Monday, October 14, 2013

Evidence, Leap of Faith, And A really Good Diving Baord

  photo LeapofFaith.jpg

When I was a kid I really wanted to go off the high dive. I thought if I went off the high dive I would be really cool then all my problems would be solved. I would often storm up the ladder to the top with bluster and determination only to become dizzy and afraid of the heights and stop and just stand there on the top waiting for the nerve with one else on the ladder going "go on!" I would have made them all get down so I could down, which I could barely do becuase I was frozen in my tracks. Eventually I began to tell myself it wasn't worth the hassle. That's why the atheist refusal to believe without empirical evidence (they really mean total absolute proof even they will never admit it) reminds me of my old conundrum being stuck at the top of the high dive unable to go off and looking for a way to rationalize having to come back down.

There's a concept in God arguments I like to call "extending the platform." For years my line was using that as a rhetorical device to explain how even though the arguments can't "prove" God beyond the shadow of a doubt and render belief into fact, they are still valid way to sort out truth. That's becuase reduce the space we have to traverse in the leap of faith, they give us an educated guess as to which way to leap, or as I put it "they give us a really nice platform from which to dive off in the leap of faith." That concept becomes even more important when we compare it to the failure of atheist arguments to meet their own standard of empirical proof. That's just the beginning, the concept is also valid when we consider the argument atheists make that we imposing meaning upon a random universe. I'll deal with the imposed meaning issue on Wednesday.

Atheist demand empirical proof. they worked out logical rationalizations that make empirical proof the deal breaker. We can see this at the popular level.
Typical 18 year old atheist
repeating the dogma I've heard
on message boards a thousand times.
To assume something exists without empirical evidence is purely illogical. If you could accept a belief in something without evidence, you could believe any possibility. You could assert that there is a large dog floating in the sky striking down those that displease it, and think it true. However, it could be said that just because you can't prove something doesn't mean it's been disproved. This being true, the converse is also true, you can't believe in something because of a lack of evidence.
Posted by TheOrdinaryGuy 1 Sep 3rd, 2013 at 6:10PM

God is, for all intents and purposes, unfalsfiable. Completely indistinguishable from a God that doesn't exist. Therefore there's no reason to accept the proposition "a God exists" as true.

It's document by writers, thinkers and expository critics.

Michel Antony
Philosophy Now: a magazine
of ideas. "The New Atheism"
sept./Oct. 20/13

Evidentialism plays a key role in attacks against religious belief by the New Atheists, as it did for Hume. Belief in the existence of God or other divine realities is criticized on the ground that there is no good evidence for it. Echoing Carl Sagan and Laplace before him, we are told that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” and we are assured that there is nothing of the sort when it comes to the divine.
 But what of the New Atheists’ atheism – their belief that there is no god or other divine reality? According to evidentialism, that belief (with whatever degree of confidence it is held) also requires evidence in order to be rational. However, the New Atheists tend not to worry much about providing evidence. Although they sometimes offer arguments – ‘the problem of evil’, Dawkins’ ‘Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit’ in The God Delusion, and a few others – overall, those arguments play a minor role in their attacks. Far more central is their repeated insistence that because religious belief lacks evidence, it is irrational and so should be abandoned.[1]
Of course the atheist opinion leaders such Dawkins and Harris echo it endlessly.

Dawkins wrote:

Next time somebody tells you something that sounds important, think to yourself: 'Is this the kind of thing that people probably know because of evidence? Or is it the kind of thing that people only believe because of tradition, authority or revelation?' And next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: 'What kind of evidence is there for that?' And if they can't give you a good answer, I hope you'll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.[2]

The problem is Atheists don't have empirical proof for most of their major potions. Take Fine Tuning, the idea that the universe is rigged to favor life and conditions which are totality vastly amazingly improbable (we are talking about scads of zeros in the numbers) are nonetheless not only the way things are but they must be that way to have life make it. It's not deterministic, it's not a matter of pure chance (too improbable), it's not the case that just any old universe would produce life. We would have to develop the ability to observe beyond space/time in order to see one. So the theory will always be guess work. 

Paul Davies:

"You might be tempted to suppose that any old rag-bag of laws would produce a complex universe of some sort, with attendant inhabitants convinced of their own specialness. Not so. It turns out that randomly selected laws lead almost inevitably either to unrelieved chaos or boring and uneventful simplicity. Our own universe is poised exquisitely between these unpalatable alternatives, offering a potent mix of freedom and discipline, a sort of restrained creativity. The laws do not tie down physical systems so rigidly that they can accomplish little, but neither are they a recipe for cosmic anarchy. Instead, they encourage matter and energy to develop along pathways of evolution that lead to novel variety-what Freeman Dyson has called the principle of maximum diversity: that in some sense we live in the most interesting possible universe."

"Some scientists have tried to argue that if only we knew enough about the laws of physics, if we were to discover a final theory that united all the fundamental forces and particles of nature into a single mathematical scheme, then we would find that this superlaw, or theory of everything, would describe the only logically consistent world. In other words, the nature of the physical world would be entirely a consequence of logical and mathematical necessity. There would be no choice about it. I think this is demonstrably wrong. There is not a shred of evidence that the universe is logically necessary. Indeed, as a theoretical physicist I find it rather easy to imagine alternative universes that are logically consistent, and therefore equal contenders for reality." First Things: Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address (1999) [3]

That's a good reason to believe in God. It may not be absolute proof, but it's a fine diving board. We need the courage to make the leap and jump in the water of faith.  Yet you can't ask for a better diving board from which to leap. The atheist is still standing here saying "not until I have empirical proof." Actually in a scientific sense this is empirical proof, it's not derived from logic alone but from observations of astronomy and phsyics. It may not be strong enough to call the God concept "fact." Strong enough to warrant beilef. If you were on a high dive and you wanted to proof that diving from that level would not kill you, you could test it by having someone else of your general physical level go in first. That would be a sort of test even though ti wouldn't be absolute proof. This might strong enough to suggest that someone else has dove in first an survived. That still doesn't prove you will survive and so you must make the leap on a bit of faith. But you have a warrant for the assumption that it wont kill you. See my own fine tuning argument with evidence on my old God argument list on Doxa.

In response to the argument atheists try to negate it by using the multivariate argument. A very big deal it is by a star of atheist scinece Tegmark.[4] They allude to the theory that There are numerous (in fact endless) parallel universes, each one it's own space/time continuum. They are infinitely and eternally there. Now the odds change. Now we have an infinite number of universe one must be fine tuned. There are many responses to this. I have something like 26 on my own argument. I don't want to get into just this one argument. This is just one example. Yet there is only one answer we need and it's absolute. Multiverse is not the product of empirical proof. There is no empirical evidence. We have never seen a multivariate. We have no physical observation for them. It's all completely theoretical. Atheist Multiverse supporter Martin Rees states that the status of hte theory is “is plainly still no more than a tentative hypothesis.”[5]

The counter argument is that the theory is made sure by mathematics. We can't doubt math that's the illusion of technique. we are so good manipulating thing with mathematics. Yet it's still not empirical. They will also argue that the accuracy of the math is proved by the recent discovery of Higgs boson particle that confirms that our mathematical skills are such that we can locate a nat on a dime. (homespun aphorisms complements of yours truly). [6] "According to a popular but polarizing framework called string theory, the number of possible types of universes that can bubble up in a multiverse is around 10^500. In a few of them, chance cancellations would produce the strange constants we observe."[7] Unfortunately that string theory is another example of a theory that has no empirical backing (although atheists back it and use it as a basic assumption propping up their ideology). So this one unproven non empirical thing is supporting this other unproved non empirical things. These are the major supports of the people who say "you can't believe things that aren't proved empirically." They are just special pleading. They are really saying "you can't believe things that aren't proved empirically unless they support my view."

O But this science? This isn't arrived at by superstition this is scinece! Right, just like my 200 studies on religious experience which are published in academic journals by social scientists in good standard, based upon empirical research which the atheists carm refuse to read (for 5 years--I linked to the chapter in Hood's book 147 times plus a huge number I didn't count--2 people read it, one I'm sure only read a couple of pages, the other admitted he didn't understand it). Yet they never case to tell me how stupid the studies are how bad badly they are done (without reading them, without quoting anyone, without understanding the methodology). I even went so far as make my own very simple study that was designed to show them that the M scale (Ralph Hood's "mysticism scale) could not be validated by a purposeful campaign to lie bout one's experiences. They tried to validate another writing by lying about their experiences and they could not do it. Yet every time they say "he just ask them to say what their own experiences are and they are lying about it." The M scale is the most validated (by other studies and replication) study in the history of scientific study of mystical experiences. There could not have been a purposeful campaign to lie to validate the M scale but even if there was it would not have worked. (see my article on religious a priori for details). Every kind of stupid and irrational and ignorant critcism has been made of those studies the one thing they wont do is read one.This is the way they treat empirical evidence, when it doesn't support their ideology.

The point is that when they don't have the empirical evidence they are quite content to make a leap of faith. They make with the aid of their diving board constructed out of scientific theory. Science theory doesn't always support atheist views. I will leave off the Multiverse argument here, but that's not the end of the line. Even if Multiverse is proved that's a far cry from proving that life bearing universe is not a fixed game. (see my 26 other arguments). But we can at least that well with God arguments. The 200 empirical studies on mystical experience lend themselves to God arguments in three ways: (1) empistemic judgment; (2) co-detemrinate; (3) universality argument.

Epistemic judgement: we cant' prove reality directly. We live in complaisance with our judgements of reality we don't prove reality by our experiences. We follow the experiences that work. We just a criteria to make the judgement as to what works: that the experience is regular, consistent, inter-subjective and enables us to get by--that it works to assume it's real. Go on the battle field and assume hte enemy boynettes aare not real, you don't come back. That didn't work. Assume they are real, get out of the say. those who did not don't come bac, you do, so it works to make that assumption.

Co-deterinate: like the footprint in the snow, the signature of the absent foot is the print, the trace, the trace. Religious experience is the trace of God. Why? Because we have made that historical association throughout history. That's why religion exist in the first place.

Universality: We find through Hoods work that when they take off the specific names of a tradition the experiences are all the same. The actual experiences themselves are the same. That doesn't mean that all religious tradition are the same or that Jesus is not unique. I am not a universalist in that sense, see my article "Salvation and other Faiths." The universality argument on mystical experience is that such experiences are not universal to all people but they are to all faiths and cultures and times. That is a good indication that there some objective thing being experienced. That's how we determine objective truth, that we all experience the same thing. The atheists argue that it's due to having a human brain that they have the same experiences. But that doesn't wash since not everyone has the experience. It's also that the experience is understood in relation to cultural icons and constructs, (religion is cultural) those are not genetic.That's all derived from empirical research on mystical experience.

 Another example is Cosmological necessity argument. The argument basically says that there must be an eternal necessary (as in not contingent) aspect to being that serves as first cause and since that fulfills the major attributes of God we can assume that God is real. That's not proof, it is a warrant for belief. It's a good platform from which to make the leap. That's based upon empirical evidence of  cosmology. Atheists have tried to swing that issue their way by appealing to Quantum theory as evidence that the universe just Popped up out of nothing. The last time they tried that was Krauss with A Universe out of Nothing. He did not fair well with that but went down in ignominious defeat to a philosopher with a physics Ph.D. David Albert.

leap of faith, evidence, empricism on our side, scinece is nuetral they want to treat it like atheist enformcement. illusion of technique. The next time you hear an atheist say "scinece supports atheism because we have all the fact and there are no facts supporting belief in God," tell them both sides have gap to cover that is nothing more than unknown air, so we have to make a leap either way. The God leap is based upon more empirically based data than than the atheist leap of doubt, that is a contradiction to the whole atheist ideology.


[1]Michel Antony, "The New Atheism: Where's the Evidence?" Philosophy Now: a Magazine of Ideas, sept/Oct,, 20/13.
accessed 10/13/13
[2] Adrian Jarvis, "Christianity + Science: Do Science and Religion Conflict," be thinking.corg. The Christian unions, quoting a published letter by Dawkins to his Daughter.
URL:  accessed 10/13/13

[3] Paul Davies, "Physics and the Mind of God, Templeton Prize address," First Things, Aug/Sept 1995.   accessed 10/13/13.
Paul Charles William Davies, AM is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. Wikipedia (b.1946).

[4] Multiverse, Wikipedia, accessed 10/13/13

[5] Martin J.Rees,  Just Six Numbers: the Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. New York: Basic, 2000. 150.


[7] Ibid.

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