Monday, February 22, 2016

The retail OTF



I actually have a my own version of the OTF, which I call the retail (as opposed to wholesale) version. What you do there is rather than have a outsider test for religious questions in general, what you do is you simply compare religions two by two, and adopt an "undecided" position between those two to start. So, let's do Christianity and Islam. Well, Christianity has archaeological support Islam doesn't, so Christianity wins that one. Mormonism? Same deal. Now, if you want atheism and Christianity to go up against one another, then I have the AFR and a bunch of other arguments which I think outweigh the case for atheism. I think actually deism is the hardest one, but if you make the OTF retail instead of wholesale, Christianity passes.

43 comments:

Edgestow said...

I think that this article on people's predilection to believe in conspiracy theories explains much of Loftus's motivations behind championing his self-styled OTF. He is essentially calling religion in general a giant conspiracy.

The mindset behind Loftus's OTF is the same as that behind the 911 Truthers, the Birthers, the Moon Landing Hoaxers, and the believers in a second shooter behind the grassy knoll.

Hugo Pelland said...

"then I have the AFR and a bunch of other arguments which I think outweigh the case for atheism."

Adding failed arguments on the same side of the scale does make it tip, but not for the reasons you want it to move. So even if Christianity has more 'evidence' and 'arguments' in its favor, it does not mean they are good arguments. And that's really all there is; quantity but not quality.

Ilíon said...

^ Isn't that Hugo just a gas?

Hugo Pelland said...

^ isn't it cute when Ilíon puts a caret symbol to point out what he is commenting on, as if it was not already obvious?

Joe Hinman said...


February 22, 2016 10:18 AM



Blogger Hugo Pelland said...
"then I have the AFR and a bunch of other arguments which I think outweigh the case for atheism."

Adding failed arguments on the same side of the scale does make it tip, but not for the reasons you want it to move. So even if Christianity has more 'evidence' and 'arguments' in its favor, it does not mean they are good arguments. And that's really all there is; quantity but not quality.




>>>that would be fine except that my arguments are better than theirs.

Hugo Pelland said...

No Joe, your arguments are not better. Yes, there are more, a lot more. Strong Atheism actually has very few good arguments in favor of it, if any, since it does not really make sense to try to justify 'there is no god'. However, there are always easy-to-show flaws in arguments in favor of theism, which is all that is needed to justify the rejection of Theism, hence the weaker Atheism position, as a disbelief of Theism, is the more rational one.

Basically, my point was to point out the absurdity in claiming that something, anything, 'outweigh the case for atheism'. Because there is no such case; it's an irrelevant endeavor. What's relevant is the ton of evidence presented 'for' a particular position, such as Christian Theism, and why it is valid, or not. It is a fact that there are a lot of evidence, but my opinion is that the quality is poor, because the reasoning always depends on faulty assumptions regarding immaterialism.

John Loftus said...

Here.

planks length said...

Do it this way so you don't have to fully grasp the problem of religious diversity, nor do you have to account for it. (John Loftus, on his link)

John, There is no "religious diversity" problem, any more than there is an "atheistic diversity" problem. Are all atheists devotees of Ayn Rand? I don't think so. Are they all Leninists? Of course not! Are they all Woody Allen fans? I doubt it.

I'll make you a deal. As soon as you start worrying about why there is so much diversity - indeed, judging by some recent public spats amongst the New Atheists, downright antagonism - within atheism, I'll start worrying about "religious diversity" as an intellectual problem.

Deal?

Ilíon said...

^^^^ "isn't it cute when Ilion ..."

Isn't it just like a Yugo to think to world revolves around him?

Cal Metzger said...

The retail OTF sounds a lot like determining that a donkey is a unicorn because it more closely resembles a unicorn than a turtle, owl, sea urchin, kangaroo, or elephant.

It's true. But it doesn't turn the donkey into a unicorn, now, does it?


jdhuey said...

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/archeology-hebrew-bible.html

Not a lot of support there.

Crude said...

I love how all Victor said here is 'I evaluate the evidence for competing claims about religion and metaphysics, and favor that which has the best evidence' and that's causing atheists to just be so testy. ;)

Hugo Pelland said...

Crude, nobody is 'testy' from my point of view... personally, at least, I am certainly not moved one bit by an online thread like this one; it's an inconsequential exchange of ideas. Interesting nonetheless, of course.

planks length said...

Crude,

If you're in the mood for a real laugh, Skeppy just posted the following on his blog today:

"I don't need to continue arguing with people who demand evidence and then ignore it when it is offered."

I laughed so hard when I read that, that my sides literally started hurting.

Crude said...

Hugo,

Crude, nobody is 'testy' from my point of view.

Pardon, I erred in my description of the atheists thus far in this thread.

What I should have said is 'Testy' and 'Lacking self-awareness'. Thank you for reminding me with your example.

planks,

If you're in the mood for a real laugh, Skeppy just posted the following on his blog today:

People tell me about him blogging now and then, and I'm always amazed his keyboard continues to work despite the massive amounts of apple juice and graham cracker crumbs he gets in it.

Still, I want to reiterate: what Victor said here is remarkably down to earth, common sense, and unobjectionable. And yet, the panties still got in a twist. Go figure.

Hugo Pelland said...

Crude said:
"...'Lacking self-awareness'. Thank you for reminding me with your example."

Lol, you're hilarious...

Just in theory, who is more self-aware and thus cautious about what they write, people using their real names, or trolls like you, sorry, I mean, people like you with generic nicknames?

Crude said...

Hugo,

The fact that, to you, 'self-awareness' means 'cautious in what you say', and 'cautious' is connected to an exposed RL identity, just says... so, so much.

David,

I suggest, Victor, that you move away from John's petty little argument, and to the search for this biggest picture of reality.

I like your theological and apologetics writings, David, so hopefully you can clarify this for me. What are you targeting here? It sounds at once like you think the OTF is important and bigger than Loftus (who didn't invent it anyway), and yet at the same time it sounds like you're discarding it in favor of something else. What did I miss?

Hugo Pelland said...

Crude, you misunderstand, or oversimplify because you are just trolling, I don't know, but anyway...

Yes, being 'cautious in what you say' is one of the many things that relate to 'self-awareness'. People who actually take the time to think about what they write are, generally, more self-aware, more cautious, more conscious, more analytical, etc... they are more self-aware of their own words, their own positions, their own ideas, and how to defend them, or not, and when to simply agree to disagree because opinions diverge. Regardless of their position. And I see it on this blog from both Theists and Atheists for instance. Search around and try to convince me that people using nicknames show just as much self-awareness as those who use RL identities.

Or better, why don't you just explain what it says, since you say it says "so, so much"? This thing of you trying to pretend you read into what it says 'about' me is fascinating... This is at least the 3rd time I think!

Joe Hinman said...

No Joe, your arguments are not better.

since you don't know what my arguments are I would suggest that you don't know that.


Yes, there are more, a lot more. Strong Atheism actually has very few good arguments in favor of it, if any, since it does not really make sense to try to justify 'there is no god'. However, there are always easy-to-show flaws in arguments in favor of theism, which is all that is needed to justify the rejection of Theism, hence the weaker Atheism position, as a disbelief of Theism, is the more rational one.

when I say my arguments are better than theirs I include among their arguments the one's they make trying to beat mine not just arguments to disprove God


Basically, my point was to point out the absurdity in claiming that something, anything, 'outweigh the case for atheism'. Because there is no such case; it's an irrelevant endeavor. What's relevant is the ton of evidence presented 'for' a particular position, such as Christian Theism, and why it is valid, or not. It is a fact that there are a lot of evidence, but my opinion is that the quality is poor, because the reasoning always depends on faulty assumptions regarding immaterialism.

I might be inclined to agree that wee can't compare the likelihood of God as real with that of not being real. Bt he atheist case sw negative, it's 'there's no reason to believe." If I show a rational arrant to believe than case at least is gone. I think that is the essence of the atheist position.

Joe Hinman said...

Are they all Woody Allen fans? I doubt it.

>>>now wait a minute. that blows the argument.; We should all like Woody Allen

Joe Hinman said...

I love how all Victor said here is 'I evaluate the evidence for competing claims about religion and metaphysics, and favor that which has the best evidence' and that's causing atheists to just be so testy. ;)

how can you tell? ;-)

planks length said...

What does "RL" stand for, as in RL identities?

Legion of Logic said...

"Basically, my point was to point out the absurdity in claiming that something, anything, 'outweigh the case for atheism'. Because there is no such case; it's an irrelevant endeavor."

That's like saying if you managed to convince me that Star Wars was a terrible Sci fi story, that I would automatically become a Star Trek fan.

Disproving Christianity does not make atheism a logically tenable position. The case must be made as to how atheism is a superior position. Far as agnostics go, that's fine up until the point they sit around bashing theists' beliefs, but for some ol' reason they never seem to criticise atheists for anything. Then their cover is blown.

planks length said...

I for one know that, were somehow someone to indisputably disprove Christianity, I would still not espouse atheism. I'd be looking around for another religion, such as Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism.. heck, even Animism (but definitely not Islam or Mormonism) to embrace.

The case for any one of those is far stronger than that for atheism.

Hugo Pelland said...

Lwgion, that's what I meant too actually; cases for/against Christianity are not about putting arguments on a scale versus Atheism.

But I disagree that Agnostics and Atheists are different. Both usually claim they don't know whether gods exist, knowing they don't is strange... so of curse Agnostics don't argue against Atheism. They don't have much to argue against.

Legion of Logic said...

However, there are always easy-to-show flaws in arguments in favor of theism, which is all that is needed to justify the rejection of Theism, hence the weaker Atheism position, as a disbelief of Theism, is the more rational one.

This is sort of the sentence that laid the foundation for my response, though of course you had no way of knowing that since I didn't quote it.

Agnosticism may be a reasonable position to hold, but it is only a state of knowledge about the truth. The truth itself is a subset of two possible categories: theism/deism and atheism. Either there is an extra-natural creator or there is not. We as creatures of limited knowledge can only make judgment calls based upon what we find to be most likely.

My working definitions of agnostic and atheist aren't philosophically universal terms, but I'm not aware of what the proper terms would be. I would say an agnostic would say "I don't know" and an atheist might say "I don't know, but I find atheism more likely than theism". A theist might say "I don't know, but I find theism more likely than atheism." In other words, an agnostic doesn't know, and an atheist leans toward 7 away from 4, to use the Richard Dawkins scale of 1 being absolute belief in a deity, 7 being absolute belief that there is no deity, and 4 being perfect agnostic.

If an agnostic criticizes those leaning toward theism, but not those leaning toward atheism, then I'd say that agnostic is not a 4 any longer. They're pretty much atheists - by my definitions as explained above.

The New Atheist movement actively seeks to create more atheists. It would be to those people that my point would be designed toward - successfully dismantling Christianity might move me from a theoretical 2 to a 3, but it would not make me a 4 and would definitely not propel me to 5. A positive case must be made to explain existence and the features thereof in an atheistic system, whatever it might be, and I believe that VR's point in the case for Christianity outweighing the case for atheism is that he, like I, do not believe such an argument has been successfully established yet.

Daniel Wilcox said...

You wrote, "Well, Christianity has archaeological support..."

I wonder what support you are referring to here, because many current archaeologists state the exact opposite--that there is no basis for the claims of Christianity in archaeological sites. None.

It's true, that some archaeologists of the past, (such as William F. Albright), declared that the accounts of the Bible were supported by their findings.

But even in those cases, such evidence was allegedly of only town sites (such as Jericho), kings' names, etc. None of the evidence supported any of the religious claims of the Bible.

I have a background in anthropology--majored in the subject for a while at university, and am an avid reader of it. Also, a PhD. relative does field work in various archaeological sites in the Middle East every year including in Palestine/Israel. She doesn't think the current evidence supports the accounts in the Bible.

I was a Christian for 55 years and in all those years sincerely wanted the Bible and Christianity to be supported.

Would you please refer me to the current archaeologists who think that the evidence supports Christianity's truth?

Hugo Pelland said...

Fair points Legion, thanks for clarifying.

From my perspective, the only difference is that I see the scale a bit shifted towards Theism, in the sense that a 1 is knowing God exists, just like 7 is knowing gods dont exist. Either is extreme, almost inexistant on the Atheism side and present only within fundamentalists on the Theist side. If one is willing to kill themselves because they 'know' they are right, thats a 1/7... but what do we have in the middle?

I think Deist or any kind of Theist who casually believe, mostly because of society, might be a 4. They are not sure what their own position is quite often... Self-labeled agnostics can fall under that too, and when pressed to choose a side, they would fall to 3 or 5, since they cannot literally not know how they feel about the god question, just like casual Theists who actually fall on the '5' side sometimes even if they keep the religious label, but are so far from actual strong belief in God that they are living 'as Atheists', if that makes any sense...

Finally, actual Atheists who argue against Theism and propose some ideas 'for' Atheism are the 6s, and somebrare 7s, but there isn't as much contrats here, because 'not' believing is just that, disbelief, and doesn't have much relevant levels of disbelief. Believing is what warrant a confidence scale, a level of certainty. Believing that there are no gods is not relevant to Atheism.

Crude said...

Believing that there are no gods is not relevant to Atheism.

So much for the 'writing under your real name grants you more self-awareness and prevents saying ludicrous stuff' theory.

Crude said...

Regarding where the topic's gone: casting atheism as a lack of belief, and thus a lack of claims, is popular with internet atheists. Largely because of the awareness that being thought of making a claim ('God does not exist') will come with a burden needing to be met to rationally persuade people, and the coupled realization that atheists have no good arguments to make for their position. Usually all you get is the complaint that it's incredibly difficult to argue for the truth of atheism, with the unspoken suggestion that, precisely because they regard it as impossible to prove and hard to give evidence for, you should just believe them.

So the view goes: 'Well, so long as I just -lack- God belief, I'm not making a claim, right? I'm making no claims about God, about God's existence or non-existence, and so long as I avoid claims, I have no burden. I'm safe!'

Except for a big problem: the 'lack of belief' move is made to avoid making claims, and to avoid the burden that comes with claims. But to avoid making claims about God means one is forced to sacrifice a wide variety of claims:

* God likely does not exist.
* Nature is unguided.
* Evolution in particular is unguided and unplanned.
* Naturalism is true.

And the list goes on.

Take a position on those, and you're back in the land of claims - including claims about God. And in come the burdens.

The person who really 'lacks belief about God' likewise lacks belief about ultimates and fundamentals. On the question of whether God exists or is likely to exist, they're not a 6.9. They're not even a 5. They're an 'I don't know'.

On the question of whether evolution is guided, their reply is 'I have no belief one way or the other'.

On the question of the truth of naturalism, the same.

But if they say, 'God likely doesn't exist, naturalism is true or probably true, evolution is certainly NOT guided by God or the outworking of a plan, nor is the world in general', they are in the land of claims, and it's time to ask for arguments and evidence. If they have none or refuse to provide any, but persist in their faith, well - then you know just what you're dealing with.

Victor Reppert said...

Daniel: See the link I just posted.

http://www.ncbible.info/MoodRes/Transmission/NTDocuments-Reliable-Bruce.pdf

Daniel Wilcox said...

Victor, thanks for the url.

However in the past, I read this book at least twice.

I don't recall that it gives archaeological support for Christianity any more than the excavations of ancient Greek temples gives archaeological support for the Greek religions.

The historical transmission of the texts of the Bible are an amazing account.

Crude said...

Daniel,

I don't recall that it gives archaeological support for Christianity any more than the excavations of ancient Greek temples gives archaeological support for the Greek religions.

Considering that you have people who flat out regard the Bible as the stuff of utter myth, where even Pontius Pilate was regarded by some skeptics as a literary creation until fairly recently, yeah - it's support. It falls well short of proof, but support and evidence, it is.

It's also the only kind of support we could expect archaeology to supply regardless. It's not like the field is that of detecting miracles.

Daniel Wilcox said...

Historians having found evidence for the existence of Pontius Pilate is no support of Christianity, but only that such a Roman leader mentioned in the New Testament existed.

For instance, somewhere I have evidence in my garage that a famous Christian apologist visited our home in the early 1970's. That's hard fact.

But his visiting our home and my evidence for his visit have no significance as evidence that the Christian miracles he claimed he was a part of actually happened.

Legion of Logic said...

Assuming your example of the visiting apologist means that you accept there is physical evidence Jesus existed, what evidence for miracles that occurred 2000 years ago should we expect to find, at a minimum? Is archaeology the best tool for investigating such claims?

If your apologist had performed a genuine miracle during his visit - say you tripped and slammed your head into something and had a skull fracture, and he healed you - what would be the evidence this had occurred? How would you convince others this had occurred? And by what paradigm should we judge the miracle claims of others?

Joe Hinman said...

David

"I have a background in anthropology--majored in the subject for a while at university, and am an avid reader of it. Also, a PhD. relative does field work in various archaeological sites in the Middle East every year including in Palestine/Israel. She doesn't think the current evidence supports the accounts in the Bible."

does she knowhow Corbo was?

the problem is that you expect direct, clear, absolute proof. that's not going to happen for anything. it's hard to prove the earth is not flat if the flat earther is insistent enough on doubting all evidence.

Archeological evidence does not have to be of direct proof to be of value.

Daniel Wilcox said...

You wrote,"Archaeological evidence does not have to be of direct proof to be of value."

Where is there any evidence, even a slight amount, giving evidence of Christianity?

Many of us searched for years, but could find none.

Daniel Wilcox said...

You wrote, "Is archaeology the best tool for investigating such claims?"

Exactly. I don't think archaeology can provide evidence for Christianity. That was my original point.

planks length said...

Daniel, read my comments (two, so far) on the F.F. Bruce discussion above this one.

Legion of Logic said...

I'm glad we agree that one should not depend on archaeology alone to investigate miracles.

planks length said...

What should we depend on, when evaluating accounts of the miraculous to which all eyewitnesses are dead?

Consider this concerning a rather odd burial mound, according to the otherwise non-controversial 9th Century historian Nennius:

"There is a burial mound near a spring which is known as Licut Anir ... And when men come to measure the length of the mound, they find it sometimes six feet, sometimes nine, sometimes twelve, and sometimes fifteen. Whatever length you find it at one time, you will find it different at another, and I myself have proved this to be true. ("Et ego solus probavi" - my emphasis)

Crude said...

Daniel,

Historians having found evidence for the existence of Pontius Pilate is no support of Christianity, but only that such a Roman leader mentioned in the New Testament existed.

Which is support for the veracity of the Bible, which in turn is support for Christianity.

Really, man. You're making it sound like 'archaeological support for the bible' would mean 'They found the Ark of the Covenant and it burned off a bunch of nazis faces', and anything short of that means absolutely zero evidence.

But, perhaps this is miscommunication. You make reference to how you and others searched - desperately - for archaeological evidence of Christianity, and found nothing. You regard corroboration of the existence of people and places and (presumably, mundane) events to be non-evidence.

Alright: give an example of what you'd expect archaeology to find.

Daniel Wilcox said...

You wrote, "Which is support for the veracity of the Bible, which in turn is support for Christianity."

No. On the contrary, the veracity of historical events in a work of ancient literature isn't support for any particular religion.

There is plenty of archaeological and textural evidence for Greek Pagan literature, but that doesn't give any of the various Greek religions
"support."

I doubt that archaeology could find evidence for spiritual truths.

It's even questionable whether or not a scientist or historian could find evidence for any miracles. The ancient Middle East is too far removed.

And consider, even in modern times, no scientist has been able to document that any of the miraculous claims by Christians have happened.

I was a committed Christian for 55 years, and spent many of those years checking out various claims for miracles. Some of the claims seemed so genuine and so supported that I was taken in and believed they had happened.

But then other Christian scholars proved that the claimed miracles were hearsay, Christian "urban legends," bogus, misdiagnosis, placebo, and fraud.

That last fact--that some of the miracles that had been promulgated by leading Christian magazines, later turned out to be deliberate frauds.

That was very disconcerting.