Comment by Dark Star on August 17, 2011 at 11:25am

that video is 11 seconds too long.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 17, 2011 at 11:35am

I doubt that banal videaos like this are constructive on any level. It's mild amusement for atheists, nothing more. Strictly speaking, it's also wrong. It's worth remembering that there IS evidence for God's existence (testimony, holy books, etc.) but it is all pathetically weak and a million miles from compelling. That's not the same as no evidence at all. The problem with theism is the poor quality of the evidence and reasoning. It goes no way towards persuading people that that's the case by putting up videos like this. At best it's an inaccurate, self-congratulatory distraction.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 17, 2011 at 11:46am

Eric,

Hi. Sorry to say but you are wrong. Holy books are evidence, they're just extremely bad evidence, which is the problem. People who claim to have seen God also have evidence, but it's not evidence that warrants the conclusion "God exists". It's evidence, but it's anecdotal, and flawed for other reasons too. But it is evidence. Evidence doesn't mean proof. I'm not making it up, that's just how it is. Anecdotal evidence isn't good evidence, but it is evidence. That is just how epistemology goes. I'm an atheist but this video and other things like this go no way towards helping the cause.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 17, 2011 at 12:45pm

Any witness testimony is evidence. There are plenty of people who claim to have seen, say, Jesus or Mary or something. We know from neurology that many of them are not intentionally lying. So their testimony is witness testimony, its just completely unreliable for other reasons (because there are other explanations - better explanations - for why they saw what they think they saw). IT is evidence, but it's anecdotal and unreliable. It's false to say "it's not evidence" merely because, however rightly, you don't find it compelling. You asked about the Bible. Take accounts of Jesus' life: written 70 years (earliest) after he was around. Pathetically weak, for sure. But it is SOME kind of evidence, even if it's based on 70 years of Chinese whispers about him. Evidence doesn't mean proof. My guess is that if you looked into what makes evidence and what doesn't you'd be quite surprised what you find. See what you think:

Take "all ravens are black" as a hypothesis. Now, we both know you can't prove it because you can't ever know you've found all the ravens in existence, and the set of raven's you haven't found might contain, say, a white raven. So you can't prove all ravens are black, but does finding additional black ravens count as EVIDENCE for the hypothesis? By Nicod's criterion (look it up), yes it does. And most people would count similar things too. Take that the Sun has ALWAYS risen in the east every day. Is that evidence that the SUN must always rise in the East (if you know nothing else about astronomy, say)? Yes, it is. Is it proof? No, because you can't prove anything using an inductive inference.

Ok. If you're on board with that, take something far more counter-intuitive. Take the colour of your eyes. Let's say it's blue. Does the fact that your eyes are blue count as evidence that all ravens are black? I'm sure you would say no, but the logic of the situation is that it does. If you look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven_paradox you'll find out why. You eye colour (and all instances of things that are non-black and non-ravens) count as evidence that all ravens are black. Counterintuitive. Evidence. Not proof.

My point is that evidence is not as simple as you seem to think, and in any case claims to witnessing religious figures/miracles and written accounts of the same are evidence. They're just really crap evidence. That doesn't mean it's proof and it doesn't mean that it has to be intuitive for atheists to accept it. (I'm an atheist, btw.) "You're making this shit up..." isn't an argument. Go and study what evidence is. I don't mean to attack you, just to point out that it's worth finding out more about it.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 17, 2011 at 1:06pm

Considering what evidence is reliable and for what reason is a major component of philosophy, epistemology and its important when considering why science works, when, how and how reliable conclusions are. The same goes for history, archeology, law...

So you have a choice: you can endeavour to understand something about it or you can tell people you disagree with to shut up when they present things you simply don't agree with on a guy level. That you've chosen the latter doesn't change what evidence is and that such things as weak circumstantial and weak anecdotal evidence are still forms of evidence, even if they are very far from being proofs. That's not me "making shit up", that's centuries of reasoning (mainly since the Enlightenment, btw) about what forms of evidence warrant what kinds of conclusions. Telling people to shut up and that they're "making shit up" isn't a reasonable argument against any of that. Nor is the quasi-religious repetition of "no it's not" when you don't like what you're hearing.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 17, 2011 at 1:07pm

gut, not guy

Comment by james d on August 17, 2011 at 1:17pm

well stated!

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 17, 2011 at 1:45pm

Eric,

 I've been wasting my time. You clearly haven't even understood the difference I'm pointing out between evidence and proof. You are now misrepresenting my position:

 

"you can not for one moment tell me that my mere testimony of evolution's validity or non-peer reviewed literature on the topic would be sufficient evidence for you to believe in it!!!
Because that's what you're saying."

 

I am NOT SAYING ANYTHING OF THE SORT and I hoped you'd be smart enough to see that, for example from my REPEATED use of phrases like "not proof" and "not compelling" with respect to the evidence I've addressed.

 

So you've not understood my point and now misrepresented it, failed to recognise the difference between evidence and proof, continued to repeat your disagreement without addressing the salient point, and asserted I'm "making shit up" and then told me to shut up. That's not even vaguely rational behaviour. My points about evidence offend your inuition and all you've made no effort to gain any understanding of what evidence is, despite originally commenting on it here by congratulating the video. It's a shame you can't be reasoned with.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 17, 2011 at 1:47pm

"You're trying to compare centuries of observation and prediction and historical accounts against the validity of peoples fairy tails?"

 

Never said anything about either. I was trying to get you to think about what counts as evidence and what doesn't and that what does isn't always intuitive. All I've gotten back from you is a dedication to ignorance, having my view misrepresented and being told to shut up. Stay ignorant if you want to. Shame, though.

Comment by Ghost The Smoker on August 17, 2011 at 5:39pm

Now I finally understand how Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort can be so passionate about this.

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