freethinker

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Why Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
« on: August 13, 2015, 07:24:59 am »
Dr. Craig made this statement during a Q&A session that's posted on Youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HgRWvqf-wM: "That aphorism, which is beloved in the free-thought community, "extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence" is, in fact, demonstrably false. It is demonstrably false. It fails to understand the factors that play into assessing the probability of an event. If that were true, we could never have adequate evidence for extraordinarily improbable events. For example, a pick in last night's lottery, against which the odds are millions to one. The evidence for the reliability of the evening news would be swamped by the improbability of the event reported, so that we would never be able to believe the report on the evening news that that number was actually picked. So this would lead to skepticism concerning non-supernatural, but highly improbable events."

No. Dr. Craig is the one who is incorrect in his assessment of the probabilities of the event in question, and I can demonstrate this pretty easily using my own, admittedly measly, math skills. His error is simply in assuming that two totally different calculations are actually the same calculation in order for his proposition to be correct, in which he states that extraordinary claims do not require extraordinary evidence, because if they did, then we wouldn't be able to believe it when the news reports the winner of a lottery.

The two different calculations that matter in the assessment of the proposition made by Dr. Craig are as follows: A) the probability that one of the people who drew a lottery ticket will be the winner of that lottery; versus B) the probability that you personally will be the one who wins if you draw a ticket in that lottery. In order for Dr. Craig's above quoted statement to be correct, he has to assume that A and B are always equal.

By assuming, as Dr. Craig does in his hypothetical scenario, that the odds of winning a lottery are "millions to one", as he put it, this assumes that the lottery in question is indeed a legitimate one that not only can be won, but that will in fact be won, guaranteed, as opposed to a scam lottery that cannot possibly be won by anybody, because the organizers of a scam lottery have no intention of actually paying anyone who bought a ticket.

So, in the kind of lottery that Dr. Craig is using as an example, which is a legitimate one, because it assumes that there are odds of winning, even if those odds are very bad, it means that there is a virtually 100% chance that "a person who played the lottery" will actually win it and thus be paid the appropriate sum of prize money as a result, barring some cataclysmic event that would make it impossible for anyone to honor the agreement. Notice that this is a very high probability that "a winner will be paid" as opposed to the very low probability that "you yourself" will be the one who wins, which is a totally different calculation, determined by an entirely different set of criteria than one that would be required to determine the legitimacy of a lottery that is actually being played.

The other probability that Dr. Craig mentioned, the probability of whether or not the nightly news can be trusted, is yet another entirely different calculation that would play into whether or not a news report on the winner of a lottery could be trusted just as well as any other report ever made by the same news people. However, if it's determined that there is a high probability of this particular news channel only reporting the actual winners of legitimate lotteries, then it just adds to the abundant evidence we have that such lotteries that are reported on the nightly news are in fact winnable ones. And if we have abundant evidence to believe that something happens, such as that "someone will win this lottery", that makes the claim that it happened not an extraordinary one by default, it makes it an unextraordinary one. It still does require extraordinary evidence, it's just that the extraordinary evidence has already been provided and is not going away.

Therefore, contrary to Dr. Craig's assertion, it is not an extraordinary claim when it's reported on the nightly news that some person won the lottery, especially when we have lots of precedence to determine it's actually totally normal and expected for lotteries to be won in our society, in which many lotteries are played on a regular basis, and that has heavily enforced laws regulating the organizers of lotteries to ensure their legitimacy. Just because the odds of being the winner of a particular lottery may be pretty abysmal from your own personal perspective, when you are evaluating whether or not it's worth it for you to play, that has no effect whatsoever on the number of times that lotteries in general have actually been won in recorded history, and the number of times that the winners have actually been paid the prize money that was promised to them as a result of winning. And that is the only probability that is being evaluated when a person evaluates the truth of the claim that is reported on the nightly news, by reputable reporters, that some person won last night's lottery, not the odds that each individual player of the lottery had of winning it themselves before the number was drawn.

In addition to his mathematical error, Dr. Craig also makes the mistake of misunderstanding the definition of the term "extraordinary evidence". In his debate with Keith Parsons, which is also available on YouTube, he makes the claim that, "It doesn't take extraordinary evidence to establish that someone is alive," and this is why he says he denies the principal that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence on this occasion.

Here, Dr. Craig misses the point that yes, it does require extraordinary evidence to establish that someone is alive. Every person who is alive today, and who doesn't live completely alone and isolated from all other people in some extremely remote and generally uninhabited location, already has extraordinary evidence for their existence, which can be continuously verified and corroborated by everyone else they come in contact with on a daily basis. Dr. Craig fails to make the connection that extraordinary evidence is not evidence that is hard to come by, it is evidence that is abundant, and therefore easy to come by.

For example, the fact that pancakes exist is not an extraordinary claim, because of the fact that we have extraordinary (or an overwhelming abundance of) evidence for their existence. I can go to the grocery store right now and buy a box of instant pancake mix, which will be scanned by the cashier, who will not let me leave the store with the item in my hands without paying the monetary price for it first. Then, when I get home, I can follow the directions printed on the box by the manufacturer of the product, for which there is likely an address and/or a phone number printed somewhere on the box as well, to produce some pancakes that I can then see, touch, smell, and taste, as well as hear sizzling in the pan while I'm cooking them, so I can use all 5 of my senses to verify their existence for myself. Plus I can have the pancakes peer-reviewed and get third-party verification of them by offering them to other people and observing their reactions as they use their own senses to evaluate the pancakes that I cooked to also provide me with even more evidence to verify that they are real and not just in my imagination. All of this amounts to "extraordinary evidence" for the existence of pancakes, and for that reason that such evidence exists for them, we do not regard pancakes in general as being particularly extraordinary things.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 02:59:16 am by freethinker »

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mdbvp

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Re: Why Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2015, 11:03:29 pm »
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In addition to his mathematical error,

I don't know if I have misunderstood your counter to William Lane Craig's response to the often-used expression that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," nor do I recall seeing the video you referenced, but if I'm not mistaken, William Lane Craig goes into some detail over this in his book 'Reasonable Faith,' and what he is talking about is not his own mathematical calculations.

On page 273 of that book, Craig says:
   There is a slogan beloved in the free thought subculture that "extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence."  What we now see is that this seemingly commonsensical slogan is, in fact, false as usually understood.  In order to establish the occurrence of a highly improbable event, one need not have lots of evidence."

  And he bases that statement on an example of Baye's Theorem on page 271.  I am unable to type out that formula on this forum post, but there is another example on the Reasonable Faith website - http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5781

  In addition, we can bring it down "to where the rubber meets the road," as J. Vernon McGee used to say, by simply asking this:  What is the plainest and simplest evidence you would need to know that I was alive?  All you would need would be to see me up and about walking around.  No extraordinary evidence required.  Even if I had been dead before, one look at me would settle the matter that I was now alive.

  At any rate, W.L. Craig's statement is not based on any mathematical calculations.  Perhaps he can be found in error on some other basis, but it has nothing to do with any probability calculation mistakes he has made because that's not what he's basing his statements on.

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Stephen

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Re: Why Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2015, 11:58:57 am »
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when we have lots of precedence...

But notice you've played right into Craig's hand, because the impetus of his objection is essentially that a rejection of the resurrection claim in this manner does not sufficiently respect the relevant background information that we have. So, Craig would agree with you! The lottery-pick report is not considerably extraordinary given all the relevant factors that play into assessing the probability of an event (as he explicitly says, in fact), like you allude to with several points of reasoning to in effect, raise the probability of a reliable news report, i.e.:  "it's actually totally normal and expected for lotteries to be won in our society, in which many lotteries are played on a regular basis, and that has heavily enforced laws regulating the organizers of lotteries to ensure their legitimacy." And notice you even qualified such background evidence as "normal"- certainly not, by definition, "extraordinary"- in which case you as well have succeeded in showing the trope, demonstrably false, given your scenario did not require any extraordinary evidence by your own admission.

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mdbvp

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Re: Why Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 06:02:05 pm »
freethinker, I don't know if I have misunderstood your counter to William Lane Craig's response to the often-used expression that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," nor do I recall seeing the video you referenced, but if I'm not mistaken, William Lane Craig goes into some detail over this in his book 'Reasonable Faith,' and what he is talking about is not his own mathematical calculations.

On page 273 of that book, Craig says:
   There is a slogan beloved in the free thought subculture that "extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence."  What we now see is that this seemingly commonsensical slogan is, in fact, false as usually understood.  In order to establish the occurrence of a highly improbable event, one need not have lots of evidence."

  And he bases that statement on an example of Baye's Theorem on page 271.  I am unable to type out that formula on this forum post, but there is another example on the Reasonable Faith website - http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5781

  In addition, we can bring it down "to where the rubber meets the road," as J. Vernon McGee used to say, by simply asking this:  What is the plainest and simplest evidence you would need to know that I was alive?  All you would need would be to see me up and about walking around.  No extraordinary evidence required.  Even if I had been dead before, one look at me would settle the matter that I was now alive.

  At any rate, W.L. Craig's statement is not based on any mathematical calculations.  Perhaps he can be found in error on some other basis, but it has nothing to do with any probability calculation mistakes he has made because that's not what he's basing his statements on.

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freethinker

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Re: Why Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 07:45:20 am »
Stephen,

Thanks for the reply. Sorry it has been a while since I bothered to check this post, but I have been very busy. I apologize, but I insist in replying to this anyway. It is the beauty of message boards that make this form of delayed conversation possible, after all.

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But notice you've played right into Craig's hand, because the impetus of his objection is essentially that a rejection of the resurrection claim in this manner does not sufficiently respect the relevant background information that we have.

No, not at all. Because the "relevant background information that we have" on Jesus and his resurrection is insufficient to qualify as extraordinary evidence for such an extraordinary claim. In fact, it doesn't even qualify as historical evidence when you consider the amount of actual historical evidence that is required for any other historical person to be taught about in scholar-approved history textbooks in Christian-approved schools where any extra-biblical history is being taught. Christians irrationally make an exception for Jesus, as well as other key characters from the Bible such as Moses, who has conclusively been disproved to have existed as a real person even by Jewish scholars, because as Christians they have to or else their faith would be compromised. This is a clear-cut case of special pleading which is done for emotionally biased reasons, not for rational ones.

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So, Craig would agree with you!

I very much doubt that, and you don't seem to understand what it is that I'm actually saying. I realize that Craig has and will continue to argue that the historical evidence for Jesus and his resurrection is overwhelming. I've watched many of his debates, and I know that's what he does. And I'm not surprised by that since, first of all, he is a professional Christian apologist, so he has to say that. It's literally his job. That's his bread and butter, whether or not he actually believes himself that the historical evidence for Jesus is all that good, especially when compared to other historical figures. It really doesn't matter, because he's still a Christian, and that means it will always come down to faith in the end no matter what evidence exists for or against whatever it is that he really wants to believe. And I have come to understand that he is a very emotionally biased person, even by his own admission, which he himself indicates very clearly every time he goes through his telling of how exactly he became a Christian, which he seems very happy to do on a regular basis. In fact, that seems to be his favorite part of the whole debate, since it's just one giant appeal to emotions.

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The lottery-pick report is not considerably extraordinary given all the relevant factors that play into assessing the probability of an event (as he explicitly says, in fact), like you allude to with several points of reasoning to in effect, raise the probability of a reliable news report…

Your thinking is entirely backwards, just as I explained in the original post. As I pointed out previously, I will reiterate, it is exactly what can be considered normal, scientifically, like the knowledge that the Earth is a sphere, that actually counts as something for which extraordinary evidence exists to support, not the other way around. Which is why, in this day and age, the claim that the Earth is a sphere is not considered an extraordinary claim anymore. In fact, to continue to claim that the Earth is flat is what is now considered extraordinary, and that is precisely due to the lack of evidence there is to support that claim. Remember that in the past, the belief that the Earth was flat was considered normal, because to the very limited perceptions of the primitive people who lived during that time, it did appear to be that way to them, and when smarter people first started contradicting that notion, they were ostracized for it. Thanks to some very intelligent and brave pioneers in early cosmology, we now recognize that there never was any true evidence that our planet is flat, and that the belief that it is was based entirely on faulty observations and assumptions, because all real evidence that is actually verifiable scientifically shows us that it is indeed a sphere, even if its not an exactly perfect one.

But, I digress. You see, what you have done right here has proven my point that this is a common error in logic that Christians in general tend to make when evaluating the assertion that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to support them, and even well-educated apologists like Dr. Craig are susceptible to the fallacy. Again, here is where you go wrong: you're falsely assuming that "extraordinary evidence" means evidence that is not good, instead of evidence that is very good. It is evidence that is abundant, easily accessible, and even reproducible on a regular basis that counts as extraordinary evidence for the existence or reality of something, as opposed to evidence that is scanty, or practically nonexistent, precisely because, for example, you may only have one obscure and outdated source of information in the form of anonymously written words translated from bits of damaged scrolls that were written in a dead language, compiled by questionable authorities, and re-printed in a very questionably piecemealed together textbook that's notorious for its unreliability among the best of scholars who study it for a living, and have the capacity to be objective about it, describing a one-time event that is vague and even contradictory on the details, and for which no empirical evidence can be found or replicated in the real world to back it up. And I will also say again, that once extraordinary evidence has been produced for a claim, then the claim itself becomes un-extraordinary as a direct result, which you seemed to have missed in my previous post, although I explained it very thoroughly the first time.

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And notice you even qualified such background evidence as "normal"- certainly not, by definition, "extraordinary"- in which case you as well have succeeded in showing the trope, demonstrably false, given your scenario did not require any extraordinary evidence by your own admission.

Wrong. Evidence that is widely accepted, and considered normal to accept, because of it being in large quantity, high quality, easily verifiable by non-scholars, and/or reproducible, such as the evidence that we both know exists to support the claim that "legitimate lotteries are played and genuinely won in modern America, and a few very lucky people actually do get rich as a result of playing them every year", is the only kind of evidence that I would ever consider extraordinary for any claim that is ever made about literally anything. In fact, every claim is extraordinary until extraordinary evidence is produced to support it, and once that has been done, then the claim no longer qualifies as extraordinary. Then it becomes just a normal claim. Like saying you ate pancakes for breakfast, which I gave as an obvious example in the previous post, if you had bothered to read it all. I already know pancakes exists as a common breakfast food because I can make them myself, and I know lots of other people who eat them too, and I can go to Denny's right now and order some if I wanted to have someone else make some for me, and they undoubtedly would be served to me by people who are not me if I asked them to do it. I'm sure you can see how this is not an extraordinary event, but what you don't get is that it is only because extraordinary evidence exists in such a massive quantity, such as that which I just described, to support this knowledge in every normal person's mind who lives in America, as well as for those in many, if not all other developed countries that exist around the world today.

Now, I really don't think it's possible for this, what seems to me to be such a very simple and straight-forward concept, to be explained any more thoroughly than I have just done, now more than once, at least not in the English language. Perhaps it could be simplified to some extent by someone who is better at words than I am, because I admit it's possible that I could be over-explaining it. But I am convinced at this point that if you still fail to grasp this concept by continuing to make the same false assumption, which is the exact polar opposite of what I'm explaining is actually true about extraordinary claims and extraordinary evidence, assuming you actually read everything I have written about it, then you simply do not possess the mental faculties that are required to understand it. I don't mean to be insulting, but the only logical explanation for anyone continuing to make the same mistake I have pointed out repeatedly now is either a genuine cognitive deficiency, or a willful form of ignorance on this fundamentally important subject. And in the latter case, that could easily be attributed to an irrational, emotional bias against having to admit that one's hero, Dr. Craig, was and still is demonstrably incorrect about the extremely important subject of how to properly evaluate evidence, that he has been recorded on video vigorously insisting illogical falsehoods about, and being condescending to others who disagree with him on the subject on top of that, in which case you are free to go on being horribly wrong right along with him if that's what you really want to do.

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freethinker

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Re: Why Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 10:16:32 am »
mdbvp,

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I don't know if I have misunderstood your counter to William Lane Craig's response to the often-used expression that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," nor do I recall seeing the video you referenced, but if I'm not mistaken, William Lane Craig goes into some detail over this in his book 'Reasonable Faith,' and what he is talking about is not his own mathematical calculations.

You are indeed misunderstanding it, and I will be happy to explain again how this is so, if you are interesting in learning. The video I referenced you can watch, because I provided you a link to it in my original post, in the very first sentence of the post. Here is the link again for you, anyway: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HgRWvqf-wM, because I like being helpful, and I even just verified that the video still works. The video title is "Don't Extraordinary Claims Need Extraordinary Evidence?" hosted by "drcraigvideos" on Youtube. I would like for you to watch the video, so you can actually see for yourself what Dr. Craig was recorded saying that I am specifically arguing against right here. The clip I have linked is less than 3 minutes long, and it's just Dr. Craig himself speaking in his own words exactly the thing I am refuting here.

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On page 273 of that book, Craig says: There is a slogan beloved in the free thought subculture that "extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence."

He got it a little bit wrong there. The phrase is extraordinary *claims* require extraordinary evidence, not extraordinary *events*. Although claims about extraordinary events would apply. It's just a semantic nitpick, I admit, but events are things that have really happened, whether or not we have evidence to know they happened, and claims are just words that are said about things that may or may not have happened. I hope you can see the difference there. I think it's important because of the fact that claims can be made about things that have not really happened, and if we know that an event happened, then it's only because we have lots of really good evidence to prove it.

In case it still doesn't make sense, let me try to explain further: An extraordinary event is something that has happened that is unusual, or uncommon, but there may be enough evidence for it to make the claim that it happened an unextraordinary claim. For example, scientists have been making extraordinary discoveries about the universe, which are considered extraordinary because they are unprecedented. Einstein's formulation of the relativity equation is a prime example. But since extraordinary evidence has been discovered to support his theory, in the form of repeatedly testable data that accurate predictions can be made from, it is no longer considered an extraordinary claim for any person to say that E=MC^2, because most physicists agree it is true, and for good reasons, because the math actually works, both logically on paper and empirically in the real world. Plus it has become common knowledge, at least at a basic level, even among non-scientists. It is now considered extraordinary among scientists, and for any people who study it at all, for anyone to make any claims that directly contradict Einstein's relativity, even though the discovery itself was, historically, an extraordinary one at the time it was made. In short, very few people who know anything about physics are going to call you crazy for agreeing that Einstein was right about the relationship between energy and matter. I hope that makes sense.

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In order to establish the occurrence of a highly improbable event, one need not have lots of evidence."

This statement is patently false and absurd, as I have already thoroughly demonstrated. Not to mention, it's actually quite scary to know that a man of his education could believe such a thing, and believe it so strongly. To further demonstrate how wrong this is, all one needs to do is, for example, imagine Dr. Craig in the position of a police detective who chooses to believe that one eye-witness's elaborately detailed claim that a missing person was abducted by aliens is true despite the lack of hard evidence that can be found to support that claim. Note that a single eye-witness's testimony would fully qualify as "not a lot of evidence", in Dr. Craig's own words. But maybe the person who made the claim in this scenario is someone the hypothetical detective really likes and trusts for personal reasons, and the detective doesn't want to believe that person could be so wrong about something so important. Also, it was clear to the detective that the person who told the story really believed that he saw everything he said he saw, and had no logical reason to lie about it. Of course, the person could have been mistaken, but as a result of his subjective bias, Detective Craig would call of the search for the missing person, refusing to look for any more evidence of what really happened, choosing instead to just wait and hope that the aliens will be kind enough to return the abducted person some day.

And as a result of his irrational negligence, the victim may never actually be found, and whoever may be truly responsible for the abduction may never be apprehended, and may therefore remain free to abduct someone else. I for one would certainly be very unhappy to have someone with Dr. Craig's level of logic skills working for the police department, especially if I was the friend or relative of a missing person whose case he had been assigned. Wouldn't you? Please consider the fact, as you just proved yourself by quoting his own words, that he really doesn't believe that strong evidence is needed for him to be convinced of "highly improbable" events. That is just nuts, because that is exactly the same thing as him outright admitting that he is totally and hopelessly gullible, and I have no reason to doubt his own words about that.

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And he bases that statement on an example of Baye's Theorem on page 271.

I have already been given plenty enough reason, via watching videos of Dr. Craig speak at length on the subjects that he is most passionate about, to suspect that his math skills are not anywhere near good enough to correctly evaluate any form of math equations that might be too complex for me to understand myself, even though I fully admit that I am nowhere close to being a math genius. So whatever he might have to say about Baye's Theorem, whatever that is, is not going to be very convincing to me, especially on the subject of a godman dying and being resurrected by supernatural means, which is an inherently contradictory claim that has nothing to do with math, and considering alone what he has to say about simple subjects in simple terms that I can fully understand and totally disagree with him about.

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What is the plainest and simplest evidence you would need to know that I was alive?  All you would need would be to see me up and about walking around.  No extraordinary evidence required.

Wrong. This is getting it backwards, again. Seeing another person up and walking around, especially if you can establish that other people that you can also see, can also see all the other people that you can see, is exactly what extraordinary evidence is. You keep getting it wrong, because you're falsely assuming that evidence that is easily accessible is automatically not extraordinary, when it actually is, when you consider the context in which the word is being used. But maybe I can help. Maybe this is where you're getting confused: the context of the word "extraordinary" when used in the sentence "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is simply used to mean "a large amount of" evidence. That's really all there is to it.

And I'll give you this, maybe the way it's worded is more confusing than it needs to be for people who don't already understand the concept, and maybe it's just worded that way to make it sound more catchy. But I admit that maybe the end result of it causing more confusion than necessary should indicate that the phrase should be worded more plainly in the future to avoid causing that confusion. Because, honestly, I can kind of see now why you're getting it wrong, since the word "extraordinary" kind of has a dual meaning in modern day usage. Note that the word is often used to convey the sheer greatness of something, rather than just the rareness of something, which in the latter case is what the word was originally intended to mean. And that could very well be an error in semantics, for those of us to like to use it in the former context. To be more grammatically correct, I would submit that the phrase should perhaps be re-worded to something more like: "all claims that are ever made about anything always require a great abundance of evidence to initially prove are correct". I hope that makes more sense, although it still contradicts what both of us have quoted Dr. Craig saying.

And obviously, those of us who reject Christianity are at the position where we do not believe that any honestly good or verifiable evidence has ever been provided to substantiate any of the claims made about the figure of Jesus in the bible. And in my case, personally, I am actually at the position where the arguments of Christ mythicists, who suggest it is likely that Jesus was never even a real person at all, make the most logical sense to me of all the arguments I've heard on the subject.

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Even if I had been dead before, one look at me would settle the matter that I was now alive.

This is not true either, since it's a proven fact that people can hallucinate, or simply imagine things, very easily in some cases, especially if they are driven to by high emotions that have gone unchecked by objective rationality, and mass hysteria is also a documented occurrence, which is commonly exacerbated by religious or pseudo-scientific beliefs. For example, there are groups of people who claim to share common experiences involving contact with aliens, and there have been cults that have driven people to do things that the rest of us rightly think are insane. It's also not unheard of for a grieving person to believe that they are sensing or otherwise communicating with the spirit or ghost of a deceased loved one. Notice how people claiming to be physics are able to use this to their advantage on a regular basis to con large quantities of susceptible people all over the world, by making them truly believe that their powers are real, and get them to pay money for their phony services by preying on the emotions of those who have tragically lost loved ones and are traumatized by that loss.

Another good example of how easily people are able to fool themselves is the fact that there are many people who swear that they are really, physically helped, and even cured of serious ailments by taking homeopathic "remedies", even though homeopathy has been thoroughly debunked over and over by the very simplest of scientific tests that anyone in the world can do. So any good feelings that believers in this obvious form of pseudo-science may get after ingesting homeopathic products is in fact purely a placebo effect that is not doing anything in reality to help them with any actual problems they have with their bodies, even though it really feels to them like it is happening. The confirmation bias is a powerful aspect of our imaginations, and it's the reason why we are forced to use double and sometimes even triple-blind studies to get accurate and trustworthy results from medical trials.

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At any rate, W.L. Craig's statement is not based on any mathematical calculations.

I agree. It's also not based on any sound form of logic, either.

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Perhaps he can be found in error on some other basis, but it has nothing to do with any probability calculation mistakes he has made because that's not what he's basing his statements on.

I wonder what you think he is basing his statements on, then. Could it simply be faith? I think so. And I define faith as an irrational conviction based on emotion in the absence of objectively verifiable evidence, and which often persists in contradiction to such evidence that exists against the claim. And it disturbs me when people want to talk about faith like it's something they deserve to be praised for, when essentially it's just another word for gullibility, in my view.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 10:37:14 am by freethinker »