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Jesus literalist. What would change your mind?


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This speaks quite well to your logical fallacy.   Come back, if you understand it, wit a reasonable set of questions and not some wish list you want from science when your wish list for God does not

Forgive me. I must have misunderstood what you meant by "The Bible begins with a talking serpent and other miracles that defy nature and physics.. This should be warning enough, for anyone who can th

It's earlier than much of the New Testament, actually. It's on par with the Gospel of John. It's earlier than Timothy, Titus, James, and 2 Peter.

Correct. I did not claim it could.

 

Regards

DL

Forgive me. I must have misunderstood what you meant by

"The Bible begins with a talking serpent and other miracles that defy nature and physics.. This should be warning enough, for anyone who can think independently that the Bible should not be read literally."

and

"... that would mean that they would have to believe in fantasy miracles and magic. Most will not take that leap of faith."

and

"How deeply do you believe in fantasy, miracles and magic? As an adult, do you see your fantastic beliefs as those of a healthy mind?"

and

"What would it take for you to change your mind about fantasy, miracles and magic being real?"

So then I gather that your objection is not that miracles are impossible, but that the documentary evidence is insufficient to convince a reasonable person that they have occurred?

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The 18th century Scottish philosopher made the useful point that 'extraordinary hypotheses require extraordinary proof.' So you would probably believe me if I came into an underground bunker where you were living and said it was raining outside, even though you had no evidence beyond my mere statement. The evidence would be quite poor, and would not even satisfy the criteria of proof accepted in a court of law, but the assertion is so ordinary that very little evidence is needed to establish it.

 

But if I were to tell you that a three-headed cat on the Moon reads our minds and controls the fate of the universe, you would rightly demand considerably more evidence than just my assertion or the assertion of a group of people. If you were shown photos of the cat and fur from its paw, heard personal testimony from some astronaut who had been to Moon, or read accounts of this cat and its supernatural powers in some books, you would still probably refuse to believe that it could really read minds and control the universe, despite all that extensive proof.

 

Now if we turn to the case of Christ having lived in Judea ca. 30 A.D., if by 'Christ' we mean the Son of God, then we certainly don't have sufficient evidence at this historical distance that such an entity really existed. If you mean just some fellow named Jesus of Nazareth about whom some books that survive today were written and who could convince superstitious peasants that he was performing real magic -- as countless figures in the Ancient world did, according to historical accounts -- then the evidence we have still seems a bit weak, but possibly believable.

 

As I said before, even though if the Romans had had stirrups there would have been tens of millions of them spread throughout the Roman Empire, archaeologists still have to admit that we cannot know today whether they had made that invention or not, although some of the tribes who invaded and destroyed the Empire did probably have them. It is unfortunate but true that even with all the images of horsemen riding we have from the Roman world, none is clear enough to show whether the riders had stirrups. Many historical facts of much more recent vintage also cannot be accurately established, either. So the idea we can today know for certain what a simple carpenter from Nazareth was doing or not doing in Judea in 30 A.D. is historiographically preposterous, and is something like someone purporting to be a serious astronomer while maintaining that he can see someone waving to him from the surface of Saturn.

 

Also, it is important to realize that we are under no obligation to disprove any miraculous hypothesis in order to insist reasonably on our lack of faith in it. The burden of proof is always on the party purporting to show that some extraordinary thing is in fact real -- an Elvis Presley who didn't really die, the ghost of an Antebellum lady who walks the walls of a fort in Boston harbor, the capacity of medium's to read minds, the ability of people to levitate, or some bizarre god-man hybrid of Antiquity who proved his divinity by becoming a zombie.

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The 18th century Scottish philosopher made the useful point that 'extraordinary hypotheses require extraordinary proof.'

That's called "special pleading".

 

Now if we turn to the case of Christ having lived in Judea ca. 30 A.D., if by 'Christ' we mean the Son of God, then we certainly don't have sufficient evidence at this historical distance that such an entity really existed. If you mean just some fellow named Jesus of Nazareth about whom some books that survive today were written and who could convince superstitious peasants that he was performing real magic -- as countless figures in the Ancient world did, according to historical accounts -- then the evidence we have still seems a bit weak, but possibly believable.
How much evidence would you require? An amount equal to that available to establish the historicity of Sophocles or Plato, perhaps? Edited by chilehed
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A scientific proof that all causes are observable.

A scientific proof that miracles are impossible.

A scientific proof that everything real is demonstrable through the scientific method.

A scientific proof that there is no God.

 

 

It's not possible for Jesus to merely be a good man whom we should emulate, because such men don't claim to be God. If he's not what he claimed to be, then he's not a good man at all. So I see no way at all for me to ever accept that view.

But, lets apply that to belief in God. Do you have irrefutable proof that God exists? You require it from science that there exists irrefutable proof, so if you want to avoid being a hypocrite, you must require it from God as well.

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Forgive me. I must have misunderstood what you meant by

"The Bible begins with a talking serpent and other miracles that defy nature and physics.. This should be warning enough, for anyone who can think independently that the Bible should not be read literally."

and

"... that would mean that they would have to believe in fantasy miracles and magic. Most will not take that leap of faith."

and

"How deeply do you believe in fantasy, miracles and magic? As an adult, do you see your fantastic beliefs as those of a healthy mind?"

and

"What would it take for you to change your mind about fantasy, miracles and magic being real?"

So then I gather that your objection is not that miracles are impossible, but that the documentary evidence is insufficient to convince a reasonable person that they have occurred?

 

Correct again.

I do not think it a good idea to have a mind that believes so openly to unproven possibilities.

Laws of nature are laws after all.

 

 

"to establish the historicity of Sophocles or Plato"

 

Those named wrote their thoughts.

There is no documentation other than hear say and bible say, all hear say, that Jesus ever said anything.

 

Even then, most of what he said is un-workable rhetoric.

Like his divorce laws. Let no one divorce, is silly and immoral.

 

Regards

DL

Edited by Greatest I am
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I do not think it a good idea to have a mind that believes so openly to unproven possibilities.

Laws of nature are laws after all.

 

Laws are not some higher truth of reality. A law is like a theory, except it is explaining a natural phenomenon. A law may be overturned at any time, if new evidence reveals itself. It is highly unlikely it will be overturned, it will simply be refined, but it still isn't the end-all to everything within that particular domain. So basically, it's not so bad to have an open mind about unproven possibilities. Many theoretical physicists do.

 

There is no documentation other than hear say and bible say, all hear say, that Jesus ever said anything.

 

What problems did you have accepting the secular items that ydoaPs gave to you?

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Laws are not some higher truth of reality. A law is like a theory, except it is explaining a natural phenomenon. A law may be overturned at any time, if new evidence reveals itself. It is highly unlikely it will be overturned, it will simply be refined, but it still isn't the end-all to everything within that particular domain. So basically, it's not so bad to have an open mind about unproven possibilities. Many theoretical physicists do.

 

It is quite different to be open to ideas but you cannot compare that notion to faith.

No scientist would die for an un-proven theory yet those of faith say they would for their un-proven theories.

 

 

What problems did you have accepting the secular items that ydoaPs gave to you?

[/quote[

 

He spoke of Christians. Not Jesus.

We both know that anyone in power at the time who thought they actually had a miracle worker in hand, would have capitalized on him. Not kill him.

 

Regards

DL

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No scientist would die for an un-proven theory yet those of faith say they would for their un-proven theories.

 

 

He spoke of Christians. Not Jesus.

We both know that anyone in power at the time who thought they actually had a miracle worker in hand, would have capitalized on him. Not kill him.

 

Regards

DL

A theory cannot be proven, only supported.

 

How could those in power have capitalized upon Jesus (if He was truly a miracle worker and divine)? Clearly, Jesus wasn't willing to be "capitalized upon" in a earthly sense. If He was divine, He wouldn't let anyone capitalize on Him.

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As noted above, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are just names attached to preserved documents whose historicity is beyond doubt, given the frequent reference to them by other authors of their time and continuously throughout later times. Nothing special turns on whether these people existed or not, since only their ideas are important. It is usually thought that 'Socrates' may have just been a name made up by Plato to play a role in dialogues that he wrote, but no one is much worried about that one way or the other, since the important part is just the writings.

 

Hume's point about extraordinary assertions requiring extraordinary evidence to prove them reflects our everyday attitude that we will only create a space in our minds for significance doubt and wonder if we have something of sufficient weight to motivate that step, for if we were automatically to be open to radical doubt about everything at every moment, we simply could not live or usefully employ our minds.

 

Consider what true openness to every possible doubt would mean. If you wanted to explain how flicking on a light switch caused light to appear in the room, you could doubt that the conventional scientific explanation was true and think that invisible fairies might cause the light to appear on hearing the click of the switch. Then you might wonder whether other invisible fairies might be putting up a systematic delusion before your eyes, so the whole world was just a fantasy produced by their whim, while you were really in a dark room as the subject of a sensory deprivation experiment on Mars, and you were in fact a Martian fantasizing about being a human, all thanks to these fairies. Or not. Or maybe it was not fairies producing such an evil illusion, but goblins, or ghosts. Or perhaps turning on the light switch did nothing mechanical, but just induced your mind by psychokinetic expectation to cause light to appear in the room. Or perhaps that psychokinesis could only happen with the help of invisible fairies, or on Mars, or in a sensory deprivation experiment you are now experiencing but which you can no longer recall having been set up, given your unusual state of consciousness.

 

Now explain to a class how turning on the light switch causes light to appear. Remember, you have to be honest with them, and give a full and fair account of all the odd possibilities of mystical explanations which might be true for the process, of which less than 1% have been specified in the example above.

 

What you see from this is that for our thinking not to get bogged down all the time in an infinite regress of doubts and speculations and skepticisms, we need to follow the rule that we will only keep an actively open mind to doubts if we are presented with substantial evidence adequately motivating those doubts first. And if the doubts involve the possibility of truly extraordinary hypotheses being true, then for that we need truly extraordinary evidence.

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A theory cannot be proven, only supported.

 

How could those in power have capitalized upon Jesus (if He was truly a miracle worker and divine)? Clearly, Jesus wasn't willing to be "capitalized upon" in a earthly sense. If He was divine, He wouldn't let anyone capitalize on Him.

 

 

The ancients would lay siege to foreign battlements for years for gain and you can’t see them putting a miracle worker in jail to cool his heals and soften up to do a few miracles for their gain.

 

Oh well.

 

Regards

 

DL

 

 

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The ancients would lay siege to foreign battlements for years for gain and you can’t see them putting a miracle worker in jail to cool his heals and soften up to do a few miracles for their gain.

 

Oh well.

 

Regards

 

DL

Yet, if Jesus didn't do many miracles for those in power (I can't think of one), then why would they have wanted to pay for his jail if they saw him as a possible fraud? Most of the people wanted to kill him too, as he went against the established customs and thought.

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Yet, if Jesus didn't do many miracles for those in power (I can't think of one), then why would they have wanted to pay for his jail if they saw him as a possible fraud? Most of the people wanted to kill him too, as he went against the established customs and thought.

 

 

If you had a goose that was said to lay golden eggs, would you prepare a roost or the oven?

 

Regards

 

DL

 

 

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But, lets apply that to belief in God. Do you have irrefutable proof that God exists? You require it from science that there exists irrefutable proof, so if you want to avoid being a hypocrite, you must require it from God as well.
There's no point in talking about evidence if you're going to use question begging and special pleading to reject the evidence you don't like.

 

Correct again.

Okay. So we've established that we can't reject an allegedly historical account merely because it records a miracle.

 

I do not think it a good idea to have a mind that believes so openly to unproven possibilities.

Laws of nature are laws after all.

Laws of nature are descriptions of the way things work due to natural processes. The question here is whether or not there's sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable person that miracles occur, and my position is that there's more than enough. Since we've already established that there's no rational reason to presuppose that they can't, it's reasonable to require proof that they can't before I abandon the conclusion to which the evidence points.

 

"to establish the historicity of Sophocles or Plato"

 

Those named wrote their thoughts.

There is no documentation other than hear say and bible say, all hear say, that Jesus ever said anything.

For Sophocles the only evidence we have of that are about 200 texts, the oldest of which dates from 1,400 years after he wrote them. For Plato it's about 7 texts, the oldest of which dates from 1,200 years after he wrote them.

 

So for Sophocles and Plato what we have are manuscripts that other people wrote, claiming that they correctly record their words. That's exactly what we have in the case of Jesus, except that for him we have roughly 24,000 manuscripts and fragments, many of them dating to well under a century from when they were written.

 

Even then, most of what he said is un-workable rhetoric.

Like his divorce laws. Let no one divorce, is silly and immoral.

That's called the fallacy of the undesired result. Just because you don't agree with what he said doesn't mean that he didn't say it... and the argument rests on the assumption that he did exist, he did say it and it was accurately recorded. You're quite effectively sawing off the limb on which you sit.

 

...Consider what true openness to every possible doubt would mean. If you wanted to explain how flicking on a light switch caused light to appear in the room, you could doubt that the conventional scientific explanation was true and think that invisible fairies might cause the light to appear on hearing the click of the switch...

Have you ever tried to understand what standards are used by the Catholic Church to determine whether or not an event is miraculous? If there's a possible scientific explanation, there's no possibility of it being declared a miracle.

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Chilehed

 

“Okay. So we've established that we can't reject an allegedly historical account merely because it records a miracle.”

 

Not to bog us down in semantics but I would have said it another way.

 

I would say that we cannot accept the miracle part of whatever historical account is being told. To me, not accepting it is not quite the same as rejecting it. I just shelf the issue in my speculative thinking file or look for some other meaning to the story. Legally I guess a court would say that I reject it and the court would be right.

 

“ The question here is whether or not there's sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable person that miracles occur, and my position is that there's more than enough. “

 

What is this evidence. I hope it is not just hear say or Bible say.

 

Greatest I am, on 12 July 2011 - 11:48 AM, said:

 

Even then, most of what he said is un-workable rhetoric.

Like his divorce laws. Let no one divorce, is silly and immoral.

 

Chilehed - Your reply

 

That's called the fallacy of the undesired result. Just because you don't agree with what he said doesn't mean that he didn't say it... and the argument rests on the assumption that he did exist, he did say it and it was accurately recorded. You're quite effectively sawing off the limb on which you sit.

 

 

I did not say it was not written that way. I said it was rather useless rhetoric that does not work.

 

Would you tell a woman that gets beat twice a week to not seek a divorce?

 

Regards

DL

 

 

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Chilehed

 

“Okay. So we've established that we can't reject an allegedly historical account merely because it records a miracle.”

 

Not to bog us down in semantics but I would have said it another way.

 

I would say that we cannot accept the miracle part of whatever historical account is being told. To me, not accepting it is not quite the same as rejecting it. I just shelf the issue in my speculative thinking file or look for some other meaning to the story. Legally I guess a court would say that I reject it and the court would be right.

Indeed, to reject is different than to merely not accept, which is why I said it the way I did. I’m just pointing out that when evaluating the question of whether or not God exists, it's irrational to refuse to admit the possibility that miracles can occur, because such refusal would beg the question.

 

“ The question here is whether or not there's sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable person that miracles occur, and my position is that there's more than enough. “

 

What is this evidence. I hope it is not just hear say or Bible say.

It certainly includes the anicent texts. On what reasonable grounds do you propose that I should ignore them?

 

Greatest I am, on 12 July 2011 - 11:48 AM, said:

 

Even then, most of what he said is un-workable rhetoric.

Like his divorce laws. Let no one divorce, is silly and immoral.

 

Chilehed - Your reply

 

That's called the fallacy of the undesired result. Just because you don't agree with what he said doesn't mean that he didn't say it... and the argument rests on the assumption that he did exist, he did say it and it was accurately recorded. You're quite effectively sawing off the limb on which you sit.

 

I did not say it was not written that way. I said it was rather useless rhetoric that does not work.

Again, that’s the fallacy of the undesired result.

 

It also contains the hidden assumption that Christianity is not true, and thus begs the question.

 

Would you tell a woman that gets beat twice a week to not seek a divorce?

Not relevant to the subject at hand. But I’d tell her what the position of the Church is: that it might be prudent for her to seek legal separation from her husband.

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Indeed, to reject is different than to merely not accept, which is why I said it the way I did. I'm just pointing out that when evaluating the question of whether or not God exists, it's irrational to refuse to admit the possibility that miracles can occur, because such refusal would beg the question.

 

 

It certainly includes the anicent texts. On what reasonable grounds do you propose that I should ignore them?

 

 

Again, that's the fallacy of the undesired result.

 

It also contains the hidden assumption that Christianity is not true, and thus begs the question.

 

 

Not relevant to the subject at hand. But I'd tell her what the position of the Church is: that it might be prudent for her to seek legal separation from her husband.

 

It certainly is relevant.

If un-workable laws are given, they are obviously wrong and poorly thought out.

 

As to your last.

That is the position of the Church. Not the position of Jesus or bible God.

 

As I said, his is not workable or moral.

 

“On what reasonable grounds do you propose that I should ignore them?”

 

First. Because they begin with a talking snake and end with a seven headed monster.

 

Second. Because they ignore the laws of nature and physics and are based on hear say only without a shred of evidence.

 

One should not ignore logic and reason for faith.

 

Faith without facts is for fools.

 

If your view is better, then I have some dry land in Florida for sale at a good price.

 

Lets deal.

 

Regards

 

DL

 

 

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It certainly includes the ancient texts. On what reasonable grounds do you propose that I should ignore them?

 

 

That's a good point. The ancient texts should not be ignored. Rather, they should be scrutinised, to see whether they contain useful data.

 

However, I'm reminded of a certain SF story, whose title escapes my memory, but it was about a future bloke who worked in a library. His job was to read each old book in the library. Then write a summary of the book's useful information content.

 

His summary of the entire content of Melville's "Moby-Dick", went something like: "19th Century knowledge of cetaceans was inexact".

 

Is there a moral here - I can't quite crystallise it?

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It certainly is relevant.

If un-workable laws are given, they are obviously wrong and poorly thought out… As I said, his is not workable or moral..

Begs the question. Fallacy of the undesired result.

 

As to your last.

That is the position of the Church. Not the position of Jesus or bible God.

Displays ignorance of the subject. You might try reading the passages in question, they say nothing about a woman being abused by her husband. And again, its not relevant to the topic at hand.

 

On what reasonable grounds do you propose that I should ignore them?

 

First. Because they begin with a talking snake and end with a seven headed monster.

In the OP you indicate that youre aware that the texts make use of a variety of literary forms, and yet you insist on ignoring those forms.

 

Second. Because they ignore the laws of nature and physics…

Begs the question. Besides, youve already conceded that this is not the case, and that there is no reasonable cause to say that science proves that miracles are impossible.

 

… and are based on hear say only without a shred of evidence.

Special pleading, and displays ignorance of the subject.

 

One should not ignore logic and reason

You would do well to take your own advice.

 

You asked what would change my mind. All youve offered is question begging, special pleading, ignorance of the contents of the texts you reject, an insistence on repeating logical fallacies that you've admitted are logical fallacies, and snarky remarks about the intelligence of those who disagree with you. I can assure you that that won't work.

 

Unless you have something rational to offer, Im done here.

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There's no point in talking about evidence if you're going to use question begging and special pleading to reject the evidence you don't like.

Not so. I just asked you to apply the same criteria you require for science and apply it to belief in God. It is not begging the question, or rejecting evidence. I did neither (so in fact you are just presenting a strawman here).

 

You required that Science have:

A scientific proof that all causes are observable.

A scientific proof that miracles are impossible.

A scientific proof that everything real is demonstrable through the scientific method.

A scientific proof that there is no God.

Thus to believe in God you must have equally strong evidence FOR it. This is because you requier evidence FOR the scientific view point. Thus, if you are not "rejecting the evidence you don't like", then you have to requier the same level of evidence for either position.

 

If you don't this is a logical fallacy called "Bias".

 

As you have said, science doesn't rule out the possibly of a miracle, but you have also said there is no scientific proof of a miracle either (and if there were then miracles would not be miracles). There might be evidence as in historical documnets and interviews of people (like for modern times), but this is not Proof. It is just supporting evidence.

 

Although you requier absolute proof from science, you do not require that from miracles. This is bias and is the point I am making.

 

At best, you would have to admit that you believe that miracles are possible, but there is no definite proof. In other words you would have to be Agnostic on the subject. But, your language and your posts clearly show that you are anything but agnostic and are definitely on the side of miracles are real.

 

Myself, I am an Agnostic Atheist. I admit that there could be the possibly of supernatural occurrences (miracles, Gods, etc), but I have no evidence to believe in any of the beliefs that exist today (or in the past that we know of), and many of the beliefs of these religions I also find immoral (so even if that religion were true, I would not worship that religion).

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Not so. I just asked you to apply the same criteria you require for science and apply it to belief in God. It is not begging the question, or rejecting evidence. I did neither (so in fact you are just presenting a strawman here).

I was meaning “you” in the generic sense; I wasn’t intending to imply that you specifically had done that. But it’s certainly been done in this thread.

 

But would you require that same standard of proof to be applied to the existance of Sophocles?

 

This is because you requier evidence FOR the scientific view point.

To support a statement along the lines of “scence has demonstrated that...”, I expect a standard of proof appropriate to science. But that standard is not appropriate for every investigation.

 

As you have said, science doesn't rule out the possibly of a miracle,...

I’m glad that we could come to agreement on that.

 

...but you have also said there is no scientific proof of a miracle either (and if there were then miracles would not be miracles). There might be evidence as in historical documnets and interviews of people (like for modern times), but this is not Proof. It is just supporting evidence.

 

Although you requier absolute proof from science, you do not require that from miracles. This is bias and is the point I am making.

 

At best, you would have to admit that you believe that miracles are possible, but there is no definite proof...

Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean by “proof”. If you mean a closed-form mathematical solution or the ability to go into a lab and reproduce the results, then you’ve got a confirmation bias because you’ve defined that there can be no proof for the existance of any person, any historical event, or certainly any miracle.

 

By that standard you’d have to conclude that, although you must have a great-great grandmother, in principle there’s no way to prove who she was or what she did. Same thing for the existance of George Washington, or the Battle of Hastings, or Sophocles. In fact, you’d have to hold as unproven pretty much everything you know, unless you saw it yourself.

 

Indeed, I rather suspect that the vast majority of your scientific beliefs are held by you based solely on the evidence of historical documents and interviews of people. Thus, according to your own standard, you must hold that none of it’s been proven. Certainly you could go into the lab to verify them, but failing that all you can say is that there’s supporting evidence.

 

In reality, that’s not what you do. What you actually do is accept as proven that for which there is an adequate degree of documentary evidence. And having established the standard for what’s adequate, we have to stick with it in order to not make a special pleading.

 

...I admit that there could be the possibly of supernatural occurrences (miracles, Gods, etc), but I have no evidence to believe in any of the beliefs that exist today (or in the past that we know of)...
How hard have you really looked?

 

...and many of the beliefs of these religions I also find immoral (so even if that religion were true, I would not worship that religion).
That gets to the question of self-will and the problem of how one can know that he’s not self-deceived in matters of moral theology, but we don’t have to go there now. At the moment we’re just talking about the evidence for the historicity of Jesus. Edited by chilehed
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I was meaning “you” in the generic sense; I wasn’t intending to imply that you specifically had done that. But it’s certainly been done in this thread.

 

But would you require that same standard of proof to be applied to the existance of Sophocles?

In a word: Yes.

 

I have no absolute proof that Sophocles existed. As far as I am concerned, I am agnostic on his actual existence. However, I do have absolute proof that there are works attributed to him.

 

The consequences of the existence or not of Sophocles is not very significant. All his works could have been written by someone pretending to be him, or they could be a collection from many different authors. Through various means, it is possible to work out if the works attributed to him are all likely written by the same person, and I am sure if this was done, then they would appear to be written by the same person.

 

As a matter of history, it is an interesting question about Sophocles existence, but I don't have proof of it and so I remain agnostic, but the evidence indicates that he did exist and wrote the works attributed to him. But, if someone actually came up with evidence against his existence (or that he wrote those works), then I am prepared to accept those results.

 

But, this isn't about what I believe in or the proof I requited. You make a statement about the level of proof you require to support a belief (ie the belief that the supernatural does not exist). All I asked of you is to apply that same level of requirement to another belief: That of the existence of the supernatural.

 

All I am asking is for you to be consistent, but instead, you try to insinuate that I am inconsistent in my requirements. I have not presented any claims about my beliefs and the requirement levels I have for them. As far as what I have revealed in my posts, I might not require any proof, or I might require even stronger proof than science could give. But that is irrelevant as it is your claims that is being examined.

 

To support a statement along the lines of “scence has demonstrated that...”, I expect a standard of proof appropriate to science. But that standard is not appropriate for every investigation.

Why?

 

Practical constraints aside, why should we not strive for the best evidence and proof we can get and use the most reliable methodologies we have available? Why wouldn't you hold evidence up to the most rigorous standards we have?

 

The only reason I can think you wouldn't: is if you are afraid that you might be found to be wrong.

 

I’m glad that we could come to agreement on that.

I am willing to change my mind given proof. This is why I can agree with the statement that science can't rule out a miracle. However, this does not mean that I believe in miracles, just that I agree that science does not rule them out. Science does not rule out the existence of invisible pink unicorns, but I don't believe in them and you probably don't believe in them either. The bible doesn't rule them out either, but just because there is the possibility that they could exist, it does not lead to the certainty of their existence.

 

Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean by “proof”. If you mean a closed-form mathematical solution or the ability to go into a lab and reproduce the results, then you’ve got a confirmation bias because you’ve defined that there can be no proof for the existance of any person, any historical event, or certainly any miracle.

Basically proof using the scientific method. It was you that brought up the requirements of scientific proof. I require the same level of proof for the existence of a scientific phenomena as I do for supernatural phenomena. I have no bias either way (as I said, I am agnostic on the subject).

 

However, it is your bias that I am questioning. You are willing to accept the existence of miracles without absolute proof, but you require scientific proof of anything else.

 

What I am attempting to do with my posts is to show you have a double standard. On one hand you have a low requirement of proof (miracles) but on the other hand you have a high requirement of proof (science).

 

This is the problem that believes have when dealing with agnostics and atheists. They have double standards for their requirement of proof. Anything that is supposed to be part of the religion, the level of proof required is low (or non existent), but anything else must have a 100% proof or it won't be accepted.

 

The real difference between a believer and an atheist is that the atheist has a consistent standard for proof across the board.

 

By that standard you’d have to conclude that, although you must have a great-great grandmother, in principle there’s no way to prove who she was or what she did. Same thing for the existance of George Washington, or the Battle of Hastings, or Sophocles. In fact, you’d have to hold as unproven pretty much everything you know, unless you saw it yourself.

This stems from the all or nothing proof straw-man that the religious use. They think that scientific proof is about certainty. No it is not. It is about probability. What is most likely given the evidence.

 

If miracles really did exist, it would actually be quite trivial to prove their existence. Miracles must violate the laws of the universe (if they didn't then they could be explained solely by the laws of the universe and they would not longer be a miracle, just an unlike event). However, if miracles don't exist, then it is completely impossible to prove their existence.

 

All you need to do to prove miracles is to show the laws of the universe can be violated. But, this has to be done in a way that is repeatable (and an all powerful God could do that without any effort). These wouldn't need to be something in a book written 2000 or so years ago, this would be going on daily and for every single person in the universe.

 

Indeed, I rather suspect that the vast majority of your scientific beliefs are held by you based solely on the evidence of historical documents and interviews of people. Thus, according to your own standard, you must hold that none of it’s been proven. Certainly you could go into the lab to verify them, but failing that all you can say is that there’s supporting evidence.

Yes. I heard about them in documents and such, but those documents are not proof that those scientific claims are true. The claims are true, independent of the documentation. IF the bible were like this then there would be no need for it.

 

Also, with scientific claims, they are testable. It is possible (although not always practical) for anybody to go and check to see if the claims are actually true. There is no way I can test if the claim that Jesus was a real person is true or not.

 

In fact, you very argument are undermining your own position. If you apply these same arguments to yourself and your own beliefs and not apply the double standards that I have been pointing out, then as the scientific claims can be tested (even if only in principal) and by your own claims, historical persons can't be tested, then you have to agree that the scientific claims have more support for them than the existence of Jesus as a real person.

 

In reality, that’s not what you do. What you actually do is accept as proven that for which there is an adequate degree of documentary evidence. And having established the standard for what’s adequate, we have to stick with it in order to not make a special pleading.

But special pleading is actually what you are doing. You are willing to accept the existence of an historical figure based on documentary evidence which you argue is can not prove the existence of a historical figure. You argue that a figure like Sophocles can't be proved to exist, but that Jesus can.

 

This is the very definition of special pleading.

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To support a statement along the lines of “science has demonstrated that...”' date=' I expect a standard of proof appropriate to science. But that standard is not appropriate for every investigation.[/quote']

 

Why?

Because by definition some things are not reproducible in the laboratory and cannot be reduced to a mathematical formula. Historical events and the existence of persons are among them.

 

But special pleading is actually what you are doing. You are willing to accept the existence of an historical figure based on documentary evidence which you argue is can not prove the existence of a historical figure. You argue that a figure like Sophocles can't be proved to exist' date=' but that Jesus can.[/quote']

That bears absolutely no resemblance to my position or to anything I’ve said. I suggest that you more carefully read my posts.

 

What I've said is that Jesus can be proven to have existed using the same methods by which we can prove that Sophocles existed, that the evidence for Jesus is much stronger that for Sophocles, that the scientific method is not the only way to prove the existence of something, and that insisting (as you do) that the scientific method is the only way to prove things is a self-refuting position that leads to all kinds of incoherent conclusions.

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What I've said is that Jesus can be proven to have existed using the same methods by which we can prove that Sophocles existed, that the evidence for Jesus is much stronger that for Sophocles,

Not really. Jesus has left no own writings, Sophocles left numerous plays. Jesus isn't mentioned in any writing until quite a long time since he supposedly died, Sophocles is mentioned in at least one concurrent book. And you would assume that someone who stops the sun in the sky would be mentioned in at least Roman documentation. Not to mention they would most likely write about one of the most successful rioters ever. Furthermore, it seems most of what Jesus is described as is a collage of previous mythology, which further increases suspicions he's not a historical figure.

 

Thus, the existence of Sophocles is a more solid fact than Jesus having existed.

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