Atheist Double-Standard Demands for (Empirical-Only) “Evidence”

Atheist Double-Standard Demands for (Empirical-Only) “Evidence” July 24, 2017

Chaos4

Fractal image by “HypnoArt” (8-6-15) [Pixabay / CC0 public domain]

*****

“Lark62” is an atheist. Her words will be in blue. Her comments can be found in their entire larger context in the combox for my paper, “Atheist Deconversion: Dialogue #2: Jonathan MS Pearce” (7-20-17).

***

Lark62 [female: “frumpy, boring middle aged lady”] clearly came to his discussion with me already extremely hostile to Christianity. Checking out comments listed on her Disqus profile, anyone can readily observe that:

The problem with religion is that the only tool it has to maintain dominance is social pressure. It doesn’t have changed lives – good people, unkind people, greedy people and evil people are found inside the church as well as outside. It doesn’t have truth – the bible is unverifiable and flip flops between platitudes, absurdity and genocide. [source]

You had to study for 20 years to figure out whether a book that has talking animals, blood sacrifice and an earth centric universe is full of crap? [source]

Moses did not exist. Robin Hood and Sir Galahad and Huck Finn also might give a person inspiration, but they don’t exist either. [source]

No one has ever spoken to a deity. Ever. Every deity known to man is a human creation used to bring power and wealth to self appointed priests. Remember, those who claim to speak for a deity have had millenia to perfect their scam. They leave death and devastation in their wake. [source]

Wow. Does this mean that I’m not the only atheist who doesn’t keep a dead jew on a stick in their bathroom!? And other Atheists don’t gaze at a 2000 year old instrument of torture while brushing their teeth either!? That’s good to know. Who would have thunk it. [source]

We know christians are rude, clueless and arrogant. That is hardly news. [source]

They’ve [Catholics] been lying, cheating and hiding for 2000 years. They are good at it. [source]

Actually, I don’t believe in anything supported by less evidence than the tooth fairy, regardless of the supposed conduct of said deity, good or bad. What I find hard to believe is that intelligent human beings in the 21st Century believe in a deity. And, once believing, find the deity described in the Christian bible worthy of praise and adoration. [source]

I gladly gave up arguing that the Bible does not say what it plainly says when I realized Christianity was stupid. The bible says jesus is a sacrifice for sins. It calls him the lamb who takes away sin. That is blood sacrifice. And it is stupid. [source]

Christians do not expose lies or liars. The testimony of Christians is worthless. [source]

Etc. etc. ad nauseam. All that (and much, much more) was just within the last month. It’s all this woman ever talks about. No condescension there! I could tell that she was almost certainly a bigot right off the bat. I can spot it a mile away, from 36 years of experience, sharing and defending Christianity to all and sundry. But I played along with her game a bit, to see what would happen. After a few comments from her, I could tell that she was excessively ignorant of basic philosophical knowledge.

Consider what compelling evidence would look like for anything you think has no evidence. That is what compelling evidence for your deity would look like.

Yep. Evidence for a unicorn is a unicorn.

Evidence for a rock that flies is a rock that flies. . . .

Evidence for a deity is a deity.

***

If I understand your argument, you expect atheists to have fully examined all the arguments for god and considered all the various of versions of christianity before rejecting it all.

I say that is silly. No other non belief is held to such demands.

Do you believe there is an advanced civilization on Mars? Have you considered every possible type of civilization that might exist on Mars. Even though Mars is the god of war, the civilization might be peaceful, did you consider that? Just because you reject a violent civilization on Mars is no reason to reject a loving civilization on Mars. 

Sure My Favorite Martian is fake, but that doesn’t mean War of the Worlds is fake. Have you read War of the Worlds? Have you studied it and read the commentary? Well, have you? Until then, I simply will not accept the validity of your non belief in Martians.

Can I guess how much time you intend to invest in justifying your Martian non belief? I expect it falls somewhere between zero and none.

Maybe we will find evidence of past or present microbes on Mars. But, there is no evidence for any form of advanced life on Mars, much less intelligent life and civilization. None. Nada. Zilch. And no amount of examining various possible civilizations will change the fact that there is no evidence. If someone claimed to have seen roller coasters on Mars, you would have every right to discuss that claim and declare that claim to be nuts. But there is still no evidence for rollercoaster-less martian civilizations.

Moreover, the more we learn about Mars, the more the evidence contradicts the notion of advanced or intelligent life.

Now repeat that for leprechauns, the tooth fairy, the claim that Elvis was on the Mayflower and everything else you do not believe.

Atheists have concluded that there is no evidence to support belief in invisible, supernatural beings. We don’t need to study invisible, supernatural being type A and invisible, supernatural being type B and every other type of invisible, supernatural being. There is no evidence.

I didn’t say atheists had to do all that. It would be more compelling and impressive, however, if they at least did some of it. What I have said is that the arguments presented in no way refute Christianity and thus form no reason to forsake it.

I have yet to find a reputable philosopher who argues for the existence of tooth fairies, leprechauns, or Santa Claus. I can find hundreds who believe that God exists.

Seems to be a real qualitative difference there. But you say there is no evidence, so I guess that settles it, huh? Some woman, “Lark62” who won’t even give her real name, has settled the age-old question. Not bad!

No, I have settled the question for myself. There is no evidence.

I don’t care what you do with zero evidence as long as you keep your religion out of our secular government.

The Argument from Authority also is not evidence. It doesn’t matter how many philosophers or non philosopherers in how many societies believe in a deity. That is not evidence of anything except humans like supernatural explanations for things they don’t understand.

It isn’t my job to convince anyone else. I can walk you through the things that made me realize that the core beliefs of christianity are hopelessly silly (blood sacrifice!?) But I was comfortable with cognitive dissonance for about 35 years before I slowly realized it made no sense. I am an atheist because there is no evidence that any form of invisible supernatural deity exists. I’m under no illusion that anyone else’s cognitive dissonance will drop away just because mine has.

For some people, especially the elderly, religion brings comfort. It doesn’t bother me if others continue to believe as long as they do not use their religious belief to harm others or make other people conform to iron age nonsense.

I am confident you understand what an analogy is. Mars was an analogy. If there is zero evidence of advanced civilization on Mars, a person does not need to study Lowell’s canals or anyone else’s imaginings before concluding there is no Martian society. Likewise, if there is no evidence of an invisible supernatural deity, the various imaginings of various religions really don’t matter. Others are free to enjoy their imaginings, but there is nothing for an outsider to say except “there is no evidence for make believe.”

What is an example of what you think is “compelling evidence”? I’ve been asking atheists that and they seem reluctant to give me any example. To me it’s a perfectly legitimate and understandable question.

[another atheist then wanted to “turn this around a little bit” and started asking me about arguments for Christianity]

I’m not interested in you turning it around to Christians. That’s what atheists always do (so they never have to talk about their own beliefs under scrutiny). I wanna know what you would consider “compelling evidence” (if there is any such that would prove Christianity to you). I’m not even trying to argue; I’m just curious.

I don’t have any beliefs to defend as it relates to the Christian deity. That is what “unbelief” means.

I do not believe a deity can impregnate a human and conceive a god/human.

I do not believe that animals, including humans, can be brought back from the dead.

Where is your compelling evidence that Allah is not god and Mohammed was not his prophet?

You don’t have evidence disproving Islamic claims about Mohammed because you aren’t supposed to. The people making a claim support the claim, then others can evaluate that support.

Christians making claims about Jesus and Christianity need to provide support and put it forward for evaluation.

I provide tons of evidence for atheists to consider in articles and collections of resources on my Atheism web page and my Science and Philosophy web page.

From the Oxford Dictionary:

Evidence

noun

1. The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

I looked at your lists of links, and clicked on a sample. Philosophy is not evidence. Conversations are not evidence. A person’s opinion of how uninformed atheists are is not evidence. Ideas are not evidence. Thoughts are not evidence. “Someone we can’t name and whose motives we don’t know wrote something down 1900 years ago” is not evidence.

All of those things you list can be produced in support of every possible religion. All of those things may comfort current believers who learned their religion as young children. But not of those are evidence.

If I missed a link that contains factual evidence, point me to it.

Show me evidence a supernatural Jesus existed. Show me evidence he rose from the dead.

Show me evidence of the quality that would convince you to change your religion from christianity to Islam or something else. I am confident that no amount of dialog or philosophy or criticism of christianity would make you convert to Islam. Right? It would take evidence. It would take proof. Why then do you think philosophy or dialog or strawman insults will convince atheists that your god is real?

Have the integrity to provide the type of information that would convince you to adopt a religion other than the religion your parents taught you.

I don’t think this conversation can go anywhere if you think those links constitute evidence.

You thumb your nose at philosophy and yet you are obviously spewing empiricism-only, which is precisely a philosophy. This kind of massive confusion and philosophical naivete is simply beyond the level of my patience (or even intellectual ability to crack). A person has to be thinking logically and rationally if any progress in discussion (about anything) is to be made at all.

By your viciously self-refuting nonsense [and I am using that word quite literally] you have placed yourself beyond the capacity of rational discourse (especially with anyone who disagrees with you).

Vicious? I disagree with you. I have asked for evidence that would support your claims. I have not accepted that arguments, rationalizations or philosophical posturing constitute evidence. I have not insulted you or called you names.

Meanwhile, you have insulted me, my intelligence and made statements that “all atheists” possess certain characteristics.

I never said a word about “all atheists” (either with those words, or in expressing the idea). I made one reference to “That’s what atheists always do”: which was clearly a generalization, in context (a thing she does times without number, regarding Christians). I am talking about her alone.

vicious
ADJECTIVE

1 Deliberately cruel or violent.
1.1 (of an animal) wild and dangerous to people.
‘the dog was vicious and likely to bite’
1.2 Serious or dangerous.
literary Immoral.
archaic (of language or a line of reasoning) imperfect; defective.

I have provided a link to the Oxford English Dictionary should you find it useful.

Cheers.

And here is an example (since you seem unfamiliar with the phrase) of “viciously self-refuting” from The Oxford Handbook of German Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century.

I’ll ask you what I’ve asked several atheists: What is an example of what you think is “compelling evidence”? Two actually answered it. Herald Newman wrote: “On the idea that Christianity is true, I don’t know if there could be any evidence to convince me.” Then he said even if Christianity were proven to be true, he wouldn’t become one, and gave three reasons why.

Anthrotheist gave the sort of answer I have heard before from atheists: “Pick any miracle out of your Bible. Perform it in full view of the world, recorded for posterity. Repeat if for curious folks who want to see if for themselves, or who hope to debunk it.”

You likewise did not answer, address or in anyway acknowledge my question on what type of evidence would convince you that Islam is true. If you would honestly think about that for a minute, you would understand the dilemma and appreciate where others are coming from.

What would convince me that Jesus existed at all? How about a record from a reliable historic source written at the time of Jesus, describing Jesus and his ministry. This would need to be a record that Christian could not have altered or forged. For example, if something like the Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered that written in the early first century and that described Jesus, his teaching and his miracles and did not show Paul’s later influence on christian thought.

What would convince me that this person Jesus, having existed, was actually half god and immortal. How about DNA left from when Jesus was alive, and a person walking the earth today claiming to be Jesus with that exact DNA. And this DNA would clearly be the product of a human mother and no human father.

Islam doesn’t even claim to be defensible through rational, secular means. Christianity does. Islam is non-rational fideism. One of its main schools is literally opposed to reason. Thus, there is no applicable analogy there.

There are some secular records of Jesus: not much, but some.

At least you finally give something that you think might convince you. I predict that you’re not gonna get that, so I guess you’re stuck with unbelief.

Personally, from what I’ve seen of how you think, I don’t think any evidence or arguments whatever will convince you. I believe many atheists are of the same mind.

I was a christian for 35+ years. I believed it all. Then I read the Bible again and paid attention. I realized it made no sense and there was no evidence for any of the claims of christianity,

It’ll take, I suspect, something like a person saving your life or doing some profound act of love that moves you at a heart-level.

And there it is. When it gets down to the core, religion is based on emotion not evidence. This statement is totally nonsensical. How could a life saving action or an act of love prove the existence of any deity, much less your special deity? Life saving actions and acts of love happen all the time in every human culture, and some non human ones. This says nothing about the validity of deities. This week a dog spontaneously pulled a drowning fawn out of a lake and after pulling it to shore licked it to help it wake up. When the fawn woke up, it ran back into the river in panic. The dog went back out and brought it back again. Mammals can be compassionate. Mammals can be cruel. It is what it is.

And have you looked honestly at the behavior of christians within religious cultures? Priests pray. Every day. They are surrounded by the prayers of the parish. Every day. Yet in every diocese around the world, when faced with clear evidence that children were being raped, priests protected (and still protect) the rapist rather that the children. Protecting the powerful insider at the expense of vulnerable outsiders is fairly normal human behavior. Police Departments do it. Penn State coaches did it. Christians are just normal people with no special corner on morality or love.

I have seen many acts of love. I have seen many acts of hate. These acts were performed by people who claimed and religion and by people who did not.

I have no objection if religion brings comfort and meaning to a person, as long as they do not use religion to harm others. But acknowledge that religion grows out of emotion, not evidence.

When it gets down to the core, religion is based on emotion not evidence.

I never said that. If I believed that silliness I wouldn’t have devoted my life to apologetics for 36 years now. Get a grip!

I am contending that no amount of evidence or argumentation (realistically speaking) will convince you. That’s not a statement saying that it doesn’t exist or that Christianity cannot be intellectually defended; only that you won’t accept it, due to your fallacious thinking and hard heart.

Of course, emotion is part of religion, just as it is part of atheism and just about everything else. But I don’t pit it against reason, as if they are contraries. And I never claim that emotion is the only basis of religion or anything else.

Someone doing a profound act of love towards you is not even an “emotional thing” at bottom. It is an act that may melt your cold hard heart and make you give up at least part of your ferocious fight against Christian truths and Jesus.

You’re beyond reason on this score. Any trained, experienced apologist’s mind (like my own) can see that.

***

I’ve given you all sorts of arguments that Christians give for our belief-system. None of it is sufficient for you. Obviously, then, your goals here are unmet, and I would urge you to look for it somewhere else.

But nothing is gonna convince you, wherever you go (I would bet much money on) because your problem is in your thinking (epistemology — particularly the naive, simpleton view of empiricism-only — and many false premises). And many of my articles and links do deal with that.

But you have dismissed all of ’em with a wave of your hand.

Be well, then. I hope you find what you’re looking for eventually. God has already found you, but you have to be ready for Him.

I don’t want arguments. I asked for evidence. There is a difference.

Evidence would convince me. Arguments will not. And as you have so clearly demonstrated, there is no evidence. Just talk.

I was a christian for over 3 decades. Then I read the bible.

Cheers

***

Who was it who is purported to have said “by their fruit shall ye know them.”

Look at Christian groups. They are cesspools of gossip, hate, judgmentalism, shunning and every form of human nastiness. In your own church, you have tens of thousands of examples of clan loyalty where powerful insiders are protected at the expense of the vulnerable and powerless. Christianity does not make anyone better or happier.

Full disclosure – The fact that priests surrounded by prayer and jesus consistently protected other priests while children were harmed made me ask “What’s going on here? Christianity is supposed to change lives, but these people protect their own just like every other closeknit group of humans.” Within about two or three years, I had figured out that Christianity is nonsense.

[“Lark62” quoting me in another combox] “I am not questioning the sincerity of these persons or the truthfulness of their self-reports.”

Yes, you are.

Maybe you are trying to tear down these first person accounts to build up your shaky faith. That how it sounds to me.

These are personal stories. Christians may be unable to speak without an ulterior motive, but that doesn’t apply to normal people.

We’re now done discussing anything, because you have refused to accept my self-report as to why I am critiquing deconversion stories, in effect, calling me a liar. It seems to be a common theme in “angry atheist” polemics.

As I said, I have a million reasons for all kinds of things, on my blog, with its 2000+ papers. You dismissed it all, several times. So, go find another apologist who has far more patience than I do with this kind of drivel.

I call ’em as I see ’em. My opinion is based on reading all of your comments on this topic on your own blog and others. I think I presented it pretty clearly as my opinion.

I have not dismissed one piece of evidence you presented for the simple reason you have not presented one piece of evidence to support the existence of a diety [sic] or to support that your version of a deity is the correct one.

*****

 

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