trying to convince us that Jesus was the messiah, fulfilling OT prophecies, and that is the agenda of Luke and the census. You said RobbyPants lost the Luke argument, but I read that thread too and I fail to see that. Plus he didn't care about that, he wanted you to expound on materialist bias.

When we mention that there isn't one reference to any such census in any ancient source aside from Luke, you'll claim an argument from silence, but the censuses were recorded, and this one wasn't. But because Luke mentioned it and three of your four gospels didn't, it's that very silence from the other gospels that raises suspicions, since it's so different, and not recorded in history elsewhere.

Why would this fact be excluded from the other gospels? Luke wanted Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, and Matthew did, too, but he certainly didn't get him born there because of a census. Why the conflicting stories? Which one is wrong? If you say you don't know, then we have to go to other evidence to narrow this down.

Gospels say Jesus was born during Herod’s reign, so that means Luke cannot also be right that it happened when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Josephus isn't the only one to point this out. Roman historian Tacitus and several ancient inscriptions report Quirinius didn't become governor until 6 CE, ten years after the death of Herod. It's the contemporary indifferent sources that agree with Josephus that make him more reliable for his mundane facts than Luke, whose story doesn't line up with other biblical sources telling the same story.

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07-01-2014, 04:09 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(06-01-2014 05:27 PM)alpha male Wrote:  Atheists frequently know a priori that the seemingly supernatural is impossible. Like most people, they're skeptical of some things, but don't give the same level of skepticism to things which fit into their worldview.
Personally I am more skeptical of things that have no observed precedence.
e.g. If you tell me that you have drunk a glass of water then I am not so skeptical

Where-as if you tell me that you fly around on a broom stick...

I am also more skeptical of things that come with risk.
e.g. If you tell me that I can safely drink water without going blind I will be no so skeptical and would be happy to drink water
Where-as if you tell me that I can safety drink methylated spirits without going blind...

I am also more skeptical of things that are less transparent.
e.g. if you tell me that my donation money will be put to good use when donated to a charity that declares its income and expenses and is audited by an independant auditing firm.

Where-as if you tell me that a church will put my donation to good use but they don't open their books, don't get audited or taxed...


There are reasons other than confirmation bias towards one's world view that causes a person to be more skeptical.
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07-01-2014, 04:12 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 12:37 AM)WillHopp Wrote:  Gospels say Jesus was born during Herod’s reign, so that means Luke cannot also be right that it happened when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Josephus isn't the only one to point this out. Roman historian Tacitus and several ancient inscriptions report Quirinius didn't become governor until 6 CE, ten years after the death of Herod. It's the contemporary indifferent sources that agree with Josephus that make him more reliable for his mundane facts than Luke, whose story doesn't line up with other biblical sources telling the same story.

I've pointed this out multiple times before to alpha. Dodgy

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07-01-2014, 05:40 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(06-01-2014 05:45 PM)cjlr Wrote:  No, that isn't how it works.

"Healing" involves several well-known natural processes. If an account contradicts literally everything else, the fault is either in the account or in literally everything else. I know which way I'd bet.
Yes, you'd bet along your materialist bias.
Quote:No, that isn't how it works.

A skeptic does not a priori know anything.
OK, you're not a skeptic, as you know that healing involves several well-known natural processes.
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07-01-2014, 05:51 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 12:37 AM)WillHopp Wrote:  On Page 8 (Post #80), Alpha Male wrote: Regarding agendas - you have an agenda. I have an agenda. Most everyone has agendas. Scientists have agendas. As Dawkins said, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

Are you implying Darwin's agenda was to prove Genesis was hokum, that god doesn't exist?
No. I don't know enough about Darwin to suggest that. I also haven't mentioned Darwin at all, so it's odd you would bring him up. Maybe you have an agenda...
Quote:Darwin was a devout Christian and struggled endlessly with what he was discovering, arguing with himself over what he would ultimately have to present. He was no atheist with an agenda. Dawkins loves it, but Darwin had extreme internal struggle.
That's interesting, can you provide some quotes of his on this?
Quote:I've read his thread from the beginning, including where Alpha mentioned "author intent" where the fictional stories of FSM and Harry Potter weren't trying to convince the reader their characters were real, but the NT authors were trying to convince the reader Jesus was real. The NT authors weren't trying to prove that, they were trying to convince us that Jesus was the messiah, fulfilling OT prophecies, and that is the agenda of Luke and the census.
Yes, I don't recall arguing otherwise, and think you're incorrect to say I was arguing that the NT writers were merely trying to convince people that Jesus was "real."
Quote:You said RobbyPants lost the Luke argument, but I read that thread too and I fail to see that. Plus he didn't care about that, he wanted you to expound on materialist bias.
cjlr gave a good example of it above.
Quote:When we mention that there isn't one reference to any such census in any ancient source aside from Luke, you'll claim an argument from silence,
Yes, as that is indeed an argument from silence.
Quote:but the censuses were recorded, and this one wasn't.
It was recorded - by Luke. Here's another example of bias. Since Luke's writings ended up in the NT, you disregard him as a source.
Quote:But because Luke mentioned it and three of your four gospels didn't, it's that very silence from the other gospels that raises suspicions, since it's so different, and not recorded in history elsewhere.
Another argument from silence.
Quote:Why would this fact be excluded from the other gospels? Luke wanted Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, and Matthew did, too, but he certainly didn't get him born there because of a census. Why the conflicting stories? Which one is wrong? If you say you don't know, then we have to go to other evidence to narrow this down.
They're not conflicting, they're complementary. And as pointed out numerous times before, if Luke were going to invent a reason for them to be in Bethlehem, there other options which would have been easier and not falsifiable.
Quote:Gospels say Jesus was born during Herod’s reign, so that means Luke cannot also be right that it happened when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Josephus isn't the only one to point this out. Roman historian Tacitus and several ancient inscriptions report Quirinius didn't become governor until 6 CE, ten years after the death of Herod.
Interesting - let's see the inscriptions and quotes.
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07-01-2014, 07:03 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(06-01-2014 05:27 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(06-01-2014 05:03 PM)cjlr Wrote:  No. Here's the problem with that.

Recognizing something as supernatural is already making a huge and unjustifiable leap. Supernatural does not actually mean anything useful. It means "not amenable to naturalistic investigation or understanding". That is incoherent; anything which happens is observable anything which happens for a reason is explicable.
I agree. I use supernatural because others do, but I don't find it very useful. If Jesus can explain the mechanics of how he healed someone, then it's really natural, but unexplained from our POV.

Perhaps a better term would be preternatural. It sounds like you're asserting that these "supernatural" events have naturalistic explanations that are not yet known. If that is the case, using that term would clear up a lot of the talking past each other.
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07-01-2014, 07:22 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 04:09 AM)Stevil Wrote:  Personally I am more skeptical of things that have no observed precedence.
Me too. I'm skeptical of abiogenesis, for example.
Quote:I am also more skeptical of things that come with risk.
Me too. I don't really care about bigfoot or fairies, as they don't seem to pose any risk if they do exist.
Quote:I am also more skeptical of things that are less transparent.
Me too. Peer reviewed journals usually cost a lot to subscribe to. The science most people read has been scrubbed though intermediaries. As Dogbert said to DIlbert, You don't believe the scientific evidence, you believe what the mass media tells you is the scientific evidence.
Quote:There are reasons other than confirmation bias towards one's world view that causes a person to be more skeptical.
True to an extent, but our bias causes us to apply those reasons differently.
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07-01-2014, 07:27 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 07:03 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Perhaps a better term would be preternatural. It sounds like you're asserting that these "supernatural" events have naturalistic explanations that are not yet known. If that is the case, using that term would clear up a lot of the talking past each other.
Quote:The preternatural or praeternatural is that which appears outside or beside (Latin præter) the natural. In contrast to the supernatural, preternatural phenomena are presumed to have natural explanations that are unknown.[1] It is "suspended between the mundane and the miraculous".[2]
The problem is that there's no way to know if someting is preternatural or supernatural. As your link says, it's a presumption, and that would be affected by our biases.
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07-01-2014, 07:30 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
My bad - I said "I didn't mention Darwin at all" a few posts above, but his name is in the Dawkins quote, so that's incorrect.
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07-01-2014, 07:39 AM
RE: Materialist Bias?
(07-01-2014 07:27 AM)alpha male Wrote:  The problem is that there's no way to know if someting is preternatural or supernatural. As your link says, it's a presumption, and that would be affected by our biases.

I'll reply to you with yourself:

(06-01-2014 05:27 PM)alpha male Wrote:  I agree. I use supernatural because others do, but I don't find it very useful. If Jesus can explain the mechanics of how he healed someone, then it's really natural, but unexplained from our POV.

Can Jesus/God explain it? Presumably, if it can be done in this universe, then it is natural. We just don't know how he did it.
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