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Show me the beef!

watsup

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One of our esteemed theistic chatters recently posted the following as basically a repeat of a post that he has made probably hundreds of times by now. Anyway, here it is. Please disregard the ad hom at the end:

"I disagree, if this is foundational to the question then it is for the atheist to ask for it but they do not, they ask for evidence yet do not seem to know what they are asking for, so why would someone adopt a position (atheism) that they don't understand?"

He most often makes the statement as this: "What evidence would you accept to show that there is a God?"


So I thought it would be fair to get some thoughts on whether this was a valid question and a valid way to proceed in a debate about whether there is a "God".

I always reply to him that evidence cannot be prejudged but must first be presented in order to make said judgement. So let's take a look at a definition:



ev·i·dence: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

To me, the key word is "available". How do we know what is "available" until the person who states the proposition shows us?

Let's refer to a jury trial. The lawyers do not say in the jury selection room "what evidence will you accept". They know that they must present it prior to the jurist making a judgement. In fact, they ask how much the jurists know about the situation and whether they have made a pre-judgement, and if they have then they are removed from the jury pool.
Same with the judge. The lawyers do not ask the judge "what evidence would you accept". They present their evidence to the judge and THEN he makes the decision as to whether it will be accepted as valid in the trial.

Anyway, I'll open it up at this point. Is the question as to "what evidence would you accept to show there is a God?" a valid one?
 

bongsaway

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One of our esteemed theistic chatters recently posted the following as basically a repeat of a post that he has made probably hundreds of times by now. Anyway, here it is. Please disregard the ad hom at the end:

"I disagree, if this is foundational to the question then it is for the atheist to ask for it but they do not, they ask for evidence yet do not seem to know what they are asking for, so why would someone adopt a position (atheism) that they don't understand?"

He most often makes the statement as this: "What evidence would you accept to show that there is a God?"


So I thought it would be fair to get some thoughts on whether this was a valid question and a valid way to proceed in a debate about whether there is a "God".

I always reply to him that evidence cannot be prejudged but must first be presented in order to make said judgement. So let's take a look at a definition:



ev·i·dence: the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

To me, the key word is "available". How do we know what is "available" until the person who states the proposition shows us?

Let's refer to a jury trial. The lawyers do not say in the jury selection room "what evidence will you accept". They know that they must present it prior to the jurist making a judgement. In fact, they ask how much the jurists know about the situation and whether they have made a pre-judgement, and if they have then they are removed from the jury pool.
Same with the judge. The lawyers do not ask the judge "what evidence would you accept". They present their evidence to the judge and THEN he makes the decision as to whether it will be accepted as valid in the trial.

Anyway, I'll open it up at this point. Is the question as to "what evidence would you accept to show there is a God?" a valid one?

I could, today, sit and talk with him, her or it.
 

Triton

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If you have a bias that X is true, then any evidence which suggests the truth of X will be more likely to be accepted as valid evidence. And the inverse is true; if you simply cannot construct a world view in which X is true, then almost any evidence which suggests that X is true will be considered invalid. Bias goes both ways. The question is: how do you determine if you are reviewing said evidence with significant bias or not? It is easy to very in some cases, but for these existential questions about the origin of all things, it becomes much less easy to see. I suppose it is because all of our subjective epistemological models are rooted in pre-conceived assumptions about the nature of our experiences, and these assumptions tend to be rock hard. It takes serious character to break out of these constraints.

A devout theist would take photographical evidence of god to be valid.

A hardcore atheist would say it is doctored.

If the skies split and the all mighty father spoke to the world, would you accept it as evidence for the existence of god? Even the most devout atheist would probably seriously consider his or her position, but a small portion of atheists would probably attribute it to an elaborate conspiracy theory set forth by some governmental entity to try and debase the validity of all other religions so they can use religion to maximize control. Or something equally absurd, simply because he or she could not possibly accept living in a world where god exists, as it would destroy their assumptions.

I suspect this is why said theist forum member continues to ask the question of "what what you consider valid evidence" because he or she, at least subconsciously, recognizes that the interpretation of evidence is very prone to being perverted by pre-existing biases.
 

RabidAlpaca

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When a Christian understands why he's not a Muslim and why he rejects the spiritual and supernatural claims of Islam, they'll know exactly why I reject theirs as well.

There are hundreds of competing religions, almost all of which contradict each other and all have passionate supporters who believe they have the one true religion, yet nobody can prove their religion to be any more right or true than any other. Some of us just choose not to play that dumbass game in the first place.
 

watsup

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If you have a bias that X is true, then any evidence which suggests the truth of X will be more likely to be accepted as valid evidence. And the inverse is true; if you simply cannot construct a world view in which X is true, then almost any evidence which suggests that X is true will be considered invalid. Bias goes both ways. The question is: how do you determine if you are reviewing said evidence with significant bias or not? It is easy to very in some cases, but for these existential questions about the origin of all things, it becomes much less easy to see. I suppose it is because all of our subjective epistemological models are rooted in pre-conceived assumptions about the nature of our experiences, and these assumptions tend to be rock hard. It takes serious character to break out of these constraints.

A devout theist would take photographical evidence of god to be valid.

A hardcore atheist would say it is doctored.

If the skies split and the all mighty father spoke to the world, would you accept it as evidence for the existence of god? Even the most devout atheist would probably seriously consider his or her position, but a small portion of atheists would probably attribute it to an elaborate conspiracy theory set forth by some governmental entity to try and debase the validity of all other religions so they can use religion to maximize control. Or something equally absurd, simply because he or she could not possibly accept living in a world where god exists, as it would destroy their assumptions.

I suspect this is why said theist forum member continues to ask the question of "what what you consider valid evidence" because he or she, at least subconsciously, recognizes that the interpretation of evidence is very prone to being perverted by pre-existing biases.

In my view, that is just a lame excuse and a sign that the said chatter does NOT have any evidence that is valid or said chatter would show it. I have quite literally NEVER heard an atheist state that "I will not accept any evidence at all". That is simply not the mindset. The mindset is "there is no evidence for a God to this point and so I have made the logical conclusion".

Let the evidence be shown, and then AFTER that any biases can be discussed if they enter the fray. I ask again: is it possible to judge evidence before it is presented? My answer is: NOT!
 

Triton

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In my view, that is just a lame excuse and a sign that the said chatter does NOT have any evidence that is valid or said chatter would show it. I have quite literally NEVER heard an atheist state that "I will not accept any evidence at all". That is simply not the mindset. The mindset is "there is no evidence for a God to this point and so I have made the logical conclusion".

Let the evidence be shown, and then AFTER that any biases can be discussed if they enter the fray. I ask again: is it possible to judge evidence before it is presented? My answer is: NOT!
I think some of you would benefit from looking into the clashes between empiricism and rationalism.

You can be biased against types of evidence. If rationalistic evidence is simply not sufficient for you to consider something as true, then no such evidence can convince you, and therefore you do judge that the evidence is invalid simply by recognizing what type it is. I won't beat about the bush: you will only accept empirical evidence as words on a page alone won't convince you. I don't like to psychoanalyze individual members as it is in poor taste, but surely you do want to see the physical presence of god before you would accept its presence, and even then you would only accept that as evidence if other people perceived it too, as in he literally splits the skies and speaks to the world, no?
 

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I fear the one who actually names required evidences would not really believe regardless of evidence, seeing as evidence is all around us. What the faithless lack is not evidence. I don't know if the question is valid or not, but I do think it is unnecessary.
 

watsup

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I think some of you would benefit from looking into the clashes between empiricism and rationalism.

You can be biased against types of evidence. If rationalistic evidence is simply not sufficient for you to consider something as true, then no such evidence can convince you, and therefore you do judge that the evidence is invalid simply by recognizing what type it is. I won't beat about the bush: you will only accept empirical evidence as words on a page alone won't convince you. I don't like to psychoanalyze individual members as it is in poor taste, but surely you do want to see the physical presence of god before you would accept its presence, and even then you would only accept that as evidence if other people perceived it too, as in he literally splits the skies and speaks to the world, no?

No. I would accept, as I put it, objective reality-based evidence. Said chatter simply uses STATED evidence as in "the universe is evidence for God". That is clearly not good enough for anyone with the least bit of reason.
 

watsup

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I fear the one who actually names required evidences would not really believe regardless of evidence, seeing as evidence is all around us. What the faithless lack is not evidence. I don't know if the question is valid or not, but I do think it is unnecessary.

So you are saying that you accept God on faith alone. Well, at least that is honest, I'll give you that.
 

Elora

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So you are saying that you accept God on faith alone. Well, at least that is honest, I'll give you that.

Do you even know what the word "faith" means? The Bible gives the perfect definition of faith...see if you can see how your comment "faith alone" envelops far more than you may think...

"Faith is the assured expectation of what is hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities that are not seen." Hebrews 11:1
 

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In my view, that is just a lame excuse and a sign that the said chatter does NOT have any evidence that is valid or said chatter would show it. I have quite literally NEVER heard an atheist state that "I will not accept any evidence at all". That is simply not the mindset. The mindset is "there is no evidence for a God to this point and so I have made the logical conclusion".

Let the evidence be shown, and then AFTER that any biases can be discussed if they enter the fray. I ask again: is it possible to judge evidence before it is presented? My answer is: NOT!

I have said here repeatedly that my mind could be changed by evidence. I have never seen any.
 

watsup

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If you have a bias that X is true, then any evidence which suggests the truth of X will be more likely to be accepted as valid evidence. And the inverse is true; if you simply cannot construct a world view in which X is true, then almost any evidence which suggests that X is true will be considered invalid. Bias goes both ways. The question is: how do you determine if you are reviewing said evidence with significant bias or not? It is easy to very in some cases, but for these existential questions about the origin of all things, it becomes much less easy to see. I suppose it is because all of our subjective epistemological models are rooted in pre-conceived assumptions about the nature of our experiences, and these assumptions tend to be rock hard. It takes serious character to break out of these constraints.

A devout theist would take photographical evidence of god to be valid.

A hardcore atheist would say it is doctored.

If the skies split and the all mighty father spoke to the world, would you accept it as evidence for the existence of god? Even the most devout atheist would probably seriously consider his or her position, but a small portion of atheists would probably attribute it to an elaborate conspiracy theory set forth by some governmental entity to try and debase the validity of all other religions so they can use religion to maximize control. Or something equally absurd, simply because he or she could not possibly accept living in a world where god exists, as it would destroy their assumptions.

I suspect this is why said theist forum member continues to ask the question of "what what you consider valid evidence" because he or she, at least subconsciously, recognizes that the interpretation of evidence is very prone to being perverted by pre-existing biases.

In my estimation, the time to determine bias is AFTER the evidence is presented, not before it. Otherwise said chatter gets to keep saying that "you are biased and so it is no use to show the evidence". Does not make for valid and serious discussion.

Again with the example of the jury trial. The lawyers present the evidence, and then the jurors go into a room and discuss it. At this point, there will indeed be biases, but now the jurors will have to use whatever reason is available to them to overcome those biases and make a decision. AFTER the evidence, not before.
 

Triton

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In my estimation, the time to determine bias is AFTER the evidence is presented, not before it. Otherwise said chatter gets to keep saying that "you are biased and so it is no use to show the evidence". Does not make for valid and serious discussion.

Again with the example of the jury trial. The lawyers present the evidence, and then the jurors go into a room and discuss it. At this point, there will indeed be biases, but now the jurors will have to use whatever reason is available to them to overcome those biases and make a decision. AFTER the evidence, not before.
Alright, I think that is valid reasoning given your example.

However, if you cannot even recognize something as evidence, then where do you begin? It is my experience that very smart people can infer a lot from very little data (this is reflected in how education is structured as well), and the opposite is true for less intelligent people. These inferences aren't necessarily true (this important to note), but sometimes they are, and it still demonstrates how it is possible that some people cannot even register something as being evidence, even if it is presented to them.
 

watsup

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Alright, I think that is valid reasoning given your example.

However, if you cannot even recognize something as evidence, then where do you begin? It is my experience that very smart people can infer a lot from very little data (this is reflected in how education is structured as well), and the opposite is true for less intelligent people. These inferences aren't necessarily true (this important to note), but sometimes they are, and it still demonstrates how it is possible that some people cannot even register something as being evidence, even if it is presented to them.

The atheists I have seen here are quite intelligent and can clearly discern if valid evidence of a God is presented, but cannot do so UNTIL that evidence is presented.
 

Triton

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The atheists I have seen here are quite intelligent and can clearly discern if valid evidence of a God is presented, but cannot do so UNTIL that evidence is presented.
The problem is it is not easy to know if you are dismissing it because you are unable to discern deeper meaning from it, or you are dismissing it because it is truly invalid. The evidence has been presented, and the fact that you do not even recognize it as evidence suggests that you might be viewing it the wrong way (as opposed to not being smart enough, which is probably not the case)?
 

watsup

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The problem is it is not easy to know if you are dismissing it because you are unable to discern deeper meaning from it, or you are dismissing it because it is truly invalid. The evidence has been presented, and the fact that you do not even recognize it as evidence suggests that you might be viewing it the wrong way (as opposed to not being smart enough, which is probably not the case)?


The evidence has not been presented. Do you have any?
 

Triton

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The evidence has not been presented. Do you have any?
There is the evidence which Sherlock has presented countless times, and it goes something like this "The universe exists, so it must have been created, and since it is illogical that a natural system can originate from a natural cause means that original cause must be supernatural, and such an entity would be a god, who is immune to scrutiny which we assign to natural entities, meaning it does not require a creator itself." I hope I'm not strawmanning him.

This is rationalistic evidence, and as such, it relies on reason - and not the interpretation of empirical data - to arrive at a conclusion. I think the place where Sherlock and I differ greatly is when sentience is also implied and that said god is the god described in Hebrew scripture. There are some leaps there which I don't find obvious, but I personally think it is reasonable to suggest that the natural was ultimately started by something supernatural, and that something supernatural, by definition, cannot be perceived through natural means. To be clear I do not construe this supernatural entity as being a god in the sense we tend to use the word.
 

grip

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The evidence has not been presented. Do you have any?

Over here, I have evidence. I present to you, the universe! Unexplainable, all-powerful, all-knowing, timeless, and life-giving. If you're looking for an invisible supreme being, I'm afraid he's not available for performing tricks like some circus clown on demand for your approval and belief. But wait for his next move, the resurrection, I hear it's a biggy.

Now, continue spinning on your head like a top trying to scientifically make sense of it all. :mrgreen:
 

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If everything physical that exists is evidence of someithng non physical, how do you connect the two? There is no logical connection, as there is when physical evidence is evidence of physical phenomena. So the question is, if god is non physical, how can evidence be presented by us physical beings in our physical existence? It is impossible. If I pick up a stone and say it is evidence of god, why should that be taken seriously? Where is the connection between a stone and a god? The conclusion that the existence of everything physical must have a non physical source in not logical or rational at all. It is impossible to observe, test and verify how it took place. It is just word games, based on belief.
 

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The quote in the OP is just another lame attempt to evade the burden of proof. Their god should know what it would take, and if it is as omnipotent as they claim, it could tailor it's display to meet the needs of the individual.

Basically, every hippy on this site has a dumbass theory on what they believe is the definition of their god, and they have all been presented without a shred of credible evidence (for the evidence is as weak as their argument). Now, it is up to those so-called idiot sceptics to qualify the standard of evidence?

Er no, it doesn't work like that. Show me why I should believe your claim, or not, but don't try to weasel out of it and expect me to jump through your hoops.
 
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grip

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I have a simple question. What human on this board could possibly ever produce evidence of a god that doesn't want to be proven? It doesn't matter if he exists, he obviously doesn't do magic shows for the masses, yet.

If I were him, I'd do a one time display of power on a scale never before imagined that last forever. Which is what I'm pretty sure he has planned at the end.
 
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