Evidence

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Born_again
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Evidence

Post by Born_again »

I have been condemned by evidence. I have been condemned by lack of evidence. And my sentence?

My sentence is a lifetime's worth of knowing that I am socially abnormal.

Being socially abnormal isn't exactly something you would brag about to your friends, colleagues or kin, is it? Would you head up your curriculum vitae or résumé by stating that you are "socially abnormal"? I mean, employers or friends would much prefer someone that is a team player; or at least somebody that somewhat conforms to societal norms, would they not? The irony for me is that the evidence that so rigidly guides the formulation of my individual world-view makes my social abnormality incontrovertible .... bummer!!

The likes of steven lloyd have caused me to be a little more introspective and self-critical, and even prompted a little foray into the world of philosophy(as opposed to my more accustomed reliance on lay-scientific methodology) to try and sort out my deficits with regards to logic, reason and evidence. Sadly, the world of philosophy offers me little refuge. Take, for example, a simple syllogistic logic test:

Born_again's lack of belief in god, gods or God is only a view shared by a social minority.

A social minority's view on a particular subject is not the social norm, and thus, it's abnormal; therefore Born_again is socially abnormal.


Ouch!! That hurts; or does it? What if the tables were turned, and it is in fact the social majority who are abnormal :eyeballspin: ? Now that is a contradiction of terms to chew on!! NAB has recently posted a UBC study that indicates that the Western Civilisation is "weird" when viewed from a global perspective with regards to an unrelated set of social traits, or norms.
Should I put a 'hold' on the order for a socially-prescribed dose of cognitive dissonance and get "normal", or carry on with seemingly forlorn abandon, akin to a Winston Smithian's futile resolve until I get crushed? I mean, isn't the line of least resistance more fruitful, despite the subjective dishonesty it would require?

So, for sanity's sake(mine, that is), can anyone challenge my position that until evidence is produced, my lack of belief in god, gods or God is 'irrational' and/or 'abnormal' ? Have I missed the evidence because I have not been using the correct methodology? In the interest of fairness, I'm willing to step out of my cocoon of scientific methodology to consider philosophical and other methods to validate evidences.

[Legal evidence: -- burden of proof (establishing on whom the burden of proof lies)]

Direct(legal) -- (supports the truth of an assertion directly, i.e., without an intervening inference)

Circumstantial(legal) -- (supports the truth of evidence, from which the truth of the assertion may be inferred)

Philosophical 1 -- Classificatory (does the evidence confirm the hypothesis)

Philosophical 2 -- Comparative (does the evidence support a first hypothesis more than an alternative hypothesis)

Philosophical 3 -- Quantitative (the degree to which the evidence supports a hypothesis)

Philosophical 4 -- Confirmation (observational data and evidence “speak in favour of” or support scientific theories and everyday hypotheses)

Scientific -- (evidence accumulated through observations of phenomena that occur in the natural world, or which are created as experiments in a laboratory or other controlled conditions)

Theological 1 -- (through historical and hermeneutical inquiry)

Theological 2 -- philosophical (principally phenomenological-linguistic and metaphysical) inquiry

Theological 3 -- Comparison (critical comparison of the significant similarities, differences or identities of the "meanings" uncovered in the investigation of each "source.")


So, where does the weight of evidence lay? Have I missed an interpretation of evidence? Help!!, I need some evidence! Does anyone have some evidence to offer, sell or trade?
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fluffy
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Re: Evidence

Post by fluffy »

Does lack of evidence assure lack of existence? I think it's fair to say that the jury is still out on the existence of God in all of countless forms that concept takes.
Denial is based on one very specific desire – for something to not be true.
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Born_again
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Re: Evidence

Post by Born_again »

-fluffy- wrote:Does lack of evidence assure lack of existence? I think it's fair to say that the jury is still out on the existence of God in all of countless forms that concept takes.



To use the oft' repeated phrase "Does lack of evidence assure lack of existence?" is generally a crutch for those that have not been able to fully reconcile their belief with reality, and sadly not much thought goes into it's implications. You cannot prove the non-existence or existence of non-existence, or any possible permutation of that. It is simply an invalid concept.

Bertrand Russell highlighted this fallacy thus:
Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
-- Bertrand Russell, "Is There a God?"


So, . . . . back to the evidence bit.
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Nebula
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Re: Evidence

Post by Nebula »

Well, Born, in all honesty, I do believe you are abnormal, but not because of your lack of belief in a diety. You're just odd. That's why I like ya!

:127:
You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not use reason to arrive at.
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steven lloyd
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Re: Evidence

Post by steven lloyd »

Born_again wrote:I have been condemned by evidence. I have been condemned by lack of evidence. And my sentence?

My sentence is a lifetime's worth of knowing that I am socially abnormal.

Being socially abnormal isn't exactly something you would brag about to your friends, colleagues or kin, is it? Would you head up your curriculum vitae or résumé by stating that you are "socially abnormal"? I mean, employers or friends would much prefer someone that is a team player; or at least somebody that somewhat conforms to societal norms, would they not? The irony for me is that the evidence that so rigidly guides the formulation of my individual world-view makes my social abnormality incontrovertible .... bummer!!

The likes of steven lloyd have caused me to be a little more introspective and self-critical, and even prompted a little foray into the world of philosophy(as opposed to my more accustomed reliance on lay-scientific methodology) to try and sort out my deficits with regards to logic, reason and evidence. Sadly, the world of philosophy offers me little refuge. Take, for example, a simple syllogistic logic test:

Born_again's lack of belief in god, gods or God is only a view shared by a social minority.

A social minority's view on a particular subject is not the social norm, and thus, it's abnormal; therefore Born_again is socially abnormal.

:127: I think you’re being a bit hard on yourself BA. In the first place, I am inclined to believe that atheism is a growing doctrine and I am quite certain you can find many people with beliefs very similar to your own that you can be friends with (if that’s what you require from a friend). I have many atheist friends and I completely respect their right to have their own belief system and I’m not threatened by that in the least. Indeed, I have heard what you are saying when you make references to the threats we face in society from organized religions, and for the most part I agree with you there wholeheartedly. Perhaps it is your inclination of trying to lump everyone who questions what might or might not exist, or what purpose there might or might not be into one homogenous group that causes you so much angst. For someone who is able to display such a high degree of insightful and intelligent thought in the writing of your posts I am always surprised by this limitation that seems to confound you. The fact of the matter is that there are as many different perceptions and understandings of what is and what isn’t regarding this subject as there are people on this planet. You really should be easier on yourself and not just assume that everyone who believes there might be more to this reality than what is known or will ever be known by our science is somehow a threat to you. No one's out to get you BA (or convert you for that matter).
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Re: Evidence

Post by fluffy »

steven lloyd wrote:You really should be easier on yourself and not just assume that everyone who believes there might be more to this reality than what is known or will ever be known by our science is somehow a threat to you.


True. Personal beliefs are just that, personal, and do not require approval of others to maintain relevance in the mind of the holder of said beliefs. If, indeed, you do need the approval of others to validate your own beliefs, then perhaps that is a sign to reassess your own place in the greater scheme of things. The same can be said for those who feel a need to deliberately disparage the beliefs of others.

To each his own, live and let live, and all that jazz.
Denial is based on one very specific desire – for something to not be true.
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Re: Evidence

Post by flamingfingers »

Why on earth would anyone feel that they are 'abnormal' if they do not meet the criteria of the so-called 'majority?? Having been a square peg in a whole world of round holes, I have learned to accept the fact that I am 'different'. But I do manage to find a lot of other square pegs. The round holes are there, have to tolerate their dogma but it does not particularly affect me. Perhaps eventually the square pegs will effect change to the round holes.....
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Re: Evidence

Post by mtnman1 »

Yeah but, what if you find a square hole?
Lack of objection is implied consent.
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steven lloyd
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Re: Evidence

Post by steven lloyd »

flamingfingers wrote: Perhaps eventually the square pegs will effect change to the round holes.....

:129: Or everyone will learn to accept, appreciate and value diversity.
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Re: Evidence

Post by fluffy »

What, nobody wins?
Denial is based on one very specific desire – for something to not be true.
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Born_again
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Re: Evidence

Post by Born_again »

By that, I take it that there will be no evidence forthcoming from you, fluffy? Thank you for popping in. Your habitual concern for other peoples delicate sensibilities are duly noted.

steven lloyd, I clearly stated that I'm prepared to step out of my 'science cocoon', and that I'd be interested in hearing of evidences from any of the above-listed methodologies for my personal consideration. Whilst I appreciate that you may have concerns for my mental and social well-being, I'd be far happier to discuss what evidence people have for believing in god/gods/God. I'm not even interested in dissecting a respondents claims in public, unless, of course, they consent to do so.
What I'm not prepared to do is to stop asking tricky questions, as I am currently free and empowered to do so. Unlike some lucky people here, I have no afterlife to look forward to, and thus all the answers it claims to provide. I need to ask my questions in the here and now.
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steven lloyd
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Re: Evidence

Post by steven lloyd »

Born_again wrote: steven lloyd, I clearly stated that I'm prepared to step out of my 'science cocoon', and that I'd be interested in hearing of evidences from any of the above-listed methodologies for my personal consideration. Whilst I appreciate that you may have concerns for my mental and social well-being, I'd be far happier to discuss what evidence people have for believing in god/gods/God. I'm not even interested in dissecting a respondents claims in public, unless, of course, they consent to do so. What I'm not prepared to do is to stop asking tricky questions, as I am currently free and empowered to do so. Unlike some lucky people here, I have no afterlife to look forward to, and thus all the answers it claims to provide. I need to ask my questions in the here and now.

BA, just stating you can suddenly be trusted to share deep personal experience hardly cuts it. Trust is something that is earned over time through consistent behaviour and some intimate sharing on your own part ( something I would not encourage anyone to risk publicly on these boards ). For example, I can only imagine why you are so obsessed with challenging other people’s spiritual beliefs and why the idea that some people have beliefs you cannot accept has you so threatened – particularly given your seemingly high level of acumen. You can go ahead and continue to ask the “tricky questions” if you wish, but most posters of even average intelligence here are going to realize that as long as the answers don’t fit your existing rigid paradigm it is still obvious where your interest in this matter really lies and that sharing their experience with you will be a counterproductive exercise. For myself, I’d rather get a good night’s sleep.

p.s. I will say that like yourself, and consistent with Buddhist philosophy, I am also not waiting for the afterlife for my questions to be answered ( if indeed there is an afterlife that we would be consciously aware of ). Perhaps unlike yourself, however, I have come to learn and accept that while there are questions I can ask and seek answers for “in the here and now”, there are also questions that cannot be answered in this life and that I don’t need to have those questions answered in this life. You don’t need to worry BA. The universe will unfold as it should.

:124:
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Re: Evidence

Post by fluffy »

Born_again wrote:What I'm not prepared to do is to stop asking tricky questions, as I am currently free and empowered to do so.


So you intent here is not to enhance or refine your own belief system, but to instill doubt in other's minds as to the validity of their belief system? I'm not sure what that would accomplish.

There are countless variations on the concept of "God", from the more traditional supreme being sort of thing to mre recent entrants such as the Gaia hypothesis. It's hard to propose blanket comments on a topic so diverse, other than to say that it really doesn't matter what the individual does or doesn't believe or not believe in to anyone other than the individual himself. It is quite possible that one could hold beliefs in concepts that others would interpret as belief in God while maintaining a stance of atheism. This could apply to both sides of the fence, what God do you not believe in?
Denial is based on one very specific desire – for something to not be true.
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Re: Evidence

Post by Born_again »

-fluffy- wrote:So you intent here is not to enhance or refine your own belief system, but to instill doubt in other's minds as to the validity of their belief system? I'm not sure what that would accomplish.


I'm not quite sure how you formulate your assumptions, fluffy, but your method might indeed benefit from some prejudicial respite. If you determine that one human being's yearning to better understand his neighbour's contrary viewpoints on varied matters is in some way malicious, then so be it. I am familiar with similar methods to thwart genuine inquiry and discourse; but admittedly it is normally dished out by an imam or evangelical pastor 'protecting' their flock. I appreciate the difficulty one might experience in critically examining one's held beliefs or viewpoints, but as sentient creatures I feel that it is one of our most powerful tools in forging a civilisation bereft of mistrust and conflict.
Regardless, though I feel I have not made ground on my quest, your input has been helpful.

-fluffy- wrote: . . . . what God do you not believe in?

I believe in all of the gods, but only in the sense that they are all a concept of human construct; much as love is a concept that is arguably a uniquely human phenomena. In summary, I believe in mankind as the creator of god/gods/God, though I oft' despair about the way in which some of us abuse our attributes.
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Re: Evidence

Post by Piecemaker »

Does love exist?
It's possible to do all the right things and still get a bad result.

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