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Atheists vs Believers

Entry 1622, on 2014-01-27 at 22:08:17 (Rating 4, Religion)

In another entry in this blog I am debating a religious person regarding the problem of evil, that is: why does god allow bad things to happen to good people. At least, that's what I thought we were debating because he seems to consistently divert the thread into other issues.

A point he has tried to make a lot in various discussions is that my opinion is just as biased as his because he has the perspective that god is involved where I deny that possibility. He thinks that I offer non-religious explanations for things because I am an atheist therefore I must reject any possibility of the supernatural being an explanation.

Not really...

1. Being an atheist rarely means that you have decided for sure that god doesn't exist (maybe some atheists think this but I've never met one). It usually means that you think the evidence for god (and other aspects of the supernatural) are insufficient at this time. If there was real evidence a god did exist it would be great. Just imagine how fascinating that would be as a subject of study!

On the other hand I often hear religious people say they are absolutely certain that god does exist (and not just any god, it's always their particular god) and that nothing would convince them they are wrong. Clearly they are the ones who are close-minded on the subject. And yes, I know there are some believers who at least claim to leave room for doubt but I think most of them are being a bit dishonest about this (including to themselves).

2. The most prized attributes for an atheist are skepticism and a scientific approach to looking at questions. These have been used by science and philosophy to tackle the big questions for many years. They may not have answered every question but at least they show us honestly where no answer yet exists.

But if there is one word which I see associated with religion most it is "faith". This is highly valued by many religions an it's obvious why. Without faith people could not accept the religion's doctrines. But faith can't be used to discover anything new or to confirm or reject any idea of truth. With faith the conclusion has already been reached before the process is even applied. It's a deeply dishonest approach to truth.

3. Is atheism just another belief system with all the built-in biases that the others have? And if it is does that mean it is no better at discovering the truth than anything else? Does it mean that atheist are prevented from examining perfectly reasonable supernatural explanations for phenomena?

Well no. As I said above, atheists don't generally reject the supernatural completely. If some sort of intelligence was shown to be guiding evolution, for example, that would be something worthy of study, even if it might lead to a conclusion which might be labelled as "supernatural".

So atheism is the rejection of built-in belief systems. It doesn't reject religious explanations because it is too narrow-minded, it rejects them because they should be rejected. It is the believers who accept the religious explanation too easily. Just remember that there are hundreds of mutually contradictory religious explanations for many phenomena. This is a clear indication that religions accept ideas which fit what they want to believe far too easily.

4. Atheism has very little emotional and social content. It's unusual for atheists to meet and reinforce each other's beliefs. It's unusual for atheist to get all emotional about how great their worldview is.

Religious people commonly meet and tell each other how great their god, or saviour, or whatever other character they might happen to believe in, is. They sing, pray, recite pledges, and read old books over and over. It's almost like they need that constant reinforcement to maintain their beliefs because they are so weak.

5. In fact atheism doesn't really exist. Someone who doesn't believe in a god doesn't do that because he has a doctrine which forces him to. He doesn't do it because that's just what his group does. He just doesn't belong to any of the groups with those (mutually contradictory and incompatible) beliefs.

As the well-known quote goes: everyone is an atheist about most religions, atheists just take it one step further. So the Pope, for example, is an atheist towards about 30,000 types of Christianity alone, but for some bizarre reason he doesn't include Catholicism in that list of rejected doctrines - no doubt primarily because of faith! But if he had been born in India instead of a country with a Catholic heritage he would probably be atheistic towards every form of Christianity, including Catholicism, and accept Hinduism.

I'm not saying religion is all bad, because many people enjoy the social, emotional, traditional, and narrative aspects of it. But I am saying it isn't true... at least that's what current evidence strongly indicates!

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Comment 1 (3856) by silenceofmind on 2014-01-28 at 08:50:45: (view recent only)

Faith is the belief in something that can’t be proven. Since atheism cannot be proven, it is a 100% faith-based belief. The existence of God, however, can be proven. So belief in God is a matter of reason, not faith. Atheism is also a total reason fail simply because it means everything happened all by itself. And that of course is ridiculous.

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Comment 2 (3857) by OJB on 2014-01-28 at 08:51:37:

Wow. Did you read this blog entry at all?

No atheist I know makes a claim that anything regarding god is proved. We just say the interim conclusion, based on current evidence, is that there is no god. There is no way to make a 100% truth claim about anything outside of math and logic.

The existence of God can be proved? Really? I’d like to see that proof!

Atheism doesn’t claim everything happened by itself. There are many scientific ideas – most of them quite speculative – about the origin of the universe. But even if we don’t know the answer, saying God did it is just another “god of the gaps” argument.

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Comment 3 (3858) by OJB on 2014-01-28 at 12:41:55:

And faith is *not* belief in something that can't be proved. According to the dictionary faith (in the religious sense) is defined as: "strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof."

It seems unlikely that atheists have "spiritual conviction" since they reject the idea of supernatural (as an interim conclusion, based on current evidence, of course).

And the more generic definition: "complete trust or confidence in someone or something" doesn't really fit either since the scientific worldview (which is what leads most people to atheism) specifically accepts that all conclusions about the real world are open to question and revision.

A definition: "atheism (n): disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods." I would say the second type "lack of belief" is the dominant one. It's just that: a lack of belief in god. There's no faith, no certainty, no strong emotional, doctrinal, or philosophical attachment. Just a lack of belief.

If you continue to use the straw man argument that atheists have absolute confidence that there is no god then it is easy to disprove atheism, but that is not what we say.

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Comment 4 (3860) by richard on 2014-01-28 at 20:54:36:

Actually, it's a shame that this entire blog is based on a couple of major false premises: False Premise 1: that I am charging that you (and I quote): "offer non-religious explanations for things because an atheist therefore must reject any possibility of the supernatural being an explanation".

This is NOT a correct representation the claim I made or make. I invite everyone to go back and have a closer look at all the previous threads where this occurs for the truth. You will find that every single time it comes up, (and it has multiple times) my comment is a response to the false (and rather silly circular) charge that YOU initiate Owen that goes: Theists believe X (in God, or whatever else suits) only because they are theists, so must do this as their theism forces this upon them, whereas you as an atheist are somehow free to believe "anything you like".

For example in the (now very long thread 'A different fantasy' you state specifically: "Of course you can't reach the same conclusion as I do. You are trapped in a fantasy-based worldview which can only lead to one conclusion. I have no similar restriction".

The implied conclusion you wish to impart to readers using these type of statements appears to be... 'After all - that's the only rational explanation I can imagine why theists could possibly reject the overwhelming intellect and rationality of my own opinion and evidence on the matter'.

My response in return, is simply to explain as I did in the next comment in that thread that: "Your last comment is classic, pot calling kettle black. It is impossible to avoid similar 'restrictions' in either direction, if in fact this is occurring at all. Cheers. :)"

Thus my response is to suggest that there is no way to assert that flaw exists in theists alone, without being similarly vulnerable to the charge. My claim is actually that this is NOT happening ON EITHER SIDE, but that in the vast majority of cases it is a different interpretation of the same evidence that leads to different conclusions. I say in the majority of cases, because sadly I'll bet there are both theists and atheists who do not have much of an evidential basis for their chosen beliefs.

My suggestion is always to Owen that the only fair (unbiased) approach is to try reversing the words of his claims. For example take this in Comment 2, and reverse it as follows to get the truth: No THEIST I know makes a claim that anything regarding god is proved. We just say the interim conclusion, based on current evidence, is that there is A god.

In short - My claim has always been "lets drop this silly charge in both directions Owen". Especially because it NEVER helps solve the particular topic in question!

Secondly your comments further down regarding 'faith' use arbitrary definitions that are sadly a very common emotional misconception (at least of biblical/christian faith). When faith is called for in the Bible, it is never EVER calling for 'blind/mindless faith in the absence of any evidence' it is ALWAYS the polar opposite - summarised by "Believe - not simply because I say you should but in response to the numerous evidences I have given you". This is incredibly clear to anyone who reads the Bible 'without bias'.
I will say the same thing - don't believe just because I say so, I am happy to provide more than enough of evidence for this. Of course (just to be clear) even if you don't choose to believe the validity of the 'many evidences' involved (all the miracles etc) - this does nothing to invalidate the truth of the biblical definition of faith. That various dictionaries (and film and media etc) have chosen an arbitrary but perhaps emotionally fulfilling definition of 'blind faith', is also irrelevant to that. Cheers.

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Comment 5 (3862) by OJB on 2014-01-28 at 21:47:27:

This "entire blog" is based in a false premise? Surely just the religious parts! And who said the person I referred to above was you Richard? Yeah, OK, let's be honest: it was! But I do believe you have said I miss out on the possibility of perfectly reasonable (to you) explanations based on the supernatural because I "am an atheist". Have you not explicitly stated or strongly implied this?

You then go on to admit that you make this claim but in response to me making the claims against you. Well that's what this blog entry is about: that my claim of bias on your part is justified but yours against me in return is not (or at best, much less so).

I really can't drop the claims I made above because I believe they are true. Our two world views aren't equally valid. It's a similar situation to some news outlets giving climate scientists and climate change deniers equal space. Their claims aren't equal so they don't deserve equal consideration.

In particular look at claims 2, 4, and 5. There seems to be a fundamental difference between skeptics and believers in those cases.

I used definitions from the Oxford Dictionary. Where should I go for better ones? A creationist web site? If Christian belief relied on real evidence then it wouldn't be called faith, it would be called science. But it isn't science, because there is no credible evidence, despite what you imagine.

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Comment 6 (3863) by richard on 2014-01-29 at 09:00:10:

Now that you have stated more plainly we are getting somewhere - I think you are missing the point in both of your claims and issues in this blog.

Once and hopefully for all - I NEVER EVER claim you are missing out on the possibility of perfectly reasonable explanations...BECAUSE you are an athiest. What I DO say is that some things we plainly see in reality (like free will and morality etc) are simply not explainable or even available as viable options due the the premises enforced by the athiest world view.

That is a totally different thing. It is an objective (perhaps you prefer the word emperical, as objective often seems to cause you problems), discussion about the merits of atheism alone, not your (subjective) reasons for believing it it true. Surely this is obvious?

I don't have any problem with the fact that you think that the evidence I use to come to my world view is poor in comparison to yours. That's also your subjective opinion and you are welcome to it. You simply don't have the right to claim that BECAUSE you subjectively think that the evidence for our views have a different level of validity, that you can ASSERT that deep down we must surely know this and therefore are forced by our 'unfounded' commitment to theism to reject what surely must be obvious. That is the nonsense claim I object to.

You make the same mistep in logic regarding the definition of faith as clearly demonstrated in the Bible. Simply because you reject the validity of the evidence does not change the 'demonstration' of the definition of faith at least as recorded in the Biblical record. The Oxford dictionary merely reports the 'popular' definitions of the word faith as used by most people. They are not trying to assess that definition against any one historical document.

Answer me these two questions in order... 1 - What is THE single most well known 'seminal' event recorded in the Bible? 2 - What would say are the events that the Bible is probably most known or talked about for? 3 - Does this fit with your (and Oxfords) arbitrary definition of faith?

Remember Owen, your assessment of the validity of said events has NOTHING to do with the validity of this definition of 'biblical faith' (my only interest, in this these comments). Your rejection of the evidence pertains to the validity of the FAITH.

So again - I don't have any problem that you reject all the 'evidence' provided in the Bible - but that's a different issue, and the only one worthy of discussion. Just drop the red-herrings.

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Comment 7 (3864) by richard on 2014-01-29 at 09:10:25:

Something happened to my two cut and paste changes on posting? - I added the 3rd question later - So please - answer my 3 qns in order! LOL and finally - 'Your rejection of the evidences pertains to the validity of the 'biblical' FAITH - once that term has been properly defined. There is only one document that can be used to 'define' biblical faith - and that is the bible. Just as only the Koran can be used as the final authority to define Islamic faith. That's pretty obvious basic logic too surely?

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Comment 8 (3865) by OJB on 2014-01-29 at 09:19:28:

You seem to be contradicting yourself. First you claim that that you have never said I miss out on certain possibilities because of my views then you say that because of my worldview I can't (allegedly) offer explanations because I miss out on some possibilities. This does seem contradictory, don't you think?

In fact my opinion of the merits of my worldview isn't subjective at all. I know the scientific worldview is superior (and you have said the same) because first, it just makes logical sense; and second, it gets results.

So your definition of faith comes from the Bible! That seems even worse than a creationist web site! Can we just stick to the definitions that are agreed on by everyone, otherwise please use a different word.

Question 1. the myth of the creation of the universe by God, I guess. If, we're talking about the OT, If you mean the NT I guess the resurrection story.

Question 2. Creation, flood, Exodus, birth of Jesus, crucifixion, resurrection.

Question 3. These fit entirely within the dictionary definition. They are all fictitious stories supported by almost no evidence or completely discredited. Only faith could make someone believe such absurdities.

I don't quite see what you're getting at in the last two paragraphs so let's just move on with my answers above.

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Comment 9 (3866) by richard on 2014-01-29 at 23:06:10:

Not contradictory at all. I cannot seriously believe you are unable to grasp the difference between critiquing you alone (i.e. the problem is with YOU because you are accepting things only because you 'blindly' hold to some view), and critiquing the view alone (i.e. I respect you Owen, but just wondering - aren't there problems with the VIEW you are holding to, because if your world view is true, due to simple logic some features of reality are simply not available nor explainable, under that view). If you can't see that distinction now, we all might just have to accept you never will.

Of course the features I claim do not make sense under your view, are not subjective either, but empirically assessed - straight forward logic and science.

Sorry - You made yet another mis-step. I DID use a different word (at least phrase). I didn't offer a definition of 'faith' as you stated. All they way thru I have very clearly offered a definition of 'biblical faith'. The distinction is vital, and the only point I was addressing. I am happy to agree that your definition of 'faith' is the commonly used and accepted one regarding religion (generally set by the non-religious), and said that right from the start. I also even agree with you that under your dictionary definition of faith, your intended comparison in this blog post between the 'sensible' atheists and 'faithful' believers (not sensible) is a fair one.

Entirely why my point is to show that the God of the Bible (at least) does not ask for that blind faith. Lets look at some of the the examples you gave to my qns, to see if biblical faith is (required to be) blind as you claim.

1 - Creation - Bible: While I understand entirely you do get into difficulties if you try to take the entire creation account as literal, clearly it is simply the intention of the writer of Genesis to explain that the Universe is not some eternally existing accident, but the intentional result of a creative act of 'mind'. Science: until fairly recently scientists believed the universe was eternal, now we understand that it is not, and that it 'began to exist' at some point in the distant past. We commonly call that the Big Bang. Our ONLY experience from ALL scientific experimentation is that EVERYTHING that 'begins to exist' has a CAUSE that is sufficient to explain the thing in it's entirety. Thus a small bang like a door knock ALWAYS causes us to check the door - never to assume the bang had no cause. In the same way it is science (not faith) that tells us A BIG bang sufficient to explain both the universe and ALL it's features requires a BIG banger!

Atheist view: In spite of all scientific evidence being to the contrary, we believe the universe popped into existence from NOTHING. No really... it did!

2 - Exodus: As described in the Bible in Exodus - Moses was asked by God to go and tell Pharaoh to let the Jews go free. Moses was himself a Hebrew, and a murderer. His understandable response was 'why would they believe me'? God did not expect Pharaoh to take Moses claim on (blind) faith, but was prepared to use a significant series of miracles to 'demonstrate' (provide evidence) before expecting Pharaoh to believe the claims.

3 - The NT miracles were likewise always provided as 'evidences' for 'belief'. There is no doubt that Jesus was impressed by 'faith' - often stating 'your faith has made you well' before healing them. But what kind of 'faith' was in mind? In Mark 2, the friends lower the paralytic thru the roof to request healing, (their 'faith' is based on their prior experience of Jesus performing miracles) Jesus makes an 'outrageous' claim saying 'Your sins are forgiven'. This is very offensive of course to the scribes who recognised his underlying claim to 'God' status saying 'Who can forgive sins but God alone'? Did Jesus say 'You must just have (blind) 'faith' that my claim is valid. No, the opposite - He said, 'What is easier, to say your sins are forgiven, or to say 'Arise, take up your bed, and walk'? He then proceeded to provide the evidence for belief in the claim.

This is the only pattern of the faith admired (and required) found in either OT or NT of the Bible, and this is a completely different concept to the dictionary definition of the word. The 'Biblical' concept of 'faith' is NOT wishful thinking. It is active trust based on evidence. Again - any discussion on the 'validity' of the evidence is another secondary question. It doesn't change the definition of 'biblical faith' I am describing here.

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Comment 10 (3868) by OJB on 2014-01-30 at 13:53:56:

I seem to often have trouble trying to get an accurate idea of what you are saying. I'm really not trying to be awkward here, maybe you are just not expressing your ideas very well, or maybe we just think too differently. I know you are talking about my worldview, not me personally, but I can't see how that is relevant.

You clearly think there are certain possibilities not open to me because of my worldview, right? I disagree, that worldview allows any possibility as long as it is supported by evidence, so the only possibilities I reject are those which aren't supported by evidence and are almost certainly untrue.

You think your claims that there are certain things which make no sense under my worldview are logic and science, but they aren't. Do you really think that if it was that simple that scientists and philosophers wouldn't take the supernatural more seriously? There is nothing that superstition can explain that can't be more easily understood using a natural explanation.

1. Creation. You pick out a few elements of the creation myth and try to make them fit the facts. I can do that with any story, for example: Aboriginal, American Indian, etc, are all myths with similar origin elements. The parts of the story which don't fit far outweigh those that do. The creation myth is a total failure!

Many atheists do not believe that the universe started from nothing. Some do, others think the universe has always existed (a multiverse theory), others still think the universe was causeless (that is valid science), and some just don't know. It is an open question, but saying "god did it" is not only intellectually dishonest and lazy but also just the old "god of the gaps" all over again.

Honestly, it worries me that an intelligent person like you would mindlessly parrot this creationist drivel. That is maybe the worst thing about religion: how it turns sensible people into unthinking zombies!

2. Exodus. No evidence for it at all. It didn't happen. End of story.

3. The NT miracles are recorded in the Bible. Most of them cannot be verified anywhere else, but those which can are not supported. They are just myths. So you just get back to blind faith again, I'm afraid.

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Comment 11 (3870) by richard on 2014-01-31 at 10:21:31:

You could be right in your two possibilities - (me not expressing very well, or us thinking too differently). Hopefully you will agree with the simple logic too, that says either way, we both cannot determine which one is the problem, of ourselves. We'd need 'outside assistance' (other readers) to determine it. :)

In the meantime, my pov is: Shame - you totally missed the specific point under discussion, which is NOT dependant on whether the evidences are valid or not, and you did that even after I reminded you in advance of this not to make that elementary mistake in logic. Actually, a HUGE number of scientists and philosophers DO take the supernatural more seriously, and they do because there is plenty of 'evidence' to do so that has nothing to do with just blind reliance on the Bible. Of course, experience has shown that you then simply revert to questioning their claim to the labels scientists and philosophers, based on your subjective assessment of the very evidence being discussed. The same error in logic in another form.

That's all I need to say on this point. No need (and clearly no point) in going on and on. :)

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Comment 12 (3871) by richard on 2014-01-31 at 10:30:44:

I did forget to ask one significant question for you though, wrt your statement: "others still think the universe was causeless (that is valid science)". Can you please explain to me your basis for claiming that is 'valid science', given the (purely philisophical) definition of science that all scientists MUST adhere to? I agree it is perfectly 'permittable' as a hypothesis, (no more and no less than 'God did it') but not sure how you justify that claim? How is that ANY less of a 'gaps' argument than 'God did it' - and (although perhaps I am wasting my time asking for this) - remember my question is restricted to a logical assessment - not the follow up assessment of its probable truth.

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Comment 13 (3872) by OJB on 2014-01-31 at 12:25:13:

You keep making claims and fail to back them up when asked. For example, please support your claim that "a HUGE number of scientists and philosophers DO take the supernatural more seriously" by quoting a significant number of papers in scientific journals which support the supernatural. Please either do this or admit there is no scientific support for it.

And your claim that I reject ideas based on a label I apply (or don't apply) is also untrue. I don't care what label they have, if they publish real research showing support for the supernatural then I am interested.

At the quantum level events with no cause are a well accepted and observed phenomenon. I have mentioned this before. For example there is no cause and no way to predict when a radioactive decay event will occur.

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Comment 14 (3875) by richard on 2014-02-02 at 11:29:41:

Firstly, I assume you cannot seriously suggest that the supernatural is not a huge topic in accepted Philisophical journals at the highest level, so I'll assume you are restricting this critique to Science journals.

Whether there are a huge no. of scientists who take it more seriously is not quite the same thing as a significant no. of scientific papers in scientific journals which support it.

By very definition, 'science' journals have a tendency to rule out direct evidence for the supernatural because likewise (by very definition) the supernatural cannot be 'observed' in the same way as the 'natural'. If it could be observed that way - it would BE a natural cause.

Any such 'direct evidence' of an event that denies physical laws should it be recorded, becomes then by definition 'only' an 'eye witness historical' record - which is a different category of truth record, but one we also routinely rely completely on - as 'History'. They are by definition 'miracles' ONLY because they do not occur routinely - if they did, we would have long ago re-written our physical laws to account for them, like gravity!

As an aside - You have already denied the most obvious historical record of supernatural evidences recorded as eye witness accounts (the Bible) - without any other sufficient reason for denying the accounts than you don't believe in the supernatural? There is no OTHER reason for doing so, that you can offer, because you cannot do it from an 'unreliable record pov', The bible is accepted as without question by nearly all historians as THE historical document that is by far the most reliably passed down historical record, compared to ANY other ancient document we know of.

Anyway, be that as it may, I agree it is fine to accept that the supernatural can only be INFERRED from observed natural evidence, using well accepted (in Science) straightforward logic and mathematics, like probability theory. In spite of that however, attempts to publish such inferences to the Supernatural have undeniably been attacked by the Science community - the classic example being ID, others being papers that treat similar various arguments such as fine-tuning. You have done exactly the same, every time the topic comes up and unfortunately this has (in spite of your denial above) always been by attacking the label. I have never ever seen you provide any scientific evidence based refutations to their inferences, only references to either the arbitrary definition of science - which I have agreed exists above, or the unreliability of the messenger.

Having said that, I will try to compile some specific examples in the next few days for you. That they exist is obvious - I just don't know 'em off by heart.

As for no cause events - I am intrigued that you are happy to accept a 'quantum level' event as a feasible (let alone plausible) causal event for the creation of the entire universe, remembering to account for all it's incredible features, and complexity, culminating in US (not from arrogance here - just our current level of knowledge - as agents with the capacity to even do this analysis, ie you have to account for 'mind as well as matter').

Apart from the fact that is it more plausible to assume we haven't detected the cause yet, as for radioactive decay specifically, this is simply an irrelevant matter of 'observable resolution' - if what you said was really true, how then do we calculate half-lives and rely on them for accurate dating? Obviously at a 'relevant' level of observation - they are entirely predictable.

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Comment 15 (3876) by OJB on 2014-02-02 at 17:00:09:

Regarding philosophy. I know that in the past it has been pretty much "anything goes" but after discussing this with some modern philosophers they are now trying to stick to more empirical, logical work rather than the "looser" stuff form the past. A pity really... Anyway, that's just an anecdote. Not sure if it holds true for philosophy in general.

So it sounds like you are admitting that there is no significant scientific evidence for the supernatural. And you are suggesting that this is because the supernatural cannot be observed in the same way as natural phenomena. That seems to imply that the supernatural has no effect on our world at all. In that case what possible point is there in even hypothesising it's existence?

There is no credible historical evidence of the supernatural. Or do you mean the Greek myths, Aboriginal creation stories, and the Bible?

As I have said before, the Bible makes many claims about events (mostly by unknown authors who weren't eye witnesses and wrote many years after the alleged events occurred) and most cannot be checked against other sources, but those that can (the star, the zombie saints, the darkness at the crucifixion, etc) have no support at all. I would suggest the Bible is a book of myths set in an historical context and cannot seriously be used as a source of facts.

Attempts to introduce the supernatural have been discredited, not attacked. And they have been discredited because they have been the result of poor research, usually because the researcher is more interested in supporting his nonsensical superstitious beliefs rather than really finding out what is true.

In fact according to theory there is no cause for radioactive decay, it's not just that we cannot detect it. And there is no doubt that the early universe was in a quantum state, so the idea of applying quantum effects isn't so ridiculous, is it? The half life is a statistical effect, individual events cannot be predicted. This is all pretty basic physics.

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Comment 16 (3877) by Jim on 2014-02-08 at 08:31:49:

Well I'm glad we got that all settled then /sarcasm.

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Comment 17 (3879) by OJB on 2014-02-08 at 17:16:46:

You can never settle these things with believers because - whatever they claim - the truth is they have accepted a belief for some reason other than logic and truth, and part of that belief is the inability to consider that it might be wrong. They must cherry-pick the evidence and avoid the facts so that the delicate mechanism supporting their chosen belief system is maintained. And they spend a lot of time listening at meetings, viewing propaganda web sites, and reading material on the subject to prepare them for people like me who show beyond any reasonable doubt that they are wrong.

All I can really hope for in these situations is to instil a little bit of doubt in their minds which might help them break free from the mind-virus of religion at a later date.

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