Mental Gymnastics
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01-07-2011, 02:59 PM
 
Mental Gymnastics
I'm sure many people are used to hearing bogus arguments for various theistic claims, but I've encountered what seems to be a more unique approach. Instead of using these arguments as arguments, they are classified as "evidence". This lets the theist ignore the fact that you can take arguments x, y, and z and replace every reference to God, Jesus, the Bible, etc. with Bigfoot, Santa, FSM, etc.

Instead, they will respond that yes it is also evidence for Santa Claus, but we have other evidence against Santa or he lacks these other arguments that I've re-classified as "evidence." Then, the idea is that because this evidence combined exceeds the arbitrary amount that the theist will declare makes God the most logical explanation, theism is a reasonable position to hold.

I find this very difficult to respond to, mainly because it's already so absurd that there isn't much I can add to explain how it isn't logical. Is there any way to explain the flaws in this? A theist who wishes to take this approach fails to understand that they're simply setting an arbitrary standard for how much evidence is needed to believe in a supernatural event, and they will readily classify every little thing that pops into their head as evidence. Because everything is so arbitrary the person will constantly move goal posts without even realizing it. How can I get this across to someone? How can this be explained so that even an ignorant, closed-minded Christian will be forced to abandon the approach? It's an incredibly huge obstacle for any sort of intelligent discussion and very infuriating.
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01-07-2011, 03:29 PM
RE: Mental Gymnastics
You just can't explain things to them. Their minds are closed. Just hope that their kids don't go to some church school. One day their kids may well see the "dark". Science in school is our best ally.

Darwin has a way of avenging himself! Big Grin

Oxymoron: "Religious teaching"
"Simple common sense goes out the window when religion comes in through the door." Me (Blasphemy Fan )
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01-07-2011, 03:32 PM
RE: Mental Gymnastics
In my experience, switching God to Santa gets a laugh and a theist claiming that you believe in santa (something similar to Ben Stein in Expelled claiming Richard Dawkins believes in ID).

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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01-07-2011, 04:40 PM
 
RE: Mental Gymnastics
(01-07-2011 03:29 PM)blasphemy fan Wrote:  You just can't explain things to them. Their minds are closed.

Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of. But I don't give up easily, and my optimistic disposition tells me that there has to be a way to get thru a theist's head if you take the time to explain everything in simple, unambiguous terms. The challenge is to find or invent terms that are simple and unambiguous enough to do the job Tongue
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