Thursday, June 30, 2011

The OTF, and ECREE

 The OTF is couched in terms of avoiding DOUBLE standards. It seems pretty clear to me that you can avoid double standards and be a Christian. Christianity has, at least as I evaluate the evidence, some evidential advantages over other revelation claims. So the complaint has to be that a person is using the wrong standard, but that's what's at issue. 

Extraordinariness is not strictly quantifiable, and has to be assessed from within some existing belief system. If someone thinks that natural theology is reasonably successful, and that we have
reason to believe in God, then we have to ask if it is possible that God has spoken. Or is he just mutely watching? If it seems likely that God has spoken, we have to find the best candidate as to where and how he might have spoken. 

It's a cumulative case on both sides. I am skeptical of the existence of "default positions," however. Whatever position you start from, there is an initial "double standard" of sorts, in that you can't reasonably expect someone to put what they don't believe on an epistemic par with what they do believe. You can do that as a thought experiment, (If I came in believing X, what would I believe about it now), but it cannot be normative unless you have good evidence that your current beliefs were arrived at in a completely non-truth-tracking way. Just seeing the weakness of how we reason isn't enough to reach that radical a conclusion. To put what we don't believe on an epistemic par with what we do, it has to be shown that our thinking processes that led us to believe what we do are completely non-truth-tracking. 

No, I would not put levitation and bike-riding in the same category evidentially, since I have different priors for each. However belief in both has to follow some general rule. 

I see prior as starting points in thinking, which have to be worked from, not justified. We're stuck with them. If we trade them in for others, we don't help ourselves epistemically. If the evidence is good enough, it should overcome whatever your initial predispositions, if we keep thinking and paying attention. However, some of us will be dead before our errors are defeated. 

57 comments:

TGBaker said...

"If someone thinks that natural theology is reasonably successful, and that we have
reason to believe in God, then we have to ask if it is possible that God has spoken. Or is he just mutely watching? If it seems likely that God has spoken, we have to find the best candidate as to where and how he might have spoken. "

But I came to see this as circular. If I suspend any information from assumed revelation and approach natural theology looking for traces of a god in existence I still do so from my a priori grounds which I have suspended. In other words it is what drives me to a natural theological quest.

It is not a natural experience or knowledge that causes me to suspect a god but a heritage of tradition from generations of adaptation and change of propositions that no longer have grounds in their origins. (Genesis to big bang; henotheism to monotheism)

So it would seem that revelation informs natural theology by which you wish to justify the revelation????

Anonymous said...

Read up on what natural theology is. It begins with the question of whether or not there is a God or gods behind nature, as well as the nature of nature itself, before any questions of revelation come into play.

Is English your first language?

Anonymous said...

I'd throw in this comment, Victor. Not sure why this never came to mind until just now, though I think discussing the OTF alongside natural theology did the trick.

The OTF (it feels inane calling it 'the OTF' as if it's at all original, but I'll follow your lead) is always played off against specific religions in totality. It's phrased as 'Take the OTF and see if Christianity passes it!'

Why not against broader, more general claims - say, mere deism, or theism (monotheism, or polytheism, or... etc)? I agree with you that Christianity can pass a fair OTF, but it seems to me that so can mere theism itself.

Here's another question: Let's say I'm right, and mere theism passes the OTF. Then wouldn't that evidence factor into taking a fair OTF with a specific religion (of course, Christianity) in mind?

In addition, if the OTF can be applied to broader questions, it seems that an atheist or a naturalist would be expected to take the OTF as well. And there's a possibility the atheist or naturalist would fail, and find themselves pushed to agnosticism. From what I've seen naturalism and atheism is normally excluded from the OTF, but I've never seen a good explanation of why (if this is, in fact, what's maintained.) And I get the feeling atheism and naturalism don't get the OTF applied to them on the grounds that, if they're subjected to the test, all that can happen is a break-even or a loss (deconversion from naturalism or atheism).

The whole OTF thing seems ridiculous, put John's way. I liked it better when it was just "strive to be objective, and have a little self-skepticism".

Anonymous said...

Why does Loftus keep pretending like the "outsider" test is original?

David Hume took the same approach way back in the1760's.

Just more clumsy Loftus lies.

John W. Loftus said...

Link.

Tony Hoffman said...

Okay, I'm game -- how do you get to (my paraphrase) "there is a God who has spoken" being more likely than "humans have a mistaken tendency to think that there is a God who has spoken."

Patrick said...

According to the OTF when evaluating the truth of a viewpoint the adherent of it is supposed to apply the same standard to it as to the viewpoints he rejects. The idea that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” violates this principle. For naturalists an “extraordinary claim” is one that is incompatible with their viewpoint, whereas an “ordinary claim” one compatible with it. So, when naturalists put forward this idea, they actually say: “Claims compatible with Naturalism require ordinary evidence, claims incompatible with it extraordinary evidence”. Why not apply the same epistemological standard?

Theistic philosophers usually apply the same standards when arguing for Theism in general or Christianity in particular as atheists use when arguing for their viewpoint. So, at least these theists cannot be blamed for using a double standard.

Tony Hoffman said...

Patrick: "For naturalists an “extraordinary claim” is one that is incompatible with their viewpoint..."

No. An extraordinary claim is one that is unusual or improbable given our background knowledge. There are many extraordinary claims accepted by naturalists, precisely because the extraordinary evidence has been provided. The question then becomes, What is it about belief in the supernatural that defies our finding extraordinary evidence for it?

Karl Grant said...

Tony,

An extraordinary claim is one that is unusual or improbable given our background knowledge.

Background knowledge varies from person to person, so wouldn't that mean what is considered an extraordinary claim varies from person?

What is it about belief in the supernatural that defies our finding extraordinary evidence for it?

An essay on a site Dr. Reppert linked to recently does touch upon this:

Religion deals with phenomena that may be autonomous, beyond human control, intelligently directed, and volitional, that is, at the discretion of some conscious entity. Phenomena may or may not be manifested for reasons not connected to any physical constraints. Information about the phenomena and the entity producing it might be communicated in unique and non-replicable events.

It isn't just religious experinces either, let's look at another paranomal category: the UFO situation. A alien spacecraft flying over my house is definitely outside the realm of what I am accustomed to and I would consider it to be an extraodinary event. But unless the damn thing crashes its not going to leave behind any 'hard evidence' beyond my eyewitness report and maybe some pictures I snap with my cellphone. And since we live in the age of Photoshop, it is very easy to write pictures (and video) of any extraodinary event off as fake.

So I think a more accurate saying than 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' would be 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to convince certain skeptics, but not necessarily to exist in objective reality.'

Anonymous said...

Tony,

Can you give some examples of some of those extraordinary natural claims that are supported by extraordinary evidence, so the rest of us can see what extraordinary looks like?

Karl Grant said...

***so wouldn't that mean what is considered an extraordinary claim varies from person to person?

I need to double check more before I hit the submit button.

Morrison said...

Loftus claims in WIBA that existence is ultimately explained by "chance"...that is his word, chance.

Thats it, his position as an atheist is that all existence, life, mind, and reason itself are explained by mindless processess.

And that is an EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM that he can not demonstrate.

Walter said...

***so wouldn't that mean what is considered an extraordinary claim varies from person to person?

To some extent your statement is true, but is rising from the dead ever considered an ordinary event? How about walking on water, or flying up through the clouds on your way to heaven? Extraordinary events require a huge amount of ordinary evidence to overcome my natural skepticism. Some will consider the bible and the existence of the Christian faith itself as sufficient evidence to overcome skeptical resistance. Some may have had some kind of personal experience where they felt a higher power was intervening in their life. Others, like myself, have not had any paranormal experiences, nor do I get the warm fuzzies when I read passages in the bible, koran, book of Mormon, etc. So speaking only for myself, I don't claim that religious miracles are impossible, I'm just not sure that the evidence available is sufficient to overcome my hardwired skepticism.

Tony Hoffman said...

KG: "Background knowledge varies from person to person, so wouldn't that mean what is considered an extraordinary claim varies from person?"

Sure, it could. If we took someone from the distant past and landed them here today we could make what would be, for him, many extraordinary claims. All of which we can back up with the extraordinary evidence needed to convince.


Anon: "Can you give some examples of some of those extraordinary natural claims that are supported by extraordinary evidence, so the rest of us can see what extraordinary looks like?"

Using my example above, I'd say that if we told someone from the distant past that:

1. We landed a man on the moon;
2. Contrary to our regular experiences, the earth is a globe;
3. We are a miniscule spec in a corner of an expanding universe;
4. When you force certain materials together they split and release an order of energy that is equivalent to its mass multiplied by the speed of light squared;
5. Space is filled with waves of varying frequencies, some of which are visible light, but some of which are invisible and can be transmitted and detected with special instruments;
6. It is possible for man to fly by deflecting air in a variety of ways;
7. We are occupying an incomprehensibly miniscule slice of time;
8. Light bends around gravity;
9. Time is observed to pass more slowly for an object that is moving faster than the observer, and for an object that is further from a gravitational field than the observer.
Etc.

Karl Grant said...

Walter,

but is rising from the dead ever considered an ordinary event?

Depends, hospitals do revive the dead all the time.In some cases hours after the heart stops beating.

Extraordinary events require a huge amount of ordinary evidence to overcome my natural skepticism.

I understand that, hence my last point being: think a more accurate saying than 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' would be 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to convince certain skeptics, but not necessarily to exist in objective reality.' Just merely pointing out that you or I being convinced that an event happened and the event actually having taken place are two different things.

Karl Grant said...

Tony

If we took someone from the distant past and landed them here today we could make what would be, for him, many extraordinary claims. All of which we can back up with the extraordinary evidence needed to convince.

I wouldn't be so quick to assume that ancient people would find all this extraordinary. They would probably be impressed with our engineering feats but, well lets face it, humans have been playing around with a lot of ideas for a long time. Many inventions which are thought to be modern have ancient roots or in some cases may have been lost and then reinvented. Ever watched Ancient Discoveries on the History Channel?

Contrary to our regular experiences, the earth is a globe;

I take it you have never talked to a sailor or lived on the coast. You can watch a ship come up over the horizon and when a ship is at the horizon, its lower part is obscured due to the sphericity of the Earth. Those observations are what caused Greek philosophers in the 6th century BC to recognize that the Earth is spherical. They weren't the only ones.

It is possible for man to fly by deflecting air in a variety of ways;

Kites have been around for a while now, like a couple of thousand years.

We are occupying an incomprehensibly miniscule slice of time;

Yes, I am sure the ancients had no concept of history or record keeping; hence why we know so little about them.

Tony Hoffman said...

Karl: “I wouldn't be so quick to assume that ancient people would find all this extraordinary.”

I said “from the distant past.” That certainly includes pre-historic persons. I don’t care if you want to quibble about the wisdom of the ancients (yes, sigh, I know that the educated ancients knew that the globe is a sphere, that sailors probably understood this, etc.) I find everything in my list above to be extraordinary, and I am of today. Why is all of it extraordinary – because it is all foreign to what I believe I would understand and assume from my own experiences, without the benefits of a literate culture.

Kites have been around for a while now, like a couple of thousand years.

Karl: Kites do not equal man flying. Do you think that people in 1903 thought it was very ho hum that someone developed a way to fly? You should tell that to North Carolina, and Ohio. They still think something extraordinary happened back then. Poor rubes.

Karl: “Yes, I am sure the ancients had no concept of history or record keeping; hence why we know so little about them.”

Nice misrepresentation. Try reading what I said again and not taking the easy shots.

Recorded history is within the last 10,000 years, although few people until recently could have even known that. Man is probably about 100,000 years old. More time passed between Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex than from Tyrannosaurus to today. Life is probably more than billion years ago. The earth something like 4.3 billion, the universe something 14 billion. The numbers quickly become incomprehensible, but the evidence for them is extraordinary.

Tony Hoffman said...

Corrected Attribution:

Karl: "Kites have been around for a while now, like a couple of thousand years."

Me: Kites do not equal man flying. Do you think that people in 1903 thought it was very ho hum that someone developed a way to fly? You should tell that to North Carolina, and Ohio. They still think something extraordinary happened back then. Poor rubes.

Anonymous said...

The obvious point here is that what makes something extraordinary is in large part a result of background beliefs, as well as metaphysical reasoning and argument.

The existence of matter is downright extraordinary to Berkeley, for example. I imagine David Lewis would ultimately regard "there is only one universe" as extraordinary.

Karl Grant said...

Tony,

I find everything in my list above to be extraordinary, and I am of today.

The definition of extraordinary is going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary; literally out of the ordinary. I find none of what you listed (especially powered flight, the age of rocks or the world is a sphere)to be unusual, irregular or out of the ordinary. So you're just reinforcing my point about what is considered extraordinary varying from person to person.

because it is all foreign to what I believe I would understand and assume from my own experiences, without the benefits of a literate culture.

So an illiterate man from an illiterate culture wouldn't be able to see birds fly and think that it might be possible for a man to fly? Or they couldn't see a boat come up over the horizon and grasp the implications?

Kites do not equal man flying. Do you think that people in 1903 thought it was very ho hum that someone developed a way to fly?

Actually, they do.The Wright brothers airplane grew out of their work with kites and gliders.People were impressed that the Wright brothers invented a more effective means of flight, not becuase they were the first humans to fly.Airships like zeppelins predated the Wright brothers work by quite a few years. Manned hot air balloons predated those by more than a century.

You should tell that to North Carolina, and Ohio.

You haven't looked at my profile, otherwise you would see I live in the Carolinas. I have been to Kill Devil Hills on more than one occasion. Most people around here regard facts concerning the Wright brothers as little more than historical trivia. Or as one shop owner in Kill Devil said when I asked him about the Wright brothers, "yeah, they bring some asshole tourists in every once and a while." That is how most people in North Carolina look at the Wright Brothers.

Nice misrepresentation. Try reading what I said again and not taking the easy shots.

Your exact words: We are occupying an incomprehensibly miniscule slice of time;

Maybe I am reading this wrong but that statement and your little dinosaur and rock comment seem to imply that ancient man weren't capable of understanding that stuff existed before they were born and that time would continue after they die. And you are the first person I met who thinks the age of rocks is extraordinary.

Bilbo said...

I think Loftus assumes that I reject other religions (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.) for the same reasons that he rejects them. I very much doubt that he and I reject them for the same reasons.

Papalinton said...

@ Karl Grant

"It isn't just religious experinces either, let's look at another paranomal category: the UFO situation."

So what you are saying is that religion is paranormal, like channeling dead relatives, and speaking across the supernatural divide between living persons and the dead undead, and that religion is in the same category as UFO's?

Papalinton said...

Great list Tony.

Papalinton said...

@ Karl Grant

"Depends, hospitals do revive the dead all the time. In some cases hours after the heart stops beating. "

Yes Karl, true. just as the article says. But it also says:

"Let’s be clear: No one is saying that people long dead without medical attention can be revived. The lucky ones in Buckberg’s study received quick help, and the reason they suffered cardiac arrest was known and could be fixed: blocked arteries causing a heart attack, in most cases."

This is in no way a testament for the existence of a higher power. Rather that science has improved our life 'chances' [note the word, Morrison] well beyond what we normally expect would be possible. Science 1: God 0

And 'heart dead' doesn't mean dead anymore. We know that. 'Brain dead' is the key to deadness.

Papalinton said...

@ Bilbo
"I think Loftus assumes that I reject other religions (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.) for the same reasons that he rejects them. I very much doubt that he and I reject them for the same reasons."

Of course not, Bilbo. You reject them for christian reasons, which throws up an artifice of protection for your beliefs. You are not in any way using the OTF.

Karl Grant said...

Papalinton,

So what you are saying is that religion is paranormal, like channeling dead relatives, and speaking across the supernatural divide between living persons and the dead undead, and that religion is in the same category as UFO's?

No, I am making a statement about anomalous events and how their acceptance is connected to an individual's beliefs and prior knowledge. My eyes could see a Boeing 747 flying over my house and I could snap a picture of it with my cellphone. I could also do the same with a UFO or a ghost.

In all three cases the amount and type of evidence would be the same, my testimony and a photo. Most people would accept the 747 story and photo readily enough. A person who believes in aliens but not life after death would accept the 747 and UFO testimonies and photos without much trouble but would be quick to dismiss ghost story and photo as fake. The same goes with a person who believes in life after death but not aliens, quick to accept the 747 and ghost evidence, not so quick for the UFO.

My point is skeptics don't hold all evidence or arguments to the same standards. Nobody does and so 'extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence' is a meaningless statement unless both parties agree on what constitutes extraordinary claims and evidence, which doesn't happen very often. All you are doing is voicing your personal opinion (I don't believe in this and I don't believe the evidence you showed me).

This is in no way a testament for the existence of a higher power

It was not meant to be a testament to the existence of a higher power. It was meant to illustrate the difficulties in assigning label extraordinary to an event (i.e. what was once considered an extraordinary operation has now become a mundane procedure).

Tony Hoffman said...

Karl: “The definition of extraordinary is going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary; literally out of the ordinary. I find none of what you listed (especially powered flight, the age of rocks or the world is a sphere)to be unusual, irregular or out of the ordinary.”

Wow. So, when the Wright Brothers flew in a heavier-than-air aircraft for the first time in human history, this was not out of the ordinary. Because, by your definition above, it was customary, regular, and usual for men to fly as the Wright Brothers did before they did it.

Love it.

Karl: “So an illiterate man from an illiterate culture wouldn't be able to see birds fly and think that it might be possible for a man to fly? Or they couldn't see a boat come up over the horizon and grasp the implications?”

It is clear that you are not interested in the principle of charity. You seem bent on trying to find “gotchas” where I think none exist. Please re-read my words. See if you can find me saying something like your paragraph above, for instance.

Karl: “You haven't looked at my profile, otherwise you would see I live in the Carolinas. I have been to Kill Devil Hills on more than one occasion. Most people around here regard facts concerning the Wright brothers as little more than historical trivia. Or as one shop owner in Kill Devil said when I asked him about the Wright brothers, "yeah, they bring some asshole tourists in every once and a while." That is how most people in North Carolina look at the Wright Brothers.”

Fascinating. And this relates to my argument how?

Karl: “Maybe I am reading this wrong but that statement and your little dinosaur and rock comment seem to imply that ancient man weren't capable of understanding that stuff existed before they were born and that time would continue after they die. And you are the first person I met who thinks the age of rocks is extraordinary.”

It would be foolish for you to deny that general estimates of the age of the earth up until about a hundred years ago were off by the age of the earth (minus 6,000 years) to 3.8 billion years. Nowadays we not only know that the earth is very old, but we have good ways of knowing its age with extraordinary (compared to earlier) estimates.

Virtually all of your objections have been over trivia (most of which seems irrelevant or wrong). If you have an argument to make here, please make one – I get the feeling I could go on endlessly, and futilely, correcting your statements, which might be fun for awhile but I think it threatens to derail what could be an interesting discussion.

Tony Hoffman said...

Paplinton: "Great list Tony."

Thanks.

Karl Grant said...

Tony,

Wow. So, when the Wright Brothers flew in a heavier-than-air aircraft for the first time in human history, this was not out of the ordinary. Because, by your definition above, it was customary, regular, and usual for men to fly as the Wright Brothers did before they did it.

Key words: heavier-than-air aircraft. As the links show man had been experimenting with flight long before Wright brothers came along. And experiments concerning aircraft at the time were common; The Wright brothers were merely the first to have a practical, working design. Seriously go to the library and look at the old news stories about the Wright brothers. Skepticism was rampant as was accusations from other inventors the Wrights' had stolen their ideas.

It is clear that you are not interested in the principle of charity. You seem bent on trying to find “gotchas” where I think none exist. Please re-read my words. See if you can find me saying something like your paragraph above, for instance.

Your paragraph above is an attempt at a 'gotcha', especially the love it part. The last paragraph on this post has a nice little statement full of self-congratulatory back patting: I get the feeling I could go on endlessly, and futilely, correcting your statements, which might be fun for awhile

Fascinating. And this relates to my argument how?

Your exact words: You should tell that to North Carolina, and Ohio. They still think something extraordinary happened back then. Poor rubes. I have lived in North Carolina, I know how people there view Wilbur and Orville Wright. You make it sound like its big extraordinary deal in the state; it's not.

Nowadays we not only know that the earth is very old, but we have good ways of knowing its age with extraordinary (compared to earlier) estimates.

Correction, you find the age of the Earth extraordinary. A lot of people don't. And though you are correct the Earth is older than the original estimates, the fact still remains that ancient people realized something came before them and something after them and their lives only made a small part of it.

TGBaker said...

Read up on what natural theology is. It begins with the question of whether or not there is a God or gods behind nature, as well as the nature of nature itself, before any questions of revelation come into play.

Is English your first language?

I would assume you lack the proper language tools to comprehend my comment. The idea of a natural theology would not have occurred if there was not already an idea about god which is derived from a philosophy of religion that is a priori to the methodology. It is therefore latent with presuppositions of a a religion prior to its usage. Try to comprehend that smart alec. It therefore will have presuppositions about attributes concerning a definition of god smart alec. But at any rate learn English yourself.

Morrison said...

I think we all know that Papalinton's pal Loftus did not "deconvert" due to any "Outsider Test".

In fact, two of his three main reasons that he would admit to were emotional.

Lotus has his own delusions, as he is always accusing Christians of.

Papalinton said...

Karl

" I could also do the same [take photos] with a UFO or a ghost."

I am totally unaware of ghost photos.
When you talk of UFOs, Karl, was it that you MEANT to suggest, whether or not UFO's are actually extraterrestrial spacecraft?

I say, No. They are simply 'unidentified' flying objects for which an explanation is yet to be made. Any talk of extraterrestrial origins is pure speculation, a projection of superstition, the workings of our creative imagination.

Karl Grant said...

Papalinton,

I am totally unaware of ghost photos.

Why don't you Google it? With 11,500,000 hits I am sure you will find some information. Wikipedia also has a little information and an example.

When you talk of UFOs, Karl, was it that you MEANT to suggest, whether or not UFO's are actually extraterrestrial spacecraft?

The purpose of the thought experiment was to show how the same type of evidence is rejected or accepted based on the recipient's a priori assumptions, not to argue the existence of UFOS and E-Ts one way or the other. Nice attempt at derailing the subject, btw.

I say, No. They are simply 'unidentified' flying objects for which an explanation is yet to be made. Any talk of extraterrestrial origins is pure speculation, a projection of superstition, the workings of our creative imagination.

Wow, that is totally unexpected coming from you. I am shocked, I tell you, truly shocked.

Papalinton said...

Karl

I meant to add, *real* ghost photos. More than likely, the explanation is optical illusion, natural or constructed, light refraction and reflection, or teleological projection, like jesus in an omelette, or on peanut jelly toast etc.

Karl, I would probably suggest that, the christianities, by its very nature and the core of its reasoning, is the fundamental reason why people see ghosts and spirits, and UFOs,etc, because they are all elements embedded in the psychoses of illusory perception. Psychoses, in this sense is not mean as pejorative or derogatory, but as a descriptor of a condition all humans are capable of and do have. We look at clouds we see faces. We see odd reflections and our minds interpret them by comparing what we see with the data base of knowledge and experiences in our memory and make a connection. The connection is made and the question of whether it is true or false, does not primarily figure in that process . Only our capacity for post-perception skepticism and reason prevents us from going down the false path too far.

Cheers

Karl Grant said...

Papalinton,

I meant to add, *real* ghost photos. More than likely, the explanation is optical illusion, natural or constructed, light refraction and reflection, or teleological projection, like jesus in an omelette, or on peanut jelly toast etc.

Thank you for proving my original point about people rejecting evidence out of hand based on their personal beliefs. You are ever so reliable.

Karl, I would probably suggest that, the christianities, by its very nature and the core of its reasoning, is the fundamental reason why people see ghosts and spirits, and UFOs,etc,

That flys in the face of evidence There have been several studies done on the subject.Many show the more education you get, the more likely you are to believe in ghosts and the supernatural. And to quote the JSTOR study the correlations between belief in religious phenomena and other paranormal phenomena are largely insignificant.

In other words, teachers like you are to blame. After seeing your conduct here, I can't say I am surprised.

Only our capacity for post-perception skepticism

I have always been curious as to why skeptics think the ability to doubt confers intelligence. Its been my experience that a stupid man can doubt the existence of something or the validity of an idea just as easily as a smart man. Or to put it another way many people who saw the moon landing on their TV doubt it was real. They are skeptical of the claim Neal Armstrong walked on the moon. Did their capacity for post-perception skepticism keep them from straying down a false path?

Morrison said...

The recent posts are an excellent example of what one's presuppositions will even allow someone to accept in the first place.

Given the belief that all existence, life, mind and reason itself are the product of mindless forces then there is no proof...even in principle...that such a believer would logically need to accept.

Papalinton said...

Hi Karl
And from all 11.5 million hits, how does one sort out the rubbish from the rubbish? Well, you go to a theologian and scholar, for example, Dr Ron Rhodes, author of the book found at Amazon below:

http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Ghosts-Mediums-Psychic-Phenomena/dp/0736919074

You then select the best of all the comments from reviewers of the book and add it it here for consideration: [This is from Barbara Warren]

"Most of us grew up telling ghost stories, but we outgrew them. However a large number of people today actually believe in ghosts. Movies with psychic themes are popular and even romance novels have a paranormal genre. Most of these things, on the surface, seem innocent, but as Ron Rhodes points out, there is a hidden danger. By indulging in the occult, we are opening our minds to dangerous influences we can't control.

The Bible makes it clear that ghosts don't exist. When a person dies, the spirit doesn't hang around to take care of unfinished business. But while ghosts don't exist, demons do. Satan has his angels too, and they are quick to do his bidding. The Bible warns us to stay from anything dealing with the occult, but psychics and mediums receive a lot of attention these days. Ron Rhodes does a good job of explaining these tricksters and giving biblical passages to back up his words. This book will give you all the information you need to talk to family members and friends who have been seduced by the occult. It will also be a great asset for teachers working with youth. Our young Christians are bombarded with paranormal influences every day. The Truth Behind Ghosts, mediums and Phenomena will add another weapon to your arsenal in fighting the powers of darkness."

Then you ask yourself, Karl, why special pleading for satan, and demons?

Papalinton said...

And angels?

Karl Grant said...

Papalinton,

And from all 11.5 million hits, how does one sort out the rubbish from the rubbish?

How about you take the time to investigate them yourself? Oh, I am sorry. That would be too much like you taking a subject you disbelieve in seriously, which is anathema to your nature. My apologies.


You then select the best of all the comments from reviewers of the book and add it it here for consideration: [This is from Barbara Warren]...Then you ask yourself, Karl, why special pleading for satan, and demons?


Thank you for providing additional evidence to support my JSTOR link. You know the one that goes: the correlations between belief in religious phenomena and other paranormal phenomena are largely insignificant.

And thank you for completely gutting your previous statement of I would probably suggest that, the christianities, by its very nature and the core of its reasoning, is the fundamental reason why people see ghosts and spirits, with the link to this book. You are truly a unique specimen as such capacity for self-contradiction is rarely found in nature.

And did I say I believed in ghosts? No, I purposed a thought a experiment on the acceptance of standards of evidence being determined by personal beliefs. I have said that about three times. But thank you for working so tirelessly to prove my point. It truly means a lot to me.

Papalinton said...

Hi Karl

1. "That flys in the face of evidence."
Absolutely.

2. "There have been several studies done on the subject."
The Abstract says: "The results also show that the correlations between belief in religious phenomena and other paranormal phenomena are largely insignificant."
Whether that statement means that there are no differences between the two and that they come from the same stable and cannot be differentiated or whether they are completely different as to have no bearing on each other at all. The report does not make that clear. It just says the correlations are insignificant but in which direction is not made.

3. "Many show the more education you get, the more likely you are to believe in ghosts and the supernatural."
Despite several attempts, I can't get the link to the study and the results, just the MSNBC article.



"I have always been curious as to why skeptics think the ability to doubt confers intelligence."
Where have I said that Karl?

Karl Grant said...

Papalinton,

Absolutely.

So you admit to making a statement that flies in the face of evidence. Good job, Papa. Nice to see you are taking small steps on the road to recovery.

The report does not make that clear. It just says the correlations are insignificant but in which direction is not made.

But with the link to Dr Ron Rhodes book and Barbara Warren's review that you so graciously provided (thanks again for that) we can make a little guess as to which direction it leans.

Despite several attempts, I can't get the link to the study and the results, just the MSNBC article.

Try this:

http://www.livescience.com/564-higher-education-fuels-stronger-belief-ghosts.html

Where have I said that Karl?

You may not have said it explicitly but it has always been implied in your posts. Really, how else am I to interpret Only our capacity for post-perception skepticism as anything other Skeptics = Smart People.

Papalinton said...

Karl

"So you admit to making a statement that flies in the face of evidence. Good job, Papa. Nice to see you are taking small steps on the road to recovery."

No, no. The belief in ghosts, spirits, gods flies in the face of evidence. Because 30-something% of the population believe in spirits doesn't make it true.


Karl, you write, "But with the link to Dr Ron Rhodes book and Barbara Warren's review that you so graciously provided (thanks again for that) we can make a little guess as to which direction it leans."

Another devout christian reviewer of Rhodes books said, "The Bible talks about ghosts in several passages, and to assume that a belief in ghosts goes against the word of God is wrong. While I have no interest in what the so-called psychics have to say about the afterlife, I have personally talked to many people who have experienced encounters with ghosts, including people who have captured ghosts in photographs and on video, and they were not demons. Mr. Rhodes is just trying to shove his own beliefs [interpretations?] down everyone's throats as if he is the definitive expert on the subject. Sorry, Mr. Rhodes, you are flat out wrong."

Morrison said...

I feel great sympathy for those who were Papalinton's students.

Teachers who behaved like him were the ones that I remember best.

kilo papa said...

Hey Vic,

You speak of "evidential advantages" of Christianity over other religions.

So you think there's some pretty impressive "evidence" that the invisible man in the sky watched planet earth spin for 4 1/2 billions years before deciding to personally trot around the ancient Middle East for the purpose of allowing his own creation to hang him to a tree and savage beat himself to death in the most disgusting, sickening and vile manner possible, all for the purpose of imparting his message of "love" to his creation by the spilling of blood from this inane act of cruelty?

Is there a religion in the history of humankind that is based on a more Stone Age bunch of lunacy than the Christian religion?

The beliefs of the Heaven's Gate cult looks almost sane next to Christian doctrine.

Papalinton said...

Karl

Thanks for the link to livescience for the survey results.

Yes they are interesting figures. The results point to a trending downwards for % of those who believe and trending upwards for those who do not believe, in comparison to the 2001 survey.

Karl Grant said...

Papalinton,


Because 30-something% of the population believe in spirits doesn't make it true.

Of course not, have I claimed otherwise?

Another devout christian reviewer of Rhodes books said....

Which still does constitute additional evidence for the JSTOR results showing that the correlations between belief in religious phenomena and other paranormal phenomena are largely insignificant. Because here we have the book itself, by a theologian, and one reviewer opposed to the idea ghosts spirit mediums etc.... while one reviewer open to the idea.

Bilbo said...

Papalinton: "Of course not, Bilbo. You reject them for christian reasons, which throws up an artifice of protection for your beliefs. You are not in any way using the OTF."

Papa, when you say "christian reasons," what reasons are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

The Outsider Test does not exist.

The Steinmaster

GREV said...

Tony asks -- Okay, I'm game -- how do you get to (my paraphrase) "there is a God who has spoken" being more likely than "humans have a mistaken tendency to think that there is a God who has spoken."

How closed or open must the system be for you?

How many demands do you make on the person arguing for God to start on your grounds and not start on reasonable grounds that the idea of God/Creator cannot be comprehended completely by the creature without the Creator's help?

Because God speaking is very likely, but it depends on what you and I are bringing to the game.

Anonymous said...

Loftus is over on his blog slamming Flannagan about the OTF, but what is funny is a remark they made...

"They are handing out Ph.D.'s to anyone these days."

Really? Loftus couldn't get one.

Anonymous said...

If I understand Loftus's basic argument, it is that we already apply the OTF when considering religions other than our own, and if we were to apply the same standards to our own religion, we would give it up as well.

Papalinton has said that I reject other religions because of my "christian reasons," though he hasn't specified what he means by that. But then he goes on to say that I have not used the OTF in any way, apparently meaning that I do not reject other religions by using the OTF.

My original point was that I reject other religions for different reasons than Loftus does. If so, then Loftus's claim that I would reject my own religion if I used the same standard need not be true. And in fact, it isn't true.

Now I'm still not sure what Papalinton means by "christian reasons," but what I would mean by "christian reasons," would be the reasons why I think Christianity is true.

When I evaluate other religions, I ask whether they are able to explain the evidence I see for Christianity, and I ask whether Christianity is able to explain the evidence for the other religions. I do not think the other religions can explain the evidence for Christianity, but I do think that Christianity can explain the evidence for the other religions.

Let's take Islam, for example. It is claimed that Muhammed heard directly from God and wrote the Koran by dictation. Christianity tells me that there are other supernatural entities than God. It is quite possible that Muhammed heard from such an entity, who claimed to be God, and took dictation from it. So I do not need to deny the supernatural origin of Islam. I just need to deny its Godly origin.

I doubt very much that Loftus would explain away the supernatural origin of Islam in the same way. For him, the only possibility is that there are no supernatural beings, and therefore Muhammed did not hear from one.

I do not need to deny the supernatural in Islam. My reasons for rejecting it are based on Islam's inability to explain away Jesus using the same standard that I used. If Muslims wish to say that Jesus was not from God, but spoke and did miracles by the power of Beelzebub, then they are only repeating the same accusation made against him in his own day. If they wish to say that Jesus was only a prophet from God and never claimed to be more than that, and all such apparent claims were words put into his mouth by later authors, then they must apply a different standard than I do to their religion. -- Bilbo,in anonymous, anonymous mode.

Anonymous said...

The Outsider Test does not exist.

Even Loftus did not betray Christ because of any "outsider test", by his own admission.

Papalinton said...

Anonymous
"Even Loftus did not betray Christ because of any "outsider test", by his own admission."

How does one betray a non-entity? a non-being?

Anonymous said...

Ah, an Atheist Troll asks a question!

But John Loftus is not a "Christ Mythicist".

And nore nor he "deconvert" due to any Outsider Test.

No one does.

The Outsider Test does not exist.

Papalinton said...

A believer of bronze-age woo noting to an atheist troll that the Outsider Test does not exist.

It's on the lips of every christian blog I've read. But then christian blogs are famous, legendary in fact, for talking about things that do not exist. So it is right in their field of expertise.

Anonymous said...

And an Old Man Atheist Troll at that.

Oh well, he'll be drooling in a few years.

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