XFiles Fri–uh, Saturday…

[Sorry for the late post. I had an unplanned out-of-state trip.]

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 12.)

When a pair of Christian apologists, who believe in salvation by faith alone, get together to pen a book complaining that atheists have more faith than Christians, you can expect a certain amount of cognitive dissonance to show up in their writing. We have a good example of that as Geisler and Turek attempt to address the principle that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. First they complain that skeptics are being unreasonably demanding. Then they act like they’ve got no clue what “extraordinary” means. Then they claim that they have extraordinary evidence. Then they set unreasonably high standards of evidence for skeptics to live up to with regards to evolution. Then they mush all their confusions into one by complaining that skeptics believe the story of Alexander the Great on far less evidence than exists for the Resurrection. And then they wrap up by denying that evidence is really necessary, in Jesus’ case.

In short, the whole concept of evidence simply freaks them out.

The dictum that says “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence” is simply a rejection of superstition. It’s the scientific counter to the argument that says supernatural explanations do not need any evidence, because science cannot study the supernatural. Granted, “the supernatural” is, by definition, that which science cannot verify (since it wouldn’t be branded “supernatural” if it could be studied scientifically). Nevertheless, from a rational and truth-loving perspective, the impossibility of verifying supernatural claims means that we cannot reasonably infer that they are necessarily true.  Extraordinary claims demand evidence consistent with what is claimed.

Geisler and Turek try and strike a reasonable pose by conceding that it’s not unreasonable to expect the evidence to be consistent with the claims, if the claims are to be accepted as true. This pose only lasts for about one sentence, however, before they begin trying to worm their way out of its constraints.

[S]ince the New Testament makes extraordinary claims—such as miracles—we must have extraordinary evidence in order to believe those claims. This objection seems reasonable until you ask, “What does ‘extraordinary’ mean?”

They know good and well what “extraordinary” means, since they recognize that miracles are extraordinary. The point of raising the question in connection with the evidence  is to try and give themselves some wiggle room by adopting, once again, some very specific, narrow, and biased definitions of “extraordinary” that they can either excuse themselves from providing, or claim to have already given.

If it means beyond the natural, then the skeptic is asking the Resurrection to be confirmed by another miracle…In order to believe in the first miracle (the Resurrection), the skeptic would then need a second miracle to support it. He would then demand a third miracle to support the second, and this would go on to infinity. So by this criteria, the skeptic would never believe in the Resurrection even if it really happened. There’s something wrong with a standard of proof that makes it impossible for you to believe what has actually occurred.

Sorry, I should have warned you to shut off your irony meters before that last statement. As we saw in the chapters on evolution (aka “Darwinism,” in G&T’s sectarian lexicon), this is pretty much the creationist’s strategy for denying evolution: no matter how much evidence you are given, keep asking for more, claiming that what’s been shown so far is not enough. The rebuttal to Geisler and Turek’s claim, above, is that scientists (at least in the West) started out believing in a created Earth, and only adopted the evolutionary explanation when the evidence became stronger for evolution than it was for creation.

Contrary to G&T’s claim above, the skeptical process for evaluating the evidence is not an infinite series of requests for more. Geisler and Turek have confused skepticism with denialism. And even then, why would it be denialism to expect that we ought to see consistent evidence that miracles happen, in order to support the claim that a Resurrection miracle happened? G&T try to make it sound like skeptics are making unreasonable demands, but the only reason a request for more miracles sounds unreasonable is because we all know (G&T included) that miracles do not happen. Skeptics are demanding for the impossible, because miracles are impossible. Or at least, that’s the expectation that Geisler and Turek are appealing to, and they know that even Christians that that for granted. Hmm.

Next, they purport to have some serious confusion about what “extraordinary” might mean.

If “extraordinary” means repeatable as in a laboratory, then no event from history can be believed because historical events cannot be repeated.

Someone should write to Dr. Geisler and Dr. Turek and inform them that “extraordinary” does not, in fact, have anything to do with being repeatable in a laboratory. (One wonders just what they think a “extraordinary” claim would be, by that confused definition.) But perhaps they do know, and are just taking the opportunity to pimp one of the more popular (and ignorant) misconceptions that creationists try and spread about science: the idea that no real science ever happens outside of a lab.

Usually, this argument is proposed more positively, as though it’s a good thing to deny that you can believe anything outside of what’s reproducible in a lab. The creationist goal is to deny that evolution is science, so they’re only too happy to pretend that you can discredit the theory by pointing out the impossibility of running a lab experiment that duplicates the entire process of millions of years of evolution. Geisler and Turek are a bit out of step with their tradition when they present the weaknesses of this argument as a strike against it.

But regardless, this whole section is completely spurious, since no honest, competent and sane person would ever claim that the saying “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence” ought to translate to “Extraordinary claims require repeatable laboratory experiments.” Geisler and Turek are just setting up a complete straw man in order to pose as victorious gladiators when they knock it down.

And now the pendulum swings back the other way, as Geisler and Turek suddenly decide that a demand for extraordinary evidence might not be so bad after all.

If “extraordinary” means more than usual, then that’s exactly what we have to support the Resurrection. We have more eyewitness documents, and earlier eyewitness documents for the Resurrection than for anything else from the ancient world. Moreover, these documents include more historical details and figures that have been corroborated by more independent and external sources than anything else from the ancient world. And as we’ve just reviewed, we also have more than usual circumstantial evidence supporting the Resurrection.

Once again, Geisler and Turek throw around the deceptive term “eyewitness” as though the Gospel documents were all written by men who were describing what they themselves saw firsthand. But remember, all “eyewitness” means is that the writers either saw something, or else “had access to” (i.e. lived in the same general time and place) as people who claimed to have seen something. And none of these people actually saw Jesus rise from the dead. The most they claimed was to have had ghost-story-ish encounters with a Jesus who could walk through locked doors, appear and disappear at will, and change his physical form to the point that his own disciples could not recognize him.

More to the point, however, Geisler and Turek are once again missing what it means to have extraordinary evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus. The extraordinary claim is that Jesus physically returned to life, after having been dead for three days, in a glorified and immortal body. The extraordinary evidence that would be consistent with that claim would be for Christians to show us the risen, glorified and immortal body. You can rationalize the lack of this evidence by claiming that God decided, for some strange reason, to make it unavailable. If you’re going to rationalize the lack of evidence, however, you don’t get to claim that you do have it.

Nor do you get to claim to have “more than usual” evidence if your evidence consists mostly of hearsay, urban legends, and inconsistent stories. Trivial references to actual people and places, even if corroborated, don’t really tell us whether or not Jesus rose from the dead in the literal, materialistic, and non-spiritualized sense of the phrase. Nor do exaggerated claims that fail to reflect the divine behavior we see (or rather, fail to see) in the real world.

What Geisler and Turek have is not “more than usual” evidence, but merely more “more than usual” claims. It’s very easy to tell what kind of evidence ought to accompany a physically resurrected Jesus, especially since (as we noted before) there is no physical Heaven floating up above the clouds for him to take a physically-raised body to. In the absence of  a literal, physical Heaven, there is no particular reason why he ought to be anywhere else but here. That, therefore, is the extraordinary evidence that we ought to check for.

Geisler and Turek are aware of this, dimly, and end up concluding that Jesus shouldn’t need to show up in real life. But we’ll have to save that until next week.

 
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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “XFiles Fri–uh, Saturday…”

  1. David D.G. Says:

    “In short, the whole concept of evidence simply freaks them out.”

    Evidently.

    ;^D

    Great writing, DD. I am really enjoying this series.

    ~David D.G.

  2. R. C. Moore Says:

    G and T said:
    “If “extraordinary” means repeatable as in a laboratory, then no event from history can be believed because historical events cannot be repeated.”

    My quibble with this is that history can be placed under the rules of science in a way, if one slightly adapts the scientific method.

    While the event are history cannot be subjected to direct examination, we can still say that if historical data is interpreted the same was, by any historical observer using the same protocol, within a pre-determined statistical variation, then the historical data can be considered objective.

    Using this criteria, archaeological science has had impressive results in the cataloging of historical artifacts in place and culture and time. The P value for such research is of course magnitudes greater than say physics or chemistry, but still less than medical research, which we are happy to accept.

    Other historical sciences are gaining in strength, and lots of interesting tests are possible. For instance, Robert Price looked at (informally) the amount of time it takes, historically for a charismatic religious leader to begin to be known for miracles after martyrdom. This is often a point asserted by apologists as proof of the divinity of Jesus, but none bother to actually test the assertion.

    Price found that the average time was about 5 years after martyrdom that a non-divine human has a functioning cult, derived from the original religion that promotes and invents miracles attributed to the martyr. These miracles reinforce quickly, becoming one of the fundamental tenets of the religion.

    So historical events can be “repeated’, unless G and T decide to set the bar at direct examination. Convenient for them, but dismissive of a large body of knowledge obtained by setting the bar slightly lower.

  3. cl Says:

    DD,

    In my comment, X = the axiom, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    With that said, I had problems with this post. To me, you avoided G&T’s point. In a discussion about miracles, whenever anybody offers X, it’s certainly reasonable to assume the word “extraordinary” means the same thing in both instances, wouldn’t you agree?

  4. R. C. Moore Says:

    cl said:

    “In a discussion about miracles, whenever anybody offers X, it’s certainly reasonable to assume the word “extraordinary” means the same thing in both instances, wouldn’t you agree?”

    I don’t know about DD, but I certainly don’t. The phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is a clever usage of the English language, taking advantage of the richness of meaning available, to make its point by contrasting the multiple meanings of the word “extra”.

    Extraordinary, as it relates to miracles, speaks to a rare event, one of low probability of occurrence (not of the ordinary).

    Extraordinary as it relates to evidence, speaks to the need for volumes of ordinary evidence, all with a very high probability of accuracy.

    The construction of the phrase highlights the balance needed. For the low probability claim to gain credence, it must be matched with high probability evidence.

    So the phrase is complex, yet memorable, and for one who enjoys the nuances available to us in language, it speaks volumes.

  5. cl Says:

    DD,

    …the impossibility of verifying supernatural claims means that we cannot reasonably infer that they are necessarily true.

    Do you hold that it is impossible to verify supernatural claims? If so, why? If not, why not?

    R.C. Moore,

    When phrased as such, I can agree with you. And I think yours was a very clear and efficient explanation. Still…

    They know good and well what “extraordinary” means, since they recognize that miracles are extraordinary.

    How did you parse that sentence? To me, DD suggests G&T’s definition of extraordinary as it relates to miracles should also apply to evidence. But this is a lesser quibble. Regardless, I still feel this post is fraught with weakness.

    …this is pretty much the creationist’s strategy for denying evolution: no matter how much evidence you are given, keep asking for more, claiming that what’s been shown so far is not enough.

    In my experience, this also happens to be a popular atheist strategy for denying miracles.

    The creationist goal is to deny that evolution is science, so they’re only too happy to pretend that you can discredit the theory by pointing out the impossibility of running a lab experiment that duplicates the entire process of millions of years of evolution.

    This is misleading. If DD is rebutting YEC’ism, he should be accurate and not paint in such broad strokes. I believe the universe was created, and denying that evolution is science is not on my agenda.

    …but the only reason a request for more miracles sounds unreasonable is because we all know (G&T included) that miracles do not happen.

    I think this was possibly meant to be rhetorical, and if I’ve misunderstood then I apologize, but seriously, I don’t see any logic or reason in this statement. It entails similar problems as the so-called “Undeniable Fact.” On what evidence does DD rest his claim that G&T know miracles do not happen?

    …no honest, competent and sane person would ever claim that the saying “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence” ought to translate to “Extraordinary claims require repeatable laboratory experiments.” (DD)

    Again, I feel DD is shooting atheists in the foot here. This effectively undermines certain criticisms of prayer experiments, and contrary to DD’s claim, this type of reasoning can be found all over the internet and beyond. For example,

    If a hospital did a double-blind study to determine if intercessory prayer helps the sick, and it was discovered that only the patients prayed for by members of a certain religion experienced a dramatic, statistically significant increase in recovery rate, and this result could be repeated and confirmed, I would convert. (Ebonmuse)

    So by DD’s standards, Ebonmuse is dishonest, incompetent and insane? Interesting.

  6. Deacon Duncan Says:

    cl,

    I do not insist that allegedly supernatural phenomena must necessarily lie outside the realm of verifiability. In practice, however, those who appeal to “the supernatural” generally do so to try and excuse the fact that their claims are not verifiable. If “supernatural” means “unverifiable” by definition, then obviously it’s not possible to verify the supernatural.

    Conversely, however, if supernatural phenomena are supposed to be verifiable, then science has no particular reason to make a distinction between natural and supernatural, since we have no pre-defined and exhaustive encyclopedia of what all the “natural” phenomena are, in order to objectively determine which phenomena lie outside of that domain.

    We can’t say what lies beyond the limits of the natural until we know what those limits are; the closest we could come would be if we claimed an irreconcilable inconsistency with the phenomena we can observe and verify in the real world. Such an inconsistency, however, would constitute evidence that our claim was untrue, so I think you see the problem.

  7. Facilis Says:

    Wow…
    This post is just..
    “Extraordinary claims claims require extraordinary evidence” is a failed epistemic maxim.
    I don’t know of any book on historical methodology that uses this principle in historical reasoning. (If you do have one please let me see it).
    The critics have never even attempted to define what “extraordinary” is. So the fact that what is extraordinary is very subjective.
    ["They know good and well what “extraordinary” means, since they recognize that miracles are extraordinary. ]”
    No they are responding to the skeptical claims that miracles are extraordinary.
    Personally I feel miracles are not extraordinary and I know several persons who have experienced them. (I also feel the differentiation ER tries to make between ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ is completely arbitrary.)
    ER offers no reason to think miracles are extraordinary (other than his opinion).

  8. cl Says:

    DD,

    The first two paragraphs helped clarify. Thank you.

    We can’t say what lies beyond the limits of the natural until we know what those limits are; the closest we could come would be if we claimed an irreconcilable inconsistency with the phenomena we can observe and verify in the real world. Such an inconsistency, however, would constitute evidence that our claim was untrue, so I think you see the problem.

    Here, though, you seem to be going the other direction. You seem to be saying it is impossible to verify an allegedly supernatural event until we attain 100% complete knowledge of the physical universe. I may be misunderstanding you here, but if I am not, don’t you see the difficulty?

    Most importantly for me, can you provide an example of how one might verify an allegedly supernatural phenomenon to your satisfaction?

    Also, I realize I had addressed my other concerns about this post to R.C. Moore, but what do you say to each of them? I’m especially interested seeing you reconcile your statement with Ebonmuse’s.

    Facilis,

    ER offers no reason to think miracles are extraordinary (other than his opinion).

    Perhaps, but my problem with your critique is that you do the same thing in corollary context. In other words, why do you think miracles are not extraordinary? You offer no definition yourself.

  9. R. C. Moore Says:

    Facilis said:

    “Personally I feel miracles are not extraordinary and I know several persons who have experienced them.”

    If your standard for reality is personal claims, then I claim you haven’t, as I have never met a person who has experienced a miracle, only those who think they have.

    “Extraordinary claims claims require extraordinary evidence” is a failed epistemic maxim.”

    See the above. I claim it is not.

    See, I can match anyone’s intellectual laziness by simply echoing there logic. It is neither difficult, or impressive.

    cl asked:

    “How did you parse that sentence? To me, DD suggests G&T’s definition of extraordinary as it relates to miracles should also apply to evidence. But this is a lesser quibble. Regardless, I still feel this post is fraught with weakness.”

    I see no issue here, the context of DD’s post makes clear the distinctions. The rest of your responses also seem to be based upon a purposeful misreading of the text. An interesting contrast to Facilis, though giving the same results.

    “I believe the universe was created, and denying that evolution is science is not on my agenda.”

    This is an interesting statement, you usually don’t show so many cards. I will have to ponder it.

  10. John Morales Says:

    The critics have never even attempted to define what “extraordinary” is.

    It’s not a Revelation, Facilis – it’s a pithy phrasing of a useful heuristic.

    Besides, extraordinary is self-defining: extra ordinary.

  11. cl Says:

    R.C. Moore,

    …I have never met a person who has experienced a miracle, only those who think they have. (to Facilis)

    While I can easily agree that those you’ve met think they’ve experienced a miracle, your claim suffers from the corollary epistemological weaknesses as theirs: How do you know? How do know you’ve never met a person who has actually experienced a miracle? You cannot know this.

    See, I can match anyone’s intellectual laziness by simply echoing there logic. It is neither difficult, or impressive. (to Facilis)

    Ah-ha, the previous statement makes sense now; rhetorical trickery, not actual argument.

    The rest of your responses also seem to be based upon a purposeful misreading of the text. (to cl)

    I did find the post partially unclear, far beyond any of DD’s posts I’ve read before. My problem with your claim here is that it lacks evidence. That you suggest my misreading seems “purposeful” when you cannot possibly know whether it was or not is a very revealing assumption suggesting you do not give me the benefit of the doubt. It also raises suspicions about the tenacity with which you cling to your rationalism. By all means, include some evidence for your claim here. I’m usually pretty amenable to correction, as soon as I feel someone has proven me wrong.

    When DD says, “They know good and well what “extraordinary” means, since they recognize that miracles are extraordinary,” it may have just been a loose sentence, but to me, this clearly suggests that since G&T understand the definition of “extraordinary” in the context of a miracle, they should similarly understand the definition of “extraordinary” in the context of evidence. Yet as you yourself explained, the two meanings are not the same, and perhaps DD would agree. If DD agrees, then I did misread his statement, hence my original question.

    The reason I don’t show so many cards is to avoid the average person’s tendency towards knee-jerk reactions and wildly boistrous conclusions. Ponder away, but please note I said nothing other than, “I believe the universe was created, and denying that evolution is science is not on my agenda.”

  12. GaySolomon Says:

    cl writes:

    “That you suggest my misreading seems “purposeful” when you cannot possibly know whether it was or not is a very revealing assumption suggesting you do not give me the benefit of the doubt. It also raises suspicions about the tenacity with which you cling to your rationalism.”

    Am I the only one growing tired of cl’s endless quibbling?

  13. R. C. Moore Says:

    GaySolomon wrote:

    “Am I the only one growing tired of cl’s endless quibbling?”

    It does tend to be a conversation killer. Your example is classic cl. It was directed at me, and I have no idea what he means, so how does one respond? DD throws out some interesting analysis, worthy of discussion, but cl seems to focus on the quality of the rhetoric, not the quality of the ideas.

  14. GaySolomon Says:

    cl,

    I have a brother like you. Loves to argue…but rarely makes a point. Needless to say, I keep my interactions with him short and to the point.

    It would really help me if you could improve your communication style a bit. If you have an assertion to make…by all means make it.

    If you only want to quibble, why not use your site for that? That way, anyone who likes that sort of thing can just go there.

    I am beginning to suspect that you are a troll cl. Albeit an evolved troll, but a troll nonetheless.

    Perhaps we should all stop feeding the troll? Thoughts anyone?

  15. cl Says:

    GaySolomon / R.C. Moore,

    Ah, yes, the troll police have found their way here now….

    Am I the only one growing tired of cl’s endless quibbling?

    Cry me a river with this hypocritical quibble about quibbling. Do you have anything substantive or rational to add to this discussion? Or will you continue to prefer the personal / emotional angles? I’ve made so many points here I can’t keep track of them all. When I do make successful points, nobody says anything, and the party lines around here seem near-impenetrable.

    Both of your denials are interesting and I really have no choice but to wonder if perhaps neither of you can successfully respond to my points. Why else would commenters here descend (yet again) into ad hominem argumentation? Didn’t you guys read DD’s post, Respect and Coddling?

    I am beginning to suspect that you are a troll cl. Albeit an evolved troll, but a troll nonetheless. Perhaps we should all stop feeding the troll?

    For Pete’s sake will you drag your ass out of the intellectual sandbox already? This is really hilarious. Don’t you realize your ad hominem BS “feeds” the “troll” by default? I gotta wonder sometimes, but unlike you, I’ll just assume you’re thinking irrationally as opposed to arguing in bad faith.

    And GaySolomon, if you are sensitive to quibbling, what on Earth are you doing hanging around sites where believers dialog with skeptics? Quit whining and make a cogent argument. Otherwise, save it.

  16. R. C. Moore Says:

    cl said:

    “Didn’t you guys read DD’s post, Respect and Coddling?”

    I had not read that post, so I went right to it, at your suggestion. The last line struck me:


    I still think it’s better to debate respectfully, which … means presenting your case honestly, openly, and with a view to the facts.

    I immediately thought of a recent comment of cl’s:


    The reason I don’t show so many cards is to avoid the average person’s tendency towards knee-jerk reactions and wildly boistrous conclusions. Ponder away, but please note I said nothing other than, “I believe the universe was created, and denying that evolution is science is not on my agenda.”

    I prefer a level playing field when discussing issues, not one in which the standard to which I am held is not unceasingly exploited by others lacking such standards.

    But, hey, this is DD’s blog, he decides who is welcome here. I can only speak for myself.

  17. GaySolomon Says:

    cl,

    Points? Good god man! What points?

    On miracles you hint that you have some evidence, but will not share it. You then whinge that we won’t provide you with working a defintion so you wan’t make any positive assertions. I challenge you to define your terms and then to make your assertions.

    Your response? Deafening silence.

  18. cl Says:

    Way to muddy the waters, guys!

    R.C. Moore,

    Refusing to don silly, loaded labels of atheist or Christian or agnostic or Catholic or Mormon or whatever else is not being dishonest. I prefer to debate without attaching labels to myself. Most people, in the absence of labels, will slow down and take caution not to assume things about their opponent. However, there are also inevitably going to be folks who jump to conclusions and presume dishonesty, in spite of the fact that their claims of dishonesty lack evidence. Bottom line: As far as my positions about things are concerned, I’m honest about them, and your baseless accusations with GaySolomon’s ad hominem sandbox arguments have now obfuscated and derailed this thread from the original topic. If you want to know what I believe about something, ask, don’t assume. It’s as easy as that.

    GaySolomon,

    So, you’re bringing baggage from the miracle posts to this one? Interesting. Yes, on miracles I have some cases that I feel are worth discussing. Yes, I refuse to discuss them with anybody until we’re on the same page as to how one might verify an allegedly supernatural event. The reason for this is to avoid the moving of goalposts on either side. Ironically, in this thread I asked DD for an example of how one might verify an allegedly supernatural phenomenon to his satisfaction, and the response so far has been deafening silence. And as far as logical, rational arguments go, your responses here also amount to deafening silence.

    DD,

    Can you provide an example of how one might verify an allegedly supernatural phenomenon to your satisfaction?

  19. John Morales Says:

    For crying out loud.

    Ironically, in this thread I asked DD for an example of how one might verify an allegedly supernatural phenomenon to his satisfaction, and the response so far has been deafening silence.

    Far more ironically, you made this thread all about you, after having started by saying DD “avoided G&T’s point” without ever engaging his.

    I think it very impolite of you to ignore DD’s points in the post itself. Boorish, even.

  20. cl Says:

    DD,

    I pre-emptively apologize if my tone is harsh, but these folks don’t have to keep responding to me like they do. As I said, I was genuinely confused on some of the points you made in this post, so I originally asked you a question – not R.C. Moore, not GaySolomon, not John Morales, but DD. I really don’t understand why these people complain so much about all the negative qualities they fancy me as the penultimate example of, yet their own mouths continue to flap emptily like paper bags in the wind adding nothing substantial to the actual arguments, only more obfuscation.

    John Morales,

    I think GaySolomon and R.C. Moore were “making this thread about me,” and now you follow right along with your own worthless laments and red herrings.

    Note that I came here and asked a specific question to DD, and nobody else. Note that R.C. Moore opened his mouth and responded to me when I was not talking to R.C. Moore. Note that GaySolomon opened his yap about something partially unrelated to this post when I was not addressing GaySolomon. Note that you added your own interjection, one that completely ignores the evidence, I might add. Had R.C. Moore, yourself and GaySolomon kept quiet and refrained from making comments that offer nothing to the actual questions, perhaps things would be different.

    And to rebut your lie, I engaged many of DD’s points:

    1)

    The creationist goal is to deny that evolution is science, so they’re only too happy to pretend that you can discredit the theory by pointing out the impossibility of running a lab experiment that duplicates the entire process of millions of years of evolution. (DD)

    This is misleading. If DD is rebutting YEC’ism, he should be accurate and not paint in such broad strokes. I believe the universe was created, and denying that evolution is science is not on my agenda. (cl)

    2)

    …no honest, competent and sane person would ever claim that the saying “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence” ought to translate to “Extraordinary claims require repeatable laboratory experiments.” (DD)

    Again, I feel DD is shooting atheists in the foot here. This effectively undermines certain criticisms of prayer experiments, and contrary to DD’s claim, this type of reasoning can be found all over the internet and beyond. (cl)

    3)

    For example, “If a hospital did a double-blind study to determine if intercessory prayer helps the sick, and it was discovered that only the patients prayed for by members of a certain religion experienced a dramatic, statistically significant increase in recovery rate, and this result could be repeated and confirmed, I would convert.” (Ebonmuse)

    So by DD’s standards, Ebonmuse is dishonest, incompetent and insane? (cl)

    How many more do you need? You got any answers yourself? Or just more “nothing” to add to the conversation? And if I’m so damn trollish and negative and selfish and all the other crap you guys are whining about, why do the three of you even say anything to me at all?

    To me, it seems like it’s y’all who love conflict and arguing, because you’re all running your mouths to me when I wasn’t even talking to any of you. Talk about impolite.

  21. John Morales Says:

    cl, if you want to talk to DD only, you can use email*. You post here, you post publicly, and you’re open to responses.

    I think you’re being arrogant. And I’ll say no more, since I don’t care to dispute you.


    * see upper right of this page.

  22. cl Says:

    Morales,

    Don’t tell me how to live my life. If you don’t like me, just keep to yourself, stand back, and let me do my thing. It’s as easy as that. I asked DD some questions, not you, or anyone else. None of you had to talk to me. You act like I’m debating unfairly when I’ve presented everyone with the straight-forward questions I’m asking DD, which none of you (except DD who answered my first question) care to address. My presence here is not hurting any of you, you don’t have to read my posts, you don’t have to respond to them, and I don’t care if you think I’m being arrogant. I’m just giving back what I feel you, GaySolomon and R.C. Moore gave me in this thread. Flippant quippers get flippantly quipped to.

    And I’ll refrain from offering my personal opinions of you or about anything you’ve said on this forum. I’ll just say it would impress me if, instead of haggling me over nothing, you’d worry about people who make factual errors, for example, ThatOtherGuy who came all hot at me, then had the audacity to claim that Joseph Smith was not considered a prophet whom God spoke to. But nope! Let’s not cross party lines! It’s, “Let’s haggle cl the non-atheist when he’s not even talking to me…”

    So yes, by all means please, say no more, in this thread or elsewhere – unless of course it’s conducive to some sort of positive outcome.

  23. cl Says:

    DD,

    So now that the personal stuff seems to have been dealt with, please, whenever you have a moment and feel up to it, I’ve got some reasonable questions that are lingering here. I want to hear your answers to 2) and 3) in my comment April 8, 2009 at 10:38 pm, and also this:

    We can’t say what lies beyond the limits of the natural until we know what those limits are; the closest we could come would be if we claimed an irreconcilable inconsistency with the phenomena we can observe and verify in the real world. Such an inconsistency, however, would constitute evidence that our claim was untrue, so I think you see the problem. (DD)

    Here, though, you seem to be going the other direction. You seem to be saying it is impossible to verify an allegedly supernatural event until we attain 100% complete knowledge of the physical universe. I may be misunderstanding you here, but if I am not, don’t you see the difficulty? (cl)

    And especially this:

    …can you provide an example of how one might verify an allegedly supernatural phenomenon to your satisfaction? (cl)