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A defense of ECREE

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  • A defense of ECREE

    It seems that many apologists discard ECREE as nonsense, but I do not think they should. ECREE, Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, is not a requisite for proving a claim. It is all about what people will believe. It is entirely relational and not scientific.

    If two people are in a room and a sheet of paper is blown off the a desk and onto the floor. One person claims the wind blew it off. The other believes the claim without a second thought because experience has taught that person that it is a natural occurrence. That person has felt wind before and likely seen it blow paper in a similar fashion. That is a Natural claim which requires little evidence, as proof, based on the listener's experience of the natural world.

    However, if the claimer had instead said, a tiny leprechaun ran through the room faster than the eye could see and brush the paper onto the floor, it is a different story. The listener has never seen a leprechaun before, had no witness to the claimed events, and has only heard of leprechauns in myth. The listener is right to be skeptical of the claim and is not likely to accept the claim until additional evidence, other than personal testimony, is provided.

    So while ECREE is not a scientific method, it is a part of our everyday life. We call those who do not require ECREE gullible. It is highly subjective and dependent on several factors, such as relevance to the listener, conformation with natural laws, etc. The point of ECREE in the theological debate is that the Bible and claims of deities do not meet the standard for ECREE to be believed by skeptics. Personal testimony is not enough for us to accept something that fails empiricism and that natural laws explain better.

    Understand that ECREE is not a method for finding truth, it is only a measure of evidence required for believability. What we accept is based on what has been sufficiently demonstrated to us, many here do not believe in evolution, because it fails to meet their standard of evidence. It is exactly the same, ECREE, that make the scientifically minded not accept the bible.

  • #2
    Honestly, I agree with ECREE to an extent. But only to the extent that other claims can be (relative to the "extraordinary" claim) shown to be improbable.
    -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
    Sir James Jeans

    -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
    Sir Isaac Newton

    Comment


    • #3
      Personally believe some what differently concerning matters of religious belief, faith, and what the role of methods of evaluating 'Evidence' needed to justify ones belief. Many apologists believe strongly that the evidence for justification of their belief in the Resurrection, and other miraculous events in the Bible is conclusive. I do not believe this so, but it does mean that these beliefs are false. Neither the affirmative nor the negative can be conclusively demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence we have today. All any methods proposed by those who support ECREE would be that there is reasonable doubt based on the evidence to believe that it is conclusively true. There remains a strong elements of faith, tradition, and belief in the accuracy of the word of the church father's, and the apostles.
      Last edited by shunyadragon; 02-05-2014, 06:36 PM.
      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

      go with the flow the river knows . . .

      Frank

      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by damanar View Post
        It seems that many apologists discard ECREE as nonsense, but I do not think they should. ECREE, Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, is not a requisite for proving a claim. It is all about what people will believe. It is entirely relational and not scientific.

        If two people are in a room and a sheet of paper is blown off the a desk and onto the floor. One person claims the wind blew it off. The other believes the claim without a second thought because experience has taught that person that it is a natural occurrence. That person has felt wind before and likely seen it blow paper in a similar fashion. That is a Natural claim which requires little evidence, as proof, based on the listener's experience of the natural world.

        However, if the claimer had instead said, a tiny leprechaun ran through the room faster than the eye could see and brush the paper onto the floor, it is a different story. The listener has never seen a leprechaun before, had no witness to the claimed events, and has only heard of leprechauns in myth. The listener is right to be skeptical of the claim and is not likely to accept the claim until additional evidence, other than personal testimony, is provided.

        So while ECREE is not a scientific method, it is a part of our everyday life. We call those who do not require ECREE gullible. It is highly subjective and dependent on several factors, such as relevance to the listener, conformation with natural laws, etc. The point of ECREE in the theological debate is that the Bible and claims of deities do not meet the standard for ECREE to be believed by skeptics. Personal testimony is not enough for us to accept something that fails empiricism and that natural laws explain better.

        Understand that ECREE is not a method for finding truth, it is only a measure of evidence required for believability. What we accept is based on what has been sufficiently demonstrated to us, many here do not believe in evolution, because it fails to meet their standard of evidence. It is exactly the same, ECREE, that make the scientifically minded not accept the bible.
        Your example does not justify ECREE. It would be irrational to believe the Leprechaun claim (at least over the other one) because it fails on many less-disputed criteria for probable explanations, such as explanatory power and simplicity than simply because "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence". And why presuppose empiricism here when it comes to determining the rationality or probability of claims? Furthermore, by your own admission ECREE is highly subjective. This greatly diminishes its use as a criterion for probable explanations and rational belief - imagine a man who has never before seen ice denying a traveller's claims to have seen it based on his prior experience. I know you said this was meant for subjective believability and not actual probability, but it is only rational for those two factors to correlate. If what one believes when it comes to history and science isn't based upon what the evidence suggests is probable, one isn't acting rationally. If one refuses to change one's beliefs because they are not supported by personal experiences and go against personal assumptions, throwing one's hands in the air and saying "well, that doesn't meet my personal standard of evidence so I won't believe it," as you imply atheists are doing with the Bible when appealing to ECREE, is simply irrational. And I say that as readily for Christians denying evolution as I do for atheists denying the Bible.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by GioD View Post
          Your example does not justify ECREE. It would be irrational to believe the Leprechaun claim (at least over the other one) because it fails on many less-disputed criteria for probable explanations, such as explanatory power and simplicity than simply because "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence". And why presuppose empiricism here when it comes to determining the rationality or probability of claims? Furthermore, by your own admission ECREE is highly subjective. This greatly diminishes its use as a criterion for probable explanations and rational belief - imagine a man who has never before seen ice denying a traveller's claims to have seen it based on his prior experience. I know you said this was meant for subjective believability and not actual probability, but it is only rational for those two factors to correlate. If what one believes when it comes to history and science isn't based upon what the evidence suggests is probable, one isn't acting rationally. If one refuses to change one's beliefs because they are not supported by personal experiences and go against personal assumptions, throwing one's hands in the air and saying "well, that doesn't meet my personal standard of evidence so I won't believe it," as you imply atheists are doing with the Bible when appealing to ECREE, is simply irrational. And I say that as readily for Christians denying evolution as I do for atheists denying the Bible.
          Amen to this
          3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures --1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (borrowed with gratitude from 37818's sig)

          Comment


          • #6
            The problem with ECREE is that what counts as extraordinary is not precisely defined, so it is often used to cover moving goal posts around. While I agree with that some claims require stronger evidence before it is sufficient to be believed, it's not how extraordinary the claim is that we should be concerned with, but with how well it tests on explanatory power, explanatory scope, plausibility, ad hoc-ness, accord with accepted beliefs, and superiority to rival hypotheses.
            "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

            Comment


            • #7
              I prefer the much more slim-lined "Claims require evidence" motto.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by damanar View Post
                It seems that many apologists discard ECREE as nonsense, but I do not think they should. ECREE, Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, is not a requisite for proving a claim. It is all about what people will believe. It is entirely relational and not scientific.

                If two people are in a room and a sheet of paper is blown off the a desk and onto the floor. One person claims the wind blew it off. The other believes the claim without a second thought because experience has taught that person that it is a natural occurrence. That person has felt wind before and likely seen it blow paper in a similar fashion. That is a Natural claim which requires little evidence, as proof, based on the listener's experience of the natural world.

                However, if the claimer had instead said, a tiny leprechaun ran through the room faster than the eye could see and brush the paper onto the floor, it is a different story. The listener has never seen a leprechaun before, had no witness to the claimed events, and has only heard of leprechauns in myth. The listener is right to be skeptical of the claim and is not likely to accept the claim until additional evidence, other than personal testimony, is provided.

                So while ECREE is not a scientific method, it is a part of our everyday life. We call those who do not require ECREE gullible. It is highly subjective and dependent on several factors, such as relevance to the listener, conformation with natural laws, etc. The point of ECREE in the theological debate is that the Bible and claims of deities do not meet the standard for ECREE to be believed by skeptics. Personal testimony is not enough for us to accept something that fails empiricism and that natural laws explain better.

                Understand that ECREE is not a method for finding truth, it is only a measure of evidence required for believability. What we accept is based on what has been sufficiently demonstrated to us, many here do not believe in evolution, because it fails to meet their standard of evidence. It is exactly the same, ECREE, that make the scientifically minded not accept the bible.
                {emphasis mine}

                I agree with most of what you've said - the reasons apologists reject ECREE is that it is highly subjective, and, as others have pointed out, often a cover for shifting the goalposts.

                I find the bolded sentences interesting....

                Don't you think there's a conflict there?
                ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Manwë Súlimo View Post
                  I prefer the much more slim-lined "Claims require evidence" motto.
                  I think it’s reasonable to demand more compelling evidence to justify claims of a paranormal or supernatural kind, e.g. deities, spiritualism and ghosts etc., because such claims are inherently more improbable than claims made about the natural world.
                  “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                    I think it’s reasonable to demand more compelling evidence to justify claims of a paranormal or supernatural kind, e.g. deities, spiritualism and ghosts etc., because such claims are inherently more improbable than claims made about the natural world.
                    That's the real question, isn't it? On what basis does one decide that such claims are "more improbable?" Also, ECREE doesn't address reality itself, but only the ability of a particular method of inquiry to accurately model reality. A method biased against supernatural effects will perforce fail to recognize them, like the Slavic leader who said that as far as he knew, there were no homosexuals in his whole country.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RBerman View Post
                      That's the real question, isn't it? On what basis does one decide that such claims are "more improbable?" Also, ECREE doesn't address reality itself, but only the ability of a particular method of inquiry to accurately model reality. A method biased against supernatural effects will perforce fail to recognize them, like the Slavic leader who said that as far as he knew, there were no homosexuals in his whole country.
                      It is the only methodology we have and it has been very successful as is evidenced by our considerable accumulation of multi-tested, verified knowledge of the natural world. OTOH, there is no consistent methodology for obtaining evidence of the supernatural. Its alleged existence is based entirely on subjective experience and varies widely from person to person and culture to culture. Thus, claims of supernatural/paranormal experiences cannot be substantiated with credible evidence; they are therefore less probable than verifiable claims regarding the natural world.

                      As for the benighted Slavic leader, his facts were simply wrong but empirically correctable if he had so chosen.
                      Last edited by Tassman; 02-06-2014, 10:49 PM.
                      “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                        It is the only methodology we have and it has been very successful as is evidenced by our considerable accumulation of multi-tested, verified knowledge of the natural world.
                        The above sentence does not describe ECREE. It describes science. ECREE is itself an extra-scientific claim.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Outis View Post
                          The above sentence does not describe ECREE. It describes science. ECREE is itself an extra-scientific claim.
                          It was the direct response as to why some claims are more probable than others.
                          “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                            It was the direct response as to why some claims are more probable than others.
                            It was a non-responsive response. You defined science--you did NOT define the basis for deciding when a claim is extraordinary or not.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Outis View Post
                              It was a non-responsive response. You defined science--you did NOT define the basis for deciding when a claim is extraordinary or not.
                              That is why I avoid ECREE. In terms of the evidence used to support the Resurrection and other miraculous claims of different religions there is insufficient evidence to be conclusively true outside those who believe and use what anecdotal evidence there is to justify their faith.
                              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                              go with the flow the river knows . . .

                              Frank

                              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                              Comment

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