ReasonableJeff wrote: Of course I have my own biases, and so do the people to whom you asked your questions. However, their biases were not necessarily the reason they disagreed with you- it could be just because there was no evidence or rational reason to agree with you. You implied that the only reason they didn't see things your way was that they want to "protect their bias at all cost."
That's odd. I thought the tone of your post was snarky .
I don't see a problem with someone, tongue-in-cheek...
giving you the only level of proof for a certain historical event that would be acceptable to them (time machine)- meaning, there is no "evidence" that would convince them. I don't see a problem with that
what evidence for Jesus' resurrection could there be?
Different claims require different levels of proof, depending on the claim.
I think I may have misunderstood what you were trying to get at though- can you explain a little more what average atheists disagree with that they should agree with if they were open-minded and willing to accept evidence?
ReasonableJeff wrote: If the juror had not heard anything about the case, and wasn't able to form an opinion about it previously, yes- I'd say it would be an example of extraordinary closed-mindedness, a complete refusal to consider evidence. But that's not a very good analogy for people who might have good, rational reasons to not believe something. I actually agree with you on the global warming deniers- most of them have been fed false information and may have formed their opinions based on biases against environmentalists. But to just assume that anyone who finds the story of the flood a bit hard to swallow is just turning a blind eye to evidence... is a bit of a stretch. However, there are of course closed minded people all over the place. It's human nature, regardless of belief or unbelief in a deity. Thanks for the comments.
gleaner63 wrote: I agree in general with what you're saying. I didn't mean to imply the only reason people disagreed was because of their biases, but that it was a part of it. As an example, I don't think you'll hear Richard Dawkins admit to a bias; rather he'll cloak it in something like "I'm just followiong the evidence where it leads me"
Quotewhat evidence for Jesus' resurrection could there be? One that historians use all the time: eyewitness testimony. Surely you're not going to throw that away and invoke a time machine are you ?
QuoteDifferent claims require different levels of proof, depending on the claim. Give us an example.
gleaner63 wrote: Reasonable Jeff: Thanks for your last, thoughtful responses, I'll let your statements be the last in our "mini-debate" .Take Care,Gleaner63
gleaner63 wrote: I once talked with an atheist and asked that if Noah's Ark was discovered, would he then become a believer? His response was "no, all you would have discovered was a boat. Period."
Let's look at another widely disputed event from the OT, that of the Exodus. The lack of evidence for this event, especially in the Egyptian records, leads many to say it didn't happen. But even if it could be proven, the "fall back" position for the atheist would be "...so what? Does the migration of hundreds of thousands of slaves require a diety?".
The "unbelief" of the average atheist is not really about evidence at all, it's really about a built in bias, one that they want to protect at all costs. I have had these conversations with atheists all to many times to believe that the verification of the historical events of the OT would make *any* difference at all. If you don't believe me, just go to any atheist blog and pose the question. The Red Sea may have parted, but surely it wasn't GOd that did it. That would be a typical aresponse.
Let me use two modern examples that will help illustrate this. Show a skeptic a flight log by a military pilot that he visually spotted and chased a UFO. The invariable first query will always be "...did they pick the UFO up on radar...?". If you respond no, they will retort, "...see, if it was a solid, mechanical object, they would have picked it up on their radar...". Now, when you point out a similar case, of a pilot who made a vivual ID and painted the target on radar, the response then becomes "...radar is unreliable...". Tell them the UFO was "painted" by *five* seperate radar systems, including gound and air. The response now becomes "...so what...". But do you see what is happening here?
I asked an atheist on another blog what proof he required for the ressurection and he said "...a time machine...". Another said he would "...have to see it with his own eyes...". Another said "...when God comes down from heaven and introduces himself to me then I will believe he exists...".
Alexander wrote: Is he wrong? Let's say that somehow we found the ark without any doubts, what would these actually prove? It would prove that Noah had an ark. It wouldn't prove that God had anything to do with it anymore than it would be saying if we find the bodies at Jonestown would you now be a believer? Atheists don't think that everything in the Bible is a lie, we just don't believe in the supernatural aspects. There very well may have been a man made Noah who built an ark, I really don't know, but I don't see any reason to believe that he built this ark for a global flood (that would seem to defy the laws that were fine-tuned for our universe, mind you) that was done by a super natural being to wipe his creation off the earth.
Alexander wrote: Again, showing that this event actually happened wouldn't actually do much for your case.
Alexander wrote: Most atheists are unaware of the lack of evidence for this event when they "de-convert."
Alexander wrote: For me personally, I just assumed that these were historical events. Whether or not it happened has very little to do with the supernatural aspects of the event. So, the real question is, why do you continue to believe it without any evidence?
Alexander wrote: It has nothing to do with a bias, when I became a "de-convert" I had a bias in favor for Christianity. I didn't want to "give up" eternal life and happiness, but I couldn't honestly believe that Christianity was true anymore.
Alexander wrote: You can't believe something that you don't.
Alexander wrote: The end of your paragraph is a terrible straw man. I have never heard an atheist say, "The Red Sea" may have parted but...and how would you go about proving that such a thing happened? It sounds like you are the one with the bias that is getting in the way of your better judgement.
Alexander wrote: What would the proper response be in such a case? Should we blindly believe him?
Alexander wrote: It is an interesting story that is worthy of investigation, but if all we have is the say so of the pilot then we have nothing. With no additional evidence the only rational position is skepticism.
Alexander wrote: This is a bit disingenuous of you.
Alexander wrote: For me, I would require the same evidence that Jesus thought was warranted to prove he resurrected. What did he do to prove his case? He showed himself to people to show that he had in fact resurrected, and this is always mentioned in Dr. Craig's case for the resurrection. Why is this unreasonable? Jesus thought it was necessary and so do I. Surely you can understand that you can't prove such an extraordinary claim merely by saying that it was written down years after the fact. That is preposterous and not something I can believe.
gleaner63 wrote: In the particular conversation about Noah's Ark that I referenced, it was meant to illustrate the actual intent and motivation of the person asking the question. If the ark isn't there, the answer would be "...see, that proves the Bible is in error, and therefore God doesn't exist...". If the ark was discovered, the response would then be "...so what, that doesn't *prove* the Bible is correct or that God exists...".
Depending on what "case" are referring to, it would certainly help the idea that the OT documents are historically accurate, at least in regard to that particular story. But it would hurt your case.
The educated atheists are very aware of it, as the topic comes up quite often.
What makes you think, based on what I've written here, that I accept it as such? There are numerous positions on this subject, by theists and non theists alike.
I think that EGreg and Reasonable Jeff might not agree that you can operate without a bias. Perhaps you are not aware of them? If you operate without a bias.....that makes you a very unique individual.
I think you misunderstood what I said. I had a bias, but it was a bias for Christianity, not against it, but I simply couldn't believe in it anymore.
Depends on what you are talking about.
I don't believe in God. I can't merely "choose" to believe otherwise. I'm an atheist because it is what I sincerely believe.
I have freely admitted my bias; no problems at all with saying that. I believe it was Isaac Asimov who said the parting of the Red Sea may have been a real event; only it was caused by natrual forces and thus misinterpreted by the Israelites.
One atheist saying it does not make it a common claim among atheists, and you didn't answer my question about how such a thing could be proven? I don't know of anyway to do so so it really is a non-issue to me.
No one should ever "blindly" believe anyone, including you and me.
Which is why I asked the question, what is the proper response in such a case? Since you seem to have a problem with the way skeptics respond. I don't see any other option in such a case.
You have eyewitness testimony, from a highly qualified individual. You can't just simply toss it out because you don't like what he said. *You* weren't there, and he was. That single fact, all by itself, means that the opinion of the pilot would carry a greater weight than yours. Further, I'll assume you aren't an expert in any of the related fields (I'm not either), including radar propagation. I'll also assume you done no independent investigation of this particular case, or that you couldn't be certified in a court of law as an expert witness. And yet, despite all of that, you have a "position" on this matter, and in your mind it's the *only* viable position to hold. That doesn't make you a skeptic; it makes you a heckler. How would you look, under questioning on a witness stand in this instance? No one, in their right mind, would give you any credibility.
It doesn't matter. If there isn't anything that we can observe, test or point lasers at, then there is nothing we can really do other than say "dunno." Maybe it was an alien space craft, but just from his say so there isn't a way to prove that. Incredulity and skepticism, or perhaps "agnosticism," is the only possible position. You are making quite a jump with your "heckler" and "witness stand" points which don't accurately portray my position. I don't have to have any credibility because there is nothing to discredit. There is, at best, one man telling us about something he can't explain. This isn't enough to tell us what happened. Am I wrong? What would your position be in such a case?
Not at all. Those are all positions of known atheists. I believe it was PZ Myers who said that *No evidence* would convince him of God's existence, while Professor Jerry Coyne took him to task took over that remark. Your argument should be with them, not me.
It is disingenuous when taken out of context. I'm not sure what exactly PZ Myers, but I could say something similar. There is no evidence that could convince me in the sense that I have heard every argument for God that I could possibly get my hands on and none of them have been convincing. There would have be something new, and realistically speaking I don't think such evidence is coming. It's hard to show empirical evidence for something that is supposed to exist outside of space and time.
No problem. So what evidence would prove the resurection to you?
The same evidence that Jesus thought was required; him appearing to me or some sort of personal revelation.
Alexander wrote: Again I ask, is that wrong? Do you think finding the ark would prove God exists?
Alexander wrote: I don't think that disproving one story from the Bible proves God doesn't exist.
Alexander wrote: No, it wouldn't. Showing that a flood happened would do very little for anyone.
Alexander wrote: It is perfectly plausible to imagine a normal flood occurring that appeared to the people at the time to be global, which could generate such a story. Showing that a global flood happened, on the other hand, would help your case greatly. But finding an ark (not sure how you could determine that it was actually Noah's) would not prove that a global flood occurred. If someone could prove that a global flood occurred, which could only happen by a miracle, then you would have an interesting point.
Alexander wrote: I'm not sure if you are doing this on purpose, but it seems like you are avoiding what I am actually saying in most of your responses. I said that most are unaware of it when they de-convert, meaning that they aren't aware of this fact until they are already atheists. I am aware of it now, but I wasn't when I initially left Christianity, so it doesn't follow that providing evidence for this event should change my position.
Alexander wrote: It seemed implicit in your words, but if you don't then I apologize for assuming. So, do you accept it as such? Or are you just posturing for no reason?
Alexander wrote: I think you misunderstood what I said. I had a bias, but it was a bias for Christianity, not against it, but I simply couldn't believe in it anymore.
So, now that you have "de-converted", your biases have magically disapeared? Your now just a regular, bias free individual? I'm sorry, I don't believe you.
Alexander wrote: I don't believe in God. I can't merely "choose" to believe otherwise. I'm an atheist because it is what I sincerely believe.
No problem at all with that position.
Alexander wrote: One atheist saying it does not make it a common claim among atheists, and you didn't answer my question about how such a thing could be proven? I don't know of anyway to do so so it really is a non-issue to me.
Okay...but it is an issue to at least a few educated atheists.
Alexander wrote: Which is why I asked the question, what is the proper response in such a case? Since you seem to have a problem with the way skeptics respond. I don't see any other option in such a case.
I have no problem with real skeptics who do their homework, like for example Bart Ehrman, from the University of North Carolina...I don't agree with his conclusions, but I have respect for his scholarship.
Alexander wrote: It doesn't matter.
Yes, it DOES matter. How in the world can you just say evidence, or various types of evidence don't matter? Do you have your own "Rules of Evidence" manual that no one else knows about?
Alexander wrote: If there isn't anything that we can observe...
But UFOs HAVE been observed..in the air, on the ground, in the ocean...on radar.
Alexander wrote: test or point lasers at, then there is nothing we can really do other than say "dunno." Maybe it was an alien space craft, but just from his say so there isn't a way to prove that. Incredulity and skepticism, or perhaps "agnosticism," is the only possible position. You are making quite a jump with your "heckler" and "witness stand" points which don't accurately portray my position. I don't have to have any credibility because there is nothing to discredit. There is, at best, one man telling us about something he can't explain. This isn't enough to tell us what happened. Am I wrong? What would your position be in such a case?
That of an open minded skeptic...in most cases, being neutral, but you make a good point.
Alexander wrote: It is disingenuous when taken out of context. I'm not sure what exactly PZ Myers, but I could say something similar. There is no evidence that could convince me in the sense that I have heard every argument for God that I could possibly get my hands on and none of them have been convincing. There would have be something new, and realistically speaking I don't think such evidence is coming. It's hard to show empirical evidence for something that is supposed to exist outside of space and time.
I don't think I quoted PZ out of context, or professor Coyne's response.
Alexander wrote: The same evidence that Jesus thought was required; him appearing to me or some sort of personal revelation.
gleaner63 wrote: You are right, it wouldn't be wrong, but that isn't the point I was making. The point was the sincerity of the person asking the question, and it's a pretty simple thing to grasp. IF the question of the existence of Noah's Ark could be answered in the affirmative, the Christian would then be forced to prove the Exodus story, and then the Garden of Eden...and finally...and this is the clincher..."...who created God...?" If you don't think there are plenty of atheists who use this sort of tactic, you aren't paying attention.
It would cast considerable doubt on the validity of the Bible.
Showing a universal flood, which seems to be what a literal interpretation of the bible demands could only help the case of the Christian. How could it not?
Even if a global flood happened, even if it could be geologically proven, the only processes that you could study...would be natural forces. It would not convince most skeptics. The narrative would go something like this; "...okay, so there was a once in a billion years global flood. So what? Rain, floods, climate change...ALL of those forces are natural, not supernatural...NO GOD required..".
I have many questions about my faith, as you should about your lack of faith. So you need to answer a similar question; are you just posting on this board for no reason?
The, obvious, problem here is that these objects are unidentified. Having an unidentified object does not show us that aliens are visiting us. Maybe we are being visited by aliens, but there is no way to confirm this based on the current data.
Alexander wrote: These all sound like relevant questions if you want to try and find out what is really true.
Alexander wrote: Sure, but how many Christians today still take every story to be literally true?
Alexander wrote: Yes, but proving that any flood happened, would do nothing. Proving a global flood would in fact be very interesting and at the very least would suggest we don't know as much as we think.
Alexander wrote: If it could be shown that such a flood can not happen naturally, which is the case I'm pretty sure, and it could be shown definitively that such a flood did occur, then the conclusion that something outside of physical laws happened. Now, jumping from this to "Christianity is the one true religion" doesn't necessarily follow. But it would be cause to investigate further or try and find out how such a flood could occur.
Alexander wrote: Are you purposely avoiding my questions and changing the subject?
Alexander wrote: Questions about my "lack of faith" are really just questions about trying to learn more about the world around us. I don't really have doubts at the moment about whether or not I should be a Christian. I post for a reason, yes.
Alexander wrote: If you cannot address what I am actually saying then I'm not going to continue to respond to you
Alexander wrote: You are still avoiding my questions. What is the proper response in the example you provided?
Alexander wrote: Philosophers of Science have rules, and they are rather public. If all you have is the word of one man there just isn't anything you can do. How would you go about confirming that it was an alien spacecraft?
Alexander wrote: The, obvious, problem here is that these objects are unidentified. Having an unidentified object does not show us that aliens are visiting us. Maybe we are being visited by aliens, but there is no way to confirm this based on the current data.
I wasn't aware you had a TOP SECRET or ABOVE TOP SECRET security clearance. You're honestly going to sit here and try to convince me that you are aware of all the data pertaining to UFOs? I mean really ?
Alexander wrote: Open minded skepticism is exactly what I am talking about.
Alexander wrote: Did you mean to respond to this?
Not really, just didn't think we could reach an agreement on this issue.
Alexander wrote: If you agree with so many of these statements why do drag them out for 3 posts as if you don't agree?
I just wrote a post I think outlining my main problem with believing Judaeo - Christian religion. If I ever get past this I can deal more seriously with adopting the presuppositions:
1) The Bible (as canonized by the council of Nicaea) is the self-authenticating, and completely true Word of God
2) Jesus is God's Only Begotten Son, Very God of Very God, sent to earth to fulfill a mission and save all those who believe statement #2 and trust in him (I guess to save them and to guide their subconscious minds as they contemplate the New Testament writings).