Comment by matt.clerke on August 18, 2011 at 12:32am

Agreed, the wiki definition is useless... it is a highly simplified version of the rules of evidence. Mostly I liked part (b), where a thing is considered evidence once it is proven true. Of course we can't prove anything to be true but we can approximate the truth as closely as possible. In the case of the bible, there is no supporting evidence that I have seen to suggest that that Bible is true. Other than anecdotal evidence like testimony, which is equally invalid as that also has no supporting evidence(other than the bible itself), at least none that I've ever seen.

 

Long story short, a Christian saying they met God would be as much proof of the Bible as if I said I met Gandalf and that was proof of LotR. (For the record, the creation story in the Silmarillian is much nicer than the one in the Bible.)

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 18, 2011 at 12:41am

"Other than anecdotal evidence like testimony, which is equally invalid..."

Ok, so let's say you're a historian and you find a document written by the Nazis. Let's say it was written by Eichmann, but in the document Eichmann says that Hitler told him to exterminate the Jews. Testimony, anecdote, but no kind of EVIDENCE at all? Surely not. It's not PROOF of anything. But it's SOME kind of evidence.

If testimony is not evidence, why is it admitted in court? How would things look if it wasn't?

 

"there is no supporting evidence that I have seen to suggest that that Bible is true."

Which bit? The Bible says Jerusalem exists. Not true? Ok. That's frivolous. What about that the Romans cruxified people. It's in the Bible. Not true? True? Is the Bible not evidence that this happened. Yes, surely it is. It's not proof. And it might not even be the strongest evidence. For example, Romans might have produced far stronger evidence themselves in their records. But the Bible is still evidence to that effect, however weak.

As I wrote to Eric, what counts as evidence is not necessarily intuitive. I also don't think it helps to think in huge, sweeping categories like "Bible is true or not true" and "anecdotes are never evidence". It's just unhelpful. Things are subtler than that. And be careful about mixing up evidence and proof. Not the same by a mile.

Comment by matt.clerke on August 18, 2011 at 1:14am

Well first of all, it was written by a known author. If we know that author was, in fact, a nazi and did exist, then that is evidence that the testimony is true. Not proven of course, but evidence.

 

Regarding the Bible as evidence of crucifixion: There are goblins in LotR. We know that part of LotR is fiction because we see no supporting evidence of goblins. Some parts of the Bible are true, like the fact that some cities and stuff does actually exist. But the Bible contributes nothing as evidence that these places exist. Like if I wrote a story about my town, it is not evidence that my story is true just because it features something which exists.(the LotR analogy doesn't extend this far :P)

 

I also don't think it helps to think in huge, sweeping categories like "Bible is true or not true"

That's fair enough, certainly some parts of it have supporting evidence.

 

be careful about mixing up evidence and proof. Not the same by a mile

Apologies, I seem to of used the words interchangeably.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 18, 2011 at 1:49am

Ok. Let me suggest another scenario. You go to the bus stop and you meet a guy there. You don't know who he is but he looks damn old. He tells you about an event he witnessed 70 years ago in a country you've never been to. Testimony? Yep. Anecdote? Yep. Do you know the guy? Nope. Is it proof the story's true? Nope. Corroborated? Nope. At least not that you know whilst you're at the bus stop. Is it SOME kind of evidence? Yes.

 

Btw, on "the Bible contributes nothing as evidence to that these places exist". I disagree. If you destroyed the sum of all evidence re places mentioned in the Bible, except the Bible, you'd still have that rather weak document that suggests that these places did exist. You'd know it was written by people who lived there 2000 years ago or so, that multiple places in the Bible refer to the places... it's still some kind of evidence that these places exist.

 

I think much of the confusion here arises because very weak evidence doesn't seem compelling. You'd never base your beliefs on really crummy evidence. That doesn't mean that crummy evidence isn't evidence. Eric wasn't able even to entertain this notion. I tried the Raven Paradox on him for that reason but he didn't seem to be able to consider it. The point is you don't have to be persuaded by it, nor does it have to be strong... but weak evidence is still evidence. Even very weak evidence can be. Some things are just counter-intuitive.

Comment by matt.clerke on August 18, 2011 at 2:14am

Is it SOME kind of evidence?

Not at any useful level, no. I have had Christians talk to me at the bus stop.... was that evidence that the Bible is true? a teeeeeeny tiny bit, yes, only so far as I then knew one person in the world actually believed the Bible.

 

If you destroyed the sum of all evidence re places mentioned in the Bible, except the Bible, you'd still have that rather weak document that suggests that these places did exist.

By this logic, I can assume you believe in the existence of middle earth? I doubt it. If the Bible was the only reference to an ancient city which no longer exists and there is no other evidence for this city, then I wouldn't believe that the city ever existed... Same as middle earth. 

 

but weak evidence is still evidence.

If you define weak evidence as you do in your central paragraph below then LotR is EQUALLY evidence for the existence of middle earth. Very very very very very...

...very very very weak evidence - to the point that bringing it up in a debate would get you laughed at.

 

If we look at this from another perspective, the fact that there is an existing body of evidence that places in the bible were real places is evidence that the author(s) of the Bible had some knowledge of those places when they wrote the Bible. In fact, I would call that evidence fairly strong. What your saying is that the author's testimony on the existence of some place is evidence that place exists (even in the absence of all other evidence). If write a story set in a town which has left no evidence of its existence (btw, pretty much the only way to do this would be for the town to not exist), is that evidence for its existence? I say no.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on August 18, 2011 at 6:55am

You know, you can go hatin' on the book all you like, but you can't refute that it's a compact, Bronze Age library that reveals a lot about the time in which it was written.  How will our own writing look 2000 years from now?  Is the West occupying the East to 'destroy evil' - the Commander in Chief who initiated all the bullshit seemed to think so.  Is that evidence of evil?  Is it evidence that people of the 21st century still held Bronze Age beliefs in things such as evil?

 

Having read the bible cover to cover a couple of times, I can confidently say that it is not only evidence but, rather, strong evidence that Yahweh is the creation of human minds and that the story of Jesus, if he even existed, is permanently muddled by the lens of time - a good indication that he was not, in fact, a messiah of any sort, let alone a messenger and/or son of Yahweh.

 

If I were a member of a jury in the United States, however, my evaluation of the evidence would not be the majority evaluation.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on August 18, 2011 at 7:05am

The video is a least consistent from start to finish. It never once contradicts itself. It does seem similar to may collection of theology books though. Makes you think !!

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 18, 2011 at 11:13am

Matt,

 

Excerpt from your comment:

 

If you destroyed the sum of all evidence re places mentioned in the Bible, except the Bible, you'd still have that rather weak document that suggests that these places did exist.

By this logic, I can assume you believe in the existence of middle earth? I doubt it.

---

It seems I have been wasting my time after all. How many comments now? And you still aren't able to separate in your head what is "evidence" as a category and what is evidence compelling enough to justify a belief. Not all evidence is strong enough to justify a belief but that doesn't mean it's not evidence. And it doesn't mean it's proof.

Comment by Luke Scientiae on August 18, 2011 at 11:17am

Eric,

It is far from broad and sweeping to say the bible isn't true.

Yes it is, unless you say which bits you mean. Clearly the Bible exists. Clearly some parts of it are true, like that Pontius Pilate existed. That Jesusalem and Bethlehem exist. "The Bible isn't true" is a poor, unrefined statement, unless you say in which regard it is untrue. For example, its untrue that Jesus was the son of God, or that he rose from th dead or at least one of his genealogies has to be wrong... the previous objection was to sweeping statements like "The Bible is not true" which are meaningless.

Comment by Shanna on August 18, 2011 at 11:49am

That was funny.

 

Comment

You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

Atheist Sites

Blog Posts

Rounding Up?

Posted by Carol Foley on November 20, 2014 at 3:17am 2 Comments

Services we love!

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

In need a of a professional web site? Check out the good folks at Clear Space Media

© 2014   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service