Saturday, February 20, 2016

Reply to Loftus on the Outsider Test

Loftus' response is here. 

I am afraid your response fails pretty miserably. I said that if you are going to have a test you have to have one that eliminates confirmation bias whether or not it is pro-faith or anti-faith. Faith can cause people to be biased, but so can other things, included bias against religious claims. At least, my experience suggests this to me. When people attack religious beliefs without doing any work on even trying to understand the religious beliefs they are attacking, that is what I call bias.

If you think faith is the only way in which you can have bias, and if you are an atheist, you cannot have bias, then that seems awfully biased to me.

Are all the biasing cultural influences in favor of the religion of one’s society? There is a considerable religious plurality in our society. And even amongst people who are supposedly religious start getting concerned when people get really serious about following their own religion.
This song was written by a couple of country singers from Alabama, the Louvin Brothers. Does this sound like people who are being pressured by their culture to follow Christianity?

My buddies tell me that I should've waited 
They say I'm missing a whole world of fun 
But I still love them and I sing with pride 
I like the Christian life 

I won't lose a friend by heeding God's call
For what is a friend who'd want you to fall 
Others find pleasure in things I despise 
I like the Christian life

My buddies shun me since I turned to Jesus 
They say I'm missing a whole world of fun 
I live without them and walk in the light 
I like the Christian life 

I won't lose a friend by heeding God's call
For what is a friend who'd want you to fall 
Others find pleasure in things I despise 

I like the Christian life
I like the Christian life

So, apparently following the Christian life will cost you friends and cause people to make fun of you. Even if you're a good old boy from Alabama. 

I happen to think that Christianity has evidential support that other religions don’t have. If you could show me another religion that has the kind of support Christianity has, I would have to take it seriously. If the book of Mormon recorded a lot of events that is supported by archaeology, I would have to take it seriously. If Islam had better evidential support than it does, I would have to take it more seriously. Maybe it’s doing better than David Wood thinks it’s doing, but I doubt it.


So, measuring Mormonism and Islam against Christianity by the same standard of evidence, Christianity wins.

In the previous post you wrote:

Vic, there isn't a good reason to reject MN. Why would you ask that we must reject it when the preponderance of evidence supports using it in every area it touches? It's the only reasonable method to use. Your God supposedly created the world such that by using MN we have amassed a great deal of knowledge because of it. We MUST use it if we want knowledge. Science itself is based on it. There isn't any better method for gaining objective knowledge about the world. Your rationalizations that we could overlook the evidence for the supernatural are actually tiring to me. Your God produced the problem you must speak against. What's the best explanation that MN works so well? Given that your God wants us to believe and created the world in such a way that we must use MN to gain knowledge, the best explanation is that your God doesn't exist. You are trying to explain away the evidence once again.
VR: The reason why methodological naturalism works as well as it does is that methodological naturalism and methodological theism get the same results.
Naturalism says:
There are absolute regularities in nature which are just there and that’s all. They are never violated and cannot be violated.
Theism says:

God has created the world in such a way that most events are occur in accordance with them. On certain special occasions, God may act in such a way as to violate those laws, but he does so relatively infrequently, to show things that are of the greatest significance.


God creates the world in such a way that most of what goes on in the world will not be evidently supernatural. If God didn’t do that, we wouldn’t have a stable world about which we can make predictions. So, the people who founded modern science were Christians, and no they weren’t just compartmentalized. They followed methodological naturalism and methodological theism, and got the same result. But if you apply methodological naturalism to theistic claims,  you automatically reject them. As Richard Lewontin puts it:

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. "

We’re going to test faith on this basis? What possible answer can we get?




20 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

The Byrd's version of"I like the Christian life" from their Sweethearts of The Rodeo Album, circa 1968

The atheist community has just gone wild with social science, and I might they don't understand them. On my site The Religious a priori I have a huge section where I discuss nothing but bogus atheist social sciences. I say this because this is what Logtus is doing and the argument about "If you lived in Saudi you would be a Muslim" that's supposed to prove Christianity isn't true. How? you dn't know, but it's argued a lot.

I think they combining determinism, evolutionary psychology, and sociology. In real life sociologists hate the two former theories.,

Joe Hinman said...

Here is my section on Bogus Atheist Social Sciences

Joe Hinman said...

Loftus:Vic, there isn't a good reason to reject MN. Why would you ask that we must reject it when the preponderance of evidence supports using it in every area it touches?"


Meta:>>>>>The problem with that is the only reason why you can pretend that it touches all reality is because whatever it doesn't touch you just assert it's not there. There is no SN because it can't be proved with MN. But the fact is that's only Because it's beyond the realm in such MN works. It's like the old Excedrin commercial, "Excedrin works best for pain other than head ach so the next time you have a head ache...MN works best for naturalistic aspects of reality only, so if you want to disprove things beyond the natural use MN.


Loftus:It's the only reasonable method to use.

Meta:>>>>>>Not for metaphysics, not for phenomenology, nor logic, nor ethics, nor theology, and I'm not so sure about ontology.




Loftus:"Your God supposedly created the world such that by using MN we have amassed a great deal of knowledge because of it. We MUST use it if we want knowledge."

Meta:>>>>>> But only one kind of knowledge. This is one o my major beefs with atheism, the reduction of all knowledge to a kind of ideological sciemtism that tries to ride the coat tails of real science.


Loftus: "Science itself is based on it. There isn't any better method for gaining objective knowledge about the world. Your rationalizations that we could overlook the evidence for the supernatural are actually tiring to me. Your God produced the problem you must speak against. What's the best explanation that MN works so well? Given that your God wants us to believe and created the world in such a way that we must use MN to gain knowledge, the best explanation is that your God doesn't exist. You are trying to explain away the evidence once again.'

Meta:>>>>> That argument is invalid because you are not dealing with the Christian concept of the supernatural. It was the Calvinists to some extent but more so the philosophes in the enlightenment ho totally altered the concept to include the junk it is associated with now. Originally it was synonymous with mystical experience. That can be validated by scientific methodology and it can be taken as an ad hoc MN but need no0t be a metaphysical commitment. btw your view is metaphysics,.


VR: The reason why methodological naturalism works as well as it does is that methodological naturalism and methodological theism get the same results.


Meta>>:>>>> also because MN reduces reality to only the data it can produce.
The whole notion "naturalism" is modern and discussion of SN existed in Christianity before naturalism existed. Ergo Christian concept of SN is not opposed to "the Natural" because it doesn't make the same assumption that reality is limited to "natural" realm. It does not understand God's presence and work as SN only and nature as separate from God.


John Loftus said...

Agnosticism is the default position preferring no belief at all, with no confirmation bias to avoid. Are you opposed to that? Why?

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "If you think faith is the only way in which you can have bias, and if you are an atheist, you cannot have bias, then that seems awfully biased to me."

If you think your strawman above represents the OTF, then you are not prepared to criticize the OTF.

Understand first. Criticize second.

Joe Hinman said...


February 21, 2016 2:15 AM
Delete


Blogger John Loftus said...
Agnosticism is the default position preferring no belief at all, with no confirmation bias to avoid. Are you opposed to that? Why?

February 21, 2016 7:24 AM


talking to Dr. R or to me? I don't care I'll tell you anyway: It is impossible not to have biases . Objectivity is myth. It's only a matter of degrees of subjectivity; no objectivity. So the trick to be honest with yourself. "I don't have biases" not honest.

Joe Hinman said...

Cal, OTF = one true faith?

planks length said...

I say "Keep up the Good Work, Victor!" You must be getting under his skin for Loftus to spend so time attempting to rebut you. Hitting a mite too close to home, I'd wager.

John Loftus said...

planks length, are you for real? If you can't get this right why do you think you can get your religion right? The question isn't why I respond. The question is why Reppert keeps writing about the OTF. *Sheesh* It's exactly the reverse of what you say. This is confirmation bias in action folks. All I can do is point it out.

John Loftus said...

Joe Hinman let's say you're into football as a Cowboy fan. You don't care much at all how other teams do. You just root for the Cowboys. Come Super Bowl time this past year you could care less who won. But someone challenges you to predict the winner.So you study it out. You have no biases that would affect a clear-headed judgement even if in fact you have them. But if your Cowboys were in it it would affect a clear-headed judgement.

There are biases that get in the way of a clear-headed judgement and there are biases that don't. It depends on the issue and how long of a prior commitment to the result you have had in your life.

I could multiply these examples by the hundreds.

Legion of Logic said...

John,

If someone took your test and.disagreed that it led to a rational necessity to abandon Christianity, would you be content with that? Or does the test only allow atheism as a result?

Victor Reppert said...

I think your football example goes the other way. I remember when I got together with a group of Cardinals fans from my church in the run-up to the 2009 Super Bowl, in which the Cardinals were ahead in the last few minutes thanks to a Larry Fitzgerald reception but lost because of a drive that ended in a pass play to Santonio Holmes. Every single Cardinals fan there, including me, predicted one and done for the Cardinals in the playoffs. Fans are less biased than you realize, and some of us fear getting our hopes up too much if we have been disappointed a few times.

planks length said...

According to Loftus, if after taking the OTF you don't abandon your faith, it means you cheated on the exam.

Dave Duffy said...

"predicted one and done for the Cardinals in the playoffs."

Cheering for a sports team, putting hope in a political candidate, spending hour after hour on a science experiment or a business deal you hope will work out to your expectations is a reason to become cynical about everything. Thinking the Church will be better at meeting expectations is even more crushing.

Is this John's point?

Crude said...

Agnosticism is the default position preferring no belief at all, with no confirmation bias to avoid. Are you opposed to that? Why?

Alright John, let's define your term there.

You say 'agnosticism is the default position preferring no belief at all'. Flesh that out.

By agnosticism, you do mean agnostic about not just theism, but also naturalism - correct?

Also, let's tackle this one:

Vic, there isn't a good reason to reject MN. Why would you ask that we must reject it when the preponderance of evidence supports using it in every area it touches? It's the only reasonable method to use. Your God supposedly created the world such that by using MN we have amassed a great deal of knowledge because of it. We MUST use it if we want knowledge.

Sorry, John, but no. 'Methodological naturalism' hasn't done much work, despite a whole lot of spilled ink, virtual and otherwise. Considering that naturalism has trouble even being defined, that shouldn't be of surprise to anyone actually thinking it through.

Which is why I have to actually correct Victor here:

Naturalism says: There are absolute regularities in nature which are just there and that’s all. They are never violated and cannot be violated.

Naturalism doesn't say even this. It is quite compatible with sudden, inexplicable irregularities - long-lasting, or one time only. Naturalism is quite compatible with brute facts, bizarre worlds, simulated universes, and a whole lot more.

*And these are excluded from science as well.*

Which goes to show: the methodology of science is not, and cannot be, methodological naturalism. Naturalism is ill defined, and insofar as it manages to be defined, it's compatible with ideas, explanations and concepts that can throw ice on the entire scientific project.

So sorry, John. Not only would MN not lead to the conclusion you want here, but MN isn't even relevant. Science only seeks to answer questions that can be answered given a certain set of assumptions, complete with built-in agnosticism about ultimates. But 'ultimates' are precisely what are of interest in this conversation.

Why have you been unable to learn this lesson despite literally years of people teaching it to you?

Joe Hinman said...


February 21, 2016 1:07 PM



Blogger John Loftus said...
Joe Hinman let's say you're into football as a Cowboy fan.



>>>yea let's say (you know I'm from Dallas)


You don't care much at all how other teams do. You just root for the Cowboys.

>>>I would have a better chance rooting for America to re-enlist as a British colony/

Come Super Bowl time this past year you could care less who won. But someone challenges you to predict the winner.So you study it out. You have no biases that would affect a clear-headed judgement even if in fact you have them. But if your Cowboys were in it it would affect a clear-headed judgement.

There are biases that get in the way of a clear-headed judgement and there are biases that don't. It depends on the issue and how long of a prior commitment to the result you have had in your life.

I could multiply these examples by the hundreds.


>>>your analogy is empirically disproved both in it's literal dimension and it's metaphorical one. in terms of the superbowl while is true that without the cowboys I don't find foot ball as fun. I still enjoy watching and I do find teams to care about but not as intensely. I am now Kansas city FAN WHY? /THEY USED TO BE THE DALLAS TEXANS OF COURSE! btw I did predict Denver would win and was off on point spread by just a touchdown.


You are also sadly mistaken about my views on religion. It's true that I believe in Jesus, and the Nicene creed and all the good stuff. Atonement, Resurrection, I even argue for the empty tomb.

I call my view Originism, or Christo-centric universalism. Jesus is the savior but he's working in all cultures. Priorities of the church are reversed. The church has it as membership is the raison d'etre and Jesus is the drawing point.

My view Jesus' mission to save and the church is a tool to assist the mission. Becoming a Christian is secondary the primary consideration that determines salvation is seeking the good (Romans 2:6).

Here is a Paper written to answer Jeff Lowder

John Loftus said...

Joe said: "Becoming a Christian is secondary the primary consideration that determines salvation is seeking the good (Romans 2:6)."

You cannot know my intentions but I have always sought the good, so why bother with me at all? ...unless you are in the business of being my judge?

Crude said...

You cannot know my intentions but I have always sought the good

No, you haven't. Remember the fake blog incident? The amazon lying incident? The personal attacks, misrepresentation and more?

Hell dude, remember the treatment of women?

Now let's see those answers.

David B Marshall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
planks length said...

Any psychologist would have a field day with Loftus and his OTF, as a transparently public manifestation of his own internal insecurities. Poor John feels a compulsion to endlessly justify his decision to abandon the faith of his childhood. Wrapped up in this very personal story, he defends his rebellion against what he terms his biases, by imagining that the rest of the world must share his experience. This is classic projection.

But all he has demonstrated (both with his hawking of the OTF, as well as with his blog) is that he has yet to reconcile himself with his own internal demons. Rather than actually face up to his contradictions, to acknowledge his own responsibility for the turns his life has taken, he lashes out at his upbringing. His childhood faith merely serves as a surrogate for (or perhaps a shield against) issues he refuses to come to terms with, or even to recognize. (There may also be an Oedipal issue here - Loftus in effect "killing" his parents by trashing their beliefs.)

Bottom line here: No one, and I do mean NO ONE, is without sin (a.k.a., "issues" or even "biases"), and there is only one confirmed, guaranteed objective means of dealing with such. And without my saying so explicitly, we all know His name.