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cuchulain

extraordinary

60 posts in this topic

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  This is something that has been bandied about by others and myself, but I began wondering about it today.  I thought I would ask for some perspectives.  Do you believe this statement, and if so why.  If you don't, why not?

My perspective until now has been to accept this statement, but I think in examining my reasoning it is mostly based upon personal bias against Theism in most of it's forms.  So I am reevaluating whether this is true.  I still tend towards believing it is true.  I mean, I could claim I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.  I doubt many people would require video evidence before believing me.  On the other hand, if I claimed I could fly without the aid of machine I am fairly certain I would either be disbelieved immediately or asked for substantial proof(such as demonstrating my newfound ability).  Even if I could fly in such a manner, I do not think I would mind terribly if someone didn't believe the claim without evidence that was credible.

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Posted (edited)

"Extraordinary" is a completely subjective concept. So the truism in question roughly translates to "It will be hard to convince me that claims I find weird are true." More an admission of bias than anything else....

Edited by mererdog

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i can see how the term is subjective, something I haven't considered. does that make a difference? or is the person attempting to persuade burdended with a higher requirement of proof?

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6 minutes ago, cuchulain said:

i can see how the term is subjective, something I haven't considered. does that make a difference? or is the person attempting to persuade burdended with a higher requirement of proof?

Proof is also a subjective concept. Unless we are talking about liquor, in which case it is a matter of fact that is verifiable through direct measurement. I'm pretty sure we aren't talking about liquor, though...

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Considering the topics already covered by this board, lets go for an obvious.  The standard for proof that God exists.

The god of Pantheism:  Not that big a deal.  A simple demonstration that natural forces are in dynamic balance.  That is, if we are conflating God with Nature.  I'm fairly certain that Nature exists.

The god of Deism:  For those who insist on a First Cause.  The God of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.  Something with Intelligence that set everything into motion.  Well, maybe.  It needs a higher level of proof than simple Pantheism.  There are no claims  of a personal relationship.  No claims of revealed Scripture.  No claims of eternal damnation for non-believers.  No claims of Devin Law. etc.  This is the sort of God that Einstein was involved with when he said that he was investigating "the mind of God."  Proofs - I use the term with caution --  tend to focus on things like the Cosmological Constants and the Laws of Physics.

The god of Monotheism:  An outlandish set of assertions.  This requires some serious backing up.  Nothing so far that meets my standards.

The gods:  I have no idea what to make of the different Polytheisms.  Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Heathens, Classicalists, etc.  Anything I say will be simplistic.  Not that the Polytheists make big claims.  I prefer that they speak for themselves.

In general, small claims require small proofs.  Big claims require big proofs.  Huge claims require huge proofs.  Needless to say, truly vast claims tend to get only half vast proofs.

 

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Posted (edited)

46 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

In general, small claims require small proofs.  Big claims require big proofs.  Huge claims require huge proofs.  Needless to say, truly vast claims tend to get only half vast proofs.

 

"require" for what? And how do you measure the size of a claim? Or a proof, for that matter?

Edited by mererdog

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

The gods:  I have no idea what to make of the different Polytheisms.  Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Heathens, Classicalists, etc.  Anything I say will be simplistic.  Not that the Polytheists make big claims.  I prefer that they speak for themselves.

Hello Jonathan,

I am a Druid and a  Celtic Polytheist. First of all, just let me say I am speaking only for myself and not all Polytheists, nor all Druids. In my personal experience most Polytheists are unconcerned whether others believe in the Gods or not. Most Polytheists have no commission or mandate to proselytize; most Polytheists do not claim their Gods are the only Gods or that their way is the only way. I offer no irrefutable claims of physical proof that would satisfy a scientific study. I cannot tell you how much a God weighs, or how many Gods can dance on the head of a pin. For me, my Gods are real because I am here. My Gods are considered divine ancestors, so then I would not exist if they did not. Whether Beli Mawr was a God, a giant, an ancient king, a warrior, or a simple huntsman, there was a Welsh/Brythonic ancestor who was the progenitor of my father's line. Similarly, whether Nuada was a God, a king, or a simple farmer, there was an ancient Irish/Gaelic ancestor who was the progenitor of my mother's line. In my own lifetime I have seen legends grow up around family members I personally knew, but that doesn't mean the actual person who was the inspiration for the tale never existed. Now as to whether the spirits of my ancestors continue on and watch over me or assist me in my daily life, again, I can offer no scientifically measurable proof. But thinking that they do provides me comfort. So my ancestors have a positive effect on my life in that way if in no other.

Yours under the swaying palms,

Gruffydd y Dryw /|\

Edited by Gruffydd y Dryw

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I'm trying to make a few cultural distinctions that get lost in the shuffle.  There is a tendency in the Monotheistic world, to have a spectrum line of belief through disbelief.  Atheists seem as prone to this world view as Christians.

I have grown cautious.  I'm carefully not placing Polytheism on that spectrum.  I know that there are Polytheists on this board.  Largely silent, because they see no way to voice their perspective.

I'm trying to make a space for them.  Thank you for joining in.

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2 hours ago, mererdog said:

"require" for what? And how do you measure the size of a claim? Or a proof, for that matter?

I don't have much to add of a useful nature.   My views are subjective.  I don't know how to bring objectivity into it.

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Posted (edited)

On 3/28/2017 at 5:05 PM, mererdog said:

"require" for what? And how do you measure the size of a claim? Or a proof, for that matter?

That's the heard of my question.  I have heard it said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  But I have never seen the analysis to back up that assertion...and looking at it in the subjective, which is what it seems to be, well...that leaves me with some conundrums to consider for a while. 

The typical argument is made by the Atheist who claims to be logical.  But, if extraordinary is subjective, then how logical is it to apply the same standard(theirs) to everyone else's argument?  The use of logical methods is commendable, at least in my subjective view.  Understanding fallacy, where such can lead, how things piece together, these are all useful.  But add in something as subjective as the term "extraordinary" and it seems to me that it gums up the works, so to speak.

Edited by cuchulain

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

But add in something as subjective as the term "extraordinary" and it seems to me that it gums up the works, so to speak.

Subjective terms lead inevitably to equivocation and special pleading.

Edited by mererdog

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It is my subjective opinion that, though logic has its place, human brains do not operate logically. Way too much emphasis is placed on logic. The world operates on voodoo and magic. Look at history, look at current events. I bet you can't find a hint of logic outside science and the science deniers are on the rise.

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1 hour ago, Brother Kaman said:

It is my subjective opinion that, though logic has its place, human brains do not operate logically.

Amen to that.

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There are different layers of proof that might be asked for, depending on the claim.

1.  There is a Bigfoot living in my apartment.

2.  He is fluent in English.

3.  He writes wonderful original poetry.

4.  He was born on Mars.

At every step along the way, the claims become more extreme.  The burden of proof also becomes more extreme.

 

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17 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

At every step along the way, the claims become more extreme.  

 Imagine you already knew a Bigfoot that lived on Mars and wrote English poetry. None of the claims you mention would seem very extreme to you, right? So, honestly speaking, this isnt about qualities of the claims, but about our own prejudices. Some claims reinforce what we already believe and some go against what we already believe. That is the difference.

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3 hours ago, mererdog said:

 Imagine you already knew a Bigfoot that lived on Mars and wrote English poetry. None of the claims you mention would seem very extreme to you, right? So, honestly speaking, this isnt about qualities of the claims, but about our own prejudices. Some claims reinforce what we already believe and some go against what we already believe. That is the difference.

1.  Would it be helpful to speak of "evidence" instead of "proof"?

2.  I never defined what I meant by "bigfoot".  Much like conversations about God -- we are discussing evidence for the existence of something that has no definition.

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On 3/30/2017 at 10:06 AM, cuchulain said:

That's the heard of my question.  I have heard it said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  But I have never seen the analysis to back up that assertion...and looking at it in the subjective, which is what it seems to be, well...that leaves me with some conundrums to consider for a while. 

The typical argument is made by the Atheist who claims to be logical.  But, if extraordinary is subjective, then how logical is it to apply the same standard(theirs) to everyone else's argument?  The use of logical methods is commendable, at least in my subjective view.  Understanding fallacy, where such can lead, how things piece together, these are all useful.  But add in something as subjective as the term "extraordinary" and it seems to me that it gums up the works, so to speak.

 

 

On 3/28/2017 at 9:40 AM, cuchulain said:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.  This is something that has been bandied about by others and myself, but I began wondering about it today.  I thought I would ask for some perspectives.  Do you believe this statement, and if so why.  If you don't, why not?

My perspective until now has been to accept this statement, but I think in examining my reasoning it is mostly based upon personal bias against Theism in most of it's forms.  So I am reevaluating whether this is true.  I still tend towards believing it is true.  I mean, I could claim I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.  I doubt many people would require video evidence before believing me.  On the other hand, if I claimed I could fly without the aid of machine I am fairly certain I would either be disbelieved immediately or asked for substantial proof(such as demonstrating my newfound ability).  Even if I could fly in such a manner, I do not think I would mind terribly if someone didn't believe the claim without evidence that was credible.

 

Greetings to you my brother,

I can only speak for myself here.  When I consider my own faith (a very liberal form of Christianity that is influenced by what is called Process Theology, and the Arminianism of John Wesley), I would have to freely admit that what I believe in cannot be proved by the scientific method.  I know full well that because I was born into a Christian family and lived in a society where Christianity in its varied forms is pretty much the majority religion, I have a predisposition to be attracted to Christianity as the belief system that makes the most sense to me.  Over the years through both formal study and independent research my faith has been modified to reject much of what I had believed in my youth (in my 20's and early 30's I would have been considered a neo-orthodox Christian).  But my basic belief in Christianity has never left.

Now I cannot prove that what I believe in is historically accurate.  Within the Holy Scriptures are many inconsistencies, much that seems to be taken from older religious traditions, and evidence in the Gospels that the authors were more interested in making their personal points than in giving an unbiased view of the life of Jesus and his teachings.  Frankly, there was a time in my life when I was really bothered by the fact that I cannot point to my faith and say I can prove that what I believe is the truth in the same way that I could point to the Sun and say I know the earth revolves around it and here are the reasons why, then give scientific evidence that cannot be refuted.

Matters of faith though are not things that can easily be proven or disproven, especially issues of faith that are at the central core of ones beliefs.  For example, there is no way to prove via the scientific method the existence or non-existence of God.  It would be illogical even to try.  In science, one can never prove anything with absolute, 100% certainty.  That is one of the main points of Science.  All that can ever truthfully be said is that, "according to the best evidence we have right now" such and such theory is believed to be true.  Science is always open to new ideas, always ready to accept that an idea that once was considered the truth was in fact not so, as long as new evidence is produced that is convincing enough to cast doubts on old theories.  Faith though is not dependent on evidence (though most people of faith have come to their belief system by taking whatever scriptures and teachings they have been exposed to, as well as their personal experiences)  and used these as a way in their own minds to see the "truth" of their particular belief structure.   Faith is like love, in that it is something we cannot always explain.  I for example have no idea at all why my wife of 40 years would choose to love me.  I have multiple faults, can be a royal pain in the behind when I get moody, have very little in the way of handyman skills.  But yet, she loves me with all my faults and failings.  Not really rational, but there it is.  I love Christianity as I understand it with a passion.  I know that historically Christianity has not always been a force for good in the world.  I know much of what we consider to be Holy Scripture is historically suspect, and sometimes as our Brother Gnostic Bishop loves to point out, gives a picture of God that is not very flattering.  But when I consider the teachings of Jesus that are in Scripture, when I consider the passion I feel toward him, and when I weigh the evidence as I understand it, I have the proof I need.  It may not be convincing to others, and that's ok.  I don't need to prove my own faith or disprove anyone elses.  In matters of faith, all that is important is what you beleive, and what meaning it brings to your life.

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

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2 hours ago, Rev. Calli said:

 

Greetings to you my brother,

I can only speak for myself here.  When I consider my own faith (a very liberal form of Christianity that is influenced by what is called Process Theology, and the Arminianism of John Wesley), I would have to freely admit that what I believe in cannot be proved by the scientific method.  I know full well that because I was born into a Christian family and lived in a society where Christianity in its varied forms is pretty much the majority religion, I have a predisposition to be attracted to Christianity as the belief system that makes the most sense to me.  Over the years through both formal study and independent research my faith has been modified to reject much of what I had believed in my youth (in my 20's and early 30's I would have been considered a neo-orthodox Christian).  But my basic belief in Christianity has never left.

Now I cannot prove that what I believe in is historically accurate.  Within the Holy Scriptures are many inconsistencies, much that seems to be taken from older religious traditions, and evidence in the Gospels that the authors were more interested in making their personal points than in giving an unbiased view of the life of Jesus and his teachings.  Frankly, there was a time in my life when I was really bothered by the fact that I cannot point to my faith and say I can prove that what I believe is the truth in the same way that I could point to the Sun and say I know the earth revolves around it and here are the reasons why, then give scientific evidence that cannot be refuted.

Matters of faith though are not things that can easily be proven or disproven, especially issues of faith that are at the central core of ones beliefs.  For example, there is no way to prove via the scientific method the existence or non-existence of God.  It would be illogical even to try.  In science, one can never prove anything with absolute, 100% certainty.  That is one of the main points of Science.  All that can ever truthfully be said is that, "according to the best evidence we have right now" such and such theory is believed to be true.  Science is always open to new ideas, always ready to accept that an idea that once was considered the truth was in fact not so, as long as new evidence is produced that is convincing enough to cast doubts on old theories.  Faith though is not dependent on evidence (though most people of faith have come to their belief system by taking whatever scriptures and teachings they have been exposed to, as well as their personal experiences)  and used these as a way in their own minds to see the "truth" of their particular belief structure.   Faith is like love, in that it is something we cannot always explain.  I for example have no idea at all why my wife of 40 years would choose to love me.  I have multiple faults, can be a royal pain in the behind when I get moody, have very little in the way of handyman skills.  But yet, she loves me with all my faults and failings.  Not really rational, but there it is.  I love Christianity as I understand it with a passion.  I know that historically Christianity has not always been a force for good in the world.  I know much of what we consider to be Holy Scripture is historically suspect, and sometimes as our Brother Gnostic Bishop loves to point out, gives a picture of God that is not very flattering.  But when I consider the teachings of Jesus that are in Scripture, when I consider the passion I feel toward him, and when I weigh the evidence as I understand it, I have the proof I need.  It may not be convincing to others, and that's ok.  I don't need to prove my own faith or disprove anyone elses.  In matters of faith, all that is important is what you beleive, and what meaning it brings to your life.

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

In our personal philosophy, we all have growth and development.  Assuming of course that we are growing and developing as human beings.  Your humanity is sound enough.  The rest is detail.

:thumbu:

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Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

1.  Would it be helpful to speak of "evidence" instead of "proof"?

Not if you are still insisting that some are bigger or more extreme than others. Evidence and proof are defined based on ability to convince. Without that, it is just so much data. As such, the more an argument or fact resonates with a specific audience, the more effective it will be as proof for that specific audience. Use the same evidence with a different audience, and it falls flat. Focus on qualities of the evidence, to the point where you ignore the interpretive process when evidence interacts with audience, and you won't use evidence effectively.

Edited by mererdog

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, mererdog said:

Not if you are still insisting that some are bigger or more extreme than others. Evidence and proof are defined based on ability to convince. Without that, it is just so much data. As such, the more an argument or fact resonates with a specific audience, the more effective it will be as proof for that specific audience. Use the same evidence with a different audience, and it falls flat. Focus on qualities of the evidence, to the point where you ignore the interpretive process when evidence interacts with audience, and you won't use evidence effectively.

You think that all claims require the same amount of evidence?

Tell me that I need Vitamin C to avoid scurvy and I'll consider the evidence.

Tell me that I need Jesus to avoid Hell Fire -- that has to be some good evidence.

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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