That's Not Evidence
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13-08-2015, 09:35 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 09:15 PM)Free Wrote:  
(13-08-2015 08:45 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  Still no answer?

I mean no offence, but you will find it difficult to entice people here to speak to you. From what I can gather, many atheist posters here believe you are "too far gone" to have a meaningful and intelligent discussion with.

You are on an atheist forum. You will have a virtually 0% chance of convincing anyone here that your religious beliefs have any validity.

No one here is interested.
That doesn't explain why no one answered my question yet repeatedly responds.
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13-08-2015, 09:40 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 09:35 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  
(13-08-2015 09:15 PM)Free Wrote:  I mean no offence, but you will find it difficult to entice people here to speak to you. From what I can gather, many atheist posters here believe you are "too far gone" to have a meaningful and intelligent discussion with.

You are on an atheist forum. You will have a virtually 0% chance of convincing anyone here that your religious beliefs have any validity.

No one here is interested.
That doesn't explain why no one answered my question yet repeatedly responds.

It does explain why no one else is speaking to you.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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13-08-2015, 09:41 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 09:35 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  That doesn't explain why no one answered my question yet repeatedly responds.
What question do you want an answer for?
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13-08-2015, 09:59 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 08:44 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  
(13-08-2015 07:48 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Was that a deliberate equivocation?

Dodgy
No it wasn't. I am not hiding or lying or manipulating anything. That was a question. Thanks.

So it was accidental.

Please be more careful in future.

Thanks.

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13-08-2015, 11:02 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 05:30 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Something that is always lost, is that acceptance of something being true, or accurate, by any individual person involves a great deal of subjectivity. And even more so when it comes to the question of God, which is often weighted by one's own negative or even positive experience among the religious, etc... Questions of truth, particularally ones that can have serious implications on one's life, can not be processed objectively, and to ignore our own subjective weights and imagine the they don't exist, is to deceive ourselves.

The Atheist, Thomas Nagel, acknowledged his own bias, his "divine authority" problem: "“I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. "

I am certainly aware of the role of subjectivity. I feel that Atheists need to be fully aware of their biases and the many human tendencies to judge without objective merit. My argument is that Subjectivity and bias are not effective and reliable tools for determining objective truth, but rather stand as obstacles and often emotional cesspits, preventing clear rational thinking.

Although it is not emotionally easy, I take pride in the constant self reminder that it doesn't matter one bit how I feel about the evidence. It only matters what is true. If Theism was true, and I knew it, it wouldn't matter to me if I don't like the situation, it would still be true.

It might be one form of self deception to completely ignore the subjective influences, but I think it a far worse self deception to pretend it has any legitimate bearing beyond our petty human emotions.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-08-2015, 11:21 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 06:18 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Just because you desire to ignore your feeling doesn't mean you actually can. In fact you're more inclined to imagine you've ignored your feeling, than actually ignoring your feeling. You're more inclined to rationalize your feeling into your assumptions, rather than being able to set them aside.

A man who claims to have ignored his feelings, is more likely to be lying to himself than telling the truth. Anyone who despises religion, who sees it as something to scorn and mock, and thinks that he can set these feelings aside when trying to evaluate religious beliefs, is lying to himself.

That is absolutely not true. On a personal level I know for certain because I spent a great deal, if not a majority, of my time as a Mormon deeply unhappy, full of doubts, and generally hating the god concept I worshiped. At that time I set aside the vortex of negative emotions I felt because I thought I had evidence that it was all true, despite how miserable it made me. I would have continued in this way, indefinitely, had circumstance not brought me to arguments and information that appealed to me through intellectual objectivity.

It is certainly true that I have experienced significant cognitive and emotional relief. However, the suggestion that I am motivated by those side effects, rather than knowledge is just not taking into account how beliefs effect people directly. Who could really relax in disbelief, understanding the consequences if it were true, while privately knowing the facts don't back them up? Who can live like that?

Are you sure you are not simply speaking for yourself? I have met so many believers who are openly admitting of how their emotional journey through life suggests transcendent meaning to them.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-08-2015, 11:27 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 06:28 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  2 is covered by 3.

You might want to combine this into one but provide more explanation.

Legitimate evidence must be compatible with the scientific method in that it must not contain unfalsifiable claims, must be theoretically reproducible and use terms that are strictly defined.

I say theoretically reproducible because we can observe a comet crashing into Jupiter say and that provides valid scientific evidence but we can't reproduce that at will. But there are other things that we can do, we can wait for another comet to crash into Jupiter or demonstrate the existence of comets that have orbits and which crash into things. It may not be practical but in theory we could.

I also specify definitions because woo-ists rely on their definitions remaining woolly. For example when asking if you believe in God they never actually specify what their God could be. They are basically asking "Do you believe in X even though I refuse to tell you what X is?".

They never specify what a soul could be for example. They rely on implicit understanding. This allows them to put forward 'evidence' of out of body experiences for example but if they defined a soul as being consciousness that can exist without a functioning brain then it would be easy to demonstrate that this cannot happen. This comes back to being falsifiable.

Excellent points all. Now that I think about, I see what you mean. I suppose I was trying to also cover any properly falsifiable claim, which has already been well debunked by scientific theory. They could be combined, but only if it is assumed that after determining falsifiability, the claim should then be compared to modern scientific models. Especially because so many anti-science believers love to give terrible reasons for ignoring science, like accusing it of being a faith based religion.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-08-2015, 11:36 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 08:28 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I don't think this is really possible. While we call thoughts thoughts, and feelings feeling, they're all just chemical reactions. What provokes those reactions are a multitude of factors, some that we may be aware of, and others that we're not. A claim that a man has reached a point close to neutral, or even neutral, is likely false.

What composes a belief that there is no evidence of God? What causes those series of chemical reactions leading to this belief? Do factors like poor experiences in one's religious upbringing play a role? Does an attraction to certain roles models play a role? Does a divine authority problems play a role?

If you claim that it's a belief that arises from a near neutral state, I would find that quite doubtful.

Honestly, what really bothers me intellectually about this line of argument you are pursuing, is that it is entirely conjecture. You have no means of determining what factors are involved, or more to the point, what unknown factors of bias influence the way in which you analyze factors.

Even now, following in step with your thoughts on this, I could turn it around on you and claim that you are only making this argument in this way because you have suppressed subconscious emotions that render an acceptance of Atheism impossible for you emotionally. I could start listing possible subjective, illegitimate, reasons that could influence/cause your lack of neutrality.

If I didn't care about being fair, or finding the truth. I could use this line of thinking to make you look incredibly biased. You would have absolutely no rational defense, because my allegations are manufactured, and call into question the very same motivations and processes by which you would defend yourself.

This is simply not a fair way to judge people's motivations.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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13-08-2015, 11:41 PM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2015 11:59 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: That's Not Evidence
.... you know, I think we'd be more justified in our scorn of popsthebuilder if we had actually produced an answer at some point. At the very least, we might educate someone else. Sometimes I think we pile on too much and educate too little.

Falsifiability -- the ability to falsify a claim -- means that we have some mechanism that could demonstrate the claim is false IF IT IS FALSE. Some examples:

"Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light." Method of falsification: Get something up past light speed. If this happens, then the claim is shown to be false.

"Ignoring air resistance and buoyancy, objects near the surface of the Earth accelerate downwards at a rate of approximately 9.8 meters per second squared." Method of falsification: Create a vacuum chamber near the surface of the Earth, drop something in it, chart its fall (a long-exposure camera and a rapid strobe light is great for this) and see if it's acceleration is greatly off from 9.8 meters per second per second. If this happens, the claim is shown to be false.

"The position of the stars and planets at the moment of a person's birth can predict their fortunes and personalities." Method of Falsification: Do side-by-side comparisons of people born at almost the same moment, and therefore under the same stars and alignment of the planets. Do their personalities and fortunes differ significantly? If so, the claim is false.

"Homeopathic medicine has positive medical benefits beyond the placebo effect." Method of Falsification: Eliminate the placebo effect through standard methods (sugar pills, double blind studies, etc), and then do a side-by-side comparison between patients receiving homeopathic care and patients receiving no medicine at all. Do the homeopathy recipients fare statistically better? If not, the claim is falsified. (The math is a bit more complicated, but this is the idea.)

Falsifiability is a good thing, because it helps us catch ourselves if we subscribe to a belief that isn't true. Believing in something that isn't falsifiable is very dangerous, because there's almost no way out except the all-too-rare realization of "hey, wait a minute, this could be false and I'd have no way of knowing!" This is why science REQUIRES every hypothesis it considers to be falsifiable, and then extensively attempts to falsify it in every manner possible. Only things that have gone through this proving ground, repeatedly, emerged intact at the other end, and can be subjected to it again, earn science's stamp of (provisional) approval. Things which we have no mechanism for falsifying are things which could be false without us ever knowing it. Science will never consider them proven (even to the provisional extent that it considers even the most-established theories proven) because there are no proving grounds to send them through. Unfalsifiable claims are ranked below false claims -- they're "not even wrong".

Some examples of unfalsifiable statements:

"Homosexuality is immoral." How can we test this? What would be detectible, measurable, or observable if it were true that would be otherwise if it were false?

"Anyone who claimed to believe, and then ceased to believe, never truly believed at all." How, other than being in the category of someone who ceased to believe, do we tell who truly believes and who doesn't? If we can't tell the difference, then there's no way to test this.

"Anyone who prays for healing with true faith will receive it. Anyone who doesn't receive it is not strong enough of faith." How can this be falsified? Anyone who doesn't get healed, the claimant can just say they weren't strong enough of faith. If this is false, what event or occurrence, or lack-of-occurrence, would demonstrate it to be false?

"The universe was created last Thursday, with all our memories, all our records, and all the physical evidence of a fake history in place." Again, if this is false, how can it be shown to be false?
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13-08-2015, 11:41 PM
RE: That's Not Evidence
(13-08-2015 08:28 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  This statement implies that some data or facts, were synthesized using logic into something that is going to be used as evidence. I would argue that the data or facts are raw evidence and that these also need be qualified. If you are using logic using something to build an argument, that something is raw evidence. How do you define what is acceptable raw evidence?

That is an excellent question. I suppose putting it the way I did really isn't the most accurate description of what I mean.

I suppose raw facts simply have to be verifiable as facts in the first place. As long as both sides can refer to something as true, by means of verification, that is a raw fact that is acceptable to use in argument.

If the raw evidence is data, it should also be verifiable, especially scientifically. A peer reviewed paper for example is excellent raw data evidence.

Where Theists get in to trouble a lot, and also Atheists at times, is when they cite raw evidence that is not legitimate. It can be shown to have been debunked, discredited, or otherwise objectively not valid. It is also not acceptable raw evidence if it boils down to their subjective experiences and emotions.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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