I don't think atheists care about evidence. Evidence just means that one has something to reason from. What atheists demand is absolute proof, and at a level that can't be given for anything. I would bet that if for some reason atheists didn't like science, no amount of scientific "proof" wood suffice to prove to them that science works; because they would demand absolute proof, which can't be gotten.
In thinking about the two other threads I initiative over the last few days, and the atheist take on my arguments and their 'dicing' of my thought processes, and their refusal to acknowledge standard resiances that I give all the time, I find the following state of affairs to be a good description of the current state of dialectic between atheists and theists on the boards:
(1) Theists have a vast array of knowledge and argumentation built up over 2000 years, which basically amounts to a ton evidence for the existence of God. It's not absolute proof, because true, sure enough, actual absolute proof is just damn hard to come by on anything--even most scientific things; which is why they invented inductive reasoning. Science accepts correlation's as signs of caudal relationships, it doesn't ever actually observe causality at work. But that kind of indicative relationship is not good for atheists when a God argument is involved. Then it must be absolute demonstration and direct observation.
(2) This double standard always works in favor of the atheist and never in favor of the theist. I suspect that's because Theists are trying to persuade atheists that a certain state of affairs is the case, and at the same time we are apt to be less critical of our own reasons for believing that. Atheists make a habit of denial and pride themselves on it.
Why is it a double standard? Because when it works to establish a unified system of naturalistic observation the atheist is only too happy to appeal to "we never see" "we always see" and "there is a strong correlation." We never see a man raised from the dead. We never see a severed limb restored. The correlation's between naturalistic cause and effect are rock solid and always work, so science gives us truth, and religion doesn't. But when those same kinds of correlation's are used to support a God argument, they are just no darn good. to wit: we never see anything pop out of absolute noting, we never even see absolute nothing, even QM particles seem to emerge from prior conditions such as Vacuum flux, so they are not really proof of something form nothing. But O tisg tosh, that doesn't prove anything and certainly QM proves that the universe could just pop up out of nothing!
(3) "laws of physics" are not real laws, they are only descriptions, aggregates of our observations. So they can't be used to argue for God in any way. But, when it comes to miraculous claims, the observations of such must always be discounted because they violate our standard norm for observation, and we must always assume they are wrong no matter how well documented or how inexplicable. We must always assume that only naturalistic events can happen, even though the whole concept of a naturalism can only be nothing more than an aggregate of our observations about the world; and surely they are anything but exhaustive. Thus one wood think that since our observations are not enough to establish immutable laws of the universe, they would not be enough to establish a metaphysics which says that only material realms exist and only materially caused events can happen! But guess again...!
(4) The Theistic panoply of argumentation is a going concern. Quentin Smith, the top atheist philosopher says that 80% of philosophers today are theists. But when one uses philosophy in a God argument, it's just some left over junk from the middle ages; even though my God arguments are based upon S 5 modal logic which didn't exist even before the 1960s and most of the major God arguers are still living.
(5) They pooh pooh philosophy because it doesn't' produce objective concrete results. But they can't produce any scientific evidence to answer the most basic philosophical questions, and the more adept atheists will admit that it isn't the job of science to answer those questions anyway. Scientific evidence cannot give us answers on the most basic philosophical questions, rather than seeing this as a failing in science (or better yet, evidence of differing magister) they rather just chalice it up to the failing of the question! The question is no good because our methods dot' answer it!
(6) What it appears to me is the case is this; some methods are better tailed for philosophy. Those methods are more likely to yield a God argument and even a rational warrant for belief, because God is a philosophical question and not a scientific one. God is a matter of faint, after all, and in matters of faith a rational warrant is the best one should even hope for. But that's not good enough for atheists, they disparage the whole idea of a philosophical question (at least the scientific ones do--that's not all of them, but some) yet they want an open ended universe with no hard and fast truth and no hard and fast morality!
(7)So it seems that if one accepts certain methods one can prove God within the nature of that language game. now of course one can reject those language games and choose others that are not quite as cozy with the divine and that's OK too. Neither approach is indicative of one's intelligence or one's morality. But, it does mean that since it may be just as rational given the choice of axioms and methodologies, then what that taps out to is belief in God is rationally warranted--it may not be only rational conclusion but it is one ratinal conclusion Now i know all these guys like Barron and HRG will say "hey I'm fine with that." But then when push comes to shove they will be back again insisting that the lack of absolute proof leaves the method that yields God arguments in doubt, rather than the other way around. I don't see why either should be privileged. Why can't we just say that one method is better suited for one kind of question, the other for the other?
and if one of them says 'why should I ask those questions?' I say 'why shouldn't we leave the choice of questions to the questioner?
A poster on the comment section of the CADRE blog arrogantly proclaimed:
I understand that some Christians have a mental issue accepting that some people have knowledge that the Christian god does not exist. It is a very scary thought (needing debunking) that someone claims to know what your belief is wrong. It is especially scary when it come from an atheist, not from a "misguided" muslim.
12/10/2007 03:02:00 PM
when challenged to present the argument he just said:
No, I don't have a proof that dodos are extinct, Socrates lived, Allah does not exist or that Model-T Fords are not manufactured any more, but once one investigates an issue sufficiently the usage of the word "know" is generally excepted. Many religious people seem to "know" that their particular deity exists. I don't think you call all of them naive and ignorant?
I had challenged him to show the proof. If you really "know" there's no God then show us how so we can stop the nonsense and get on with our lives as atheists. Of course he had no evidence nor argument either, all he had was the typical "I don't see any God so there must not be one," couched in terms above "no proof of passenger pigeons, can't prove Bigfoot or UFO so therefore, no God. In others what you don't see is what you don't get metaphysically. The strange twist is he then implies that the term "knowing" is valid when used of any sort of knowledge derived from study. This means the concept of actual certain knowledge is really just a synonym for "educated faith" which would make even more puzzling how he could hold this out as some sort of superior position for atheism. If we take that seriously it really means we have much reason to believe in God as not. Unless of course he wants to content that atheist study harder and I would gladly take that challenge. If the volume of study or matter read was really the same as proof of one's position I know my position would win hands down. Rather than speaking in terms of knowledge we are actually speaking of warrants for belief. When a person says "I know X is the case" in the sense of conviction one is saying "the confidence I place in this hypothesis is warranted." This is not absolute knowledge as to a state of affairs that might be demonstrated to the extent that all opposition must become silent. But it is a statement of the veracity of one's warrant. I will argue that Christian warrant for belief is more rational in the sense that it has more positive evidence in its favor than do atheistic warrants.
We have no empirical demonstrative proof that God exists, but we come closer to having that than atheists do to having proof of no God. Basically, we know three things:
I. We are fit to be Religious
II. We have empirical proof of the "God correlate." (aka CO-determinate).
III. Religious belief works as a way of life.
These three facts are enough to demonstrate the rationality of belief and the irrationality of atheism. Yes, these are facts. They are not merely opinions or speculations they are amply demonstrated through a ton of data.
I. Fit to be religious:
The argument actually says that the fact of a religious species is far too coincidental to be merely the product of random chance. Why would it be that we are fit to be religious, that it is our instinct and our way of life? That would indicate that an object of religious devotion designed religiosity into humans. In summation the following factors indicate that religiosity is part of human nature:
a) Historical Tendency:
The vast Majority of Humans have been religious as far back as we have evidence of humanity (50,000 years) [see above A. 3]
b) Believers have always been vast numerical majority
That is not appeal to popularity, it's an argument about behavior which indicates an innate condition. Almost 90% currently of world population are rleigious believers in some sense.
When anthropologists see a behavior that transcends culture they assume it is innate. There has never been a culture tha was atheistic. Every culture we have ever seen or found traces of on earth going back as far as we can has been religious in some way.
d) Even in cultures such as China where the government attempted irradiation of religious belief there are still 51% religious and many more undecided but not "anti-"religious
e) Physical fitness for religion
Our bodies work better when we are religious, it is the major factor in health and far more of a motivator than any other trigger of the Placebo effect [see above C.3]
f) Archetypes Universal
Archetypes are natural part of the human psyche (see the next argument). Also see Jesus Christ and Mythology page II. Archetypes are psychological symbols which point to transcendent ideal beyond the material realm. Studies show that they are natural to all people and emerge under a broad verity of psychological techniques.Maslow says that they are found among all people using ever technique of psychoanalysis. [above B.3]
g) Psychologically fit for religion
Psychological factors, religious believers have far less depression and incidence of mental illness so the human mind works best when religious. [above C]
h) Trans formative power
IF the appeal of the argument were merely popularity, it would not turn on things other than popularity. Obviously these reasons I'm giving here are not popularity. But, the trans formative power of religious experience is another aspect of the argument which proves that it' not merely an appeal to popularity. Religious expernce transforms lives, it gives people life affirming experiences which makes them better as people and makes life worth living. Not all psychological factors are capable of doing that. We are so constituted as a species that we respond to these experiences in such a way that they do transform our lives. That proves that we are fit to be religious, and that is not an appeal to popularity.[see also point C above on psychological normality and self actualization]
i) brain wave patterns
Brain wave patterns are changed by religious experience. We go from Alpha waves to Beta and to other levels of Brain wave patterns when we have these experinces.
j) "God pod" (God module in the brain)
Scientists have identified a cluster of neurons in the brain which, when stimulated, produce feelings of extacy and thoughts about God and the transcendent. This is too great a coincidence that nature would just produce this by random chance, especially when taken together with all the other ways in which we are fit to be religious. It's an evidence of design, we are made to be a religious species.
k) Sense of the Numinous universal
When we see aspect of human evolution endemic to the species as a whole we assume that it is the product of evolution. We assume religious belief is a product of evolution but how foolish it is to assume that nature would, unaided by any sort of higher reality, make man religious for no reason. We can can't chalk it up to survive because we don't find the same hard wring and other aspects in ideas of social unity and cohesion or ethics and morality. Only in religion do we find all of these aspects including he hard wired brain.
II. empirical proof of God correlate.
Atheists want to attribute the origin of religion to the need to explain nature. But anthropologists and psychologists no longer find this credible. Now they attribute religious belief to the sense of the numinous. Because we find some aspect of reality to be different from the mundane, we sense a sublime, a transcendent, a terror, a sense of dread, the existential sense of meaning, we conclude that there is a reality higher than just the material daily world. Since this is endemic to us, and it is part of our inborn religious nature, we can assume it is an indication of something higher. This forms the basis of all religion.
In the previous post I deal with the issue "how do we know these effects of Religious Experience are actually a co-determinate?"
The atheists will argue that this is supposition. Of course it is. Of course the fact that ti's empirically documented as to the effects and that it is the most logical and educated supposition will be meaningless to them. This is their ultimately excuse to ignore the truth and so they will ignore it. But I don't see how anything could be more obvious.
(1) the content of the experience is about the divine.
(2) the effect of the experience is to create faith where there was none and to turn people on to God
(3) the effects are real, lives are transformed.
(4) I really fail to see why it is not logical and rationally warranted to accept this as reason enough if one is so included.
Of course it's not proof. but it means any reasonable understanding of a prmia facie burden. The atheists thev the burden of proof to show us why a ratioanl warrant is not good enough. We have met our prima facie burden.
The effects are proven thorough a voluminous body of material, empirical studies which show the long term positive effects of religious belief upon the believer.
III. works as a way of life.
In other words, even though many find religion abusive or stiffening, for the majority religion is a source of strength. the empirical data demonstrates that for the great majority religion is a major factor in wellness. The normative nature of religious belief is a good indication of truth content.
Shrinks assume religious experience Normative.
Dr. Jorge W.F. Amaro, Ph.D., Head psychology dept. Sao Paulo
a) Unbeliever is the Sick Soul
"A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine. The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding."
b. psychotherapeutic discipline re-evaluates Freud's criticism of religion
"Nowadays there are many who do not agree with the notion that religious behavior a priori implies a neurotic state to be decoded and eliminated by analysis (exorcism). That reductionism based on the first works by Freud is currently under review. The psychotherapist should be limited to observing the uses their clients make of the representations of the image of God in their subjective world, that is, the uses of the function of omnipotence. Among the several authors that subscribe to this position are Odilon de Mello Franco (12), .... W. R. Bion (2), one of the most notable contemporary psychoanalysts, ..."
[sources sited by Amaro BION, W. R. Aten��o e interpreta��o (Attention and interpretation). Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 1973.
MELLO FRANCO, O. de. Religious experience and psychoanalysis: from man-as-god to man-with-god. Int. J. of Psychoanalysis (1998) 79,]
c) This relationship is so strong it led to the creation of a whole discipline in psychology; transactionalism
Neilson on Maslow
"One outgrowth of Maslow's work is what has become known as Transpersonal Psychology, in which the focus is on the spiritual well-being of individuals, and values are advocated steadfastly. Transpersonal psychologists seek to blend Eastern religion (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) or Western (Christian, Jewish or Moslem) mysticism with a form of modern psychology. Frequently, the transpersonal psychologist rejects psychology's adoption of various scientific methods used in the natural sciences."
"The influence of the transpersonal movement remains small, but there is evidence that it is growing. I suspect that most psychologists would agree with Maslow that much of psychology -- including the psychology of religion -- needs an improved theoretical foundation."
3) Religion is positive factor in physical health.
"Doctrors find Power of faith hard to ignore
By Usha Lee McFarling
Knight Ridder News Service
(Dec. 23, 1998)
"Some suspect that the benefits of faith and churchgoing largely boil down to having social support � a factor that, by itself, has been shown to improve health. But the health effects of religion can't wholly be explained by social support. If, for example, you compare people who aren't religious with people who gather regularly for more secular reasons, the religious group is healthier. In Israel, studies comparing religious with secular kibbutzim showed the religious communes were healthier."Is this all a social effect you could get from going to the bridge club? It doesn't seem that way," said Koenig, who directs Duke's Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health .Another popular explanation for the link between religion and health is sin avoidance."
"The religious might be healthier because they are less likely to smoke, drink and engage in risky sex and more likely to wear seat belts.But when studies control for those factors, say by comparing religious nonsmokers with nonreligious nonsmokers, the religious factors still stand out. Compare smokers who are religious with those who are not and the churchgoing smokers have blood pressure as low as nonsmokers. "If you're a smoker, make sure you get your butt in church," said Larson, who conducted the smoking study."
see also: he Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993 For data on a many studies which support this conclusion.
4) Religion is the most powerful Factor in well being.
Poloma and Pendelton The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3290.
"The authors found that religious satisfaction was the most powerful predictor of existential well being. The degree to which an individual felt close to God was the most important factor in terms of existential well-being. While frequency of prayer contributed to general life satisfaction and personal happiness. As a result of their study the authors concluded that it would be important to look at a combination of religious items, including prayer, relationship with God, and other measures of religious experince to begin to adequately clearly the associations of religious commitment with general well-being."
(5) Greater happiness
Religion and Happiness
by Michael E. Nielsen, PhD
Many people expect religion to bring them happiness. Does this actually seem to be the case? Are religious people happier than nonreligious people? And if so, why might this be?
Researchers have been intrigued by such questions. Most studies have simply asked people how happy they are, although studies also may use scales that try to measure happiness more subtly than that. In general, researchers who have a large sample of people in their study tend to limit their measurement of happiness to just one or two questions, and researchers who have fewer numbers of people use several items or scales to measure happiness.
What do they find? In a nutshell, they find that people who are involved in religion also report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not religious. For example, one study involved over 160,000 people in Europe. Among weekly churchgoers, 85% reported being "very satisfied" with life, but this number reduced to 77% among those who never went to church (Inglehart, 1990). This kind of pattern is typical -- religious involvement is associated with modest increases in happiness
Argyle, M., and Hills, P. (2000). Religious experiences and their relations with happiness and personality. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10, 157-172.
Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Nielsen, M. E. (1998). An assessment of religious conflicts and their resolutions. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37, 181-190.
of course atheists are going to argue that just because it works that is no proof of truth content. I think it is. Its' foolish to think that something which is so endemic to humanity, hard wired in our brains, evolved socially over time, and makes our lives work the they way they are supposed to work, would be just a mistake or an accident. More importantly it doesn't have to be proof. Its' shallow and hypocritical to argue "well sure it woks, but I just can't believe something that's not true." Atheists don't know what's true. They know they don't know how the universe got here or what caused the big bang. That doesn't bother them. They don't know and they don't know and it doesn't bother them a bit. It only bothers them when they have to subjugate the will to a higher power. That's the real issue, that's the whole crux of the matter. Here are valid well documented major rational reasons to believe something, they have no clue as to the ultimate origin of things, but they would rather keep their heads in a black box than to take a risk and make a leap of faith, even though the evidence favors it.
The bottom line is this, this is what we truly know with certainly, we have met our prima facie burden that's all we need to meet.