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Naturalism, atheism, and requests for extraordinary evidence. Illogical?

#1ProudcladPosted 1/14/2013 5:38:00 PM
Extraordinary evidence for claims regarding God would be those things which would prove that God is real. In other words, things that demonstrate a godly act rather than merely a product of natural rules. So, for example, Jesus reviving someone from the dead. This violates established natural rules and as such would be proof that Jesus has supernatural capacities. If someone were to witness the event, or a modern equivalent, then the event would serve as extraordinary evidence, or perhaps even proof.

So, what about the atheist who looks at the Bible and rejects it on account of supernatural material in the Bible? For example, new-atheists or perhaps even the people who support something like the Jefferson Bible, where the supernatural events are seen as obvious "artificial scaffolding". These people look at the supernatural and discredit it by default because of their circular reasoning. "It's impossible, therefore it must be false/artificial."

Let's look at why this position might become illogical (a self-contradiction).

If the atheist supports naturalism as true, then the request for extraordinary evidence makes no sense because the atheist would, by default, reject anything that WOULD be extraordinary evidence. The atheist would reject it because of the logical circle produced by naturalism. Anything violating natural norms would be redefined as a merely unknown facet of nature that we will one day understand with science. As such, the atheist is requesting something he cannot and will not accept, even if it exists.

So in other words,

1) The atheist asks for extraordinary evidence.
2) Those things which would be extraordinary evidence are those things that are naturally impossible.
3) The atheist is asking for something that wouldn't exist within a naturalist's logical circle, implying that it's possible.
4) Thus the atheist rejects the supernatural and also requests is. A contradiction.

This is directed towards atheists who, because of naturalism or whatever else, automatically disregard the Bible on account of the supernatural material in it. Individuals who support the Jefferson Bible, argue against it by saying "lol talking snakes", or the equivalent.

Thoughts?
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#2AynRandySavagePosted 1/14/2013 5:49:02 PM(edited)
I don't see the contradiction at all. The best you can say is that the atheist is asking a question he already thinks he has an answer to.
#3Proudclad(Topic Creator)Posted 1/14/2013 5:56:03 PM
AynRandySavage posted...
I don't see the contradiction at all. The best you can say is that the atheist is asking a question he already thinks he has an answer to.


The contradiction is in asking for something that was the basis for your rejection in the first place. "This supernatural act is clearly impossible, therefore this never happened. But please give me extraordinary evidence."

Note that this topic doesn't apply to the agnostic atheist who doesn't auto-reject the Bible's supernatural material, but rather to those atheists who think the supernatural claims are an argument against the Bible.
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#4kozlo100Posted 1/14/2013 6:01:33 PM
Proudclad posted...
The contradiction is in asking for something that was the basis for your rejection in the first place. "This supernatural act is clearly impossible, therefore this never happened. But please give me extraordinary evidence."


The idea is for you to present evidence that is strong enough to invalidate the claim that such an act is impossible. It's not a contradiction.
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#5Proudclad(Topic Creator)Posted 1/14/2013 6:05:21 PM
The idea is for you to present evidence that is strong enough to invalidate the claim that such an act is impossible. It's not a contradiction.

Because of this atheist's naturalistic circle, that isn't possible. Anything that would be extraordinary evidence is reclassified or redefined as "something that must obviously be a product of some currently unknown natural rules/mechanisms". The solution to this contradiction is for the atheist to reject his certainty or confidence in naturalism and to define for himself some rules regarding what is possible and impossible.

As such, using "talking snakes" as an argument against the Bible makes absolutely no sense. It's by adopting naturalism that an atheist would use this as an argument. Not by examining evidence or a lack of evidence. A lack of evidence doesn't promote a "lol talking snakes" argument. It's naturalism that would. And that kind of assumption translates into a circular argument where the atheist requests evidence and yet can't receive the appropriate kind of evidence because he'd be rejecting it by default.

Let's say "normal" evidence is presented. Something like material that argues in favor of the historicity of the Bible. This evidence is disregarded as insufficient because 1) "lol talking snakes" and 2) It isn't extraordinary evidence.

Once again, like I said in the first post, this topic is directed towards the atheists that are guilty of doing this. Not the agnostic atheists who aren't particularly tied to naturalism.
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#6kozlo100Posted 1/14/2013 6:14:37 PM
Proudclad posted...
Anything that would be extraordinary evidence is reclassified or redefined as "something that must obviously be a product of some currently unknown natural rules/mechanisms".


Trying to use such a reclassification as a defense requires that the reclassification be justified, which he won't be able to do in the face of sufficient evidence. I'm still not seeing a problem here.

I mean, if you're just complaining that sometimes people argue badly, I'll agree that they do, but that's not a problem with the form.
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#7AynRandySavagePosted 1/14/2013 6:33:51 PM
kozlo100 posted...
Proudclad posted...
The contradiction is in asking for something that was the basis for your rejection in the first place. "This supernatural act is clearly impossible, therefore this never happened. But please give me extraordinary evidence."


The idea is for you to present evidence that is strong enough to invalidate the claim that such an act is impossible. It's not a contradiction.


bingo
#8Proudclad(Topic Creator)Posted 1/14/2013 6:38:37 PM
kozlo100 posted...
Proudclad posted...
Anything that would be extraordinary evidence is reclassified or redefined as "something that must obviously be a product of some currently unknown natural rules/mechanisms".


Trying to use such a reclassification as a defense requires that the reclassification be justified, which he won't be able to do in the face of sufficient evidence. I'm still not seeing a problem here.

I mean, if you're just complaining that sometimes people argue badly, I'll agree that they do, but that's not a problem with the form.


Uh, the problem is that nothing will be sufficient evidence. Even if someone prays for someone with cancer or even a missing limb, and if there are stunning results...there are those who would reclassify such phenomena as unexplained facets of reality. Of nature.

Once again, this is a problem with those who use naturalism as their default position. Why bother asking for evidence if you've got a circle going? What do you have to say to people who read the Bible and say "lol people don't rise from the dead" as if it's some kind of argument against the Bible?
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#9Faust_8Posted 1/14/2013 6:42:06 PM
So...you're complaining that if someone says something can't happen, and you prove that it did, they will accept that it CAN happen?

Proving something can happen or has happened does not immediately prove that its cause was supernatural. In essence you're complaining that we don't interpret new discoveries as supernatural in origin without anyone actually proving that they ARE supernatural in origin. How would one go about doing this?

Is this nothing but another "god of the gaps" argument?

Also, if something is impossible...it's impossible. Something can't be impossible AND YET have happened, that means it's obviously possible through some means.

Besides, if you say not accepting the Bible because of the lack of extraordinary evidence is faulty logic, what's stopping you from accepting the supernatural claims of any other religion? Surely your reasoning must apply to those as well. It's not a dichotomy of Christianity or Atheism, pick one.
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#10JonWood007Posted 1/14/2013 6:43:11 PM
Yet another example of religious mindscrewing.

Here's the thing. Yes, we want extraordinary evidence, but we don't just want miracles. We want something where the conclusion of God existing follows. Yes, if something happens out of the ordinary, we can just say that our current understanding of the universe is wrong and needs to be revised, but I'd argue mere miracles are not sufficient evidence for God.

The thing is, you not only need to have extraordinary events, but you need to demonstrate that there is some kind of superior intelligence behind the events. What we atheists want is for God to be as real and perceivable as any law of nature. And we don't want whatever demonstration of miracles to fall into some law, it must signify intelligence.

Now, the Bible. Yes, we throw out the Bible because it has extraordinary claims, but that's because it offers no proof of said claims. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the Bible's evidence just isn't there.

Why are people skeptical of claims, even those claimed to be witnessed by others? because you also need to account for the possibility that they were mistaken in some way. Do you believe just anyone who claims to see bigfoot, or alien abductions? What about ghosts? Now, what if we can account for some of these phenomena with more plausible explanations? That's another thing to take into consideration, why attribute something to the supernatural if a more natural theory can also account for it, and is simpler?

I'm gonna give you an example of what I mean by discussing creationism vs evolution. A lot of Christians argue evolution is a ridiculous theory and should not be accepted because it sounds crazy and it makes more sense to believe that someone made the earth as it is. Okay. Yeah, we should accept simpler explanations over more complex ones given equal evidence. But the thing about evolution is it is practically proven. We have the fossil record, genetic code, and tons of scientific disciplines with 150 years of research to back the concept up. You see, when you get enough evidence to back up what sounds on the surface to be a ridiculous theory, the ridiculous theory becomes more plausible than the seemingly simple one. Now. Let's apply this to your claims.

The simple explanation is that the stories in the Bible are myth in some way, a lot of it is made up, or didn't happen as described, or is biased, or the witnesses were fooled somehow (personally, I think that the events in the Bible are a gross exaggeration of what actually happened in the same way that Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter is a gross exaggeration of what happened in Lincoln's life). The complex explanation is that Jesus actually performed all the things mentioned. If there was enough proof out there to demonstrate that Jesus violated the laws of physics, it would be plausible to believe him.

Let's look at it another way. Say we live in the Matrix. Say one day you come across Neo dodging bullets and fighting off tons of clones of some dude who looks like a government agent. He did these things right in front of you, and you walk up and ask him how. He tells you the world is fake and that he can abuse the laws of physics by doing insane things. You have absolutely no alternate explanation, and the laws of nature cannot account for them, neither can we make new laws to account for them. Let's put this in a more Christian context now. What if Jesus performed miracles in front of everyone, proved the naysayers wrong, and said he can violate the laws of physics because he/his father (since they;re the same guy) created them. That would be plausible.

THe thing about Christianity, or really, any religion now, is that they all expect you to believe in extraordinary things with no proof. And then wannabe apologists make crappy arguments about why they should.
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