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A defense of ECREE

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Tassman View Post
    Maybe its not reproducible in his environment but it is a claim concerning the natural world nevertheless. Thus, in principle, it is empirically testable - unlike supernatural claims.


    And yet limited subjective evidence is all there is.
    I couldn't agree more.

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by damanar View Post


      I define it as the dictionary does, "an event beyond the understanding of science or the laws of nature." It doesn't mean something that is supernatural is untrue, it means we do not understand it in a way that fits within natural laws. Many things that formerly had supernatural explanations now have natural explanations through scientific discovery.

      I agree. One must acknowledge that alleged supernatural truths are possible, no matter how improbable, given that some people claim personal experience of the supernatural. But, as you say, many things formerly explained as supernatural can now be explained as natural occurrences. Maybe this will always be the case.
      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


      • #33
        Originally posted by damanar View Post
        My point was that ECREE isn't a scientific method of finding truth.
        As it's usually stated, it's not any kind of method for finding truth. A method for finding truth would present a sufficient condition for finding truth. ECREE claims to present only a necessary condition.

        Originally posted by damanar View Post
        It is merely stating that people should be skeptical of claims that defy natural laws, or modern/empirical precedent, ie. things we can test.
        Most people who are enamored of ECREE don't invoke it only against miracles. The skeptical community routinely uses it against claims that don't have anything to do with violations of natural laws.

        More to the point, you are assuming that all claims of natural laws being violated are extraordinary. I do believe that they are; but if a believer were to tell me, "They're not extraordinary just because you say so," I would have to agree with him.

        Originally posted by damanar View Post
        skeptical people will challenge and test supernatural claims with the scientific method.
        Now we're getting somewhere, although I must observe that not all self-identified skeptics actually know anything useful about the scientific method. Bill Maher, for one example, seems pretty clueless to me. As a role model for skeptics, he's about as good as Jim Bakker was for Christians.

        Originally posted by damanar View Post
        Would you agree if I said it is a human attribute that helps to find truth, as opposed to a method of finding truth?
        I think we can know, within limits, how well our beliefs are justified, and I think it reasonable to assume that the more justified they are, the more probable it is that they are true. And, for a certain fairly broad category of beliefs, I think our justification can be such that the probability of truth gets very close to certainty. I don't think we can do any better than that.

        So, what does this justification consist of? For the sake of brevity, I must oversimplify, but I think the only way to justify a belief is to have evidence for it, and the proper relationship between any evidence and the belief it is said to justify is formulated in Bayes Theorem. ECREE, properly used, is just the application of Bayes Theorem to hypotheses with an extremely low antecedent probability. In those cases, extraordinary evidence is just whatever sort of evidence it takes to produce a consequent probability significantly greater than 0.5.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
          As it's usually stated, it's not any kind of method for finding truth. A method for finding truth would present a sufficient condition for finding truth. ECREE claims to present only a necessary condition.
          Right, ECREE, in other words, states that improbable claims should have sufficient evidence to make them probable. Since you mentioned Bayes Theorem. What is probable should be based on precedent, rain is probable because we have seen it happen before. The difference with religion is that people are exposed to it constantly so that it seems probable, based on bandwagon. However, there is only subjective evidence for any modern deities.

          Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
          Most people who are enamored of ECREE don't invoke it only against miracles. The skeptical community routinely uses it against claims that don't have anything to do with violations of natural laws.
          Sure, Ecree could be used for non-violations of natural law. If you were to say President Obama served you in the McDonalds drive through this morning, it would not be a violation of natural law, assuming I didn't know where Obama was this morning, but it would be an extraordinary claim.

          Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
          More to the point, you are assuming that all claims of natural laws being violated are extraordinary. I do believe that they are; but if a believer were to tell me, "They're not extraordinary just because you say so," I would have to agree with him.
          I would disagree. Something that is supernatural is extraordinary. If it were ordinary/natural we would be able to study it and develop laws to describe the event. Eclipses were once considered supernatural, the Vikings though two wolves caught the sun and they had to yell to scare the wolves off for the sun to return. We did not have the means to experiment on the claim at the time so the supernatural claim held, though different cultures held to different inductive claims. So while extraordinary may be relative to perspective somewhat, I would deny a believer who said that supernatural events were not extraordinary, on the basis that they can not be consistently reproduced.

          Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
          Now we're getting somewhere, although I must observe that not all self-identified skeptics actually know anything useful about the scientific method. Bill Maher, for one example, seems pretty clueless to me. As a role model for skeptics, he's about as good as Jim Bakker was for Christians.
          I didn't realize Maher was a skeptic, I thought he was a troll.


          Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
          I think we can know, within limits, how well our beliefs are justified, and I think it reasonable to assume that the more justified they are, the more probable it is that they are true. And, for a certain fairly broad category of beliefs, I think our justification can be such that the probability of truth gets very close to certainty. I don't think we can do any better than that.

          So, what does this justification consist of? For the sake of brevity, I must oversimplify, but I think the only way to justify a belief is to have evidence for it, and the proper relationship between any evidence and the belief it is said to justify is formulated in Bayes Theorem. ECREE, properly used, is just the application of Bayes Theorem to hypotheses with an extremely low antecedent probability. In those cases, extraordinary evidence is just whatever sort of evidence it takes to produce a consequent probability significantly greater than 0.5.
          Your thoughts on justification are interesting, but I have different experience with religious justification. Religious beliefs are inductively justified, this is why we have 30k+ denominations of Christianity alone. We take one source and build belief structures around it, so different people with different perspectives develop different beliefs, WBC and Quakers read the same, well similar, Bibles to completely different outcomes. Therefore, no matter how much inductive justification a believer does, it doesn't make the belief any more probable, because the believer is starting with the assumption the claim is true. When presented with new data, such as heliocentrism or evolution, the believer will not think the claim any less probable. The believer will rework the claim to conform to the new evidence. Psychologically, the believer will also be further reinforced to his/her belief because the new inductive justifications seems to make the initial claim more valid because it still fits with new evidence.

          An example would be the detraction from YEC. As new data emerged people justified the Bible to conform to a scientifically discovered old age of the Earth, Christians came up with several justifications for it.
          Science is wrong
          Days are not literal days
          Genesis is allegorical

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by damanar View Post
            If you were to say President Obama served you in the McDonalds drive through this morning, it would not be a violation of natural law, assuming I didn't know where Obama was this morning, but it would be an extraordinary claim.
            I am concerned about the imprecision with which you use the word extraordinary. My story could be corroborated by an article in the local newspaper. That is hardly extraordinary evidence, but it would convince you, wouldn't it?

            Originally posted by Doug Shaver
            you are assuming that all claims of natural laws being violated are extraordinary. I do believe that they are; but if a believer were to tell me, "They're not extraordinary just because you say so," I would have to agree with him.
            Originally posted by damanar View Post
            I would disagree. Something that is supernatural is extraordinary.
            Just because you say so? Or do you have a proof that doesn't beg the question?

            Originally posted by damanar View Post
            If it were ordinary/natural we would be able to study it and develop laws to describe the event.
            Do you think there is anything ordinary or natural that we have not yet been able to study and develop laws to describe?

            Originally posted by damanar View Post
            I would deny a believer who said that supernatural events were not extraordinary, on the basis that they can not be consistently reproduced.
            Is that how you distinguish the ordinary from the extraordinary? Are you under the impression that all ordinary events can be consistently reproduced?

            Originally posted by Doug Shaver
            I didn't realize Maher was a skeptic, I thought he was a troll.
            In your lexicon, perhaps. I don't equate trolling with just being wrong.

            Originally posted by damanar View Post
            Religious beliefs are inductively justified, this is why we have 30k+ denominations of Christianity alone.
            I don't think you understand how induction works. Scientific theories are inductively justified, but scientists don't have 30,000 theories of relativity.

            I realize that many apologists do offer inductive arguments for their doctrines, but there is a difference between having an argument and having a justification. An argument is an attempt at justification. The argument has to be analyzed before we know whether the attempt is successful.

            Comment


            • #36
              I will accept the premise that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" if someone can present the objective rules of evidence that would allow one to determine whether or not any arbitrary piece of evidence qualifies as "extraordinary".

              For instance, what extraordinary evidence supports the claim "George Washington was the first president of the United States", and what criteria would you use to determine that it was, in fact, extraordinary? I realize that this is not an extraordinary claim, but if "extraordinary evidence" is a meaningful classification then one should be able to find extraordinary evidence to support any claim. I simply present a claim that is not disputed so that we can focus on the rules of evidence and not have to deal with whether or not the claim itself is true.
              Last edited by Mountain Man; 02-25-2014, 02:17 PM.
              Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
              But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
              Than a fool in the eyes of God


              From "Fools Gold" by Petra

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by damanar View Post
                Religious beliefs are inductively justified, this is why we have 30k+ denominations of Christianity alone.
                That "30,000 different denominations" claim doesn't prove what you think it proves. In fact, the overwhelming majority of those denominations agree on key doctrinal issues, and many of those denominations exist because of cultural and not theological differences -- for instance, a denomination might cater to the particular cultural needs of Indonesian immigrants.

                You can find a more comprehensive answer in the following video:

                Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                Than a fool in the eyes of God


                From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                  I will accept the premise that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" if someone can present the objective rules of evidence that would allow one to determine whether or not any arbitrary piece of evidence qualifies as "extraordinary".

                  For instance, what extraordinary evidence supports the claim "George Washington was the first president of the United States", and what criteria would you use to determine that it was, in fact, extraordinary? I realize that this is not an extraordinary claim, but if "extraordinary evidence" is a meaningful classification then one should be able to find extraordinary evidence to support any claim. I simply present a claim that is not disputed so that we can focus on the rules of evidence and not have to deal with whether or not the claim itself is true.
                  It would indeed be better worded to state that "all claims require sufficient evidence". The use of 'sufficienct' may still retain a degree of subjectivity, but it's much easier to show that a given proposition accounts for all (or nearly all) alternate explanations. The more ambiguous an explanation, the less persuasive force it possesses.
                  I'm not here anymore.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    I take "sufficient" to mean whatever is necessary to convince a reasonable person that a claim is true, "reasonable" meaning without bias and willing to be convinced. In other words, close-minded dogmatists can take a hike.
                    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                    Than a fool in the eyes of God


                    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
                      It would indeed be better worded to state that "all claims require sufficient evidence".
                      That's a tautology.
                      "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                        That "30,000 different denominations" claim doesn't prove what you think it proves. In fact, the overwhelming majority of those denominations agree on key doctrinal issues, and many of those denominations exist because of cultural and not theological differences -- for instance, a denomination might cater to the particular cultural needs of Indonesian immigrants.

                        You can find a more comprehensive answer in the following video:

                        that's a cartoon video. =) link to an article next time.

                        a better argument for Christian disunity was the great variety of beliefs that sprang up after Jesus died--Gnosticism, Marcionism, etc--not the denominations that generally hold to orthodoxy today.

                        SDAs, Catholics, and Prebytereans agree on a lot, sure, but look at the differences. they are stark.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          What's wrong with cartoons?
                          If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a106.htm Anyway this is the source given with the video. There are a few broad areas. Most denoms are to do with different people groups.
                            If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by whag View Post
                              that's a cartoon video. =) link to an article next time.
                              http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a106.htm

                              a better argument for Christian disunity was the great variety of beliefs that sprang up after Jesus died--Gnosticism, Marcionism, etc--not the denominations that generally hold to orthodoxy today.

                              SDAs, Catholics, and Prebytereans agree on a lot, sure, but look at the differences. they are stark.
                              You're implying that the "great variety of beliefs" were all widely accepted and on equal footing with each other. This was not the case. On the contrary, fringe views like Gnosticism were widely rejected and specifically refuted by the early church fathers.
                              Last edited by Mountain Man; 02-25-2014, 08:00 PM.
                              Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                              But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                              Than a fool in the eyes of God


                              From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                                You're implying that the "great variety of beliefs" were all widely accepted and on equal footing with each other. This was not the case. On the contrary, fringe views like Gnosticism were widely rejected and specifically refuted by the early church fathers.
                                Mountain Man, we do not have good figures on what the pre-Constantinian church looked like. We do know that there were competing sects, and we do know that those sects also wrote texts that were suppressed (such as when Athanasius sent letters out to the churches and monasteries in his episcopate, telling them to get rid of non-approved books). I have no problem with the concept that what is, today, mainstream Christianity was the most dominant sect, but the evaluation of "fringe" is unwarranted by the evidence as a denotative term.

                                Comment

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