I agree it is a large body of evidence. I am not so sure about the "sound" part. What the wiki meant to say by "sound" is that the evidence is valid.
For evidence to be valid, firstly it must be hard or impossible to falsify. What is the evidence presented for Christianity? The best form of evidence is empirical evidence ( verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic ). ALL of the evidence for any religion is not empirical. Moreover, it is NOT hard or impossible to falsify ( look at the massive number of different contradicting religions ).
All the evidence the apologetics propose are easily falsifiable. I can invent anything, and you can call that my religion. Everybody that acts on that which I created ( the doctrine ) and tries to support it ( the apologetic ), is meaningless when I have just invented it.
To prove something, you cannot use the system to prove the system ( i.e. you cannot use the idea of a god to prove God or you cannot use quotes from the Bible to prove the Bible ). You need something that is on a greater system. Let's say: reality. That is the widest system we know. Why not try to prove the origin of religion X ( which are the holy texts of religion X ) by using observation originated from that which we CAN observe.
Theist argument: Because you cannot observe it, then you cannot discard it.
True. But, like in Carl Sagan's argument of "The dragon in the garage", the most sensible and safe approach is to deny it until further clarification.
Religion is UNCERTAIN. Sorry for caps. But, it is UNCERTAIN. People believe it only from fear, only from hope for the 0.000...01 chance that there is a God. They hate death and non-existence, and they love to live when they die. Live when you die? Yes, for god, everything is possible.
Until you can prove the unobservable and immaterial God, then I will not believe what you say. Then you say: "You cannot prove something unobservable and immaterial!". Agreed. Then why believe it? After all, the unobservable and immaterial share astonishing similarities with the non-existent.
Apart from fear and a reassurance that "It is going to be OK, just for those who believe in Him", I have no reason to believe in something very uncertain.
Clarification. Practically, you either believe or you don't. It just varies in magnitude. Agnosticism refers to a person as being either uncertain there about something or Gnosticism, which means he is certain about it.
Call me a 6, then. I am about as certain that there is no god as I am certain that there is no pink elephant in my garage right now (and I mean real pink elephant, not a childs toy which conceivably might be in a box in my garage that I've forgotten about...).
I'm a seven on that scale. I absolutely know that God does not exist and the possibility isn't even worth entertaining. My logic tells me to be a six but does it make a man less logical or rational when he doesn't seriously entertain the idea that a little pink elephant lives on the end of his nose? No. Nobody calls that man an idiot.
That being said, that's the same scale Dawkins presents in his The God Delusion.
I agree. I think there ARE absolutes that you can say with full confidence. I can say for 100% certain that I can't read Mandarin either, or swim across the ocean, or dive, bare, to the bottom of the deepest trench in the ocean and survive. I can say for 100% certain that God doesn't exist and it doesn't require knowing everything in the universe to know that-- I believe that's a logical fallacy of *some sort*-- because I don't have to know everything in the universe to know there isn't an invisible pink unicorn prancing on the tip of my nose at any given time either. In the same regard, I know there isn't a microscopic teapot orbiting between the Earth and Mars. I don't have to know everything to say that and be 100% certain, I just know that the laws of our universe do not give us any reason at all to ever believe that there would be such things in existence. One has to pick and choose his battles as to what science does and doesn't know. If there was ever shown reasonable evidence to support any of those ludicrous claims, sure, science should pay attention to evidence, but we know that such evidence will not come forth. Maybe it's closed minded, but nobody will ever call you a retard for refuting a silly claim like, 'if a fetus flaps its arms in the uterus, the mother can fly.' Such claims, including God, would be profoundly absurd, and don't deserve legitimate or equal attention, nor do you have to know everything in the universe to know that it doesn't happen that way.
I'd have to agree with you there, Ava. My basic argument is as follows:
People don't have a unified concept of what "god" even means, so to argue against this concept, I tend to separate it into three categories:
1. Logically impossible gods. Things like the omnibenevolent, omnipotent god that allows evil to exist. Obviously these are just plain impossible.
2. Untestable gods. This sort of god is the typical sort that your "sophisticated theologian" believes in. But since this sort is untestable, even in principle, this sort of god just proves itself to be an exercise in self-delusion.
3. Testable gods. This is the interventionist god. Such as a god that heals in answer to prayer. This sort of god is roundly and routinely ruled out by observation.
It's also worth noting that most gods that some might think of as falling into category 3 actually fall under category 2 in practice. For instance, if we could actually show that prayer healed people, that would just show that prayer heals people, not that there is some god doing the healing. But in practice we don't have to even worry about this subtlety, as every test of a god ever conceived has turned out to falsify the god in question (that I've heard of, anyway...I assume if one test did come out positive, god bots the world over would be shouting it from the rooftops).
So yeah, due to the incoherence of the very word "god", put me down as a 7 as well.
I don't understand what the point of your post is. As an argument for a god, prayer being a placebo effect is about as much a non-argument as you can get. If you're arguing in favor of using a placebo as a treatment, that's a whole other discussion.
I would still disagree, as using a placebo as a treatment involves lying to the patient. And there is also no reason to suspect that prayer is a particularly strong form of placebo anyway.
But if you're trying to somehow say that prayer actually works, well, there's a very, very easy way to show that it doesn't: there exist incurable disorders. If there is a god healing people, then for this to be meaningful at all, this god needs to circumvent the laws of nature. So if there is a god doing the healing, every once in a while, it will heal something that would be otherwise incurable.
But we do have incurable disorders, such as amputated limbs, ergo there is no supernatural healing entity.