How Reliable Is a Bridge Built on Faith?

I recently wrote about the contradictory definitions of faith here. For this post, I’ll use this definition: faith is belief held not primarily because of evidence and little shaken in the face of contrary evidence; that is, belief neither supported nor undercut by evidence. (See that earlier post to explore those two definitions and see why I think this one is widely accepted within Christianity.)

Faith as a belief that doesn’t demand evidence is getting close to the philosophy of Lewis Carroll’s White Queen: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Can even religion ennoble this approach? Let’s critique this popular definition of faith.

Why have faith?

Faith is permission to believe something without a good reason. Believing because it is reasonable and rational requires no faith at all. Trying to believe is like trying to fall asleep—it’s not something that benefits from intellectual effort. As an exercise, try to believe in unicorns or leprechauns—you can’t will yourself to believe.

Here’s the value in faith. Suppose you face a Chasm of Unknown. Maybe the question is, Is there an afterlife? or What explains the suffering in the world? If you could cross that chasm, you could hold the belief that there is an afterlife. Or maybe it’s a Chasm of Longing—the loss of a loved one has taken all the joy from life or agonizing problems make one feel helpless. There may be no science or reason that can cross such a chasm, but no chasm is so broad that faith can’t carry you across.

If someone’s life has taken a desperate turn, I won’t criticize whatever they need to believe to get through a difficult period. But for the rest of us, why would you want to cross such a chasm this way? Why ignore the tools you use in every other part of life for judging sense from nonsense?

Part of the answer is Shermer’s Law, which states that we use our intellect to justify beliefs arrived at for non-intellectual reasons. If you believe something important (like the tenets of a religion) for no better reason than that you were raised that way, you likely won’t admit that, even to yourself. You’re going to use your intellect to assemble rationalizations for the belief even though those reasons weren’t what led you to that belief in the first place.

Martin Luther King said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” But why? Why take any steps in faith except to get you across a chasm that reason and evidence are unable to? And once across that chasm, is there anything substantial upholding your new belief, anything that you’d happily admit to an observer?

If there’s no good evidence to cross the chasm, just don’t cross. Admit the truth and say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t have enough evidence.”

Do you “take a step of faith” in any other discipline? Certainly not in science. There are guesses, of course, but the goal in science is always to replace guesses with facts and follow the evidence where it leads. Trust (belief based on evidence) is used in science, and there are no “leaps of trust.”

Faith often doesn’t mean answers but merely an end to questions.

A critique of faith

Faith is the worst decision-making technique available. Crossing a busy street, evaluating a dangerous mistake your child made, getting treatment after you’ve broken a bone—faith is never the tool to use. Faith is usually kept on a leash and used only when (1) you want to believe something that’s contradicted by (or unsupported by) the facts and (2) there are no big consequences for doing so. The few exceptions where there are consequences become either objects of shock (children who died because their parents insisted on prayer rather than medicine) or public ridicule (people who sold their possessions to make themselves right with God before the end of the world or the woman who closed her eyes to pray while driving). “Jesus, take the wheel” is something you might say but certainly not something you’d really do.

Even a guess is better than a decision by faith because, with a guess, you’re willing to consider evidence that you made a mistake.

Faith is celebrated only when there’s nothing else, and Christian apologists prefer evidence. Want to know how I know? Because when they have evidence, they always push it! No apologist says, “Well, we do have extrabiblical evidence for Jesus, but frankly I never put that forward as an argument. I find belief by faith to be much more compelling.”

And that’s a clue. Supporters of a claim well supported by evidence wouldn’t bother appealing to faith, but faith would be the fallback if the claims were false. Faith doesn’t prove that the Christian claims are false, but that’s where the evidence points.

Let’s consider again: what good is faith? Paul the apostle didn’t have faith. He didn’t need it, if he indeed received the gospel from a vision of Jesus. The same is true for the disciples. According to the gospels, they heard Jesus’s message in person. I don’t have faith that my car is yellow since that’s a fact that I’ve experienced. Why can’t we also have direct evidence of Jesus rather than relying on faith? Faith is required now because it’s part of God’s plan … or maybe because the whole thing is legendary, and Christian leaders today are just passing along a tradition.

If faith were a useful tool, it would have a method for distinguishing between true and false faith claims, but there is no way to judge if any particular proposition held by faith is true or not. Indeed, there may be nothing that’s impossible to believe on faith, and many of those propositions must be false, at least in the real world. Christianity itself shows the problem since Christians have disagreed on important propositions since the earliest days (the losing propositions are called “heresies” by the winners). The church has permanently split over such issues. Christian factions have fought wars over such issues.

This contrast between how religion decides questions and how science does is illustrated in the map of world religions. It’s inconceivable that a map of science would show one view of the solar system dominant in this part of the world and another in that part, one model of the atom here and another there, and yet that’s how it works with religion. In science, ideas are evaluated in the same objective way, and a new idea peacefully sweeps the scientific world within years. In religion, ideas aren’t evaluated based on evidence, and division remains static for centuries.

Scientists don’t gather periodically to sing, and no one writes articles telling them how to prop up their faith in science. There is no equivalent within science of faith statements, a mental straitjacket dictating correct and incorrect statements. Faith statements create in Christian institutions a dystopian Nineteen Eighty-Four environment, where certain subjects become thoughtcrime. Consider what happened to Mike Licona when he crossed the line.

Christian rebuttal

One popular Christian response is something like, “But you believe in science on faith!” I don’t—I trust in science, and that trust is nicely supported by evidence—but let’s go there. They seem to be saying with that, “Well, you’re just as much an idiot as I am, since you believe stuff on faith, too!” Isn’t faith a good thing from a Christian viewpoint? Wouldn’t “You believe by faith, too” be a compliment? And if science and religion both use the same approach (“faith,” or whatever you want to call it), then why is it only science with the track record of curing disease, increasing crop yields, and landing people on the moon? (h/t Eliezer Yudkowsky)

Let’s consider the trust I have in science. I’m an outsider, but it’s easy to stay abreast of science’s claims to evaluate its track record. I use cell phones, computers, and cars, and science delivers. But in principle I could become an insider. I could get a doctorate in evolutionary biology or cosmology or quantum physics and I would be able to test the claims for myself. Is there any equivalent within Christianity? Scholars with doctorates in theology are still burdened with the map-of-world-religions problem. In science, my doctorate would let me thoroughly understand the consensus view, but within religion there is no consensus!

That reminds me of a story. It’s said that Winston Churchill would occasionally drink too much. On one of these occasions, a woman said to him, “Winston, you are drunk!”

Churchill replied, “Indeed, Madam, and you are ugly—but tomorrow I’ll be sober.”

The analogous interaction for our purposes would be a believer who says, “You take science on faith.”

The atheist replies, “Let’s suppose I do, and you take God’s existence on faith—but I could get a doctorate in any science and lose that need for faith. Could you do the equivalent?”

Christians say that truth is their goal, and the even capitalize Truth to assure us (or themselves?) that they’ve really found it, but methinks they doth protest too much. They’re not welcome at the adult table until they use tools that actually work at finding the truth.

Faith recoils from reason like Superman recoils from kryptonite. Reason unravels the happy lies that faith wants to believe.

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said;
“One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the [White] Queen.
“When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day.
Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as
six impossible things before breakfast.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Image credit: Ashley Coates, flickr, CC

 

This article is featured as part of a symposium on “GENIUS.” Tune into the premiere of “GENIUS” on National Geographic April 25.

About Bob Seidensticker
  • RichardSRussell

    Bob defines “faith” as belief held not primarily because of evidence and little shaken in the face of contrary evidence.

    I quibble. To me, faith is not a belief (IE, an attitude or opinion) but rather the process by which such an end result is arrived at.

    And, as I’ve written elsewhere, it holds the title “process” only honorarily, “because arguably there’s no ‘process’ involved at all: the assumptions at the input end (like ‘God exists’) essentially go straight thru, unmodified, and come out the other end looking not a whole lot different than when they went in (kind of like creamed corn when you’ve got the flu).”

    • adam

      “I quibble. To me, faith is not a belief (IE, an attitude or opinion) but rather the process by which such an end result is arrived at.”

      Seems to me to be more of an emotion rather than a process.

      Faith seems more like love, hate, jealousy and envy.

      Think a woman in an abusive relationship who ‘loves’ her man and justifies everything he does using ‘love’ over rational thought.

    • Greg G.

      I agree that faith is a process substitute, the way margarine is a dairy product, but it seems proper that any beliefs that are the result of the “faith process” should retain the label of “faith”.

  • Ignorant Amos

    I’ve built a few bridges in my time and the one thing that has no place anywhere about the task is faith. Of course it’s the same for the counter, when demolishing a bridge, the same rule applies…no faith is used in the calculations.

    How Reliable Is a Bridge Built on Faith?….not reliable at all.

    • rubaxter

      And yet, London Bridge stands… in Arizona, albiet.

      • adam

        “Even QC/QA is having faith that the inspector isn’t a drunk, ”

        Certainly not biblical ‘faith’ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3298cec031aed87ecad68eda344651ff1991966d8bad9d120ff60083677e2bd4.jpg

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Trust is used (though imperfect), but not faith. (Note the definition in the introduction.)

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        QA/QC has a track record.

        No dawgs do.

      • Ignorant Amos

        You are doing that thing that apologists do. You are confusing definitions of a word to be contrary. It’s okay, a lot of us around here are well used to that.

        The term ‘faith’ has numerous connotations and is used in different ways, often depending on context.

        The “faith” being referred to here is a strong or unshakeable belief in something without proof or evidence

        And yet, London Bridge stands… in Arizona, albiet.

        Are you suggesting London Bridge was built on faith…twice… albiet in Arizona the second time?

        When you built the bridges, I mean really, steel-toed boots, tie-in the rebar, built the bridge, did you check the CMTRs on all the components? Did you witness EVERY slump test?

        No steel-toed boots, but anyway, I learned how to follow instructions and systems. Instructions and systems that had been tested. I relied on the capability of those around me to employ those same instructions and systems competently. No one around me was working on “faith”, everyone had the requisite training for purpose, as had I.

        Even QC/QA is having faith that the inspector isn’t a drunk, like at Midlands during the base mat compaction for the turbine hall, from what I’ve heard from the co-workers… And, the hall did fall away so bad the project failed as a nuke.

        Yeah…things fail quite regularly, but not because of a failure to employ the “faith”, as per the connotation of “faith” in the context of Bob’s article and as defined above.

        http://www.christopherlong.co.uk/pont-farcy/baileybridge081017.jpg

    • epicurus

      Maybe that’s what happened when the German’s failed to blow the last bridge across the Rhine at Remagen in WW2 – someone used faith in their calculations. :-)
      https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/ludendorff-bridge-at-remagen-the-only-bridge-across-the-rhine-river-taken-intact.html

      • Ignorant Amos

        Or just ill trained and/or incompetent.

        I’ve had the misfortune of carrying out reserve demolition training on quite a few bridges in Germany during the Cold War. The calculations are precise and every bridge is different. A bloody nightmare, especially during winter.

        • epicurus

          Yes, I was just kidding about the Germans invoking faith.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, a figured ya were.

  • rubaxter

    So, if you can’t build bridges on faith, how did they build them before abacuses, much less slide rules, much less finite element analysis?

    Likewise, the descriptions of several failed ‘godless rationalist’ bridges spring to mind.

    Some really egotistical thought here.

    • adam

      “So, if you can’t build bridges on faith, how did they build them before
      abacuses, much less slide rules, much less finite element analysis?”

      With science.

      “Likewise, the descriptions of several failed ‘godless rationalist’ bridges spring to mind.”

      Science is not Omnipotent. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a1d3b36df22cb531ee474d9d5d3fb0e321e955e31bf73d043f51c7a996ac46f.jpg

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You’re saying that bridges can be built with faith? Show me.

    • Joe

      Faith is not the counterpoint to empirical measurement tools.

      Before ‘abacuses and slide rules’, people just built things by eye. The simplest bridge is a tree-trunk across a river, No special tools, or faith, required.

  • MNb

    “As an exercise, try to believe in unicorns or leprechauns—you can’t will yourself to believe.”
    Many chess players will disagree. They have willed themselves to believe that their personal rituals are helpful without any evidence or argument backing it up.

    “Faith is the worst decision-making technique available.”
    Ah – the one single time I won a chess tournament a peculiar faith based ritual helped me to make the right decisions during the games. When I tried it a year later it failed miserably (I wasn’t surprised).
    So it isn’t difficult for me to imagine that religious faith can help people through daily life in a similar way. Of course any apologist limiting the function of faith that way would have to abandon his/her project. Faith like this is utterly subjective (and in my case happened only once). Hence the claim that belief is reasonable becomes clearly false.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      They have willed themselves to believe that their personal rituals are helpful without any evidence or argument backing it up.

      I don’t see that as the same thing. My thought experiment is to develop a belief in something you have no motivation to believe in and for which there is scant evidence.

      • MNb

        There is zero evidence for former WCh Anatoly Karpov’s lucky pen either.
        You don’t think christians etc. have a motivation to believe? That would be peculiar.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The context of ‘motivation to believe’ was Christians trying to believe in say the Hindu pantheon being the source of all existence and the true gods.

    • wtfwjtd

      “…the one single time I won a chess tournament a peculiar faith based ritual helped me to make the right decisions during the games.”

      This is an excellent example of how faith works for the believer. Someone tells you to rub your lucky rabbit’s foot 3 times while standing in the clover patch, or whatever, reluctantly you try it, and viola! you win a chess tournament! Or you say that special prayer for that special person in your life who is suffering, maybe near death, and they get better. Now, the believer has a reason to believe, because their beliefs gave them tangible results. It can become a self-fulfilling feedback loop, and as a believer you just ignore or rationalize away the failures. And, this becomes much easier to do when everyone around you is also doing it.
      I think this is why Pascal’s wager is popular among believers. They don’t have to concern themselves with all those other belief systems out there, because it’s only their belief system that has worked for them (or so they think), so the others are eliminated by default. So, as they see it, their only choice is to believe/not believe their own brand.

  • The Eh’theist

    I think there’s a class of exception to the ‘can’t make yourself believe” argument. For *minor* things where there’s not a lot of information, and similar odds, one can have a different experience of choosing to believe something or not.

    So if I’m at a store and the last item on the shelf is dinged, and I ask the clerk if there are any more out back, and they say ‘no’. I’m aware that it may be the truth, or they may be lazy and saying ‘no’ to avoid the effort of checking, or keeping the last good one for a friend.

    If the item isn’t super important to me, there’s a little dialogue in my head where I decide whether to believe the ‘no’ or ask the clerk to go check anyway. Depending on time, interest, need for the item to be pristine, etc, I may make one choice or the other, while keeping an asterisk next to it in my head, because it’s not something I’m convinced about. It’s simply a pragmatic choice to act according to one of the beliefs unless the urgency increases or I get different information.

    I think it may be this sort of ‘choosing to believe’ experiences that Christians think of when they say it is possible, but I would counter argue that a decision of the magnitude of one’s eternal destiny doesn’t meet the criteria. You either believe or you don’t.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I agree that if it’s a toss-up, you can come down on either side of the issue.

      A related counterexample would be forgiving someone. Your emotions say that the anger feels good, but you could intellectually push the forgiveness doctrine until you accept it. But in the black and white case of not believing in unicorns and then, simply as a test of intellectual fortitude, you work on believing in them. Humans can delude themselves, so I’m sure some people could become unicornists. But I think that it illustrates that belief is simply a consequence of accepting compelling evidence, not the result of intellectual effort.

  • Michael

    The problem is, I’ve seen many believers define “faith” as the trust they have based on the evidence they believe exists for God. Much as you spoke of science.

    • MNb

      “the evidence they believe exists for God”
      When using unambiguous language this becomes incoherent.
      Evidence, ie what we observe, is by definition taken from our material reality.
      God is supposed to be immaterial, hence cannot be observed, hence cannot produce evidence unless we accept magic. And that requires ….. faith, ie acceptance without evidence and arguments.

      • Michael

        Well, not necessarily. There’s lots of arguments for the existence of God that don’t stem from empirical evidence per se. Now, obviously we don’t accept them, but others do. Plus, they say material reality is itself evidence for God, as it can’t come from nothing. An immaterial God has observable effects, therefore. On magic, miracles are one evidence they claim, which seem basically the same thing to me. Again, we don’t accept the evidence and arguments, but those do still exist.

        • MNb

          “There’s lots of arguments for the existence of God that don’t stem from empirical evidence per se.”
          Of course, but I was addressing

          “the evidence they believe exists for God”
          Evidence like

          “they say material reality is itself evidence for God,”
          I omitted the second part, because that is deduction and hence not evidence.
          This quote essentially means “God created material reality” and that is incoherent.

          “On magic, miracles are one evidence they claim.”
          Magic requires faith. Miracles as evidence for faith runs into the same problem. As long as they don’t point out the procedures followed (or call it mechanisms) and means used – procedures and means that cannot be material or they can’t be used by immaterial entities by definition – the attempt to connect faith to evidence remains incoherent.
          Note that I don’t claim that evidence and faith necessarily exclude each other (same for arguments and faith). A priori I don’t see why that would be the case (and hence I won’t read Jerry Coyne’s latest book). I only maintain that the definition of faith as you correctly attribute to many believers is incoherent exactly because of the attempt to connect faith to evidence.

        • Michael

          I’m not sure what you think evidence is then, if deduction isn’t valid. Also, I’m not sure why simply saying “God created material reality” is incoherent. Incorrect sure, but incoherent?

          Not if you believe that you’ve seen magic (or miracles) or that has other credible evidence for it. Which procedures do you mean? Why must they be immaterial?

        • Joe

          Evidence is something which is independently verifiable and repeatable. (It also has to be logically consistent).

          One person seeing a miracle is not evidence. The material world is evidence for the material world existing. Any other claims about it need further verification.

        • Michael

          Well a single anecdote is still evidence, I think, just not very good. However, they do claim independent verification and repetition (multiple people claiming to be healed at Lourdes, for instance). Again, this isn’t that great, but the point is they do claim to have it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I believe 67 or so have been officially claimed by the church to have been healed at Lourdes. Out of millions who’ve gone there. Sounds like chance explains things pretty well.

        • Michael

          Yep. Like I said, I’m not defending it, just noting they make the claims.

        • MNb

          And I never thought for a second you were defending it. I’m just noting that the claim is incoherent.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was thinking about the ten’s of thousands of eyewitness accounts at the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal, 1917.

          There was incoherence for ya.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_Sun

        • Michael

          Well why is it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Loch Ness Monster is real without doubt given the preponderance of eyewitness accounts from the great and the good of society.

        • Michael

          No, I’ve never said that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I know ya didn’t. I was being facetious and my original comment was partially eaten by Disqus.

          The LNM is well attested to by hundreds of eyewitness accounts, but they are not evidence that there is a LNM, just that hundreds of folk claim to have seen the LNM.

          http://www.loch-ness.com/eyewitnesses.html

          I don’t doubt for one minute that a lot of honest and educated individuals believe they’ve seen a LNM, but that is a different argument from a LNM actually existing, that requires evidence of existence, not evidence of belief in existence.

          Here is an excerpt from a letter from the Chief Constable of Invernesshire to a local Member of Parliament.

          That there is some strange [fish deleted] creature in Loch Ness seems now beyond doubt, but that the Police have any power to protect it is very doubtful. I have, however, caused Mr Peter Kent to be warned of the desirability of having the creature left alone, but whether my warning will have the desired effect or not remains to be seen. If you have any suggestion to make or can offer any guidance in the matter, I shall be grateful.

          http://www.scottisharchivesforschools.org/naturalScotland/Images/680Images/HH000100588-00031–680p.gif

          We are talking about material evidence vis a vis hearsay evidence, which on its own does not constitute evidence at all as far as I’m concerned. Even if there are tens of thousands of eyewitnesses as witnessed at Fatima that go against reality.

        • Michael

          I would say it’s weak evidence, which, when considering that they sonared the entire Lock by now and still found nothing, along with other facts, is safe to discount.

        • adam

          Then you understand why claims is not ‘evidence’

        • Joe

          I would guess more have died in car crashes on the way to and from the shrine.

          I recall reading that the figure (67 in several million) has been examined statistically and found to be lower than would be expected for a placebo effect.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Richard Dawkins makes the point in his documentary series “The Route of All Evil”.

          [Richard Dawkins, a prominent evolutionist and militant atheist, is well known for his unsympathetic attitude to religion. While visiting Lourdes for his 2006 television documentary, The Root of All Evil?, he comments on the miracles alleged to occur there and 6:10 minutes into the documentary he questions Fr. Liam Griffin about them as follows:]

          It may seem tough to question these poor, desperate people’s faith. But isn’t bracing truth better than false hope? What is the evidence for any miracles?

          FR. GRIFFIN: There are actually sixty-six declared miracles. There are about two thousand unexplained cures here. But then we would say there are millions of people who have been healed in different ways.

          DAWKINS: Healed in some sort of mental way?

          FR. GRIFFIN: Healed in spiritual ways, or people who have come to terms with their own particular situation, people who have rediscovered God in their lives again, people who have received a new grace here in Lourdes.

          DAWKINS: So you tend to get about 80,000 per year?

          FR. GRIFFIN: There’s about 80,000 sick pilgrims who come here every year.

          DAWKINS: That’s been going on for more than a century now—for a century and a half?

          FR. GRIFFIN: Yes

          DAWKINS: So, 80,000 per year, and, of those, sixty-six have been cured. I’m just. . . you see the way I’m thinking?

          FR. GRIFFIN: Yeah

          So the hard fact is that over the years with their millions of pilgrims there have been sixty-six supposed miracles. Statistically, it adds up to no evidence at all. I can’t help remarking that nobody has ever had a miraculous regrowing of a severed leg. The cures are always things that might have got better anyway.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nAos1M-_Ts

          There is also a set to with now fallen Pastor Ted Haggard…who later got caught out with rent boys taking drugs iirc.

        • Greg G.

          There were a couple of train wrecks on the last leg of the journey to Lourdes that killed more than the number of “confirmed” cures. Of course, that doesn’t even include those who didn’t get to the depot.

        • adam

          “It is estimated that in recent years about 5 million pilgrims a
          year visit the shrine at Lourdes. Over the past 150 years, some 200 million people have made the pilgrimage.*
          For those who care, that’s a success rate of .0000335% or 1 out of every 3 million. Furthermore, since 1947 anyone claiming a miraculous cure has to go before a medical board. “From 1947 to 1990, only 1,000 cures were claimed and only 56 were recognized in that time, averaging 1.3 cures a year, against 57 a year before 1914.”* Since 1978, there have been only four recognized cures.” http://www.skepdic.com/lourdes.html

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is about 60 odd confirmed “miracles” out of about 7,000 claimed, from untold millions of visitors.

          You are more likely to catch something by going, there rather than get cured.

        • Joe

          OK: I met Napoleon once. Nice fellow, but a little short.

          Evidence that I met Napoleon? No. Just evidence that I claimed I did. Claims are great, but there is a reason that they are not considered evidence in science. Testimony is even the weakest form of evidence in a court of law.

          You’re missing a point here, and it’s down to semantics. A claim is not evidence, it’s the start of where to look.

        • Michael

          So if only one person saw something, that is never evidence? I’m pretty sure they are considered evidence in science, just not enough to rest a theory on (rightly so). Yes, I’ve agreed testimony is the weakest form of evidence. Weak evidence is still evidence however. You seem to be agreeing here at some points, and not others. I’m not missing that point, but simply disagreeing with it. That’s the difference.

        • Joe

          “So if only one person saw something, that is never evidence?”

          Well, if you really want to be technical, it depends on the nature of the claim and the trustworthiness of the claimant. There’s all kinds of evidence, but only good evidence should be considered. One man’s testimony has sent people to their deaths, but that wouldn’t happen today, in fact a case would be thrown out without physical evidence. Certainly a testimony wouldn’t pass peer review in a scientific journal.

          To get back on topic, extraordinary claims such as those made by theists, require extraordinary evidence. I’m sure we can both agree on that?

        • Michael

          So if there is only one eyewitness to something, that shouldn’t even be considered? It’s not actually true that a case would be thrown out without physical evidence. Physical evidence isn’t actually required, it’s just helpful. Now, if physical evidence contradicted eyewitness testimony, then yes it would probably be thrown out. I’m not sure about peer review.

          As for extraordinary claims, the problem is deciding what that is, and what is extraordinary evidence. Yes, I’m not satisfied with second-hand eyewitness accounts for the Resurrection and such if that’s what you mean (as I suspect).

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “So if there is only one eyewitness to something..”

          The theists always claim there are at least two eyewitnesses and that one of them is still available (it’s not interested in talking about any miracles or anything else, though).

        • Michael

          Well, not on the Resurrection.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The Bible does have various non-Jesus witnesses to that as well (also presumed immortal), but we only get the side of dead humans in book form who claim they talked to these various witnesses. Jesus nor any of the witnesses is not claiming to have interacted with them or each other. Apparently, the church sees its making claims for all sides of these interactions while also claiming Jesus and others are immortal and capable and wanting to interact with humanity is honest behavior.

        • Michael

          Yep, it makes little sense.

        • adam

          “So if there is only one eyewitness to something, that shouldn’t even be considered?”

          Of course it should be considered, and if the claim is that it was MAGIC?

          Then what do you do, when MAGIC is untestable, unrepeatable, and unfalsifiable?

        • Michael

          Well if it’s largely contradicted by past and other evidence, you can safely conclude it was probably wrong.

        • adam

          Full Definition of magic Merriam Webster

          1 a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces b : magic rites or incantations
          2 a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source

        • adam

          You mean like EVERY supernatural claim…..

        • Michael

          Basically.

        • adam

          So then we can safely ignore all claims which involve the supernatural as not being ‘evidence’, then?

        • Michael

          No, in general we can say there’s usually much more evidence against them.

        • adam

          Billions if not trillions of claims of supernatural, not one demonstrated to be true.

          And no concrete evidence to support them.

        • Greg G.

          “Supernatural” is defined as “not natural” in order to exclude it from falsification. When claims are made that are testable and properly tested, the supernatural claim is falsified.

        • Michael

          Not always. Some of the things defined as supernatural have also been testable (i.e. bleeding statues of Mary).
          How we define supernatural can be tricky of course. Here’s Richard Carrier’s take:
          http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2007/01/defining-supernatural.html

        • Greg G.

          That was my second sentence. The supernatural must be carefully contrived to not make testable claims.

          The effects of prayer is a testable claim. There were some tests that had positive results but each had a procedure where an unconscious bias could affect the outcome. The Templeton study eliminated those biases and the most significant outcome was that the participants who were told they were being prayed for did the worst, though it was still insignificant.

        • Michael

          Yeah, but my point is it isn’t always, so the accusation it’s contrived that way doesn’t universally hold.

          I’m not surprised by that-I’ve heard prayer tests fail.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Okay…

          Claim one: I have a 10 year old compact car in my garage.

          Claim two: I have a brand new Bugatti Veron in my garage.

          Claim three: I have an intergalactic time machine in my garage.

          Claim four: I have a universe creating immaterial mind in my garage.

          …can you see the sliding scale of evidence requirement?

          Claim one requires nothing but my word. It is a common claim and who actually gives a shit about that truth claim.

          Claim two is a wee bit more of an issue. The Veron is not beyond plausibility, they exist, even at a cost of a million bucks, it is not beyond the realms that I could be a well-heeled multi-millionaire…but a doubt you’d take my word for it.

          Claim four is where it starts to get interesting…and as for claim four, well, ya see where this is going?

          The first claim is accepted on no evidence at all, and no evidence at all would get you to accept four and rightly so indeed.

        • Michael

          Oh yes, I see where it’s going. I’m not saying one testimony is enough for many things, it just still counts as something.

        • adam

          ” I’m not saying one testimony is enough for many things, it just still counts as something.”

          Yes, as an unsubstantiated claim.

          Like say, garden fairies.

        • Michael

          As a claim with very low evidence I would say, but that might possibly lead to better evidence upon investigation (say, from looking in the garden and catching an actual fairy, or video-taping one).

        • adam

          Science doesnt need fairies to explain a garden, but ‘faith’ and oft times ignorance does.

          Science has explored claims of fairies, never to find fairies, just as science has explored claims of supernatural MAGIC, never to find supernatural.

        • Michael

          Well by garden fairies I thought you meant a possible denizen of gardens, not a cause of them.

          I know.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem, as I see it, is if we are going to accept any claim counting as something, then the sky is the limit. Every claim then counts as something, meaning all claims have validity. But we don’t think that way. We all use a Bayesian reasoning when we assess claims…very quickly in most cases. Disregarding claims that we have assessed as worthless immediately. The grander and more outlandish the claim, the more data we require to accept the claim. The probability that the end product of a claim is likely or unlikely to be true, is not the same as the claim itself actually being true.

          I don’t think we essentially disagree here.

        • Michael

          Well, it doesn’t count as proof or anything. Rather, I object to the idea it doesn’t count at all.

          No, I don’t think so either.

        • adam

          “Rather, I object to the idea it doesn’t count at all.”

          Then what are the value of supernatural claims?

        • Michael

          The value? If you mean the likelihood, it’s low.

        • adam

          Billions if not trillions of claims of supernatural, not one demonstrated to be true.

          So HOW LOW is the likelihood?

        • Michael

          Very low. I’m not sure how to put it beyond that.

        • adam

          for me, without scientific evidence they are EASILY dismissed based on all that science has to say about those billions if not trillions of CLAIMs.

        • Michael

          Okay.

        • adam

          “So if only one person saw something, that is never evidence? ”

          So if only one person THOUGHT they saw something….

        • Michael

          Well, how do we know they only thought that they saw something? That again seems like begging the question.

        • MNb

          “Well a single anecdote is still evidence,”
          It’s evidence for a person making a claim, not for the claim itself.

          http://www.livius.org/articles/theory/testis-unus-testis-nullus/

        • Michael

          That applies to history, not necessarily any other field.

        • MNb

          Underneath Joe claimed he met Napoleon once. Once. Ie history. X observed a regrown limb a couple of minutes ago. Ago. Ie history. I just saw a leprechaun passing by. Just. Ie history.
          It applies to all claims, no matter which fields, as long as those claims are about something that happened more than a split second ago. Claims about the future are called predictions or prophecies.

        • Michael

          I kind of thought it applies further back than that. Ancient history. Excuse my ignorance.

        • Cygnus

          “Holy” scriptures were not intended to be documents that study the past events, but as theological documents. Events and places that you find in “holy” scriptures are secondary to the main purpose: have religious faith and how to practice religious faith.

        • Michael

          Okay…

        • MNb

          I didn’t write that deduction isn’t valid. Evidence consists of empirical data, of observed facts. It’s induction that applies. So

          “There’s lots of arguments for the existence of God that don’t stem from empirical evidence per se.”
          is irrelevant for my point. Irrelevant is not the same as not valid.
          You can’t see magic or miracles. If you think you do you are already interpreting. What you see is a limb regrowing or whatever. But why do you believe it’s magic or a miracle? Because faith.

          “Which procedures do you mean?”
          That’s for the claimant to figure out, not for me.

          “Why must they be immaterial?”
          Because an immaterial entity following material procedures ceases to be immaterial. Rowling in her books gives a perfect example with her ghosts. They can’t eat and can float through walls. Ie they can’t interact with molecules. That’s what makes them immaterial. But they can talk – produce sound. Sound consists of vibrating molecules. So suddenly they can interact with molecules – making them vibrate. That’s material – law of Energy Conservation etc. applies.
          That’s incoherent.
          The same for “God makes a limb regrow” or “God created the Universe”.

        • Michael

          You’re saying deduction isn’t evidence though.

          It seems like you’re assuming your conclusion. To say that a regrown limb is a miracle is a reasonable possibility (if true) I think.

          How do we know that an immaterial entity cannot affect matter? First of all, we’d have to know such things exist. It’s unproven, yes, not really incoherent necessarily.

        • MNb

          “It seems like you’re assuming your conclusion.”
          It’s not a conclusion. It’s a matter of unambiguous language. Saying that deduction is evidence is nothing but a category error. It’s as meaningless as saying that your computer doesn’t cooperate today or asking what the colour red sounds like.

          “How do we know that an immaterial entity cannot affect matter?”
          Burden of proof. Believer postulates an immaterial entity. Believer has to tell me how it affects matter. I only notice that all known ways to affect matter are material.

          “To say that a regrown limb is a miracle is a reasonable possibility (if true) I think.”
          No. It’s a possibility (if true) based on faith – faith that god can interact with our material reality without we understanding how. And that’s not a priori a bad thing. The reasonable statement is “we don’t know”. That’s what we say about superconductivity at relatively high temperatures; something science can’t explain either (yet?). Unlike regrown limbs that actually has been observed. Still it defies natural laws as we know them (specifically Nobel Price awarded BCS Theory) as much as regrown limbs.

          “It’s unproven, yes, not really incoherent necessarily.”
          Just repeating yourself endlessly does nothing to support your view. You don’t even try to address what I wrote anymore.
          So I just repeat as well: evidence by definition is observable. God by definition isn’t because immaterial. Hence “evidence for God” is incoherent – the product of ambiguous language.

        • Michael

          So what is deduction then, if not evidence?

          That is fair enough.

          I said it was a possibility, not conclusion. Naturally “I don’t know” would be a good way to start.

          Well before this it didn’t seem like you had supported your statement, thus my repetition. I don’t think you stated that evidence by definition is empirical, for instance, and that not something I’m convinced of.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Also, light seems to be reflecting off of them or else they somehow materialize by interacting with the material brains (somehow?!!?) to appear as shared halucinations.

        • Greg G.

          If they are visible, how do they interact with the pigments in the eye that can be translated into an image? That would require a way to emit electromagnetic energy.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Exactly!

        • MNb

          Yup. Wizards capable of seeing Rowling’s ghosts runs into the exact same problem. The only reason I don’t use this example is that particle/wave duality of light is more complicated than particle/wave duality of sound.

        • Kevin K

          Arguments are not evidence. Please don’t conflate the two.

        • Michael

          Well then, please define evidence. If an atheist argues, as I have, that based on the gratuitous suffering we see in the world, an all-good, all-powerful God probably does not exist, this is an argument based on the evidence. There is not a strict separation between them.

        • Kevin K

          I love the example, because it almost perfectly demonstrates what I’m talking about. In a rational world, you would be right — the “Problem of Evil” was outlined by Epicurus about the time the bible was written. Frankly, in the intervening 2500 years or so, no one has been able to adequately refute it. So…why are most humans religious, then?

          It’s because if you ask various people what the existence of evil (human-caused or otherwise) is evidence of, you will get several answers.

          1. Creationists like Ken Ham will declare that the existence of evil is evidence that a mud man and rib woman ate IQ-raising sin fruit at the behest of a talking snake. Prior to that — no evil. So, the existence of evil to them is evidence of what they call “The Fall”.

          2. Non-creationist theists will argue that the existence of evil is a demonstration of the fact that we have god-given “free will” — aka, the ability to masturbate, or mow the grass on Sunday against the wishes of their deity. Evil is evidence of god and his desire to not have us be automatons (except in heaven, where we get to do nothing but worship him for eternity — go figure). These theists have a harder time explaining volcanoes and malaria and still maintain the theological position that their god is all-powerful and all-loving. I suppose to them, the Problem of Evil is the most daunting and you might have some success moving the needle with this group with it.

          3. A minority of theists will declare that the existence of evil is evidence that Satan is the “god of the Earth”, as it states clearly in the bible (2 Corinthians 4:4).

          4. Agnostics of a certain stripe will also argue that the existence of evil does not provide evidence against the existence of all gods, only against an all-loving one. A trickster god, a malevolent god, or an uncaring god all could allow evil, or actively promote it.

          So…what is evidence and how does it differ from arguments? Evidence can be described as objectively verifiable observations that point only in a single direction, either supporting a claim or refuting it. The existence of evil — as I’ve just outlined — doesn’t really do that. It points in every direction. So, it’s not evidence — or it is evidence of a sort; just not compelling evidence that can lead solely in the direction of a single conclusion.

          An argument isn’t evidence of anything other than the ability to construct coherent or semi-coherent statements in support of a proposition. An argument can be completely consistent and internally coherent and still be factually wrong. Every theistic argument for the existence of god falls in this category. Because none of the evidence they provide in support of their argument points only in the direction of “god”. In each and every case, you could insert the phrase “universe-building aliens” in place of “god” and not change the meaning whatsoever. So, they all fail.

          Sorry if this was long-winded.

        • Michael

          No, those were good points. It was laid out well. Obviously a poor example on my part.

        • Cygnus

          When some atheists argue that God doesn’t exist because there’s suffering in the world, they use that argument because theists claim the existence of a God that is omnipotent, omniscient, omni-everything but incapable to remove the suffering in the world. So, if there’s suffering in the world, then the God you claim to exist is just bullshit.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Yesterday, I attended a service with my mom. In Philipians, an earthquake opens all the prison doors and peoples’ shackles. An earthquake might compromise a prison, but earthquakes are highly unlikely to open freaking prison doors AND peoples’ shackles. The two effects are treated as related, but for what reason? It’s just as coherent to say the prison guard’s sudden projectile diarrhea blew off the doors and shackles or cake raining from the sky did it. The only interpretation that makes sense with our everyday experience is that this “miracle” (highly probable all others as well) is magic, as used in fiction by human authors.

        • Michael

          Highly unlikely perhaps, not impossible.

        • Greg G.

          That is from Acts 16:24-26 about events in Philippi, but I take that as further evidence that Luke was borrowing the Deus ex machina of Dionysus in The Bacchae rather than it actually happened. Acts 12:6-11 is another use of the same literary device with Peter being freed from prison by an angel. The “kick against the goads” line in Acts 26:14 is another bit from the same play.

        • Michael

          I misread that as “in the Philippines” somehow. Yes, most probably it’s just a story. I’ve heard there are other allusions to Greek literature as well.

        • Greg G.

          I was reading a site recently on Greek sources in the New Testament. I was surprised how many allusions to Plato there are in Paul’s letters.

        • Michael

          Interesting. Well, I’d heard that Platonism influenced the early Christians, so I guess that makes sense.

        • Greg G.

          None of the verses were about Jesus so much but it was more morality and a few paraphrases from Socrates’ Death chapter.

          Romans 8:5 (NRSV)For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

          Galatians 6:8 (NRSV)If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.

          Plato, Phaedo, section 69c”from all these things, and self-restraint and justice and courage and wisdom itself are a kind of purification. And I fancy that those men who established the mysteries were not unenlightened, but in reality had a hidden meaning when they said long ago that whoever goes uninitiated and unsanctified to the other world will lie in the mire, but he who arrives there initiated and purified will dwell with the gods. For as they say in the mysteries, ‘the thyrsus-bearers are many, but the mystics few’;”

          Plato, Phaedo, section 81c“And, my friend, we must believe that the corporeal is burdensome and heavy and earthly and visible. And such a soul is weighed down by this and is dragged back into the visible world, through fear of the invisible and of the other world, and so,

          Romans 7:22-23 (NRSV)22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

          Plato, Laws, Book 1Cleinias: Moreover, there is a victory and defeat-the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats-which each man gains or sustains at the hands, not of another, but of himself; this shows that there is a war against ourselves going on within every one of us.

          Romans 12:4 (NRSV)For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function,

          Plato, The Republic, 370“It would not, by Zeus, be at all strange,” said I; “for now that you have mentioned it, it occurs to me myself that, to begin with, our several natures are not all alike but different.

          1 Corinthians 9:16 (NRSV)If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!

          Plato, Apology of Socrates, from The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2 [Benjamin Jowett translation]After this I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I provoked, and I lamented and feared this: but necessity was laid upon me – the word of God, I thought, ought to be considered first.

          1 Corinthians 9:24 (NRSV)Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.

          Plato, The Republic, X. C. 13But such as are true racers, arriving at the end, both receive the prizes, and are crowned.

          1 Corinthians 12:14-17 (NRSV)14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

          Plato, Protagoras“Is virtue a single whole, and are justice and self-control and holiness parts of it, or are these latter all names for one and the same thing?”

          Plato, ProtagorasDoes each also have its particular function? Just as, in the parts of the face, the eye is not like the ears, nor is its function the same; nor is any of the other parts like another, in its function or in any other respect: in the same way, are the parts of virtue unlike each other, [330b] both in themselves and in their functions? Are they not evidently so, if the analogy holds?

          1 Corinthians 12:25 (NRSV)that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another.

          Plato, The Republic, 462And the city whose state is most like that of an individual man.3 For example, if the finger of one of us is wounded, the entire community of bodily connections stretching to the soul for ‘integration’4 [462d] with the dominant part is made aware, and all of it feels the pain as a whole, though it is a part that suffers, and that is how we come to say that the man has a pain in his finger. And for any other member of the man the same statement holds, alike for a part that labors in pain or is eased by pleasure.

          1 Corinthians 13:12 (NRSV)For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

          Does each also have its particular function? Just as, in the parts of the face, the eye is not like the ears, nor is its function the same; nor is any of the other parts like another, in its function or in any other respect: in the same way, are the parts of…

          Plato, Phaedo [Benjamin Jowett translation]I dare say that the simile is not perfect — for I am very far from admitting that he who contemplates existence through the medium of ideas, sees them only “through a glass darkly,” any more than he who sees them in their working and effects.

          1 Corinthians 15:33 (NRSV)Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

          From the Greek poet Menander

          Some sources think it from Euripides (such as Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 3.16), “Evil communications corrupt good manners”.

          2 Corinthians 4:4 (NRSV)In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

          Plato, The Republic, 514[514a] “Next,” said I, “compare our nature in respect of education and its lack to such an experience as this. Picture men dwelling in a sort of subterranean cavern1 with a long entrance open2 to the light on its entire width. Conceive them as having their legs and necks fettered3 from childhood, so that they remain in the same spot, [514b] able to look forward only, and prevented by the fetters from turning their heads. Picture further the light from a fire burning higher up and at a distance behind them, and between the fire and the prisoners and above them a road along which a low wall has been built, as the exhibitors of puppet-shows1 have partitions before the men themselves, above which they show the puppets.” “All that I see,” he said. “See also, then, men carrying2 past the wall [514c] implements of all kinds that rise above the wall, and human images

          2 Corinthians 7:2 (NRSV)Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.

          Plato, Apology of Socrates, from The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2 [Benjamin Jowett translation]I speak rather because I am convinced that I never intentionally wronged anyone…

          Ephesians 1:22-23 (NRSV)And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

          Plato, Timaeus [Benjamin Jowett translation]First, then, the gods, imitating the spherical shape of the universe, enclosed the two divine courses in a spherical body, that, namely, which we now term the head, being the most divine part of us and the lord of all that is in us: to this the gods, when they put together the body, gave all the other members to be servants…

          Philippians 1:21 (NRSV)21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.

          Plato, Apology of Socrates, from The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2 [Benjamin Jowett translation]Now if death is like this, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night. But if death is the journey to another place, and there, as men say, all the dead are, what good, O my friends and judges, can be greater than this?

          Philippians 1:23 (NRSV)I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better;

          2 Timothy 4:6 (NRSV)As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come.

          Plato, Apology of Socrates, from The Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2 [Benjamin Jowett translation]The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways – I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.

          Philippians 3:19 (NRSV)Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.

          Plato, Republic, Book 8, section 546a“How?” “Somewhat in this fashion. Hard in truth it is for a state thus constituted to be shaken and disturbed; but since for everything that has come into being destruction is appointed, not even such a fabric as this will abide for all time, but it shall surely be dissolved, and this is the manner of its dissolution. Not only for plants that grow from the earth but also for animals that live upon it there is a cycle of bearing and barrenness for soul and body as often as the revolutions of their orbs come full circle, in brief courses for the short-lived and oppositely for the opposite; but the laws of prosperous birth or infertility for your race,

          1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NRSV)See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.

          Plato, Crito [Benjamin Jowett translation]Then we ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to anyone, whatever evil we may have suffered from him.

        • Michael

          Perhaps it was part of Paul’s outreach to Greeks for their conversion. No doubt some of his readers at least would recognize those references.

        • Pofarmer

          Would love a link.

        • Greg G.

          Would love a link.

          https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/paul-and-his-use-of-greek-philosophy/

          Had to Google search it. My computer died and it was in an unsaved Notepad window. Fortunately, I saved the data I looked up from it to my thumb drive.

          Here are the references I looked up: http://disq.us/p/1a5fp98

          I didn’t include this Aristotle reference in that post.

          Romans 2:14 (NRSV)
          When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves.

          Galatians 5:23 (NRSV)
          gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

          Aristotle, Politics, Book 3, Part 13 [Benjamin Jowett translation]
          Hence we see that legislation is necessarily concerned only with those who are equal in birth and in capacity; and that for men of pre-eminent virtue there is no law- they are themselves a law.

        • Michael Neville

          cake raining from the sky did it.

          So the prisoners were given the choice: “Cake or death”.

        • adam

          “So the prisoners were given the choice: “Cake or death”.”

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Well, the cake is a lie! and substituting back in the “actual” magic jail-breaking earthquake makes the choice uhm…

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        “God is supposed to be immaterial”

        No one told the Bible writers XD

        • Cygnus

          That God is immaterial was “discovered” by Thomaso Aquina, the Catholic priest who wanted to destroy the Philosophy of Antiquity and pervert it in theology.

    • Joe

      Yes, but when you ask for the evidence, it is never convincing to a non-believer. They just beg the question by assuming whatever caused them to believe is ‘evidence’. In reality, it’s just Bob’s definition, re-defined.

      • Michael

        I’m not saying the evidence they offer is compelling obviously, and that does happen. On the other hand, I don’t think we’re even very clear on what’s evidence given the discussion above.

        • Joe

          “I’m not saying the evidence they offer is compelling obviously…”

          I would wager, going by my experiences, that it’s is always question-begging in the form of confirmation bias. Calling something ‘evidence’ does not make it so. You need agreement from others. After all, words are just what society uses to communicate information to each other. They are descriptive, not prescriptive.

        • Michael

          An example would help. If evidence is simply what people agree, then they win, because many think “Someone whom I trust told me” is good enough to prove anything.

        • Joe

          Not necessarily. Evidence also has to correlate with reality. Again ,it might be good enough for an individual, but we live in a society.

          Refer to my other posts: A claim is the start of the investigation.

        • Michael

          I agree. The problem is it’s so disputed over just what is evidence, and reality as well.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The basic claims are that Jesus is an immortal omnipresent person and that he has and has had interactions with people. It is assumed he can read and translate any language, and he can and wants to speak with other people. We only ever get one side of these supposedly two-sided interactions, the fellow mundane humans’ side. For all we know the supposed human contacts never interacted with Jesus (likely because there is no Jesus to interact with) or misrepresent what happened according to Jesus’ account (creating the universe, he claims, is easy, but he has no idea how bringing back the dead or an afterlife would work). Also, any apologetics books about his/some deistic god’s existence would be quite redundant if he/it can just read it to us (if not, then can Jesus be considered a god if his reading and speech abilities are so abysmal?).

          Lastly, what does this sound similar to:

          “An Italian peasant woman deals with soldiers had claimed that the actual text of Catch-22 did not have to be revealed when carrying out orders related to it, meaning that “they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.” (In simple terms, “We don’t have to provide a citation of the rule that allows us to do this because the rule that we’re claiming allows us to do this says we don’t have to provide a citation of it.”)”

          – TV Tropes ‘Catch-22’ (literature), example of a closed logical loop, aka the Catch-22 Dilemma

        • Michael

          Well put.

        • Greg G.

          It is assumed he can read and translate any language, and he can and wants to speak with other people.

          Yet the theme of the Gospel of John is that people misunderstand Jesus.

          John 2:19-22 “this temple”
          John 3:3-7 “born again/from above”
          John 4:10-15 “living water”
          John 4:31-34 “food you don’t know about”
          John 6:32-36 “bread of God”
          John 6:51-58 “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
          John 7:27-43 “origins of Jesus”
          John 7:33-36 “where I am, you can’t come”
          John 7:41-43 “origins of Jesus”
          John 8:21-23 “Will he kill himself?”
          John 8:31-36 “the truth will set you free”
          John 8:51-55 “keep my word, never see death”
          John 8:56-58 “Before Abraham was born, I AM”
          John 10:1-7 “shepherd”
          John 10:38 “the Father is in me, and I in the Father”
          John 11:11-15 “sleep”

          If Jesus was capable of communicating with people so well, why did he have so many misunderstandings in the way he spoke? It’s like people believe in a Jesus that is not from the Bible.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I was speaking of assumed capabilities not the crappy riddle-speak used by every badly-written, often lamp-shaded “wise” mentor.

        • TheNuszAbides

          John 7:27-43 “origins of Jesus”
          John 7:33-36 “where I am, you can’t come”
          John 7:41-43 “origins of Jesus”

          isn’t the third of these contained by the first?

    • adam

      “Much as you spoke of science.”

      So as with science, it is testable and reproducible?

      • Michael

        According to many yes. Obviously I’m not convinced.

        • adam

          Seems to me that IF it is testable and reproducible, THAT would be science and therefore there would be no need for ‘faith’. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3298cec031aed87ecad68eda344651ff1991966d8bad9d120ff60083677e2bd4.jpg

          Personally, I would love to see some of this ‘evidence’ testing and its reproduction.

        • Michael

          Well like I said, they simply define faith differently than you. That’s all I sought to point out. So to them, our trust in science is also a faith (obviously, a better faith we would say, assuming we accepted that definition).

          I would as well.

        • adam

          “Well like I said, they simply define faith differently than you.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3298cec031aed87ecad68eda344651ff1991966d8bad9d120ff60083677e2bd4.jpg

          Biblical ‘faith’ needs no evidence, in fact, it is more likely to be hindered by it.

        • Michael

          Sorry, your link didn’t work.

          I agree, but it’s not something some admit of course.

        • Cygnus

          Michael, there’s no “trust” in science, if you don’t believe what science claims, you can test and reproduce what science claim as true. No faith required.

          However, when theists claim that Allah is peace or Jesus is love, you only can have faith, for in reality, when you test and reproduce the “holy” scripture, what follows is the annihilation of mankind in the name of God.

        • Michael

          We trust that it works, based on the evidence. Generally this is a good idea. Not everyone can test and reproduce an experiment, simply by lack of skills. This doesn’t mean we can’t trust good experimental results.

          I’m not sure what this means.

        • Cygnus

          What do you mean that you’re no sure “what this means”? Practice the holy scripture: kill the infidel and force the love of Jesus or else. What part of experimenting and testing the holy scriptures you don’t understand?

        • Michael

          I didn’t understand exactly what you meant by that. Now I do. Fine.

        • Ray-B

          “kill the infidel and force the love of Jesus or else.”

          But you would have to act in complete disobedience to what Jesus Christ taught to do that.

        • adam

          So YOUR Jesus Christ is not the “God of Abraham” from the OT?

        • Ray-B
        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but The First Epistle of Peter is a pseudonymous forgery…pah!

        • adam

          So YOUR Jesus Christ is not the “God of Abraham” from the OT?

          So is the question too embarrassing for you?

        • Ray-B

          I’m not embarrassed. You posted a meme at me and suggested you have faith in what it tells you.

          I’m living in the New Testament. This atheist became attracted to Christianity because of the anti-violent message of Jesus Christ and The Gospel.

        • adam

          Nope, WRONG AGAIN.

          I asked you a question that you ducked.

          I am guessing because you understand what kind of MONSTER your Jesus claimed to be…

        • Ray-B

          No. I just don’t agree with what you are saying. Sorry dude! Feel free to reply with whatever you want. And be sure to include a meme! I’m out. Have a great day!

        • adam

          “No. I just don’t agree with what you are saying.”

          So EMOTION is all you’ve got?

          So YOUR Jesus Christ is not the “God of Abraham” from the OT?

          So is the question too embarrassing for you?

        • Cygnus

          Bollocks you say. It’s Jesus to send you to eternal crappola if you don’t obey his “love”. At least Muslims murder you here, while Jesus murders you in eternity, if don’t accept the bullshit love of God.

    • Ray-B

      Most people do take science on faith.

      • Michael

        In this sense, that appears to be the case. After all, most don’t have the skills or knowledge to verify scientific claims. It’s a reasonable faith, usually.

        • Ray-B

          Sure.

          50 years ago scientists had faith in theories that proved the world was eternal. When a Catholic priest came along and revealed new science that suggested the universe had a beginning, it became obvious that the faith some scientists had in their findings wasn’t good faith.

          http://www.relatably.com/q/img/indefinitely-quotes/quote-i-was-there-when-abbe-georges-lemaitre-first-proposed-this-big-bang-theory-there-is-hannes-alfven-58-67-26.jpg

          Atheists who say they have no faith. What a riot.

        • Michael

          The fact that knowledge in science changes is a good thing, I’d say. I’m not sure Lemaitre being a priest matters. At this point it seems that the Big Bang may only have been the beginning of our immediate universe here, not everything, according to what I’ve read. So perhaps they were both somewhat right.

          Atheists are referring to religious faith.

        • Ray-B

          Lemaitre being a priest did matter. Because scientists let that fact skew their judgement. They thought Lemaitre was just trying to prove that The Bible was correct, because he said the universe had a beginning. Popular thought was that the universe was eternal. Lemaitre was ridiculed for going against that faith.

          Facts like that started my questioning of what New Atheists doctrines had taught me. As I’ve become more skeptical I’ve found many atheist arguments employ ridicule over others holding ideas they don’t hold. These are ideas that may one day be proven false.

          Ridicule works against atheist faith, too.

        • Michael

          Okay, well that’s unfortunate if true. However his theory won out as it had the evidence. Lemaitre himself said it didn’t prove Christianity.

          I agree with that much. That said, I do think good atheist arguments exist, but they are more philosophical.

        • Ray-B

          Right. It doesn’t prove Christianity. There are good atheist arguments. And theist ones. And deist, too.

        • Michael

          Deism is more plausible to me than traditional theism, but still doesn’t hold up in my opinion. The best arguments for theism are deistic, it seems (cosmological ones largely) but are lacking even so. What do you think?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course it isn’t true. Just read the Lemaitre Wikipedia page. Twentieth century scientist’s didn’t doubt another scientist’s hypothesis just because he happened to be a cleric also…what a lot of ignorant bunkum.

          Read a Catholic source on the matter.

          http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/science/faith-and-science/a-day-without-yesterday-georges-lemaitre-amp-the-big-bang.html

        • Michael

          Well, good thing that I added “if” then.

          The link didn’t work.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Michael

          Now it works. I don’t know what happened there.

        • adam

          ” As I’ve become more skeptical I’ve found many atheist arguments employ ridicule over others holding ideas they don’t hold. ”

          Nope, just ridiculing beliefs in MAGIC…

        • Ray-B
        • Ignorant Amos

          Lemaitre being a priest did matter. Because scientists let that fact skew their judgement.

          Codswallop!

          Citation please?

          Why was Edwin Hubble also scoffed at by his peers for making the similar hypothesis a couple of years later?

          They thought Lemaitre was just trying to prove that The Bible was correct, because he said the universe had a beginning.

          Who is this “they”…where and when did they say it?

          Let me fix this for ya…

          They some skeptic’s thought Lemaitre was just trying to prove that The Bible was correct, because he said the universe had a beginning.

          Lemaitre’s hypothesis was in complete. Were there those skeptical? Sure, the place was awash with fledgling hypotheses and skeptics, but it is clear that some big names of the day respected Lemaitre’s work.

          Unfortunately for Lemaître, his Nobel Prize-worthy paper (though at the time astronomers couldn’t win Nobel Prizes for their work in astronomy as it wasn’t yet considered part of Physics) had little impact on the scientific community due to it being published in a journal hardly read outside of Belgium. But one man in particular read it, Albert Einstein. Lemaître and Einstein met for the first time in 1927 at the famed fifth Solvay Conference in Brussels. Impressed with Lemaître’s findings, but not swayed, he told him, “Your calculations are correct, but your physics are abominable.” Essentially, Einstein thought Lemaître’s math was correct but what the math seemed to show was not.

          http://gizmodo.com/georges-lemaitre-the-greatest-scientist-you-ve-never-h-1519769080

          Popular thought was that the universe was eternal. Lemaitre was ridiculed for going against that faith.

          Not because he was a Catholic cleric though.

          Many well known and not so well known scientists were Catholic clerics…and sometimes when they went against the “faith” all sorts of shit could occur.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_Catholic_cleric-scientists

          I wonder how popular with the Pope Fr. George Lemaitre would’ve been had his work supported the infinite universe model? Something not completely ruled in all quarters btw.

          http://www.livescience.com/49958-theory-no-big-bang.html

        • MNb

          Ah …. how remarkable …. Georges Lemaitre was not the first one. Atheist commie Alexander Friedmann beat him with three years.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Friedmann

          One point for lacking knowledge of history of science.

          “theories that proved the world was eternal”
          Another point for not understanding what scientific theories do. They never prove anything. They describe empirical data correctly – or not.
          Scientists didn’t hold to that view due to faith. They did because that’s what the available empirical data seemed to suggest. When data became available that conclusively demonstrated the Universe had a beginning, especially after the discovery of Penzias and Wilson in the early 1960’s, almost all accepted it.
          Because empirical data.
          Not because faith.

        • Ray-B

          Faith in empirical data that drew them to a false conclusion.

        • MNb

          Oh? You need faith to observe empirical data (like things falling down iso upward)? I pity you. I need my senses.

        • adam

          “Faith in empirical data that drew them to a false conclusion.”

          Nope, you havent demonstrated that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m not sure that you know how the scientific method works, you certainly don’t display such knowledge.

          Your comment is a loada ballix btw.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Two definitions of the word “faith” are being convoluted.

          Both are based on credence’s for sure, but that’s as far as it goes.

          Like it is with those that know no better on the word “theory”,the word “faith” has them similarly flummoxed…therein is the confusion.

          Christians hold that their faith does good, but other faiths do harm. At any rate, they hold this about the communist faith. What I wish to maintain is that all faiths do harm. We may define “faith” as a firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of “faith.” We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead to strife, since different groups substitute different emotions. Christians have faith in the Resurrection; communists have faith in Marx’s Theory of Value. Neither faith can be defended rationally, and each therefore is defended by propaganda and, if necessary, by war. ~ Bertrand Russell

          Religious “faith” and “faith” in science are not the same thing.

          This equivalence might lead to a relativist conclusion—you have your faith; I have mine. You believe weird things on faith (virgin birth, winged horse); I believe weird things on faith (invisible particles, Big Bang), and neither of us fully understands what we’re really talking about. But there is a critical difference. Some sorts of deference are better than others.

          It’s better to get a cancer diagnosis from a radiologist than from a Ouija Board. It’s better to learn about the age of the universe from an astrophysicist than from a Rabbi. The New England Journal of Medicine is a more reliable source about vaccines than the actress Jenny McCarthy. These preferences are not ideological. We’re not talking about Fox News versus The Nation. They are rational, because the methods of science are demonstrably superior at getting at truths about the natural world.

          http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/11/why-scientific-faith-isnt-the-same-as-religious-faith/417357/

        • Michael

          True, my point was simply people think of it as the same. Not that it is.

      • MNb

        No.
        They trust science.
        That’s not the same.
        It’s exactly what this article is about.
        You are in love with a false equivocation because you need it to hold up your religious views.

        • Ray-B

          You imagine I’m in love with a false equivocation because you need it to hold up your religious views? And then decided to dictate it to me. Ok.

          The word faith is derived from the word trust. I agree.

          The fact that most people do take science of faith is a statement that most scientists would agree with.

        • MNb

          I don’t imagine that. I draw an inductive conclusion from your comments.

          “a statement that most scientists would agree with.”
          Shrug. Means that they are guilty of ambiguous language. Would not exactly be the first time.

        • Ray-B

          That is called your confirmation bias. Regardless, it was wrong.

          ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          Later sir/mam! Enjoy your faith talks. Keep coming back to Patheos!

        • MNb

          Nope. Before reading your comments I didn’t have any idea of your attitude to the false trust = faith equivocation.

          “Regardless, it was wrong.”
          What is stated without backing up can be dismissed without backing up.
          I backed it up.
          You didn’t.
          You have become like an empty barrel. They also make a lot of noise.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You have become like an empty barrel. They also make a lot of noise.

          Very early too…how disappointing.

        • adam

          ….

  • Sophia Sadek

    Even the guys who built the first A-bomb lacked faith in their own ability to successfully construct such a device. The military had more faith in them than they did in themselves.

    • Cygnus

      From where did you get that “the guys who built the first A-bomb lacked faith in their own ability to successfully construct such a device”?

      Those who built the first A-bomb used knowledge on how to make a bomb that the government asked for. The military had thrown the bomb where the government asked them to. The faith was only in a government Christians claim is based on “the 10 commandments” and on the “in god we trust”

      • Greg G.

        From where did you get that “the guys who built the first A-bomb lacked faith in their own ability to successfully construct such a device”?

        They knew that a lot of energy could be released but they didn’t know whether they could work out the method before the Germans did. Neither side had time nor uranium to investigate every possibility. IIRC, there was a choice to be made in how to control the reaction. The Germans chose the wrong method.

        Another story was from one of the designers. (It may have been Feynman.) They had two different designs sent to Japan and it would have taken a long time to produce enough uranium for another bomb. They weren’t absolutely certain that either one would work because neither design was thoroughly tested.

        • MNb

          “The Germans chose the wrong method.”
          Not only that – they couldn’t lay their hands on the necessary raw materials.
          Plus they spend way less money and workforce to their project than the Americans.

        • Cygnus

          Scientists start with theories based on gathered knowledge and try to work out to demonstrate that their theories work in reality. Surely, there’s need for experimentation, and until experiments show that their theories can be demonstrated, there’s belief, but a belief that something is the case with factual certainty, and not speculations that requires faith. So no, scientists do not lack or have faith when it is about science.

          Now, Nazi government asked scientists to make an atomic bomb. If you say that “The Germans chose the wrong method”, then American government used the “correct” method to make scientists to construct the first atomic bomb and use it on innocent population of Japan. Twice, once to experiment with Uranium and then to experiment with Plutonium but in the end, it has nothing to do with faith of scientists or military faith in the scientific method. It has to do with the American government that had faith in God, thus the abominable use of science.

      • Sophia Sadek

        Some of the scientists expressed a concern that it might not actually work. The Trinity test was a big relief in that regard.

        • Cygnus

          Expressing concern that something may or may not work has nothing to do with faith or lack of it.

          “The Trinity test was a big relief” for the American government that a weapon of mass destruction became a reality. Now we have Ford instead of Mercedes to be made in the US :)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now we have Ford instead of Mercedes to be made in the US :)

          Yet. smiley aside, a German company is the second largest car manufacturer in the world. Guess who is top? A Japanese company.

          Ford come in 5th and aren’t even the top U.S. manufacturer…imagine that.

        • Cygnus

          If you don’t ready history, you are ignorant about the fact that Germany and Japan were allies.

          So back to smiles, we would have Mercedes and Lexus. And you didn’t get my point that we wouldn’t have those shitty Fords and Mini Coopers :)

        • Ignorant Amos

          If you don’t ready history, you are ignorant about the fact that Germany and Japan were allies.

          You do know that Ford contributed to the Nazi war effort, using slave labour, right?

          That was my point. The victims of the bomb ARE the top car manufacturers, with their AXIS pals the Germans taking the current runners-up.

          Mercedes are also built in the United States and Ford in Germany btw.

          So back to smiles, we would have Mercedes and Lexus.

          A quibble, It would be Lexus and Mercedes, except it’s not, it’s Toyota and VW and we do have them.

          And you didn’t get my point that we wouldn’t have those shitty Fords and Mini Coopers :)

          It is very hard to get your points, if there are any.

          Shitty Fords and Mini Coopers?

          The Mini has won many awards over the years, perhaps the most notable include second place for ‘’Global’’ Car of the Century awarded in 1999, behind only the Model T Ford. In the same competition, run by the prestigious Global Automotive Elections Foundation, the Mini was selected “European Car of the Century.” Grassroots Motorsports awarded Mini with the Editors’ Choice award in 2002.[77] The Mini also received awards for “Car of the Century” (Autocar magazine 1995) and “Number One Classic Car of All Time” (Classic & Sports Car magazine 1996).

          You really are a fuckin’ cretin.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Motor_Company#Motorsport

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini#Motorsport

          So whatever point you were tying to make, you failed anyway ya wanna cut it…unsurprisingly.

        • Cygnus

          “Mercedes are also built in the United States and Ford in Germany btw.”

          The inception of Mercedes factory in the US was in 1999 after 54 years from the WWII end. Nice point >>>>snicker<<<

          In 1990, before the War Of Terror, when gas was half a cent per gallon, the design monkeys at Ford Corporation made a bold move to make a vehicle which was worse than their previous invention, the Pinto, but Germany accepted to build Ford Assploder just to show Americans that Ford/Chevrolet made a lot of profit form the WWII selling shitty cars.

          The Mini Cooper is a mystical beast said to have been born in the fiery pit of Mt. Rushmore. Or you could be referring to the renowned cock-sucker, Mini John Cooper, who has sucked so many cocks, that when he coughs, sneezes, cries or vomits, the extracts of all is sticky cum.

          Anyway, whatever you think that you've rebuked, you've not even understood.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The inception of Mercedes factory in the US was in 1999 after 54 years from the WWII end. Nice point >>>>snicker<<<

          Try reading for comprehension ya dickhead.

          From its inception to 1999,…

          The factory was announced in 1993[1] and produced its first vehicle, an ML320, in February 1997.[2]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_U.S._International

          But so what? How does that in any way contest my “nice point” of…“Mercedes are also built in the United States and Ford in Germany btw.”?

          So >>>>snicker<<<< all ya want ya fuckin' village idiot.

          In 1990, before the War Of Terror, when gas was half a cent per gallon, the design monkeys at Ford Corporation made a bold move to make a vehicle which was worse than their previous invention, the Pinto, but Germany accepted to build Ford Assploder just to show Americans that Ford/Chevrolet made a lot of profit form the WWII selling shitty cars.

          I’m sure that verbal diarrhoea made some sense to you as you typed it, I bet you even thought it had some sort of relevance. It is just more shite to add to the mountain of shite ya spew here.

          The Mini Cooper is a mystical beast said to have been born in the fiery pit of Mt. Rushmore. Or you could be referring to the renowned cock-sucker, Mini John Cooper, who has sucked so many cocks, that when he coughs, sneezes, cries or vomits, the extracts of all is sticky cum.

          Can I suggest you step away from the crack pipe and seek help. Not since a bad trip I had around 1991 have I witnessed the likes of that much drivel in just two sentences.

          Anyway, whatever you think that you’ve rebuked, you’ve not even understood.

          I wouldn’t doubt that for a minute. Understanding the crap you are spewing is indeed becoming quite an enigmatic. Saying that, I’m prepared to leave judgement as to who is making the most sense to the casual observers here.

        • Cygnus

          When you start insulting like an idiot people you don’t know, you’ve lost all arguments.

        • Sophia Sadek

          And the VW beetle was manufactured in greater quantities than the Model-T. The A-bomb did not defeat Germany, nor did the vicious and brutal allied bombing of German cities. There are those who have learned from history, and there are those who have been indoctrinated by historical horse hooey.

        • Cygnus

          Amen.

        • TheNuszAbides

          well, faith and hope are differentiated even in scripture, and that situation seems a lot more like it’s about hope.

        • Sophia Sadek

          Not to mention the charity of bringing the lives of tens of thousands of civilians to a quick, painless end and causing deadly disease to tens of thousands more.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i was just introduced to the term “Rapturebation” by Capt. Cassidy.

          epidemics and exterminations are perfect Rapturebation fodder.

        • TheNuszAbides

          obviously the ‘H’ in H-bomb stood for Humanitarian.

    • Rt1583

      They had full faith in their ability.
      What they feared, just a little, was what would happen when one of these bombs was ignited. This fear was grounded in the fact that they knew how much energy was going to be released but nobody knew what would happen when so much energy was released in one instant.

    • Ray-B

      There are a lot of people here who have faith in what Bob says. Kind of ironic.

      • Sophia Sadek

        Should I take that claim on faith?

        • Ray-B

          Good question!

      • adam

        “There are a lot of people here who have faith in what Bob says.”

        Not biblical ‘faith’

        • Ray-B

          That cherry-picked verse isn’t biblical faith.

        • adam

          It is a DIRECT quote from your ‘word of God’ that defines what ‘faith’ is to the ‘faithful’

  • ctcss

    Faith is permission to believe something without a good reason.

    Bob, this whole post seems to be about you choosing the weakest faith argument there is (basically, faith as nothing more than maintaining a blind belief without any reason whatsoever to believe that something is true), and then pointing out how weak this admittedly weak argument is.

    Duh!

    Look, if you want to critique faith, why not choose the strongest argument you can find for faith (a reasoned trust based on experience) and then critique that? All you seem interested in is critiquing something that is weak and then patting yourself on the back for doing so.

    Anyone can critique something weak and win that argument. But that, as they say, is attacking a straw man. In your previous post you seem to have admitted that some religious acquaintances of yours are using “reasoned trust” as their working definition for faith, and I think you had little disagreement with that. So perhaps you are not against faith approached in a more considered, rational way. In which case, your problem is not with faith, but the particular approach a person might take towards faith. Some approaches might be more helpful than others.

    In which case, why not simply admit that and then recommend that people who value faith use the best approach they can towards it instead of putting down faith altogether? After all, science done badly (and we all know that science can be done badly) is not very helpful. But science approached in a better way can be very helpful. In other words, you wouldn’t disapprove of science as something useful to engage in, you would disapprove of the fact that it was done improperly, or at least not done as well as it could have been done.

    So why not stop putting down faith? Instead, encourage people to take an approach to faith (not a blind, unthinking approach) that is more likely to be helpful.

    Personally, I rely on faith, but I have no desire to rely on blind faith at all. What I try to rely on is far more comparable to a reasoned trust. You and I are not likely to ever agree on the question of God and the value of religion, but I think we are both in agreement that blind, unthinking faith is not helpful. In fact, I think we would agree that a blind, unthinking approach to anything is not helpful.

    Critique the real problem (lack of reasoned thought and effort), not simply the word you seem to like to associate with them.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      this whole post seems to be about you choosing the weakest faith argument there is (basically, faith as nothing more than maintaining a blind belief without any reason whatsoever to believe that something is true), and then pointing out how weak this admittedly weak argument is.
      Duh!

      Read the prior post where I explore different contradicting definitions of “faith.” Faith not built on evidence is very widely accepted by Christians.

      Look, if you want to critique faith, why not choose the strongest argument you can find for faith (a reasoned trust based on experience) and then critique that?

      Where they define faith that way (faith = trust), I have no problem. And if nobody celebrated faith as belief not built on evidence, I’d have no problem with that, either. But they do. So you can see the problem, right?

      All you seem interested in is critiquing something that is weak and then patting yourself on the back for doing so.

      Go tell all the Christians to use faith = belief firmly based on evidence. Let me know when that’s finished and we can continue this conversation.

      In which case, why not simply admit that and then recommend that people who value faith use the best approach they can towards it instead of putting down faith altogether?

      That’s what I did in the conclusion to that prior post.

      So why not stop putting down faith?

      Uh … because, depending on how it’s defined, it’s dangerous? Or was that a trick question?

    • MNb

      “a reasoned trust based on experience”
      That’s not faith according to BobS’ (and my) definition and hence not what he criticizes.
      You’re the one who’s attacking a strawman.
      Apparently you are one of those apologists (aren’t you the guy who only accepts the immaterial reality as real, comparing our material reality with a dream?) who need ambiguous language to defend their views.
      I’m pretty sure BobS would welcome you to present a reasoned argument (ie deduction) based on experience (ie induction, so personal anecdotes don’t count) for any claim about the divine.
      So your accusation is totally false.

    • Michael Neville

      This is why I think you don’t get what faith means at all.

      You’re the one who doesn’t get what the faith Bob is talking about means. Trust is a reasonable thing to use since it’s based on evidence. I’m not a biologist and the only formal education in biology I’ve ever had was in high school many years ago. Yet I trust evolution is true (for a certain value of true) because biologists, the experts in the field, accept it and use it when studying their field. But that’s not the faith Bob was referring to in the OP.

      Bob defined faith:

      For this post, I’ll use this definition: faith is belief held not primarily because of evidence and little shaken in the face of contrary evidence; that is, belief neither supported nor undercut by evidence.

      Do I have faith that an itinerant preacher named Yeshua ben Yosef was wandering around Palestine in the early 1st Century? Sure, why not? There was a revivalist movement in Israel at that time and preachers were thick on the ground. Yeshua and Yosef were common Jewish names then. There’s reasonable logical inferences that the preacher Yeshua existed so I’ll accept it in arguendo.

      Do I have faith that this Yeshua was the Jesus described in the Bible? No I don’t because there’s no evidence that Jesus existed. Due to the lack of evidence for Jesus’ existence, I don’t have faith that he existed. The self-contradictory, at times obviously false Bible is too slim a reed to support that faith.

    • Kevin K

      “A reasoned trust based on experience”…

      OK. Reasoned trust in what? Specifically, please. A truth claim made by religion that you accept on the basis of a “reasoned trust based on experience”.

      Let’s get as specific as possible, please.

    • Greg G.

      (a reasoned trust based on experience)

      A reasoned trust based on experience is not faith. A reasoned trust based on confirmation bias is faith.

      Personally, I rely on faith, but I have no desire to rely on blind faith at all.

      “Blind faith” is redundant. All faith is blind. If you have good reasons to believe something, your beliefs are based on reason. Where your beliefs go beyond reason, it is blind faith.

      EDIT: fixed copy&paste error

    • Joe

      So, Bob’s critique was not ‘TRUE’ faith, just nickle-and-dime, regular old ‘faith’? If there was a concrete definition, agreed upon by all Christians, you’d have a point.

      Taking your definition, “a reasoned trust based on experience” is basically science. What experience can confirm faith in the supernatural?

    • primenumbers

      When you’re reasoning your trust, what measures do you put in place to overcome the dangers of cognitive biases, particularly (but not limited to) confirmation bias?

      • ctcss

        When you’re reasoning your trust, what measures do you put in place to overcome the dangers of cognitive biases, particularly (but not limited to) confirmation bias?

        The same approach I use when gauging whether or not I can continue to trust my wife. I can’t know what’s in her mind (she could be secretly plotting against me), so all I can do is watch her actions over time and see what she does under different circumstances. The mental model I have developed of my wife over time and in various circumstances suggests that she is trustworthy, loving, and loyal towards me (despite my failings), so I trust her with my life. I continue to trust (what I believe to be) God for similar reasons, that is, I have learned (through experience) to also trust God with my life and well being. Which means (as I have told Bob before) that if I were to be stricken with cancer or to encounter a health emergency, I would (because of my previous experience of learning to trust God over time under varying circumstances) that I would not be visiting the emergency room, or undergoing medically prescribed cancer treatments to address those challenges.

        Yeah, I know, that sounds wacky and foolhardy, but I don’t do this because I have any kind of death wish, nor do I wish to die so I can be with God in heaven, nor am I doing this because someone or some group has told me that I must do this under penalty of eternal punishment, or even because of some misplaced social obligation to my chosen group. I do it because I consider it to be a practical approach to problems in life. And I also do it because it’s a path I wish to further explore in my life and experience. (I can hardly claim to have explored all of it in my life so far, since this comprises what is, arguably, an infinitely deep subject area to explore.)

        No one else needs to agree with me or to come along with me. After all, it’s my choice, not theirs. This is simply something that I have learned to trust over time.

        So, yes, faith as reasoned trust, not blind belief. “Reasoned” because I have the right and the opportunity to thoughtfully and carefully make a choice in each circumstance based on what I am currently encountering and what I have encountered before. (i.e. I can change my mind if I wish to.) “Trust” because I am willing to place something of value (my life and well being) on the line beyond my personal control. And it is very definitely “faith” because it goes beyond the merely material inputs to draw its informed conclusions, i.e. I would not do what I do if I did not have confidence (through experience) that God exists and can be relied on.

        Thus, I disagree with Bob’s characterization of faith as only being of the blind variety as being too shallow in scope. He also seems to be using it as a pejorative term, and I object to that usage since, to me and to those I know, it is a much larger area of thought.

        • primenumbers

          So you’ve not put in place any mechanisms to avoid the dangers of cognitive biases then?

        • Greg G.

          if I were to be stricken with cancer or to encounter a health emergency, I would (because of my previous experience of learning to trust God over time under varying circumstances) that I would not be visiting the emergency room, or undergoing medically prescribed cancer treatments.

          You are using the confirmation bias of your good health up to now. That is what primenumbers is referring to.

          A person’s freedom to swing a fist ends at the next person’s nose. Of course, you are free to practice your religion but please don’t practice it on your kids. The Friendly Atheist and other blogs point out many who treat their children with prayer instead of taking them to a doctor who could cure them. Those parents used the same confirmation bias you have.

        • adam

          “Which means (as I have told Bob before) that if I were to be stricken with cancer or to encounter a health emergency, I would (because of my previous experience of learning to trust God over time under varying circumstances) that I would not be visiting the emergency room, or undergoing medically prescribed cancer treatments to address those
          challenges.”

          Forrest Gump

        • MNb

          “so all I can do is watch her actions over time and see what she does under different circumstances”
          OK. Then I’ll watch the actions of the christian god (and many others) over time and see what he/she/it does under different circumstances.
          I don’t see anything but believers like you deceiving themselves.
          For instance you can see (and above all hear) your wife shouting at you when you say certain things. When I say the same things to god – crickets.
          Repeat this in as many variations as you can think of.
          Still crickets.
          What would be the conclusion?
          Ah – trusting your wife is not the same as having faith in your god.
          Exactly what BobS wrote.

    • Rt1583

      “a reasoned trust based on experience”

      Absolutely rules out any kind of god.

    • adam

      “Look, if you want to critique faith, why not choose the strongest
      argument you can find for faith (a reasoned trust based on experience)
      and then critique that?”

      Because we are talking about ‘christian faith’

      Fortunately, the bible provides it’s definition of faith:

      • Ray-B

        I have confidence in scientific findings. I do not have the tools to do my own tests. I can’t see what the scientists see. But I trust what the experts in a particular field tell me because of their reasoned arguments.

        That is faith. It is used in science every single day.

        Every single person agreeing with Bob’s writing is exercising their faith, also.

        The New Atheist attack on faith is incredibly bizarre. They keep shooting themselves in the foot. The fact that atheists don’t agree with this attack on faith by New Atheists points to a flaw that others are trying to avoid.

        • adam

          “Every single person agreeing with Bob’s writing is exercising their faith, also. ”

          But NOT biblical ‘faith’ as I have demonstrated is wishful thinking.

          I have no wish or hope for science to be true, science demonstrates itself to be true.

        • Ray-B

          You didn’t demonstrate that it is wishful thinking. You told us you believe it is wishful thinking. I’ve seen evidence that debunks your theory. The same kind of evidence you give, others give in the same way that contradicts your explanation.

        • adam

          I am just using the bible definition, wishful thinking

          Believing in things you HOPE are true.

        • Ray-B

          That isn’t the Bible definition.

          Neat meme. They make memes that make fun of anti-religious atheists, too.

        • adam

          “That isn’t the Bible definition.”

          Sorry, you havent demonstrated that.

          And yet I have.

        • Ray-B

          No, you did not.

          You pulled a verse out of context and twisted it to fit your bias. It is impossible to prove the author of that passage was saying what you suggest if you take it in context. You know, read the whole thing.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ray-B

          Cute!

          That doesn’t prove his false claim as valid, though.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What false claim? Valid compared to what?

          The verse can be interpreted variously…apparently.

          http://biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/11-1.htm

          But the one I’m particularly fond of, and supports Adam’s position…

          https://www.blueletterbible.org/comm/guzik_david/studyguide_hbr/hbr_11.cfm

          Interpretations a galore…whose to rely on, eh?

        • Ray-B

          http://dipettamortgage.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/real-estate-statistics.jpg

          :) I’ll take the educated understanding. Great references. Thank you, Amos!

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ll take the educated understanding.

          You’re really funny guy with all this nonsense, but seriously though…

          Which one though?

          Biblical hermeneutics , right?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_hermeneutics#Christian_biblical_hermeneutics

          All those theologians and scholars with all their different ideas what a passage means, within the context, whatever the context.

          The Bible is God’s Word. But some of the interpretations derived from it are not. There are many cults and Christian groups that use the Bible–claiming their interpretations are correct. Too often, however, the interpretations not only differ dramatically but are clearly contradictory. This does not mean that the Bible is a confusing document. Rather, the problem lies in those who interpret and the methods they use.

          https://carm.org/how-interpret-bible

          And you have yet to provide such a thing as an interpretation regardless of context.

          That’s the problem with the ole No True Scotsman routine…you can’t be taken seriously.

        • adam

          “You pulled a verse out of context and twisted it to fit your bias. ”

          No, I didnt.

          I took a direct quote out of your “word of God”,

          Show me how YOU TWIST to mean what it does not say…

        • Ray-B

          Dude you make a lame bully. You aren’t scaring. I’ll leave you to spread your wisdom all over Patheos by yourself. Later!

        • adam

          So, like with biblical ‘faith’, you’ve got NOTHING but your ‘hope’ that what you CLAIM is true.

        • adam

          Because the bully is YOU.

          You are the one making unsubstantiated claims.

        • adam

          “They make memes that make fun of anti-religious atheists, too.”

          Yes, they do.

        • Ray-B

          I have a religion that fully embraces science. Jesus Christ says to study nature.

        • MNb

          Apparently you are a christian. Then it’s likely you believe that Jesus was Resurrected from death. That means you don’t fully embrace science.

        • Ray-B

          I am a Christian. I do fully embrace science. Nobody has elected you to speak on behalf of science, but your opinion has been noted. Thanks sir/mam!

        • MNb

          Scientists don’t get elected, silly.
          You just saying “I do fully embrace science” does nothing to address “when you believe that Jesus was Resurrected you don’t fully embrace science. You confirmed this by stating that it’s merely an opinion.
          Nope.
          Physics, chemistry and biology say that dead bodies don’t come alive. That’s not my opinion, that’s what scientific textbooks say.
          Your self delusion has been noted.

        • Myna A.

          I am a Christian.

          So?

          I do fully embrace science.

          If you can present where science has shown it possible to resurrect three days after you are clinically dead and the body is in decay, walk around suddenly pristine and visit a bit to astonish the doubting Thomases of this world, ascend skyward like a floating bubble, and please provide links, then we can surely talk.

          If not, then you do not fully embrace science, you embrace only that which doesn’t conflict with your faith.

          Nobody has elected you to speak on behalf of science, but your opinion has been noted.

          Nobody has elected you to speak on behalf of religion, but your opinion has been noted.

          Thanks sir/mam!

          I’m sure you’re welcome.

        • Ray-B

          –I am a Christian.

          -So?

          I wasn’t talking to you. The person was speculating about if I am a Christian. I told them I was.

          :) Later, Myna. Haha. That is funny.

        • Myna A.

          I wasn’t talking to you. The person was speculating about if I am a Christian. I told them I was.

          We can interject here to our heart’s desire.

          Just a FYI :)

        • MNb

          Sure, but he didn’t write “I am a christian” as an argument for anything – only to confirm that he does believe in the Resurrection.
          He denies that this contradicts science.

        • adam

          ….

        • Ray-B

          Also…

          http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12

          I’ll trust this credible source over you. Once you give me some credentials, then we can talk.

        • Myna A.

          I’ll trust this credible source over you.

          But, helas, YOU are not a credible source. :( So, we are unable to talk. :(

        • Ray-B

          I know. You are not a credible source. But I have spoken with credible sources and they don’t agree with you. That’s ok.

        • Myna A.

          You are not a credible source.

          Never claimed to be.

          But I have spoken with credible sources

          List them.

          and they don’t agree with you

          So?

          That’s ok.

          It sure is that thing.

        • Ray-B

          Ok. Does this mean you realize that super natural claims are, by their very definition, outside the realm of science? What science do you imagine conflicts with my faith?

        • MNb

          Yup.
          The problem is that Jesus lived in our natural reality, was buried in our natural reality and was Resurrected in our natural reality.
          So science does have it’s say about it.
          And science says dead bodies don’t come alive.
          You don’t have to take my word for it.
          Consult your sources if they are as credible as you say.

        • Ray-B

          Hey! I wasn’t talking to you. Quit butting in. You already told me about your beliefs. Good for you! You’ve chosen to promote them on a blogging network dedicated to discussions about faith. Keep coming back and sharing your faith!!!

        • adam

          ” Keep coming back and sharing your faith!!!”

          Still not biblical ‘faith’

        • Greg G.

          You are posting in a public forum. You don’t get to choose who responds. Nobody here was talking to you before you began posting here. If you come to play, people will play with you.

        • Ray-B

          I was joking around. He can respond to everyone of my posts. I can make fun of him for doing it.

          Don’t be so serious. You are posting on a blogging network dedicated to discussion about faith. Have some fun!

        • MNb

          “I was joking around.”
          Better issue a warning next time.

          “I can make fun of him for doing it.”
          See, the quality of your comments is so poor that the funny ones are indistinguishable from the serious ones without such a warning.

        • adam

          “See, the quality of your comments is so poor that the funny ones are
          indistinguishable from the serious ones without such a warning.”

        • Ray-B

          Got it. Some anonymous man/woman thinks my comments are poor. Ok.

        • MNb

          Are you serious or are you joking around this time?

        • Ray-B

          Who cares? I appreciate you sharing your views with me. Have a great rest of the day!

        • MNb

          I care or I wouldn’t ask.
          Your wish is superfluous.
          Your appreciation can oxidate at the lower end of my digestive system.
          I’d just like to know:

          Are you serious with your previous comment or are you joking around this time?

          Let me explain this time. See, your “Got it. Some anonymous man/woman thinks my comments are poor. Ok.” contains an error.
          Perhaps two.

        • Ray-B

          That is serious. Yes. I have anonymous people making all kinds of comments toward me, many of them contradicting each other. A lot of the claims are from sources that have no credentials.

        • MNb

          Thank you. Then you made two errors and corrected one. The one that remains is that I’m anonymous. It would require some work for you of course, but it’s not hard to find out who I am. However I’m happy to save you that work.
          MNb stands for Mark Nieuweboer. If you google that you’ll find two. I’m the one from Moengo, Suriname. I only call myself MNb because people tend to misspell my name.
          This error plus the fact that I had to ask you twice illustrates the poor level of your comments. But it looks like there is hope for you. Perhaps you will avoid hasty conclusions next time.

        • Ray-B

          Cool, thanks for giving me more info! A guy who’s name I know told me his opinion. :)

        • MNb

          Yeah, I already suspected that you were a hard learner. You just admitted that the underlined part of

          “Some anonymous man/woman thinks my comments are poor.”
          is superfluous and actually a (poor) attempt at snark. And you do this by replacing it by another superfluous addition:

          “A guy who’s name I know”
          But now you made clear you attempted to be funny again. Sorry, you failed. See, some googling would have given your more information about me, making sure I’m not just a guy who’s name you know.
          That’s the failure. The joke is on yourself, not on me.
          So thanks again – this time for illustrating that your jokes are poor as well. It’s duly noted and we’ll take it into account when reading any of your comments.
          That’s it for the time being. I’m going to be sure that the next couple of hours are great.

        • Ray-B

          I’m sorry I am so unfunny. Take care, Mr Mnb! :) It has been fun.

        • Greg G.

          I have seen people think they can order someone to not respond quite often. The hardest part about being a POE is that it is so hard to write something that is more ridiculous than what some religious people actually believe.

        • Myna A.

          Does this mean you realize that super natural claims are, by their very definition, outside the realm of science?

          My position is that “supernatural claims” may very well be within the realm of scientific explanation.

          What science do you imagine conflicts with my faith?

          That, I’m afraid, is something you would have to answer. It’s your faith.

        • Ray-B

          No. It is your faith you are describing. You told me you wouldn’t talk with me unless I met your demands. But you keep talking with me. That is why I asked if you agree with what Berkeley Science taught me about science:

          “Do gods exist? Do supernatural
          entities intervene in human affairs? These questions may be important,
          but science won’t help you answer them. Questions that deal with supernatural
          explanations are, by definition, beyond the realm of nature — and
          hence, also beyond the realm of what can be studied by science.”

          http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12

        • Myna A.

          It is your faith you are describing.

          I’ve not described any faith I may or may not hold. I’ve never made any claim.

          Questions that deal with supernatural explanations are, by definition, beyond the realm of nature — and hence, also beyond the realm of what can be studied by science

          Depends on your definition of outside nature, yes? Maybe the so called supernatural is not beyond nature. Maybe it’s not “super,” after all.

          Psychology is a science, it studies the delusions of human nature all the time. But then, you have Carl Jung, who sought deeper explanations.

          [Edited]

        • Ray-B

          That is what philosophical materialists claim. That is based on philosophy, not proven by science.

          Psychology is not an exact science. I fully embrace psychology, but I recognize its limits.

        • Myna A.

          I fully embrace psychology, but I recognize its limits.

          And there’s the gist, yes? The recognition of limitations.

        • Ray-B

          Sure. I’m blessed to have a job that provides my psychological help. It helps me. I recommend others to take advantage of that kind of help.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t agree with Myna on what?

          The supernatural?

          The claim on your science 101 kiddies link?

          That’s only half the picture though isn’t it?

          Again, you display a level of ignorance or naivete that needs addressing…here, read a paper on why you are half wrong.

          http://www.naturalism.org/sites/naturalism.org/files/Can%20Science%20Test%20Supernatural%20Worldviews%20Final%20Author%20Copy%20(Fishman%202007).pdf

        • Ray-B

          Organized naturalism? Cool! I love philosophy. I’ll give it a look. Thanks.

        • adam

          “Questions that deal with supernatural explanations are, by
          definition, beyond the realm of nature — and hence, also beyond the
          realm of what can be studied by science.”

          So again you dont embrace science or nature if you believe in the supernatural.

          From YOUR reference: http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12

        • adam

          “I have a religion that fully embraces science. Jesus Christ says to study nature.”

          Where in nature exists the supernatural?

        • Ray-B

          Jesus Christ says to study the natural world. That’s science.

        • adam

          AGAIN,

          Where in nature exists the supernatural?

        • Ray-B

          Where in nature exists something that is beyond nature?

          That meme, so ignorant.

          https://internetatheism.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/internetatheism.jpg

        • adam

          So far all you’ve posted is banal cliches…

          Where in nature exists something that is beyond nature?

        • Myna A.

          Jesus Christ says to study nature.

          Source?

        • MNb

          “That is faith. It is used in science every single day.”
          Nope.

          Given the money you can buy the tools.
          Given the skills you can develop the tests.
          Given the training you can see what the scientists see.
          Given the training you can check whether their arguments are reasoned.

          Try that with claims about god, given the money, the skills and the training.

        • Ray-B

          I have, actually. That is why I quit being an atheist.

        • MNb

          OK.
          Then tell me how you tested

          “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

          Which tools did you use for your test?
          Which test did you develop?
          Which scientific views were involved?
          Which scientific arguments were used?
          Explaining how you interpret these words doesn’t count – an interpretation is not a test.

          The same with the popular “God is Love.”

        • adam

          “The same with the popular “God is Love.””

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ray-B

          That meter is empirically false! Better return it. :)

          You are a funny Amos!

        • Greg G.

          Using reasoned arguments is not faith, it is reason. If there were reasoned arguments for a god, there would be no need for the word “faith.”

        • Ray-B

          Nope. Reasoned argument can lead to faith.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ray-B

          Nope. I ran it through the scientific method 3 times. It works. Sorry, Amos!

          http://imgfave-herokuapp-com.global.ssl.fastly.net/image_cache/1420275011741316.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are obviously doing it all wrong.

        • Ray-B
        • MNb

          “Because I say so” is in the end your trick …

        • adam

          You are obviously doing it all wrong.

        • Myna A.

          Or…they can handle what’s not right and so expose the wrong.

        • Greg G.

          No it can’t. You can go so far with reason. If you go beyond reason, it is faith. That’s why you use the word “faith” in that sense. Faith becomes synonymous with ignorance.

        • Ray-B

          Nope. That is a miscast on your part. Sorry, Greg. But nice try!

        • Ray-B

          “Faith becomes synonymous with ignorance.”

          And debunked.

          http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/faith

          Bye Greg. Have a great day! Thanks for sharing your very subjective explanation with me.

        • adam

          constancy

          No constancy related to biblical ‘faith’

          Otherwise you would have 40,000 + versions of christianity

          Not to mention Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, etc

          And debunked…

        • Greg G.

          Faith has many meanings. Aren’t you talking about religious faith? That type of faith is directed at the supernatural aspects. The concept of the supernatural is contrived to separate it from the natural in order to protect it from falsification by making it immune to evidence. But the lack of any possible evidence means one cannot actually learn anything about it, which means one will always be ignorant of it. All you have is pretending your imagination is real.

        • Michael Neville

          Reasoned argument and faith are direct opposites. Christians and other theists wouldn’t need faith if they had actual reasoned arguments to support their beliefs. But they don’t have such argument (or any evidence) so they have to rely on faith. It’s all they have.

        • Ray-B

          I disagree with your opinion. I’ve actually seen examples that prove your idea wrong.

          The dictionary disagrees with you. :)

          http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/faith

        • Michael Neville

          Then show me how my idea is wrong. Just saying “ur rong” is meaningless. I made an argument, if you disagree then YOU need to rebut it with actual facts and logic. And you linked a thesaurus, not a dictionary. There is a difference.

        • Ray-B

          The thesaurus had no antonym for the word “faith” like you told me you believe exists.

          You didn’t back your argument with anything of substance. You are basically saying “This is what I personally believe…”

          Good for you. But you didn’t give me facts or logic. Just your opinion. Nice try and all. But, nope!

        • Michael Neville

          The thesaurus had no antonym for the word “faith” like you told me you believe exists.

          So what? If you’re arguing “from thesaurus” then I’m forced to conclude you don’t have an actual rebuttal. Nice try, though. Maybe next time you’ll have an actual argument instead of hand-waving.

        • Ray-B

          Hu? You told me your personal opinion. You didn’t back it with anything but your “hand-waving”. I showed you that the term you used isn’t the opposite of what you told me you imagine it is. You then tried to quote me as if I were unintelligent by misspelling words. Don’t be a jerk. Admit you gave me your opinion and move on. I gave you mine. Welcome to the discussion forum, where people share their opinion. :)

        • MNb

          “you gave me your opinion and move on. I gave you mine.”
          Do you think opinions based on ambiguous language equal to opinions based on clear language? Regarding faith you’re guilty of the first – and the funny thing is that you implicitely admitted it yourself.

        • Ray-B

          You are charging me guilty of faith based on Michael’s definition? Ok. I fail to see how. But knock yourself out with that idea.

          Faith can be based on reasoned arguments. Here is an example of a theist that has collected an enormous amounts of reasoned arguments that supports faith, for example.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2015/11/15-theistic-arguments-copious-resources.html

        • Myna A.

          You didn’t back it with anything

          Seems like you didn’t either. You said Jesus said to study nature.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/how_reliable_is_a_bridge_built_on_faith/#comment-2793536753

          But you failed to provide a source.

        • Michael Neville

          I see reading for comprehension is not one of your strengths. Based on Bob’s definition of faith:

          faith is belief held not primarily because of evidence and little shaken in the face of contrary evidence; that is, belief neither supported nor undercut by evidence.

          I made the claim that you theists use faith exactly because you don’t have evidence and know you don’t have evidence. If you have evidence to support your faith, then bring it out. Otherwise admit that you don’t have evidence, which is why you fall back on faith.

          Don’t be a jerk.

          You first. As far as I’m concerned, a jerk is someone who dismisses a reasonable, logical statement without bothering to give the slightest reason for the dismissal. Which is what you did, jerk.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jesus was the jerk…don’t ya know?

          http://godisimaginary.com/i39.htm

        • Ignorant Amos

          You then tried to quote me as if I were unintelligent by misspelling words.

          Because you wouldn’t do such a thing, would ya?

          Spoiiiinnnng!….that was an irony meter that time….remember this one ya posted just an hour previously?

          http://interestingmarketingtidbits.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/mistakes.jpg

        • Myna A.

          …no antonym for the word “faith”

          Faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
          “this restores one’s faith in politicians”

          synonyms:
          trust, belief, confidence, conviction; More:
          optimism, hopefulness, hope
          “he justified his boss’s faith in him”

          antonyms: mistrust

        • adam

          constancy and certainty are synonyms as well, and it is obvious that biblical faith consists of neither.

          Otherwise you would have one view of the bible and its’ “God” and you dont.

          You have probably BILLIONS

        • Myna A.

          Well, Jesus apparently disagrees with you! Where did Jesus say to study nature? I can’t find the chapter and verse?

          You didn’t just make that up, did you?

        • Ray-B

          Hey! I didn’t think you were talking to me. Changed your mind? OK.

          Here you go!

          https://www.columban.org.au/publications/the-far-east/2011/the-far-east-april-2011/jesus-and-nature

        • Myna A.

          Nope. Your link only provides an opinion. An interpretation. I want the chapter and verse that provides what you said EXACTLY: Jesus Christ told us to study nature. You didn’t say, some read the bible as a study of nature.

        • Ray-B

          It is in that link, actually. Read it again. :)

        • Myna A.

          No. I want YOU to provide the EXACT words where Jesus Christ said: “Study nature,” because YOU made the claim that he did.

        • Ray-B

          That link shows it. He says to look at nature.

        • Myna A.

          YOU said that Jesus said: Study nature. YOU must provide the EXACT quote that he said to study nature, not your link.

        • Ray-B

          Haha. You are funny. He said to observe the birds. Remember when you said you wouldn’t talk to me until I met your demands. :) You keep on going.

        • adam

          “He said to observe the birds. ”

          Okay…

        • Myna A.

          No, you are funny…except you aren’t. YOU did not provide the EXACT quote. You made an assertion of an EXACT quote. Run, run away. You can’t provide a link, because there isn’t one. Instead, you try to pass it off with an interpretive link that somebody else wrote.

        • Ray-B

          :) I’m running away. You misunderstood me. I better go hide!

        • Myna A.

          I didn’t misunderstand you. You made an EXACT quote. Back it up.

        • Myna A.

          It was the b-i-zitchy in me that directed the flying broomstick in the above lunacy. Just became tired of the drive-by trollery.

          [Holy cow…didn’t intend for such a big image!]

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4fc712143e2d1e3b55afabcaea7bb622565db5988a5a8271670f368bae7c0207.jpg

        • Greg G.

          If that is an example of reasoned faith, you are doing the reasoned part wrong. Every example is a stretch to make the point a point that is not taught in the gospels.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Jesus character in the story book was pretty stupid when it came to the subject of nature though.

        • adam

          But he did know to beat ignorant slaves less than those who know they did wrong.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Broadly speaking, there are two categories of views regarding the relationship between faith and rationality:

          1. Rationalism holds that truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma, tradition or religious teaching.

          2. Fideism holds that faith is necessary, and that beliefs may be held without any evidence or reason and even in conflict with evidence and reason.

        • Myna A.

          Reasoned argument can lead to faith.

          Depends on the reasoning. Let’s hear yours. I already suspect you fibbed when you said Jesus told us to study nature, so I’ve established you as unreliable, not credible, full of your own stuffing, drunk on the wine, sinking in the water.

        • Ray-B

          You said we have nothing to talk about. And then have been messaging me like crazy!

        • Ignorant Amos

          And yet you’ve displayed no such reasoning on this forum.

          I can recommend a good book for that…

          Why I Believed (rated 4.4 stars at Amazon) tells the story of a Christian who believed for nearly three decades, having grown up the son of evangelical missionary parents, later becoming a missionary himself. Yet he slowly lost his faith and now no longer holds it. In this part-autobiography, part-exposé, Ken traces his journey from evangelical missionary to secular humanist while remaining part of a committed Christian family. He looks back at a number of reasons he remained a believer for over a decade after his initial doubts began at university, critically evaluating each one in a separate chapter.

          http://www.kwdaniels.com/

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And how is “faith” defined here?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          We have a word for belief based on evidence–it’s “trust.” Trust is used in science every day.

          If your point is that no one should accept a claim or believe something without sufficient evidence (and that belief should be rejected in the face of compelling evidence against it) then we agree. If you’re saying that this is the way all but a negligible number of Christians do it, then we disagree.

          points to a flaw that others are trying to avoid.

          What’s the flaw?

        • Tyler Willis

          I personally don’t know any Christian who holds to fideism, but for those that do I agree with you that it’s an unreliable bridge. Unless you have evidence that says otherwise, fideism isn’t what I would call mainstream.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The issue is the relationship of “faith” to evidence. I explored that at length in the prior post.

          If you want to argue about which definition of faith is more popular (has there been a survey, for example?) I’d be very interested to hear it. If you look down your nose at the idea that faith could possibly mean a belief not well grounded on evidence, that’s fine, but don’t tell me that this definition is irrelevant or only vanishingly adopted.

        • adam

          usIng these definitions from IA and Stanford

          It appears that all who believe in Paul’s Jesus hold to fideism.

          Certainly all the theists who posts here, all resolve to emotional fideism over rationalism by their lack of factual analysis and reliance on dogma, tradition and religious teaching, at lest that is my observation.

          1. Rationalism holds that truth should be determined by
          reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma, tradition or religious teaching.

          2. Fideism holds that faith is necessary, and that beliefs may be held without any evidence or reason and even in conflict with evidence and reason.

          Correspondingly, Plantinga writes, a fideist is someone who “urges reliance on faith rather than reason, in matters philosophical and religious” and who “may go on to disparage and denigrate reason” (87). Notice, first, that what the fideist seeks, according to this account, is truth. Fideism claims that truths of a certain kind can be grasped only by foregoing rational inquiry and relying solely on faith.

          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fideism/

          I can image that Thomas Jefferson’s ‘christianity without divinity’ is the exception, certainly not the rule.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unless you have evidence that says otherwise, fideism isn’t what I would call mainstream.

          A rose by any other name.

          What about “reformed epistemology”?

          Some would argue, with some justification, that Alvin Plantinga is a fideist.

          https://www.jstor.org/stable/40019050?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

          His “reformed epistemology” smacks a lot like fideism.

          Conclusion: “Is belief in God rational? The evidentialist objector says “No” due to the lack of evidence. Theists who say “Yes” fall into two main categories: those who claim that there is sufficient evidence and those who claim that evidence is not necessary. Theistic evidentialists contend that there is enough evidence to ground rational belief in God, while Reformed epistemologists contend that evidence is not necessary to ground rational belief in God (but that belief in God is grounded in various characteristic religious experiences). Philosophical fideists deny that belief in God belongs in the realm of the rational. And, of course, all of these theistic claims are widely and enthusiastically disputed by philosophical non-theists.”

          http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences/ppecorino/PHIL_of_RELIGION_TEXT/CHAPTER_8_LANGUAGE/Fideism.htm

          Very often fideism is used as a pejorative label to censure views of faith and reason that are “to the left” of the person applying the label. Not surprisingly, hardly anyone will confess to being a fideist. Using the term in this way would appear to render it a subjective judgment rather than a useful description of a particular position. Alternatively, many people define fideism as the view that faith is irrational. Admittedly some people do think this is the case, but such a view is hard to find among serious theologians or apologists, for the obvious reason that serious-minded persons do not wish to be irrational. Making matters worse, Christian thinkers are often far too quick to deem another Christian’s position irrational. Several of the thinkers profiled in this chapter, notably Kierkegaard and Barth, as well as Reformed apologists such as Cornelius Van Til, are frequently and unjustly labeled irrationalists.

          We suggest, then, that it is time to rehabilitate the term fideism and use it to refer to an approach to apologetics that not only exists as more than a caricature or an extreme, but is also in fact highly influential. As we have seen, there is a significant tradition in Christian theology taking a distinctive approach to faith and reason that runs from Martin Luther to Kierkegaard, Barth, and Bloesch (among others). A comparable approach was also taken by the Catholic thinker Pascal, who is, if it is possible, more popular among Protestants today than among Catholics. This theological tradition has developed in modern times into a distinct approach to apologetics that we call fideism. While neither Luther nor Pascal were fideists, their views—especially those of Luther—helped to prepare the way for the development of fideism.

          https://bible.org/seriespage/17-fideist-apologetics-faith-alone

      • Ray-B

        Later you tell me: “But NOT biblical ‘faith’ as I have demonstrated is wishful thinking.”

        What you have done is repeated a popular atheist argument.

        Look at this critique against another man who had your same argument:

        “This is an odd conclusion for him to draw; Hebrews 11 by itself doesn’t express anything clearly. It’s part of an extended discourse on faith. It wasn’t intended to be read on its own. Ripped out of context this way, its meaning is impossible to discern.”

        You’ve ripped it out of its context and declared your conclusion is the only valid one. And you want us to accept that on blind faith?

        “In its original context, as intended by its original author, it simply could not have meant “wish-thinking.”

        You have failed to demonstrate it means “wishful-thinking. This article demonstrates the error you made:

        https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2013/11/hebrews-11-1-faith-atheists-pretending-know-dont-know/

        Did you even read past Hebrews 11:1? Or did you just accept what internet atheist websites told you to believe about it?

    • swbarnes2

      If your strongest argument is “People draw conclusions from cherry-picked experiences” that’s not a terrifically strong argument. Science works better because everyone is trying very hard to look evidence that contradicts the conclusions they reasonably trust.

    • Darrell

      I agree with CTCSS. Well said. This is a straw-man argument at best and one that is clearly afraid to touch or even address the actual views of Christian scholars and theologians of any repute as to what faith is. This is fodder for the choir so they can feel superior to those poor “others”. Arguments like the above are always clear signs one cannot address the strongest arguments/beliefs of those one is critiquing and, in fact, does not even understand those arguments/beliefs. Please, try again.

      • Greg G.

        Another Courtier’s Reply type of response. There are many Christian scholars who have written stuff and they don’t agree with each other on many things. ctcss says he has reasoned trust but it is pretension. He says everything has worked out OK so far and he believes Godidit. Has he really put it to the test? Has he handled poisonous snakes that were not chilled into docileness? Has he drank poisons? Have you?

        • Darrell

          Am I supposed to take this brand new “quasi-fallacy” seriously? Wow. See: https://faircointoss.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/quasi-fallacies-the-courtiers-reply-and-credential-mongering/

          Further, there are many atheists and scientists who also don’t agree about many things. So what? Your point?

          Clearly, you don’t even get ctcss’s point. It’s clear what you’ve been drinking. The kool aid.

        • Greg G.

          Am I supposed to take this brand new “quasi-fallacy” seriously? Wow. See: https://faircointoss.wordpress

          You brought up Christian scholars and theologians. Name the ones you think are correct.

          Further, there are many atheists and scientists who also don’t agree about many things. So what? Your point?

          In John 17:20-23, Jesus prays that Christians be as one, in order to impress the world. Instead, there are 45,000 different Christian denominations, making Jesus the biggest prayer failure of all time. Of course, all Christians think their beliefs are the most correct. So when an atheist criticizes the beliefs of one denomination, another Christian accuses them of attacking low-hanging fruit. The thing is, it is all low-hanging fruit but a blogger can’t address 45,000 different view points in one blog article.

          Clearly, you don’t even get ctcss’s point. It’s clear what you’ve been drinking. The kool aid.

          Then explain it in your own words.

        • Greg G.

          “Chirp, chirp,” say the crickets.

          From http://disq.us/p/1a6bwnu

          You brought up Christian scholars and theologians. Name the ones you think are correct.

          Are you still looking for a scholar or theologian who you think is correct?

        • Darrell

          I don’t need to look for anything. I’m not going to do the work for you. If you are that ignorant of opposing viewpoints and who holds them–that’s your problem. The only silence is coming from those who can’t figure out why the writer’s argument is a classic straw-man approach–all they want to do is talk about something else.

        • adam

          “If you are that ignorant of opposing viewpoints and who holds them–that’s your problem.”

          If opposing viewpoints are the minority who cares if they dont accept what the bible says about ‘faith’ like the majority?

          And if it is indeed the practice of the majority to accept what they HOPE is true BECAUSE there is no evidence, then how is that a straw man?

        • Darrell

          Wow. Clueless. But please…continue.

        • adam

          Clueless just how?

        • Darrell

          My initial comments were to the writer and to voice my agreement with ctcss. If you and the rest don’t think his essay is a straw-man argument, then you know nothing about how the majority of Christians view faith and you know nothing about the better arguments for how Christians, especially scholars and theologians, understand faith. I promise you there are atheists out there who would read this essay and cringe as to how simplistic and poorly argued (straw-man) it is. It is not my job to then educate you here in a comment section (I have a life). Read some books. Take some classes. Talk to some people outside your own circle. Get out of your box. There’s a big world out there–you might as well get use to it. So, I’m done here. Cheers.

        • adam

          ” If you and the rest don’t think his essay is a straw-man argument, then you know nothing about how the majority of Christians view faith and you know nothing about the better arguments for how Christians, especially scholars and theologians, understand faith.”

          AGAIN, who cares how scholars and theologians understand faith, if the masses simply ‘believe’ because that is what they want to ‘believe’ because it makes them feel good?

          “I promise you there are atheists out there who would read this essay and cringe as to how simplistic and poorly argued”

          I bet there are SOME Hindu’s that would do the same, but you’ve still not demonstrated the straw man here.

          ” It is not my job to then educate you here in a comment section ”

          Certainly NOT, IF you just want to do drive-by unsubstantiated CLAIMS.

          but AGAIN, you’ve not demonstrated YOUR CLAIM.

          So THIS must be the very best that YOUR FAITH provides for you.

        • Myna A.

          So, I’m done here.

          And thank your Jesus for it. There’s really little point in you continually spinning around the block only bleating to hear yourself bleat. At least ctcss attempted a plea for his/her differing point of view. You haven’t even done that. Others offered excellent, thought-provoking points in contrast to that view. You haven’t offered anything but cheap and lazy drive-bys, so there really isn’t any reason for you to zip around again, and so cheers to you as well!

        • MNb

          Non-sequitur. If we don’t think BobS’ essay is a straw-man argument that says exactly nothing what we know about your supposed majority of christians view faith – because if BobS’ essay is not about that supposed majority view it’s about what you claim to be a minority view and nothing else.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m done here.

          Bye.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My initial comments were to the writer and to voice my agreement with ctcss.

          You followed a Lemming off a cliff, because your reading comprehension is wanting. Silly pants. Now you are in that dark place that apologists find themselves and can’t get out, because backing down means losing face to the heathen hordes and that might make baby Jesus cry. So, your only option is to carry on digging your hole before scurrying off to Croydon, leaving the deafening sound of your apologetic’s crickets. The script is well worn out around here, but it never gets boring to watch.

          If you and the rest don’t think his essay is a straw-man argument, then you know nothing about how the majority of Christians view faith and you know nothing about the better arguments for how Christians, especially scholars and theologians, understand faith.

          Like all Christians, you seem to think BobS and the rest all live in some alternative universe of all non-believers and the only contact we’ve ever had is with the occasional theist that pitches up here to over an epiphany. It’s all very quaint and naive, but a lot of ballix. Most of us come from a religious upbringing…particularly Christian. Our family, friends, work colleagues and social circle is made up of a lot of theists, some practising, but many/most just the cafeteria kind. We are well versed on many scholars and theologians, some of us have been interacting on the internet with believers for many years, ten years myself this year. To be such an ignorant fanny in saying we all know nothing only suggests that it is YOU that knows nothing. That’s something WE all see regularly btw, theists tend to know very little. About their religion, it’s texts, its history, its central characters and so on. Your No True Scotsman Fallacy is very common, but shows more ignorance on your part than ours.

          I promise you there are atheists out there who would read this essay and cringe as to how simplistic and poorly argued (straw-man) it is.

          We have no doubt. Atheists come in all stripes, like Christians…from the sublime to the ridiculous. So that is a fallacy of the non-sequitur kind. It doesn’t mean that there are very few Christians that don’t have such “faith”. We know they do, better than that, we’ve provided evidence of such.

          It is not my job to then educate you here in a comment section (I have a life).

          With your idea of reason and evidence, you’ll educate no one. If you have a life, fuck off and live it, you have nothing to bring to the table here where the grown-ups are sitting. Bluster doesn’t count. Unsupported assertions and conjecture don’t count either.

          Read some books. Take some classes. Talk to some people outside your own circle. Get out of your box. There’s a big world out there–you might as well get use to it.

          Spoiiiing!

          So, I’m done here.

          Done? Ya never got started ya knuckle-dragging moron.

          Cheers.

          And many thanks to you too, for exemplifying in such astute manner, the kind of fuckwittery thinking we all have become accustomed to from the reason-less and evidence-less holy roller. It’s good for the fence-sitting lurkers to see exactly how your reason and evidence based approach works, in that it doesn’t.

          Adios.

        • MNb

          “Now you are in that dark place that apologists find themselves and can’t get out, because backing down means losing face to the heathen hordes and that might make baby Jesus cry.”
          Even if the rest of your comment were nonsense (it isn’t) this would deserve my thumbs up.
          LOL!

        • TheNuszAbides

          So, your only option is to carry on digging your hole before scurrying off to Croydon, leaving the deafening sound of your apologetic’s crickets. The script is well worn out around here, but it never gets boring to watch.

          i dunno, as much as Kodie hates the threadnecro, i’m far more entertained when they say “no, really, i’m done now, cheers” umpteen times like D did on GiD about a month ago.

          the crickets are obviously easier to catch up on, though.

        • Greg G.

          Christian scholars and theologians disagree on many things. Which one can we examine without you accusing us of looking at a weak argument? You imply that you know more than we do. Enlighten us. Can you not name one Christian scholar who has it right? It would be easier to type one name than excuses for not typing it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i gave him an upvote for mentioning that he concurs with Enns, since it was the first time he didn’t duck taking a stand on anything other than #NotAll_____.

      • MNb

        Yeah yeah, and those christians of any repute coincidentally are always the ones who BobS doesn’t address at any given moment.
        Also fun to read how the guy who accuses “the choir” of feeling superior displays so much misplaced superiority himself. Christians and humility as preached by Jesus, it remains a troublesome relation.

        • Darrell
        • Greg G.

          That guy sets a high bar. To get me to believe a god exists all you have to do is prove one exists but only to the degree of certainty that the things in the world around me exist. I see a few thousand things around me and I accept that they are real so this should be an easy standard to reach.

        • Darrell

          Dude, it’s a joke, satire. But I don’t think you guys realize how much you sound like that guy. And, by the way, God is not a “thing” like other things in the world. But I don’t have the time in a comment section to write an entire essay on what is easily found in traditional sources if one wants to learn more. In the meantime, to you and MNb, the fact this essay is a straw-man argument remains.

          Cheers.

        • adam

          Yes, it’s a joke alright, because opinions are not evidence.

          “God is not a “thing” like other things in the world. ”

          it sure is, there are a lot of IMAGINARY characters in this world.

        • Darrell

          I never said opinions were evidence. And neither are your opinions evidence. As to what is imaginary or not, you beg the very question. The fact remains. This essay is a straw-man argument at best as noted by ctcss.

        • adam

          “This essay is a straw-man argument at best as noted by ctcss.”

          Nope, just your opinion, you’ve failed to make your point.

        • Darrell

          Which is just your opinion, right? No, he made his point–you just disagree with it. That is fine. Cheers.

        • Susan

          he made his point- you just disagree with it.

          He made no point. Just proclaimed that the article made a strawman argument and did nothing to show the “real arguments” he accused the article of strawmanning.

          you just disagree with it.

          It’s a drive by cliche. If he’d like to make an actual point, people would be happy to engage.

        • MNb

          The fact that you write “the fact remains” demonstrates you don’t understand what a fact is.

        • MNb

          So what? Satire or not, Figurski does not represent me and I do not represent him.

        • Michael Neville

          Dude, it’s a joke, satire.

          Here’s a suggestion. The next time you link to a “joke” try to ensure that the joke is actually funny.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s one of those Christian type jokes…not funny, but gives them a tickle and seemed like a good idea when all he has is… “Look, over there, squirrels!”

          Some more Christian humour…

          http://i0.wp.com/spiritmagazine.no/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/unnamed.jpg?resize=300%2C272

          http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists//stuffchristianculturelikes/files/import/persecution/christian_oppression_pie.jpg

        • Susan

          Dude, it’s a joke, satire.

          Dude, it’s a strawman.

          I don’t think you guys realize how much you sound like that guy.

          You haven’t provided a single example of where “we guys” (nice to meet you by the way) sound like that.

          It’s the sort of things christian apologists promote in lieu of arguments and evidence.

          You ignored Greg’s suggestion:

          all you have to do is prove one exists but only to the degree of certainty that the things in the world around me exist.

          He doesn’t sound anything like that guy.

          So far, you have provided unsupported claims, false charges of fallacies, ad hominems and no argument.

          Also, my favourite theist move which is to claim that elsewhere there are very good arguments from very clever people that, if we only bothered to do our homework, explain everything.

          But you don’t seem to know what they are.

          It wouldn’t occur to you that many of us are more familiar with them than you seem to be.

          What do you mean by “faith”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here’s one, here’s one, here’s one…

          Faith is believing what you want to believe, yet cannot prove.” Sadly many people, including many Christians, live with this definition of faith. For some it feels liberating. It means being able to believe in anything that you want to—and the more silly the belief is, the more faith you have.

          It means that no explanation is required—indeed, that no explanation can be given—it is just a matter of faith.

          For others, such a definition is stomach-turning. It suggests that to embrace faith is to stop thinking so that, as faith increases, reason and meaning eventually disappear. No explanations can be given, and none can be expected. To embrace faith this way is to live permanently in the dark. What is joy to one therefore, is death to another.

          Sadly for both groups, the problem they have is the same. By starting with the wrong definition of faith, they have both asked the wrong questions, are therefore dealing with the wrong problem, and so have ended up with the wrong answer.

          Faith is not wishful thinking. It is not about believing in things that do not exist. And so it is neither liberating by making everything believable, nor is it repellent by making meaning impossible.

          So what is the right definition of faith? “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of that we do not see,” the writer tells us (Hebrews 11:1). A few verses later he defines faith as knowing that God is—that He exists—and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. How does this help us?

          The remainder of the drivel can be read at….

          http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/webfm_send/625

          But wait…this doesn’t help their case at all, because…the scholar writing the article is aware that “many” Christians think BobS article “faith”.

          The article author, …

          Michael obtained his undergraduate degree in law at the University of Hull, England, and a doctorate in law and economics at the University of Sheffield. As Director of Zacharias Trust, Michael works as an apologist and evangelist, traveling extensively in the UK and internationally, speaking on university campuses and to church and civic organizations.

          …is just another one of them well travelled current Christian know nothings, like all us Christian turned atheist know nothings commenting on this thread. What would he know about the many other Christian interpretations on “faith”?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          In the meantime, you need to support your claim that the essay is a straw man, unsupported assertions can be ignored as, well, unsupported assertions. Especially in light of all the evidence being levelled at you to counter your unsupported assertions.

        • MNb

          So what? My name is not Figurski. He does not represent me. I don’t represent him. You apparently are projecting your own tribalism on me.

      • Susan

        This is a straw-man argument at best and one that is clearly afraid to touch or even address the actual views of Christian scholars and theologians of any repute as to what faith is.

        It’s not a strawman as it descrbies the positions of many christians and certainly describes the indoctrination children experience before their minds have developed enough to take or leave the claims.

        The “scholars and theologians” are the last stand, the barbed wire at the the perimeter of the compound and their arguments amount to fog that emanates from beginning with their conclusions.

        It’s a standard response when people question the claims to handwave toward imaginary arguments that people have not addressed.

        They’ve all been addressed repeatedly.

        Unless you have one that wins the day.

        WHat’s your best argument?

        • Darrell

          The fact it describes the views of some (not “many”) isn’t the point. Any knowledgeable person knows it doesn’t describe the views of the majority and certainly not the views of most Christian scholars and theologians. The writer chose to argue against the weakest and most ignorant view of faith held by either uneducated Christians or uneducated atheists. That is why it’s a classic straw-man argument. This was written by the bully looking for the weakest view to then go out and show everyone (the choir) how strong he is. Bully for him. No one is impressed except the other bullies. If you want the best arguments do some reading and not blogs, actual books. I’m not going to do the work for you in a comment section. Cheers.

        • adam

          ” The writer chose to argue against the weakest and most ignorant view of faith ”

          Probably held by the majority.

        • Darrell

          If you think that you are completely ignorant of what most Christians believe. But please…keep talking…keep proving my point.

        • adam

          “If you think that you are completely ignorant of what most Christians believe.”

          It is certainly my experience.

          Can you demonstrate otherwise?

          Can you explain why these people believe in MAGIC, other than biblical ‘faith’?

        • adam

          “But please…keep talking…keep proving my point.”

          But you havent demonstrated your point, you just keep making unsubstantiated CLAIMS.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah ha! It’s “most” Christians now is it? But if some Christians think of faith in the way BobS article describes, how can it be a straw man?

          Good luck trying to prove your what “most” Christians believe assertion btw.

        • Greg G.

          The writer chose to argue against the weakest and most ignorant view of faith held by either uneducated Christians or uneducated atheists. That is why it’s a classic straw-man argument.

          If it is the view of faith of uneducated Christians, it is not a straw-man argument.

        • Michael Neville

          If you want the best arguments do some reading and not blogs, actual books. I’m not going to do the work for you in a comment section.

          In other words you don’t have a good argument and what’s more you’re admitting you don’t have a good argument. A good argument would be expressed in a paragraph or two. which is well within the range of blog comments.

          If you theists had a rock-solid argument for the existence of gods you’d be screaming it at every atheist in sight. Instead you refer us to unidentified “books”. Which again tells us that you don’t have the rock-solid argument or even anything approaching one.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The prior article carefully listed Christian definitions of faith on both sides of the evidence question. No, not a strawman argument.

          You don’t like their arguments? Great–then agree with my argument against them.

        • Darrell

          I was agreeing with ctcss and I notice you did not respond to his points–or if you did, I missed it? I think his points stand.

          Let me get this straight: You want me to agree with a straw-man argument pointing out what we already know–that those are weak arguments, not the best arguments or understandings, not the most accepted, and an easy target? Okay, I agree.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I replied to ctcss here.

          I’m missing the straw man. It may shock you to learn that within Christianity, different definitions of “faith” are used. I explored that in the prior post here. No, not a straw man.

        • Darrell

          No one ever said there are not different understandings of faith. Everyone knows that. Here is the definition you chose to address: “Faith is permission to believe something without a good reason.”

          Not only is this a minority view (if held at all) by uneducated Christians (easy targets)–I don’t know a single reputable Christian scholar or theologian who holds such a view. If that is what you are “hearing” when perusing all those other definitions of faith, you simply do understand what is being discussed. Straw-man.

        • adam

          “”Faith is permission to believe something without a good reason.””

          AGAIN, what is good reason for believing this:

          And you think this is a MINORITY position?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t know a single reputable Christian scholar or theologian who holds such a view

          I’m feeling deja vu. You declare the evidence-less view of faith a strawman, I point you to the prior post, which lists lots of scholars, both dead and living, and then you’re back again declaring that I’m deliberately setting up a straw man.

          Engage with the argument or admit that you can’t.

        • adam

          “Engage with the argument or admit that you can’t.”

          But his ‘faith’ tells him that he has already won the argument

        • Darrell

          If such is what you are “hearing” or interpreting from any reputable scholar or theologian, you are absolutely misunderstanding them. To every single one, if you were to ask if such is what they meant, your definition, you would get a resounding “No”. The fact you think such is what they are communicating means you simply do not understand the conversation. I’m not sure how much philosophy is taught to computer programmers, but clearly not enough. Straw-man all the way.

        • adam

          “If such is what you are “hearing” or interpreting from any reputable scholar or theologian, you are absolutely misunderstanding them.”

          Gee I wonder why you are have so much difficulty actually demonstrating instead of CLAIMING.

          Could it be is that all you have is ‘faith’ and no reasoning?

          EVERY SINGLE ‘God’ argument ends with – you have to have ‘faith’ as there is no definitive demonstrate that “God” is anything but IMAGINARY…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Maybe this computer programmer can help you understand how people on this planet make an argument.

          You say that the my definition of evidence-less faith and that of every scholar are at odds? Great: then engage with the post. You’ve quadrupled down on your argument without ever engaging the data that I repeatedly put forward.

          Here’s a tip: if you’re about to say the same stuff you’ve said before, don’t. Engage with the argument.

        • Darrell

          I wasn’t making an argument, but an observation. An observation that those familiar with logical fallacies would recognize. Here is my engagement with your post: It is a straw-man argument for the reasons ctcss noted and for the reasons I noted. Now, you clearly disagree. That is fine. This is your blog and you are welcome to have the last word but if this post is a typical example of how atheists argue a point, then Christians have very little to worry about. To engage a belief/point of view and argue against it, you first have to understand the other side’s beliefs or definitions of those beliefs from their point of view. You clearly do not. Anyhow, thanks for the conversation and engagement. Cheers.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • adam

          looks like we were on the same page

        • Ignorant Amos

          These boys on here crying straw man are away with the fairies. I live in a religious community…..Protestant and Catholic, but my knowledge is based on the Protestant pov….none of the Christians I know, family or friends, have read the Bible. They know little to nothing about theology. Their faith is exactly as Bob paints it. They go with the flow and have done for generation after generation.

          Nearly half of Yank’s are allegedly creationists…that is not a position based on reason and evidence. That is some repugnant sheeple type faith shit going on right there.

          The majority of the world’s Christians are not that well educated and their faith is not grounded in sophisticated theology.

        • adam

          “The majority of the world’s Christians are not that well educated and their faith is not grounded in sophisticated theology. ”

          And yet, even for those grounded in sophisticated theology the final argument is ALWAYS – you have to have ‘faith’

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but not the BobS “faith” in this article…some other “faith” that would take an essay to define, but is based on reason and evidence, so think about that ya bunch of heathen bastards…pah!

        • MNb

          Of course.
          But even that is not relevant.
          BobS criticized one specific version of faith. He made explicitely clear which one.
          What fascinates me is that believers to whom BobS’ criticism apparently is not aimed get so worked up over it.
          It’s like you writing an analysis of the Northern Irish/Ulster performance at the last European Championship and me furiously addressing it with “You can’t write about football like that! The Dutch didn’t participate!”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed.

          Probably worse than that even.

          To use your analogy. Me writing about the European Championships and you furiously addressing it with “You can’t write about football like that the rest of the world didn’t participate!”…when what they actually mean is a worlds first eleven of elite players will never participate.

          Apologies to the rest here that might be confused for that football/soccer analogy.

          I don’t know who this majority of Christians who have reasoned their “faith” through evidence can be, they are indeed a rare sighting. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty on the internet that make this claim. It’s just when they are pressed to show and tell, they clam up like the wide mouthed frog and then fuck off to Croydon, a place that must be rife with “soofisticated feelogyians” holding all this evidence no one ever gets to actually see.

          Back in 2012 Richard Dawkins commissioned an Ipso Mori poll here in the UK, the results of which ….tl;dr…

          Practice

          When asked why they think of themselves as Christian, the research found that fewer than three in ten (28%) say one of the reasons is that they believe in the teachings of Christianity. People are much more likely to consider themselves to be Christian because they were christened or baptised into the religion (72%) or because their parents were members of the religion (38%) than because of personal belief.

          The research sought to measure a number of Christian practices, including regular reading of the Bible and prayer outside church services, to see how prevalent these were amongst respondents self-identifying as Christian. Among the results, we find that:

          The majority (60%) have not read any part of the Bible, independently and from choice, for at least a year.

          Over a third (37%) have never or almost never prayed outside a church service, with a further 6% saying they pray independently and from choice less than once a year.

          Only a quarter (26%) say they completely believe in the power of prayer, with one in five (21%) saying they either do not really believe in it or do not believe in it at all.

          The low level of religious belief and practice is reflected in church attendance. Apart from special occasions such as weddings, funerals and baptisms, half (49%) had not attended a church service in the previous 12 months. One in six (16%) have not attended for more than ten years, and a further one in eight (12%) have never attended at all. One in six (17%) attends once a week or more.

          When asked where they seek most guidance in questions of right and wrong, only one in ten (10%) said it was from religious teachings or beliefs, with over half (54%) preferring to draw on their own inner moral sense.

          Half (54%) of the self-identifying Christians describe their view of God in Christian terms, with the others using the term in the sense of the laws of nature (13%), some form of supernatural intelligence (10%), or whatever caused the universe (9%). Six per cent do not believe in God at all.

          Just a third (32%) believe Jesus was physically resurrected, with one in five (18%) not believing in the resurrection even in a spiritual sense; half (49%) do not think of Jesus as the Son of God, with one in twenty-five (4%) doubting he existed at all.

          Asked to select which one statement best describes what being a Christian means to them personally, 40% chose ‘I try to be a good person’ and around a quarter (26%) chose ‘It’s how I was brought up’. Around one in six (16%) selected the statement ‘I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour’ and less than one in ten (7%) chose ‘I believe in the teachings of Jesus’.

          Overall, the findings suggest that the number of UK adults self-identifying as Christian has fallen significantly since the 2001 Census. This research found that at the time of the 2011 Census, just over half (54%) the public thought of themselves as Christian, compared with almost three-quarters (72%) in the 2001 Census.

          https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2921/Religious-and-Social-Attitudes-of-UK-Christians-in-2011.aspx

          Americans don’t fair much better…

          http://www.christianity.com/1270946/

          Faith through reason and evidence, my arse.

        • adam

          “I wasn’t making an argument, but an observation.”

          No, you made an unsubstantiated CLAIM, that you’ve failed to back up.

          ” To engage a belief/point of view and argue against it, you first have to understand the other side’s beliefs or definitions of those beliefs from their point of view.”

          As Bob has done in a previous post that he has linked to AT LEAST ONCE, and I have linked.

          That you have AVOIDED, because it demonstrates you are wrong.

          Pretty typical of theists to come here and make claims they CAN’T support and then LIE about being a victim.

          So what would change your mind and convince you that the bible “God’ is IMAGINARY?

          Anything?

          Or would you cling to ‘faith’

        • MNb

          “an observation”
          Then you should wash your eyes out more often. You see things that aren’t there – specifically BobS criticizing those unspecified reputed scholars and theologians you seem to be in love with. He didn’t criticize them (alas imo). He criticized one specific definition of faith, explicitely made clear which one and never claimed it was representative for everything.

          You are the one guilty of a strawman.

          https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/169/Strawman_Fallacy

          “Substituting a person’s actual position or argument with a distorted, exaggerated, or misrepresented version of the position of the argument.”
          You’re distorting BobS’ position of the argument by falsely assuming that he claims the definition of faith he criticized is representative for christianity, reputed scholars and theologians. He didn’t.
          You repeat this false assumption over and over again so you have turned your strawman in an Argumentum ad Nauseam.
          I like that. It makes your apologetics look bad.

          “then Christians have very little to worry about.”
          I like this even more. Already three christians worry so little about BobS’ allegedly irrelevant criticism that they get worked up over it and try to get even him with him, iso of simply saying “that’s not what my belief is build upon, so shrug”.
          Suspicious, if you ask me, but it’s unclear to me yet what’s actually the problem of you guys. I mean, I’m a radical left atheist (Bernie Sanders is a softie in my eyes). Write a blog post criticizing Andrew L, including his atheist political views, and I will be so disinterested I won’t even read it. Even after finding the link I didn’t make it beyond the second sentence.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/06/16/yes-there-are-republican-atheists-out-there-heres-why-im-one-of-them/

          It’s not my problem if atheism is compatible with being a Republican or not. His political views are a problem for me. I rather cooperate with a radical left christian (I’ve known a couple).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Darrell doesn’t understand the straw man fallacy, but it sounds good.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I get the last word? Good: you haven’t engaged with my argument. You declare that no sane Christian has an evidence-less faith. If only I had examples of well-known Christians espousing such a position. If only … if only …

          If only I’d just written a post with such a list …

        • Ignorant Amos

          Perhaps Darrell is just to pig shit fucking thick to know how to follow a link…have we considered that a possibility yet?

          I’ve witnessed some asinine Christian rhubarbs in my time, but this one is starting to take the biscuit.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • MNb

          If.
          BobS didn’t write that.
          You keep on attacking your beloved strawman yourself – you attack what you like BobS to have written, not what BobS actually wrote.
          Your remark that no reputable scholar or theologian uses the definition BobS criticizes is noted. His criticism is not for them.

        • Michael Neville

          Bob is arguing about a specific definition of faith. You’re complaining that Bob’s definition isn’t what a bunch of unnamed “scholars or theologians” would argue. So what? Either engage Bob’s argument or go visit the blogs of these “scholars or theologians”.

        • Without Malice

          The words “reputable” and “theologian” should never be used together.
          Shortest book ever written: Great Discoveries in Theology.
          What do you get when you put all the world’s greatest theologians into one room? The collective intelligence of the Three Stooges.

        • adam

          William Lane Craig’s gullible acceptance of magic rather than evidence as the ultimate authority is equally disturbing:

          Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa. (Reasonable Faith [Crossway, 1994] p. 36)

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/07/faith-the-other-f-word-christianity-atheism/

          This appears to be the NORM in christianity, not the exception.

        • Joe

          Conveniently, Craig’s “inner witness” doesn’t tell him anything that can’t be found outside of mainstream Christian theology.

        • MNb

          “Not only is this a minority view”
          If faith as criticized by BobS is a minority view he was criticizing that minority view.
          No strawman.

          “If that is what you are “hearing” when perusing all those other definitions of faith,”
          If.
          Hence no strawman.
          Actually you are the one attacking a strawman here – the assumption that BobS thinks the view on faith he criticizes is representative for all christianity. It’s a very popular strawman among believers who suffer from butt hurt.

        • Without Malice

          You’re so called Christian scholars and theologians may dress it up in longer words but their definition of faith is pretty much the same as, “Faith is permission to believe something without good reason”. They just try to make it seem as if there is good reason when actually there isn’t.

      • Without Malice

        There are no “strong” arguments for faith in supernatural entities which cannot be shown to exist except in the mind of believers.

      • Joe

        the actual views of Christian scholars and theologians of any repute as to what faith is.

        What is the one single definition of faith held by all Christian scholars?

    • Ray-B

      This is actually one of the most reasonable arguments on here. I was kind of bothered by this opinion piece, too. Thank you.

      • MNb

        Thanks for confirming that you are in love with the false equivocation trust = faith; a false equivocation concisely pointed out by Francis Bacon just above.

    • Francis Bacon

      “This is why I think you don’t get what faith means at all. It’s a far more complex endeavor than you seem willing to admit.”

      This is an equivocation fallacy. You are using the word differently from the author so OF COURSE he is going to reach a different conclusion. He notes in the very beginning that different people use the word in different ways and he is only addressing one specific definition. He is being concise for the purposes of clarity which is a good thing.

      Now, if you have a reasonable trust based on evidence you should present said evidence to educate others as to the truth as you best know it.

    • lady_black

      A “reasoned trust, based on experience” require three things that faith cannot involve. Reason, trust and experience. Oh, and a relationship to apply them to.
      A “reasoned trust, based on experience” describes the relationship I have with my husband. Of course, I have no problem proving my husband actually exists. And I have a relationship with him that involves reason, trust and experience. Thirty years next month! I don’t need “faith.”

    • Joe

      a reasoned trust based on experience

      This is not the definition of faith used by theists.

  • MNb

    It occurred to me today that faith might have a few things to do with magical thinking.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200803/magical-thinking

    Perhaps BobS could write something about it from this angle? Perhaps even with the assistance of Valerie Tarico?

    As it’s the middle of the month again:

    https://d4rri9bdfuube.cloudfront.net/assets/images/book/large/9781/4343/9781434380562.jpg
    https://41.media.tumblr.com/373838ace02ea5870653be581aa2da4b/tumblr_mn7xe2n66b1rqrp8co1_500.jpg

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Thanks for the suggestion and the link. And the sloths.

  • Cygnus

    Faith doesn’t require knowledge, just pretense of knowledge.

  • Rt1583

    Faith also provides a convenient escape hatch.
    If something doesn’t go quite right in a Christians life they or the nearest Christian only has to say “I/You didn’t have faith enough.” and everything is all better.

  • Martha Bartha

    It only works if you believe it!

    • Greg G.

      Do you mean Disqus?

      • Martha Bartha

        No, a bridge of Faith.

        • adam

        • Greg G.

          I have a bridge of faith to sell you. It’s worth more than a billion dollars but I’ll let you have it for a mere $1 million. It will take you anywhere if you believe it.

        • Martha Bartha

          No many lanes does it have?

        • Greg G.

          If it goes into New Jersey, it depends on the governor’s office.

        • Martha Bartha

          Zoo Jersey……………..

        • MNb

          Our bridge of faith leads to the Jersey Zoo indeed – whatever you prefer.
          Hey – I’m cheaper than Greg G. USD 99 990 will do. Deal?

        • Greg G.

          $97.01 and you get an invisible bike lane that can be clearly seen.

        • Without Malice

          Only one and it’s straight and narrow.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’m pretty sure that millions of Christians who actually do believe it still don’t get their prayers answered.

      • MNb

        Oh, they do.
        When they pray for something trivial. “I prayed and made it to work unscathed today!”
        And when they are lucky. If all winners of a lottery pray and there is always one winner then there is always one person whose prayers got answered.

      • Martha Bartha

        In God’s way, not your way.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If “prayer works” uses a meaning for “works” that’s not in the dictionary, then don’t say “prayer works.”

          I’ll try it another way: you say that prayer works. So a Christian follows your advice, prays, and it doesn’t work. You will say that it did work, just by God’s definition of “works,” not yours. If you are defining “works” a different way that ordinary English speakers do, then you need to define that up front, not use it as a clumsy fallback after your claim fails.

        • Cygnus

          Prayers work, for imagination. Reality is hurting for many people. You have some people of faith in your blog, they pray that their ad hominems works. When they throw words intended to hurt, they pray that their insults work.

          You’re trying to show that faith is irrational, but even the faithful admit faith is not rational. They ask you: are emotions rational? But you don’t listen, you just go with your logic, but logic doesn’t cut it. People still throw insults, praying that they hurt and even if their insults fall flat on their faces they still have faith even if they call themselves “atheists”.

          Prayers works, for imagination. Some people imagine they are praying for others, but if they feel good about praying, then for them, praying works. I know that from a logical point of view, those who pray or insult are ignorant, but that’s their way to evade the reality.

        • lapona

          No prayers from “atheists” having faith that their insults work?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are conflating ridicule, mockery, or constructive criticism brought to you in a harsh manner, with insult.

        • MNb

          No. For one thing there are no “atheists”. There are only atheists.

        • adam

          “In God’s way, not your way.”

          So in an IMAGINARY way….

        • Martha Bartha

          God is not Imaginary…………

        • Ignorant Amos

          What does God look like then?

        • Martha Bartha

          Hes not visible. You can only feel his presence!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hes not visible.

          Why?

          Whose this then?

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ClXIMfMWkAEI1Rm.jpg

          You can only feel his presence!

          It’s a “him” then? How do you know? How does that “feeling” work? Is it an intuitive thing? How do you know that what presence you feel is God? If God is an immaterial mind outside space and time, how can he interact with you, or anyone for that matter?

        • Martha Bartha

          God has that power. If you’re open to his love, he will find you!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah…I see preaching is all you’ve got…I’ll pass on all that circular muck, thanx.

        • Paul B. Lot

          How do you know that “he/she/it” found you, versus the more likely scenario that your subconscious made you feel found?

        • Martha Bartha

          Because I ignored God for years but he did not ignore me!

        • Paul B. Lot

          Because I ignored God for years but he did not ignore me!

          When I read you talking about God, I understand that you think you’re talking about an entity outside of the workings of your own brain – but I think you are mistaken.

          I think it is more likely that the workings of your mind created the feelings which you associate with an exterior-to-you “God”.

          Given that, I have two things:

          1) A statement. I am happy for you! It probably feels really good to stop ignoring parts of your mind that you were ignoring before. Getting fully in-touch with one’s own consciousness is a long and challenging process (?for most?). If calling parts of your own mind “God” makes your life better, I wish you well!

          2) A question. Can you offer me any reason or evidence for why I should alter my initial analysis of you/your “God” belief? Can you supply anything compelling to convince me that [your feelings of “God”] do not [arise from the working of your own mind]?

        • MNb

          Big mistake, PBL. You try to be reasonable and thus write this lengthy comment.
          Martha is not capable of discussing with comments that contain more than three sentences.

        • Paul B. Lot

          But I’m not trying to be reasonable for her sake. :)

        • MNb

          Then he found you without you being open to his love. No need for me to open myself.
          I’m waiting.

        • adam

          But that was Satan, you’ve been fooled.

        • Without Malice

          So he’s kind of like a stalker then?

        • Martha Bartha

          Hes always around………………

        • MNb

          Rather lame. I am able to find people whether they are open to my love or not.

        • lady_black

          Me too.

        • adam

          “God has that power. If you’re open to his love, he will find you!”

          Doesnt Satan have the same power?

        • Without Malice

          And if you’re not open to his “love” he’ll find you and have you tortured for eternity. Mr. Nice Guy, love your enemies and all that.

        • MNb

          Then you imagine feeling your god.

        • Without Malice

          Well then, be careful where you put your hands.

        • Martha Bartha

          I do when I masturbate!

        • adam

          “Hes not visible. You can only feel his presence!”

        • Greg G.

          Then why do you need faith?

        • adam

          Yes, “God” is IMAGINARY

        • Martha Bartha

          Oh Dear!

        • Susan

          In God’s way, not your way.

          What method do you use to tell the difference?

        • Martha Bartha

          The Outcome.

        • Susan

          The Outcome.

          How does that answer my question?

        • Paul B. Lot

          It doesn’t, but it does give her the feeling of having answered it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s why she can fit in 111.5 thousand comments in 3 years…two word non-answers that give the feeling of something deep and philosophical in reply, but which are actually just, to quote Dan Dennett, deepities.

          That eclipses Luke’s performance…in fact it ploughs him right outta the park. Luke could learn something.

        • lady_black

          Once again, what method do you use to tell the difference?
          “The outcome” is not a method.

        • Martha Bartha

          Yes it is! If it goes the way you want it to. Its a barometer!

        • lady_black

          So, praying has the approximate odds of turning out the way you want it to as, say… flipping a coin.
          That’s an interesting way of approaching a subject, but hardly productive. I think I’ll stick with reasoning. Or in the alternative, I’ll flip a coin. Much quicker.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A favorite Christian rationalization for why God does not answer our prayer to eliminate cancer is because “it would take away free will.” The logic: If you pray and God answers your prayer, then God would have revealed himself to you, and you would know that God exists. That would take away your free will to believe in him. Of course, if this is true, then by default all of Jesus’ statements about prayer in the Bible are false. It means that God cannot answer any prayer. Also, why is a God who must remain hidden like this incarnating himself and writing the Bible?

          http://godisimaginary.com/i1.htm

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s a great site.

        • adam

          The barometer of Death

        • MNb

          Actually I have prayed as a minor for worldpiece. So it didn’t go the way I wanted it.
          Big fail.

        • Martha Bartha

          Worldpiece or World Peace? If you’re spelling it wrong, no wonder your prayers weren’t answered. You’re obviously too stupid & God doesn’t waste his time with Stupid Fucks like you!

        • adam

          ” You’re obviously too stupid & God doesn’t waste his time with Stupid Fucks like you!”

          Ahhh, but he DOES waste his time with Stupid Fucks like YOU….

          I see what kind of “God” you have there.

          Who cant tell the vocalized difference between worldpiece and world peace…

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos
        • Paul B. Lot

          I was on the fence earlier as to whether or not the [simple-minded-but-earnest believer] model fit you better, or the [asinine internet troll] model did.

          Thanks for clearing up that mystery for me.

        • Greg G.

          English is not his first language. Obviously he meant whirled peas.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I thought he was talking about whorled pies.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Martha Bartha

          Oh OK. Then God will answer his prayers.

        • MNb

          Worldpeace (“wereldvrede”) hasn’t exactly arrived yet, has it? But hey, I am just a stupid fuckwit. I can’t spell. Hence your god won’t pay attention to my prayers. Thus I better remain an atheist.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          God made you stupid, and unfortunately, he doesn’t answer the prayers of the stupid. So basically it sucks to be you. You’re welcome. God works in mysterious ways.

        • Michael Neville

          I am just a stupid fuckwit.

          You can’t say that about my friend MNb!

        • Martha Bartha

          Good, you do that!

        • MNb

          So your god doesn’t answer prayers.

        • Martha Bartha

          They must be submitted in writing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I beat you feel really silly for being such a pedantic arsehole…you certainly look like one…you’ll make yer baby Jesus cry getting on like that.

        • Greg G.

          I think Martha might be a Poe.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Possibly…very contentious if she is with that number of comments in such a space of time. But picking up on a spelling issue like that on the subject of prayer and a god that is supposed to answer them was more silly pants than Poe.

        • Michael Neville

          That certainly is a distinct possibility.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • adam

          Maybe he is praying in his native tongue, and your “God” cant understand it.

          I have a feeling your “God” is as ignorant as you are.

        • MNb

          Thanks for pointing out the error. I tend to make such errors on internet, even in my native language: Dutch. The language I used to pray. And you can be sure that even as a minor I spelled “vrede” correctly.
          Also thanks for displaying your christian love. I appreciate it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The “real” true Christian must write letters to the invisible man in the sky. That must be why grammar and spelling is important to the multi-omni immaterial mind outside space and time. Ya know, like a child writes a letter to Santa at Christmas to let him know where they live and get the wish list fulfilled?

          Sometimes ya just have to laugh at the amount of asininity these knuckle dragging fuckwits spew out, especially with just the one head.

        • MNb

          My problem with Martha is that she writes so little and still produces so much to laugh at ….

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Martha Bartha

          Allah be Praised! Infidel!

        • MNb

          The muslims I know never called me stupid fuckwit becomes I made a spelling error.

        • Martha Bartha

          Thats cause they’re stupid fucks who don’t know the English language! Allah Akbar!

        • Paul B. Lot

          *Allah-u Akbar

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Dennis__P

          However, “the outcome” (or the results) will tell you which method works the best, even if the methods are hidden in “black boxes”.

        • adam

          You mean based on what you WANT?

        • Without Malice

          It’s God’s way or the highway to hell.

        • Martha Bartha

          I saw AC/DC on that tour with Bon Scott. They opened for Ted Nugent.

      • Without Malice

        Well, God sometimes says no. Actually he says no all the time but still they believe. Hard headed little critters those believers.

        • Dennis__P

          It’s not that ‘god’ says no, but that ‘god’ is not listening in the first place. Silence can be interpreted as ‘no’ or as ‘message not received’.

    • adam

      Anything ‘works’ if you delude yourself into ‘believing’ that it works.

      But it only ‘works’ in your own DELUSION…

      So by that I mean, if you ‘believe’ 2+2=5, then you have deluded yourself and 2+2=5 only ‘works’ for those similarly deluded.

      • Martha Bartha

        Well I used to have a boss that disagreed with everything. He was right, & you were wrong.

        • MNb

          That pastor is like your boss on behalf of the Bible.

        • adam

          And ‘faith’ works the same way.

        • Martha Bartha

          You gotta have Faith!

        • adam

          So your boss was always right and you always wrong because he had ‘faith’ in his rightness?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f4f426fa1a34e264042a3ceaf427df6b0260bf8bad8ce176bda9cbbfc17e3dc1.jpg

        • Martha Bartha

          No, I used to get mad at him for that! Nobody is always right! He was just throwin his weight around, usin his authority, showin he was boss.

        • adam

          So what good was his ‘faith’ that he was always right, it OBVIOUSLY didnt reflect REALITY.

        • Martha Bartha

          To him it did! Nobody liked him anyway!

        • adam

          So AGAIN, what good is “Faith”, then?

    • Dys

      Then there’s no difference between it working and it not working except in your mind.

      • Martha Bartha

        It works, if you work it!

        • Dys

          Confirmation bias is powerful, as you are so aptly demonstrating.

    • MNb

      Oh oh – I got Poed! In the inversed way.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

      I honestly thought this was a parody.

  • Ray-B

    ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎
    As Jon Stewart would say, “Here it is, Your Moment of Zen.”

    • MNb

      Conclusive proof! The front page of Patheos says so, hence it must be true!
      That or the designers of that page were just lazy.

      • Myna A.

        Conclusive proof! The front page of Patheos says so, hence it must be true!

        Must be one of those credible sources we’ve heard tell about.

  • Without Malice

    Faith is easy, using your brain can be difficult, thus the wide percentage of believers in the population as compared to atheists.

  • Joe

    Why is this article showing up as the latest, but I’m replying to comments 9 months old?

    Is there something supernatural at work here?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You have a sharp eye.

      Patheos is highlighting posts on a particular subject (I forget exactly what), and I submitted this one to see if it would be a fit. They accepted it, but since the collection of posts are all fairly new, they redated this older post of mine.

      So yeah, a little bit of technological black magic.

      • Otto

        It’s a modern day miracle…

  • Chuck Johnson

    Christian faith is almost two thousand years old.
    It was designed as a tool of persuasion.
    Most people two thousand years ago were illiterate and ignorant. Faith served to make common folks obedient to the instructions and teachings of the religious leaders who were generally literate and educated.

    So faith has that social organizing power.

    Over the last two thousand years, literacy, education and access to information and knowledge has become commonplace. This sharply undermines the need to be blindly obedient to the educated big shots who would tell us all what to do. Many of the big shots show us that they are the ones who are actually in need of education and moral guidance.

    Also, over the last two thousand years, people have become logical, knowledgeable and skeptical enough that the tool itself, the blind faith is being widely viewed with a critical eye. The superstitions that go along with religious faith are being seen as naive, foolish and unsuitable for belief by modern people.

    And so, the ancient social benefits of faith dwindle as the harm that superstition does to society becomes more apparent.

    This is what’s behind the decline in religions in the industrialized world.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I like your thinking, though there may be more holding up religion.

      I think of the rise in fundamentalism about 100 years ago. You had Darwin, then the Golden Age of Freethought with Robert Ingersoll. And just when you think Christianity in the West is on the ropes, The Fundamentals comes out and gives it a new lease on life.

      Unfortunately, the downward trend that we’re seeing in the US may not be the beginning of the inevitable end.

      • Michael Neville

        Fundamentalism and its offshoot, Biblical literalism, are a reaction to the Enlightenment. New ideas, new concepts, new ways of thinking are disturbing or even frightening to certain people. They’re comfortable with old ideas or what they think are old ideas.

        Fundamentalism, in the narrowest meaning of the term, is a movement which began in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries within American Protestant circles to defend the “fundamentals of belief” against the corrosive effects of liberalism that had grown within the ranks of Protestantism. Liberalism, manifested in critical approaches to the Bible that relied on purely natural assumptions, or that framed Christianity as a purely natural or human phenomenon that could be explained scientifically, presented a challenge to traditional belief.

        It was fundamentalism’s rejection of the critical interpretations of the Bible which begat Biblical literalism. The idea that the Bible was not literally true was again upsetting to some fundamentalist Christians, so they invented the idea that not only was the Bible inspired by God but was dictated word for word by Him. This idea reaches its epitome with the King James Onlyists who claim the Bible they’re most familiar with and most comfortable with is the only “true” Bible.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I still find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that biblical literalism is the new idea. I’d have thought that that was the original interpretation.

        • Michael Neville

          Biblical literlalism was the norm until the Protestant Reformation. Then even Catholics began Biblical interpretation and source and form criticism. While the laity was slow in abandoning literalism, Biblical scholars were looking at the Bible as literature and history. When scholars started doubting the historicity of the Bible, like archeologists and Egyptologists denying that Exodus ever happened, a backlash from more conservative Christians became almost inevitable. There was a period from about the middle of the 17th Century until the end of the 19th Century when Biblical scholars abandoned literalism. Then a small but vocal group of scholars reinvented literalism.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          interesting, thanks.

      • Charlie Johnson

        The book set The Fundamentals really wasn’t all that significant. It was commissioned, published, and distributed (often gratis) by some rich guys, but it isn’t even a great representation of fundamentalism and certainly was never used as a manifesto or anything like that. More significant were the trans-denominational newspapers and other periodicals like Moody Monthly, Sunday School Times, The Sword of the Lord, etc. They more than anything else held the burgeoning fundamentalist network together.

        Radio also mattered. Just like American conservatives are probably united by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News more than by any formal institution, 20th c. fundamentalists drank up J Vernon McGee, Carl McIntire, etc. See Joel Carpenter, Revive Us Again, ch. 7.

  • RichardSRussell

    I slightly differ from Bob’s analysis above when he says he has trust in science. In my dissection of “How We Decide”, I identify 8 techniques, the last and least reliable of which is faith. But I distinguish between trust (in people) and confidence (in things), because the former is more easily abused and distorted, therefore less reliable. I’d rather say I had confidence in science, based on its track record.

    • Dennis__P

      This is a discussion of semantics. It can be resolved by agreeing on definitions of terms. These are what I use:
      Faith : belief without evidence
      Belief : an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
      Evidence : the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. (I can elaborate at length on this, what is evidence vs.what is only a claim, but will not do so here.)
      Fact : a thing that is indisputably the case. ( I regard something as factual if it can be supported and independently verified by use of scientific method. One of the criteria is that it must be repeatable at a greater probability than chance would predict.)
      More elaboration and justification for these definitions is readily available, but I am using the very simplest and concise definitions for these four words that I can find.

  • Sophia Sadek

    People have way too much faith in the opinions of medical practitioners. Physicians are just as fallible as the pope, sometimes more so.

    • Dennis__P

      No. The Pope is more fallible than the worst physician. The physician has evidence based tools to work with, the Pope only has a collection of unverifiable claims, many of which disagree with each other, and many which are provably false.

      • Sophia Sadek

        Spoken like someone who has never met a priestly physician.

        • http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ ☽ Majorana Fermion ☾

          No kidding. Our family has run into a few & they are amazing in their ability to be willfully unaware of science & even medical best practices.

  • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

    Faith is permission to believe something without a good reason.

    Let’s call this “BS-faith”. The Bible is aware of it:

    And the Lord said:

    “Because this people draw near with their mouth
        and honor me with their lips,
        while their hearts are far from me,
    and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
    therefore, behold, I will again
        do wonderful things with this people,
        with wonder upon wonder;
    and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
        and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
    (Isaiah 29:13–14)

    But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20)

    That many Christians could be well-described as practicing BS-faith is well-precedented:

    “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. (Ezekiel 5:5–9)

    You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:23–24)

    The real question is whether there is an alternative to BS-faith which can be practiced—not in the hard sciences where politics are minimized, but where politics are paramount. After all, it is the latter category which occupies most of the Bible. The difference between the two is well-illustrated by Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government. The better people are at understanding how quantitative data support hypotheses, the more likely they are to be convinced that the correct hypothesis is true. Unless it conflicts with their ideology/​identity—in which case the more likely they are to be convinced that the correct hypothesis is false.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The real question is whether there is an alternative to BS-faith which can be practiced

      I think it’s called “trust.”

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      What methodology can we use to discern between BS faith and true faith?

      • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

        Trees are judged by the fruit that comes from them. It doesn’t come immediately, but it does come. If it doesn’t come in time, you cut down the tree and throw it into the fire.

        • Greg G.

          Confirmation bias makes it hard to burn down the fruitless tree when it comes to BS faith, but it can be done.

        • adam

          “Trees are judged by the fruit that comes from them. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5c877548c58de42d8e7a5e3375f3cc1b99c251e52019e0744448b9579f28ede.jpg

          The fruit of religion is division.

        • Joe

          Trees are identified by their fruit.

          Any judgement would be quite arbitrary.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Christianity being the best example of just such division.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Great! So what are the fruits of each?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          One leads to ever-increasing truth/​beauty/​goodness. The other does not. I’ll let you guess which is which.

        • Greg G.

          Confirmation bias gives nice illusions of truth/​beauty/​goodness.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I spent much of today in a hospital visiting my seriously ill child. Does this mean that she wouldn’t be suffering if I had faith in the right god?

        • Greg G.

          Sorry to read that about your child. I hope the doctors and nurses can help.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thanks. I was necessarily looking for sympathy, but it is appreciated.

          My real goal was to pull this out of word salad territory into the real world. Luke, how does faith help my daughter?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I’m sorry to hear about your child. I won’t to try to answer your question in such an emotionally charged situation; even if I said many true things, I’ll come off looking like a dick. What I can say is that my wife is a postdoc studying chromatin remodeling complexes, which will hopefully lead to better understanding of cancer. Our faith appears to help her do better research, although I cannot produce a peer-reviewed scientific study showing that. And I’m sure you and/or others can find ways to dismiss that as “emotions management”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Our faith appears to help her do better research, although I cannot produce a peer-reviewed scientific study showing that.

          Your faith “appears” to help? What are you comparing that against? The warm fuzzy effect? Would your wife’s ability to do her research struggle without faith? How do you know?

          I’m sure there are faithless researcher’s doing work at least as good as your wife’s, some even better I can imagine.

          Not to be taking anything away from your wife and the sterling work she undertakes in a very important field, of course.

          And I’m sure you and/or others can find ways to dismiss that as “emotions management”.

          No need for that, you already know it to be the case.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Excellent post, Amos. I offered a much longer comment that oddly needed mod approval and appears to have been removed. Rather than type it all up again, I’ll piggy back on yours.

          I’m sure there are faithless researcher’s doing work at least as good as your wife’s, some even better I can imagine.

          Even if this isn’t the case…. that Luke’s wife is quite literally at the top of her field, how would you exclude the possibility that she is just excellent at her job?

          And I’ll make another presumption – that her faith is a powerful motivator – how do you show that this isn’t a placebo effect? Or that BS faith couldn’t also provide the same motivation?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Thank you.

          You mean this comment?

          Thank you, but I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing. I’m also not in a position to reject legitimate options so, if you have one, I’d feel nothing but appreciation.

          I think we should first clarify terms. “Faith” and “god belief” are often used interchangably, but I think our discussion will be more productive if they aren’t. Let’s use “faith” to signify the methods used to confirm beliefs without adequate evidence and “god belief” when that is appropriate. Despite your wife’s work sounding fascinating, the specifics aren’t germane since any benefits offered by faith should apply to all fields.

          OK! With that out of the way, here are a few questions. I’m presuming “faith” means “god belief” in the quote below. Please correct me if that is mistaken.

          “Our faith appears to help her do better research”

          In what ways does it help? Is she more insightful than her peers? If so, how did you exclude the possibility of her just being especially competent at her job? Does it provide motivation? If so, how do you demonstrate that BS faith couldn’t have the same effect?

          Has your wife ever had setbacks at work? If so, did you consider that evidence that your god belief was not accurate? How does the control group fare in this area?

          If your wife has maintained the same god belief throughout, how do you avoid falling into confirmation bias and crediting the belief with things that would have happened anyway? Once again, if your belief provides resolve of some kind, how does belief in the right god benefit her in ways that BS faith wouldn’t?

          Looking forward to your answers.

          I wondered where it went. It didn’t go to moderation, there would be a tag saying it was awaiting moderation. There is a foible with Disqus in that it eats comments, or parts thereof (just happened with this one coincidentally). Usually time invested ones. A habit to get into, is to just before posting a time invested comment ya don’t want to lose, is to “select all” and “copy” to your clipboard. Or compose the comment in a word document outside Disqus first.

          Anyway, back to your comment. I’ve copied it here from my notifications history for you to copy and use as you wish.

          Now,moving on.

          Even if this isn’t the case…. that Luke’s wife is quite literally at the top of her field, how would you exclude the possibility that she is just excellent at her job?

          Indeed. I don’t think Luke thought it through.

          And I’ll make another presumption – that her faith is a powerful motivator – how do you show that this isn’t a placebo effect?

          Well, obviously it is, because like a placebo, there is NO evidence for the existence of YahwehJesus at all.

          Then there are the controls. People of other faiths, and non-believers, do every bit just as well as Christians in the world of science. No belief in YahwehJesus required.

          Or that BS faith couldn’t also provide the same motivation?

          Like Christianity. This dovetails nicely into another thread on another forum I’m commenting on.

          For example: The Bible states that God created the first man from the dirt and then the first woman from one of the man’s ribs, while science has proven that modern humans evolved from earlier primates. The problem with interpreting the biblical account as allegory is that Christianity needs the story to be literal—the whole religion rests on the origin story being something that really happened. Without Adam and Eve, there is no garden, no tree of the knowledge of good and evil, no tempting serpent and no fall of mankind. Without a fall, there is no need for a savior or messiah. If humans evolved from earlier primates, there is no first man. The Bible is pretty specific about Adam’s connection to Christ. Just look at Romans 5:19: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous.” Without a literal first man (Adam), the premise for the literal Gospel story of Jesus Christ falls apart.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2017/05/honey-im-an-atheist-losing-my-faith/

        • Greg G.

          Without a literal first man (Adam), the premise for the literal Gospel story of Jesus Christ falls apart.

          Hence, the fundamentalists cry, “Christ didn’t die for a metaphor!”

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          My favorite sin is eating bacon cheeseburgers. I wonder if it is a sin to eat dill pickles as obsessive as the Bible authors were with mixing unlike things together.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Scoffing down Angel’s on Horseback is bound to give them the proverbial eye twitches.

        • Greg G.

          I had to look up “Angel’s on Horseback”. It sounds delicious.

        • Michael Neville

          I made angels on horseback for Mother’s Day. I used scallops rather than oysters because the wife prefers scallops. If you’re going to make them figure at least three per person, four is what I usually make.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Those are Devil’s on Horseback…some might say have even more potential for a bit of eye twitching. Still, very nice they are too…and the cheaper,more readily available, alternative.

          Although dried fruit alternative is also called the same, i.e. prunes, apricot, dates.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devils_on_horseback

          Get the Tabasco out nyum-nyum-nyum…..

        • Ignorant Amos

          Pig’s in Blanket’s are a double dose of the evil pork that are a popular nibble at parties. Though a see the term means something different on your side of the pond than it does here.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigs_in_blankets

        • Greg G.

          I have had several versions of those. I made some with biscuits from a tube and Vienna sausages.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sounds yummy….all this grub talk is making me hungry and me on a diet an’ all ffs.

        • Michael Neville

          Bacon cheeseburgers are as tref (non-kosher) as you can get.

        • Greg G.

          The bacon is a no-no in Islam and the beef in Hiduism as bonuses.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thank you for re-posting. I have nothing to add, so I’ll just let your copy stand.

          FWIW, the comment initially posted fine, then I edited it and it went for moderation and then it just disappeared. I’ve had similar troubles with a response to Bob’s “you take science on faith!” rebuttal, which I just tried to post once again.

          EDIT: I just followed Greg’s direction and found all the missing comments, which apparently were captured as spam.

        • Greg G.

          I offered a much longer comment that oddly needed mod approval and appears to have been removed.

          Disqus displays differently depending on the number of comments in a thread. Cross Examined articles tend to get lots of comments and Disqus can’t show them all at once so it will often show a post and the upthread but not the downthread. If you hit refresh, you only see the upthread and the reply you just posted will not be shown.

          If you click on your name above one of your comments, you can see your comments to various articles. I don’t know if they are shown in real time or if there is a time delay as there may be a database of recent comments that must be updated in the database of historical comments.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I couldn’t get to the said comment from the link in my e-mail notification. Something I’ve not experienced before unless the comment has been deleted by the author, or Disqus has ate it.

          Oh the vagaries of Disqus…they can be quite stressing at times.

        • Greg G.

          Come to think of it, that happened in another forum, too. I wanted to reply to a post that I was notified of but it didn’t show up in the comments.

          The guy thanked me for reposting his comment.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I too have seen this phenomenon. I thought it was always due to being marked as spam; this would be an anomaly if it weren’t. @BobSeidensticker:disqus needs to weigh in, unless I’ve missed it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bob has mentioned it elsewhere within the last hour or so.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Here? That doesn’t seem to address the matter; the comment I was notified about by email isn’t there when I load all the comments.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, sorry. I didn’t mean to infer Bob had addressed the matter in any way that resolved the issue or answered the problem, just that he has acknowledged a comment that has made him aware that the problem is there.

          Even JAA’s response above isn’t satisfying to what both you and I experienced and are addressing.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/04/how-reliable-is-a-bridge-built-on-faith-christianity-atheism/#comment-3310471208

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          As Amos mentioned, I have just recently seen comments that have vanished. My only explanation would be that the author deleted it, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

          I can’t help, I’m afraid. And trying to get Disqus to show every comment so you can search becomes more difficult when you can only bring them in in lots of 50.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          For those more adventurous or aware of javascript debugging in Chrome, you can use the following script in the Developer Tools ([Ctrl][Shift][j] on Windows 10) to auto-load all the comments:

          b=document.evaluate("//*[@data-action='more-posts']", document, null, 9, null).singleNodeValue;
          i=0;
          if (b)
          id = setInterval(function() {
          if (!/^(block|)$/.test(b.parentNode.style.display)) {
          clearInterval(id);
          console.log("done");
          return;
          }
          if (/bbusyb/.test(b.className))
          return;
          b.click();
          console.log(i++);
          }, 10)
          else
          console.log("Did not find button!")

          copy(document.evaluate("//*[@id='conversation']", document, null, 9, null).singleNodeValue.outerHTML)

          Before running it you have to change the “execution context” from topdsq-app1:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e0ab15f1b545e91baef204b9f0b763d108f775f47819b3d9fddaaffee4eaeb7b.png

          I guess I could consider adding this to my Disable Disqus URL Tracking TamperMonkey script, although it has some issues—perhaps having to do with delays that are too long. Anyone hear have experience with TamperMonkey/​GreaseMonkey?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thanks Greg, I found the comments. Apparently they were flagged as spam. Hopefully this is a one-time thing.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I offered a much longer comment that oddly needed mod approval and appears to have been removed.

          Did you want me to respond to it? I got an email notification so I have the contents; IA also pasted its entirety. BTW, I often don’t even read comments not addressed directly to me when discussions get lengthy; I looked this time because your comment wasn’t showing up.

          [Edit: Oops, I forgot you use bold instead of blockquotes.]

          IA: I’m sure there are faithless researcher’s doing work at least as good as your wife’s, some even better I can imagine.

          What you say here can be 100% true, and yet be 100% irrelevant. After all, eating healthier food could also help my wife do better science, even though there are plenty of other scientists who eat junk food and do science as good or better. Unless you want to suggest that eating healthy food probably has no causal impact on one’s scientific competence?

          Even if this isn’t the case…. that Luke’s wife is quite literally at the top of her field, how would you exclude the possibility that she is just excellent at her job?

          You would have to find evidence of this sort (but in this particular case, with some negations):

               (1) When a scientist becomes an atheist,
                       [s]he does better science.
               (2) When a scientist becomes religious,
                       [s]he does worse science.

          That’s a truly controlled situation: exactly one variable is changing.

          And I’ll make another presumption – that her faith is a powerful motivator – how do you show that this isn’t a placebo effect? Or that BS faith couldn’t also provide the same motivation?

          You would of course have to do various tests. To your “BS faith”: I suspect it’s damaging to psychology as a possible science to suggest that delusion-based motivations can be indistinguishable from non-delusion-based motivations, at least in the long term. When I say “indistinguishable”, I do not mean that some abstract thought-system which cannot demonstrate things like (1) and/or (2) issues the condemnation of “delusion”. Irrationality and heresy (the two are not always distinguished) ought to have empirical correlates, like (1) and (2). If they do not, one is warranted in thinking that maybe “I don’t like” is manifesting as false objectivity/​orthodoxy.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          No need to reply to my earlier one, the concepts are summarized nicely in IA’s comment and my response.

          You would of course have to do various tests.

          Of course, but the problem is that you made a positive claim that faith [in the right god, I presume] leads to superior outcomes. Now you are talking as if you were simply offering a hypothesis.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          LB: What I can say is that my wife is a postdoc studying chromatin remodeling complexes, which will hopefully lead to better understanding of cancer. Our faith appears to help her do better research, although I cannot produce a peer-reviewed scientific study showing that. And I’m sure you and/or others can find ways to dismiss that as “emotions management”.

          JAA: And I’ll make another presumption – that her faith is a powerful motivator – how do you show that this isn’t a placebo effect? Or that BS faith couldn’t also provide the same motivation?

          LB: You would of course have to do various tests.

          JAA: Of course, but the problem is that you made a positive claim that faith [in the right god, I presume] leads to superior outcomes. Now you are talking as if you were simply offering a hypothesis.

          What I wrote is “appears to help”; did you want me to weaken that, so that it appears more like “simply offering a hypothesis” than “a positive claim”? Oddly enough, you and IA have already admitted that there could be a positive causal effect of my wife’s faith, but y’all have carefully corralled the mechanism:

          LB: And I’m sure you and/or others can find ways to dismiss that as “emotions management”.

          IA: No need for that, you already know it to be the case.

          LB: Evidence, please. (Evidence that it is the case, and is the only causal factor which in any likelihood improves scientific competence.)

          My response to IA also serves as a response to you. Also relevant is the following exchange (where I was actually replying to you, mistaking IA’s comment for yours):

          IA: I’m sure there are faithless researcher’s doing work at least as good as your wife’s, some even better I can imagine.

          LB: What you say here can be 100% true, and yet be 100% irrelevant. After all, eating healthier food could also help my wife do better science, even though there are plenty of other scientists who eat junk food and do science as good or better. Unless you want to suggest that eating healthy food probably has no causal impact on one’s scientific competence?

          The general setting here is that of Enlightenment dogma—that is, beliefs not based in evidence (such as the kind exemplified by (1) and/or (2)). Because science cannot detect agents as being agents (it can detect them as matter–energy configurations with descriptions of time-evolution), so the dogma goes, anything which science cannot detect will either be detrimental to the practice of science, neutral to the practice of science, or helpful with “emotions management”. That allows the philosophy which describes the practice of science (and really, the practice of the hard sciences) to be set up as a false orthodoxy, condemning (if nothing worse, to irrelevance wrt scientific competence) anything which does not match up with its exacting standards. Aside from emotions of course, which are swept under the rug.

          This is getting long; I have more to say but I will stop here. Perhaps I will have exhausted your patience; if not then do please ask clarifying questions and I will do my best to continue.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          What I wrote is “appears to help”; did you want me to weaken that, so that it appears more like “simply offering a hypothesis” than “a positive claim”?

          This isn’t the comment I was referring to, it was this one:

          [True faith] leads to ever-increasing truth/​beauty/​goodness. [BS faith] does not. I’ll let you guess which is which.

          This implies that true faith has demonstrable advantages over BS faith. The factual presentation further implies that you have empirical support for the assertion. By the time you provided the anecdote about your wife, the claim was already being tempered.

          If you didn’t mean so state things so definitively, feel free to rephrase.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          JAA: What methodology can we use to discern between BS faith and true faith?

          LB: Trees are judged by the fruit that comes from them. It doesn’t come immediately, but it does come. If it doesn’t come in time, you cut down the tree and throw it into the fire.

          JAA: Great! So what are the fruits of each?

          LB: One leads to ever-increasing truth/​beauty/​goodness. The other does not. I’ll let you guess which is which.

          JAA: This isn’t the comment I was referring to, it was this one: [the underlined, above]

          Ahh, my apologies; that misunderstanding is entirely my fault. I was offering a definition, not a claim that I have “true faith”. I make no claim to being more than an evil idiot. I don’t claim that I am an idiot or evil, but I don’t claim that I am more than those, either. My many discussions with atheists, who tell me they only believe things based on the evidence, has convinced me to take this stance. The fruit of my actions, over time, will be the judge of whether I had anything like “true faith”. Here, I’ll give an example of true faith:

          I’m going to tangent for a moment. It really took two hundred years for Bacon’s academy to develop anything useful. There was a lot of dissecting animals, and exploding metal spheres, and refracting light, and describing gravity, and it was very, very exciting, and a lot of it was correct, but–as the eloquent James Hankins put it–it was actually the nineteenth century that finally paid Francis Bacon’s I.O.U., his promise that, if you channel an unfathomable research budget, and feed the smartest youths of your society into science, someday we’ll be able to do things we can’t do now, like refrigerate chickens, or cure rabies, or anesthetize. There were a few useful advances (better navigational instruments, Franklin’s lightning rod) but for two hundred years most of science’s fruits were devices with no function beyond demonstrating scientific principles. Two hundred years is a long time for a vastly-complex society-wide project to keep getting support and enthusiasm, fed by nothing but pure confidence that these discoveries streaming out of the Royal Society papers will eventually someday actually do something. I just think… I just think that keeping it up for two hundred years before it paid off, that’s… that’s really cool. (On Progress and Historical Change)

          I think it is rather difficult to say that Francis Bacon only acted on beliefs he was justified in believing. That is because the justification for key beliefs of his only lay in their fruit, much of which only came into existence two hundred years later. The kind of faith on display here is a grounding in the evidence plus a risky going beyond the evidence. One might call it “trusting in intuition”. Notably, the Greek words pistis and pisteuō have a strong element of trust.

          Another way to look at this is to distinguish between descriptive truth and predictive truth. A favorite example of mine is to consider a materials scientist taking plans for negative index metamaterials back to the eighteenth century. When she presents them to scientists of that era, what is the nature of the truth she is trying to communicate? After all, the scientists of that era did not have the conceptual apparatuses to understand metamaterials, nor the physical equipment to produce them. And yet, were they to trust the time-travelling scientist and work long and hard enough—often obeying in lieu of full understanding—they would produce negative index metamaterials well before the year 2000 AD. I see a lot of what shows up in scripture as predictive truth. For example, I suspect Jesus and his disciples led to this:

          The Dutch historian Jan Romein coined the phrase “the common human pattern” to denote some features of society and culture that can be found throughout history. The modern West deviates sharply from this common pattern, not least in the character and degree of individuation. This is the sound empirical foundation for the claim that Western individualism is an aberration; the common pattern has the individual tightly bonded within his community. (A Far Glory, 101)

          I can try to explain if you’d like. But suffice it to say that a lot of the behaviors required to realize that individualism may have needed to start out as obedience—that is, action as servants instead of friends (Jn 15:15). Of course, staying servants was never the plan; see theōsis.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thank you, Luke, that is significantly clearer.

          The definition of terms I outlined in the gobbled comment is useful here:

          “Faith” and “god belief” are often used interchangably, but I think our discussion will be more productive if they aren’t. Let’s use “faith” to signify the methods used to confirm beliefs without adequate evidence and “god belief” when that is appropriate.

          The earlier hypothesis appears to use the latter:

          Our faith appears to help her do better research

          Whereas the Bacon’s example seems to rely on the former.
          When the two are made equal, the claim becomes a rather benign, “my wife’s belief that her research will eventually make a significant breakthrough despite seeing only incremental progress now makes her a better researcher.”

          I have no problem with this. My objection is with the former usage of “faith”, which leads to a much different claim: “My wife’s belief in Entity X makes her a better researcher and is therefor evidence for the existence of Entity X.”

          Would you please clarify as to which is the claim you are trying to support?

        • Ignorant Amos

          How does Luke’s faith/god belief work into that scenario…other than emotionally?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          You’ve got to be kidding. A single edit made my comment require moderation and now it is gone. I’ll give the spam filter some time and post it again later.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No comments should require moderation, at least according to the rules I’ve set.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          That’s odd, because it happens quite frequently when I edit comments. The initial post will go through, but it will seek moderation upon editing…. and then it disappears into the ether.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Just at this blog or with Disqus in general?

          I write/edit my response using some other tool and then paste it into the comment box. Much faster (Disqus writing is often slow), and you’ve got the backup on your computer, just in case.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I don’t know. The only other page I’ve used Disqus for is Godless in Dixie, but I haven’t commented there as often as I have here.

          Your suggestion is a good one, I’m pretty sure Greg said the same thing a few days ago. I’ll have to implement that as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Disqus is really doing a number on ya, isn’t it?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          How does Luke’s faith/god belief work into that scenario…other than emotionally?

          I don’t know.

          Luke’s other analogy about proper diet (a better one, IMO) illustrates this problem nicely. You notice that your more productive days align with better eating habits, you hypothesize that doing so offers a benefit, test and viola! Hypothesis confirmed.

          Now review the faith version. You notice that your more productive days align with (the strength of) your belief in god, you hypothesize that stronger faith offers a benefit, test and (for the purposes of this argument) viola! Hypothesis confirmed.

          The main disparity should jump out right away: there is an extra layer involved in the second that isn’t present in the first. Even if it is conceded that god belief provides a physiological response analogous to proper diet, and that said response leads to improved cognition…. the only thing that has been confirmed is that god belief confers a benefit, not that the belief is true.

          We don’t have to believe the foods are there, they are testable physical entities. Nor is belief involved in the physical effects of eating them or how they affect overall health. God belief, on the other hand, doesn’t work this way. There is no testable interaction, no causal relationship. The only thing we can do is make observations about things that appear to correspond with god belief, whether that be a brain scan or behavioral grouping.

          To head off an objection at the pass… yes, it is true that it is impossible to see the “interaction” between physical health and emergent cognition, but that problem exists in both examples. Only in the latter are there extra untestable stimuli.

          Even granting everything, the very furthest we could stretch things is Daniel Dennett’s “belief in belief”. The substance of the belief is completely beyond us, but for some reason holding the belief is beneficial. If somehow you could demonstrate Christians see greater effects, all you could say is that somehow believing in Christ conferred an additional advantage. Evidence is still required to bridge the gap to the truth of the belief.

          Of course, I’m still waiting for better-than-anecdotal evidence that holding a god belief leads to better outcomes. Luke’s analogy doesn’t even get off the ground until that is provided.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course, I’m still waiting for better-than-anecdotal evidence that holding a god belief leads to better outcomes. Luke’s analogy doesn’t even get off the ground until that is provided.

          A wouldn’t be holding my breath.

        • Andy_Schueler

          Because science cannot detect agents as being agents (it can detect them as matter–energy configurations with descriptions of time-evolution), so the dogma goes

          That is just flat out wrong. Lets take a) archaeology, b) ethology and c) forensic science. The term ‘science’ is often, but not always, narrowly defined in a way that would exclude a), but it is very rarely defined in a way that excludes b) and defining it in a way that excludes all of a-c would just be ridiculous.
          If you’d substitute “science” in what you said by “contemporary physics”, you’d be correct – but you also wouldn’t say anything of interest, anything that’s not completely obvious.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What you say here can be 100% true, and yet be 100% irrelevant. After all, eating healthier food could also help my wife do better science, even though there are plenty of other scientists who eat junk food and do science as good or better. Unless you want to suggest that eating healthy food probably has no causal impact on one’s scientific competence?

          That was kinda my point Luke. It is irrelevant to doing better research. Having faith or eating junk food…having no faith or eating healthy food.

          That good scientists do good work regardless, and there is no way to demonstrate otherwise….now that’s not to say that when a bad scientist lets BS-faith impact on their work, we can’t tell.

          Even great scientists in the past have been influenced by their religion. But it is a bit of a stretch to claim their religion is what made them great scientists, anymore than it is to say it was their particular dietary habits.

          https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-science/#ScieReliChri

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Wait, do you seriously believe that neither of the following could plausibly be true, at least on a statistical basis:

               (A) When a scientist starts eating better food,
                       [s]he does better science.
               (B) When a scientist starts eating worse food,
                       [s]he does worse science.

          ? You may note that these are very different from:

          IA: But it is a bit of a stretch to claim … [that] what made them great scientists … was their particular dietary habits.

          Your statement here is totalistic; it sets up the sole cause of scientific competence as a healthy diet. Neither (A) nor (B) do that; they merely talk about contributing causal factors. There are undoubtedly a great number of causal factors which all contribute to scientific competence. There are probably a great number of other causal factors that, if present, detract from scientific competence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But it is a bit of a stretch to claim …

          .

          Luke it was your assertion that you and your wife’s faith “appears” to make your wife a better researcher. You’ve offered nothing by way of support for your assertion and as a matter of fact, can’t offer any support for your claim. I’m suggesting it is emotional poppycock. Show me why my suggestion is erroneous.

          You tried muddying the waters with the false equivalence of the dietary habits of scientists making them better researchers. I don’t know how you can support that assertion. Though eating habit is definitely more tangible and investigatable than a faith claim that “appears” to have consequences, I chose to run with your analogy.

          Now, some of the worlds greatest geniuses have had some weird unhealthy eating habits, but it is still going to be a bit of a stretch to demonstrate these unhealthy eating habit made them better geniuses.

          Einstein and Tesla were vegetarian. Steve Jobs had some real wacky eating habits that wouldn’t be classed as healthy, even though vegetarian.

          Some of the most creative minds have thrived on alcohol and drugs.

          Chocolate consumption supposedly improves cognitive function.

          So what’s the takeaway? The eating habits of the world’s greatest minds are as varied as the individuals themselves, and it can be difficult to boil that all down into one surefire Genius Diet. Ultimately, you should eat things that are good for you, as well as things you enjoy eating. The author Michael Pollan sums it up nicely, saying: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

          None of this matters unless it can be demonstrated that eating habits, good or bad, or faith, having it or not, makes one a better researcher. The word “appears” suggests to me that you already know it can’t.

          It is an emotionally based claim and you are trying to pull me in directions that I’m not really interested in going.

        • epeeist

          Now, some of the worlds greatest geniuses have had some weird unhealthy eating habits

          Try Linus Pauling and vitamin C and Luc Montagnier and homoeopathy for examples of Nobel laureates espousing strange things.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Your faith “appears” to help? What are you comparing that against? The warm fuzzy effect? Would your wife’s ability to do her research struggle without faith? How do you know?

          I am probably one of the least warm and fuzzy people alive, although I’m working on it. I derive zero comfort from my faith, at least of which I’m aware. Instead, I am driven to the necessary suffering to [try to] pierce through the delusions society (including the elite) holds so dearly, and the necessary suffering to try to push for something much more excellent than what people currently seem to want, or at least equipped to obtain. Of course it is desirable to minimize the suffering, to be intelligent about things. But many people do not push through delusion or push toward excellence because it hurts too much. (My focus in this paragraph is on those who have enough resources to maintain planning horizons greater than a year. They are in the best position to help the rest have longer planning horizons. The evidence I’ve seen strongly indicates that poverty is nasty to planning horizons.)

          It’s not clear whether my wife benefits from much warm and fuzzy, either. Instead, she is driven both to serve people—both those who will benefit from her research as well as the mentoring of young scientists she hopes she will do as faculty—and to pursue her curiosity about the world she believes God has created, via studying it rigorously. One place her faith does show up is in inter-scientist politics. Many scientists are rather oblivious to the complexities here, and many of the choices one makes here have very delayed effects—often years out. Any Christian who has taken the Bible seriously knows that some of the timescales relevant for morality are very, very long. Now, might God wish to help us with those? But really, we’re both frustrated with how much time morality like that takes; it’s like some people like politics much more than doing science and getting others excited about science.

          I will answer your other questions if you acknowledge your error in suggesting “the warm fuzzy effect”; that was obnoxious and indicates incredible prejudice which could render additional conversation on this topic not worth my time.

          I’m sure there are faithless researcher’s doing work at least as good as your wife’s, some even better I can imagine.

          I mistakenly thought JAA wrote that; here’s what I wrote to him/her:

          LB: What you say here can be 100% true, and yet be 100% irrelevant. After all, eating healthier food could also help my wife do better science, even though there are plenty of other scientists who eat junk food and do science as good or better. Unless you want to suggest that eating healthy food probably has no causal impact on one’s scientific competence?

          LB: And I’m sure you and/or others can find ways to dismiss that as “emotions management”.

          IA: No need for that, you already know it to be the case.

          Evidence, please. (Evidence that it is the case, and is the only causal factor which in any likelihood improves scientific competence.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          I will answer your other questions if you acknowledge your error in suggesting “the warm fuzzy effect”; that was obnoxious and indicates incredible prejudice which could render additional conversation on this topic not worth my time.

          I wasn’t suggesting anything. In case you failed to notice, it was a question, in a line of questions, framed so as to ascertain why it is your faith “appears” to help.

          So no warm fuzzy effect from feeling that it is both your faith that empowers your good lady wife to do better research. That’s grand then, move along.

          Evidence, please. (Evidence that it is the case, and is the only causal factor which in any likelihood improves scientific competence.)

          I have no more evidence for my assertion than you have for yours. Other than it is not like you to make such an unsubstantiated assertion without backing it up with a raft of blue links to all sorts of irrelevant sources.

          Our faith appears to help her do better research, although I cannot produce a peer-reviewed scientific study showing that.

          No peer-reviewed scientific study to back up your conjecture? What else is left other emotions? If you can demonstrate that your faith contributes to your wife’s better research in some way other than your anecdotal word for it, I’m all ears.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          LB: I will answer your other questions if you acknowledge your error in suggesting “the warm fuzzy effect”; that was obnoxious and indicates incredible prejudice which could render additional conversation on this topic not worth my time.

          IA: I wasn’t suggesting anything. In case you failed to notice, it was a question, in a line of questions, framed so as to ascertain why it is your faith “appears” to help.

          I’m sorry, but how is the following a question or the lack of suggestion:

          LB: And I’m sure you and/or others can find ways to dismiss that as “emotions management”.

          IA: No need for that, you already know it to be the case.

          ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The warm fuzzy effect was a question in a line of questions.

          Your faith “appears” to help? What are you comparing that against? The warm fuzzy effect? Would your wife’s ability to do her research struggle without faith? How do you know?

          Which is a separate enquiry to the appeal to emotion as support for your assertion that both you, and your wife’s faith, being instrumental in the betterment of her research capabilities.

          You have made it clear that the answer is “no” to the question. So some other emotion is at play, because you yourself have stated that it only “appears” to be the case. And that it can’t be supported by anything stronger than feelings, aka an emotional state or reaction or an idea or belief, especially a vague or irrational one.

          Tell me what I’m missing here.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Right, because what you’re referencing is not connected with the following exchange—

          LB: And I’m sure you and/or others can find ways to dismiss that as “emotions management”.

          IA: No need for that, you already know it to be the case.

          at all. I call BS. I require an explanation of precisely what you meant, here.

          So some other emotion is at play, because you yourself have stated that it only “appears” to be the case.

          Wrong. There was no “only” in what I said. The following two possibilities are very different:

               (A) Luke only said it appears to be causal.
               (B) Luke said it only appears to be causal.

          (A) is true, while (B) is false.

          And that it can’t be supported by anything stronger than feelings, aka an emotional state or reaction or an idea or belief, especially a vague or irrational one.

          Are you lumping semi-articulate intuition (which scientists operate on all the time in order to do excellent science) in the same category as “feelings”, as you’ve used the word here? For example, does the following fall 100% into the category of “it can’t be supported by anything stronger than feelings”:

              Polykarp Kusch, Nobel Prize-winning physicist, has declared that there is no ‘scientific method,’ and that what is called by that name can be outlined for only quite simple problems. Percy Bridgman, another Nobel Prize-winning physicist, goes even further: ‘There is no scientific method as such, but the vital feature of the scientist’s procedure has been merely to do his utmost with his mind, no holds barred.’ ‘The mechanics of discovery,’ William S. Beck remarks, ‘are not known. … I think that the creative process is so closely tied in with the emotional structure of an individual … that … it is a poor subject for generalization ….’[4] (The Sociological Imagination, 58)

          ? I’m being very careful here to target the phase of scientific inquiry which takes place before the justification of theory. Karl Popper was very careful to outline the difference:

          I said above that the work of the scientist consist is in putting forward and testing theories.
              The initial stage, the act of conceiving or inventing a theory, seems to me neither to call for logical analysis nor to be susceptible of it. The question how it happens that a new idea occurs to a man—whether it is a musical theme, a dramatic conflict, or a scientific theory—may be of great interest to empirical psychology; but it is irrelevant to the logical analysis of scientific knowledge. The latter is concerned not with questions of fact (Kant’s quid facti?), but only with questions of justification or validity (Kant’s quid juris?). (The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 7)

          Sorry for all the text, but I want to know precisely what you mean. I’ve seen the words “emotions” and “feelings” used in extraordinarily mushy ways; I’d rather get as much clarity as reasonably possible.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh fer feck sake…not more of this pedantic bullshit again.

          I call BS. I require an explanation of precisely what you meant, here.

          Call whatever ta fuck ya like. I explained what I meant already.

          Wrong. There was no “only” in what I said.

          Right, well if there was something more than “appears” in your original comment, you failed to mention it, hence my use of “only”…strike it if ya like, it makes little difference to the overall position.

          Sorry for all the text, but I want to know precisely what you mean. I’ve seen the words “emotions” and “feelings” used in extraordinarily mushy ways; I’d rather get as much clarity as reasonably possible.

          You made a comment.

          Our faith appears to help her do better research, although I cannot produce a peer-reviewed scientific study showing that.

          I asked a series of questions to get a bit of a handle on what you meant by “appears”.

          Your faith “appears” to help? What are you comparing that against? The warm fuzzy effect? Would your wife’s ability to do her research struggle without faith? How do you know?

          You latched on to one specific and went off on one.

          Then it is the usual Luke Breuer song and dance routine of pedantic semantics..

          You have presented nothing to support your original assertion that it is nothing more than a feeling, which is emotional.

          Tell me what it is that makes faith “appear” to make your wife a better researcher and then we can take it from there. You have to give me something to work with here, otherwise I can just state my original assumption is justified.

        • Greg G.

          Be careful. He got like that with me over something that seemed silly and stopped replying to me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t really care mate. Luke has blown hot and cold with me over the past couple of years. If he stops responding, so be it, I just put it down to the conversation being concluded or I’ve hit a nerve. It might be neither…but hey-hoo, that’s how I go.

        • adam

          “One leads to ever-increasing truth/​beauty/​goodness. The other does not. I’ll let you guess which is which.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/49ed4a65c217619db273eb191506b8428aa86f753e98599f6612a2172cc89641.jpg

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    I’m not sure why this comment keeps disappearing, but here is another try….

    Bob, your response to the “you take science on faith!” objection is sound if the comparison is to how laypeople accept scientific claims. I don’t encounter this much, though, in part because it makes god and science analogs as purveyors of truth. Instead, the idea that science requires faith is more of a solipsistic attack on knowledge in general.

    The obvious answer is to concede a lack of absolute knowledge and compare standards of evidence. That we cannot disprove the matrix doesn’t minimize the apparent truth of gravity or add substantiation to poorly evidenced claims.

    If theists push back or refuse to make this concession, the next step is to point out that they are beholden to all the presuppositions secular thinkers are. Theists love to mischaracterize things like the presumption that our senses are valid, or the logical laws, etc. as being equivalent to the presupposition that god or the supernatural exists. This is false.

    A more accurate way to illustrate the comparison would be to list of all the axioms accepted by each party. What you would find is that the lists would be identical…. with one notable exception. The problem isn’t that science makes assumptions, it’s that theists make an additional one without justification. No matter how they try to muddy the water or blend god into the other axioms, this problem is inescapable. Notice that a claim that god somehow “explains” or “grounds” all the other presuppositions doesn’t negate their necessity, so the issue remains.

    Incidentally, many of the things we presume, while impossible to confirm objectively, can still be falsified. For instance, I may never be able to know with certainty that my senses are reliable, but examples when they aren’t are commonplace. The same is potentially true for some of the other axioms, even if reality doesn’t provide regular examples. The ones that appear impossible to falsify have ubiquitous support.

    God, on the other hand, is both unsupported and completely unfalsifiable. Not exactly a great combo. :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’m not sure why this comment keeps disappearing, but here is another try….

      Disqus only shows 50 comments at a time. The “Load more comments” button at the bottom loads in 50 more. If you refresh the page, you may well not find your comment in the 500+ comments to this post unless you click that button a bunch of times.

      The problem isn’t that science makes assumptions, it’s that theists make an additional one without justification. No matter how they try to muddy the water or blend god into the other axioms, this problem is inescapable. Notice that a claim that god somehow “explains” or “grounds” all the other presuppositions doesn’t negate their necessity, so the issue remains.

      Christians pretend to be driven frantic by “I don’t know” in response to questions within science and must find closure to find peace. “God dun it” is reportedly their answer, thought that’s just a synonym to “I don’t know.”

      • Michael Neville

        I’m not sure why this comment keeps disappearing

        Disqus works in mysterious ways. I’ve had comments I know I made disappear from the threads I’ve put them in.

      • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

        Christians pretend to be driven frantic by “I don’t know” in response to questions within science and must find closure to find peace. “God dun it” is reportedly their answer, thought that’s just a synonym to “I don’t know.”

        What percentage of Christians do you believe do this? And when it comes to wanting to have The Final Answer™, that is hardly limited to Christians, as Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine indicates:

            Nearly two hundred years ago, Joseph-Louis Lagrange described analytical mechanics based on Newton’s laws as a branch of mathematics.[33] In the French scientific literature, one often speaks of “rational mechanics.” In this sense, Newton’s laws would define the laws of reason and represent a truth of absolute generality. Since the birth of quantum mechanics and relativity, we know that this is not the case. The temptation is now strong to ascribe a similar status of absolute truth to quantum theory. In The Quark and the Jaguar, Gell-Mann asserts, “Quantum mechanics is not itself a theory; rather it is the framework into which all contemporary physical theory must fit.”[34] Is this really so? As stated by my late friend Léon Rosenfeld, “Every theory is based on physical concepts expressed through mathematical idealizations. They are introduced to give an adequate representation of the physical phenomena. No physical concept is sufficiently defined without the knowledge of its domain of validity.“[35] (The End of Certainty, 28–29)

        An example of someone who has gotten very close to “We have it all [fundamentally] figured out!”, see Sean Carroll’s Seriously, The Laws Underlying The Physics of Everyday Life Really Are Completely Understood (update with nice visualization). Because there are quibbles with that, one can also consult this FQXi talk of his:

        I’ve also assumed the Everett formulation of quantum mechanics; I’m thinking that the quantum state is the physical thing; there’s no sort of hidden variable underneath. If there is a hidden variable underneath—which many people believe—then of course that can be fluctuating around, just like the microstate fluctates around in Boltzmann’s story. So in hidden variable models, nothing that I said is valid or interesting. Likewise in dynamical collapse models—… I don’t think we have dynamical collapse models which apply to quantum field theory in curved spacetime or quantum gravity but if somehow you insisted there was a new law of nature that said the wavefunction stochastically changed every so often, then that would obviously be time-dependence, and that would obviously allow for all the sort of fluctuations I said were not there. (Fluctuations in de Sitter Space, 18:14)

        The bold may remind one of The Treachery of Images:
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6f57cbc693ff072daf4f5b8cc6e60be3685b34264068dcbd2305275b08b65fc0.jpg

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What percentage of Christians do you believe do this?

          Very small. The percentage of apologists, however, would be much larger.

          I’ve never seen an analog within science. If we don’t know, science says, “We don’t know.” Yes, you’ll find scientists who have 80 pieces of a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle and will guess what the whole thing is, but again, this kind of educated guess isn’t what we’re talking about within apologetics.

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          Ok, I’m glad you’ve restricted this to apologists. Now, might science apologists also be kinda bad, in ways that actual scientists aren’t? After all, the apologists/​scientists comparison is kinda apples-and-oranges.