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Author Topic:   Subjective Evidence of Gods (Straggler & Chuck77 Only)
Straggler
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 1 of 12 (623533)
07-10-2011 7:46 PM


Great Debate (Straggler & Chuck77 Only)
Over in the Peanut Gallery the never-ending inductive atheism debate continues......

But Chuck77 has specifically cited subjective evidence as something that should be taken into account. Nor is he alone in advocating this form of "evidence" in this context. So I would like to start a thread specifically on the nature and validity of subjective evidence as applied to belief in gods.

I would like to ask the following:

1) What subjective evidence in favour of the existence of gods is there? Can someone provide some actual examples of this form of evidence?

2) Is subjective evidence limited to entities that can be empirically detected or not?

3) On what basis (aside from belief) is the cause of these subjective experiences attributed to supernatural entities rather than to fluctuations in the matrix, undetectable telepathic aliens manipulating our minds or any other conceivable cause of such things?

4) Is belief itself a form of evidence on which we can justify belief?

Edited by AdminPD, : Great Debate Warning

Edited by AdminPD, : Color Change


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Chuck77, posted 07-12-2011 12:56 AM Straggler has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 4 of 12 (623629)
07-12-2011 3:19 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Chuck77
07-12-2011 12:56 AM


Re: Great Debate (Straggler & Chuck77 Only)
You use the word “evidence” but don’t actually seem to cite anything other than belief. If we are to meaningfully talk about subjective experiences as a form of “evidence” we need to distinguish between these two things don't we? Let's focus on that.

Straggler writes:

On what basis (aside from belief) is the cause of these subjective experiences attributed to supernatural entities rather than to fluctuations in the matrix, undetectable telepathic aliens manipulating our minds or any other conceivable cause of such things?

Chuck writes:

In my instance and MANY others I know we know who it is we are communicating with. I know for a fact, based on my own experience that it is God almighty I’m talking to.

How exactly do you know this? Can you describe exactly what this claim of “fact” is based upon?

Straggler writes:

Is subjective evidence limited to entities that can be empirically detected or not?

Chuck writes:

You mean like tea leaves?

No. I mean is God able to be empirically detected? Is God audible? Visually detectable? If not how exactly are you detecting his presence and communicating with him? Is it all inside your head?

Straggler writes:

Is belief itself a form of evidence on which we can justify belief?

Chuck writes:

Sure, if your belief is the result of the supernatural being bringing you into a relationship with Himself.

If you are seriously suggesting that believing in God qualifies as evidence of God's existence and that such evidence in turn justifies belief in God then I can only point out the blatant circularity of this.

Chuck writes:

Any "evidence" i.e. The Bible, answered prayer etc. is subjective.

Not all evidence is subjective. If it was we wouldn't have objective evidence for anything would we?

Chuck writes:

I once prayed that my shoulder pain would be taken away.

How many such prayers around the world have not resulted in the desired outcome? How many of your own prayers have not had such effects? Have you ever heard of confirmation bias?

Chuck writes:

The supernatural being is speaking, therefore it's no longer a question to me whether He exists, but a fact. Just like you don't "believe" in Evolution we don't "believe" in God. We know God is real.

Evolutionary theory is supported by masses of objective empirical evidence, is falsifiable and is able to make testable predictions. It is an extremely high confidence theory for these reasons but – No – I wouldn’t say that it is known to be true in the absolute philosophical sense you seem to mean. All science is tentative to some extent. Uncertainty is simply a necessary fact of evidence based investigation. But anyway - Subjective experiences of the sort under discussion here really have nothing to do with evolutionary theory at all.

Chuck writes:

We know God is real.

I am sure you believe this. But belief isn’t evidence is it?

So – Can you give an example of a subjective experience that reliably indicates the existence of God and explain why you think this experience was caused by God rather than any of the other conceivable things that could be responsible for causing that experience?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Chuck77, posted 07-12-2011 12:56 AM Chuck77 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Chuck77, posted 07-12-2011 4:40 AM Straggler has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 6 of 12 (623639)
07-12-2011 6:31 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Chuck77
07-12-2011 4:40 AM


Re: Great Debate (Straggler & Chuck77 Only)
Chuck writes:

In my instance and MANY others I know we know who it is we are communicating with. I know for a fact, based on my own experience that it is God almighty I’m talking to.

Straggler writes:

How exactly do you know this? Can you describe exactly what this claim of “fact” is based upon?

Chuck writes:

The same way you know when you call your friend Joe that it's Him.

Well let's get specific - Exactly how do you know that your friend Joe is real rather than imaginary?

Chuck writes:

What would a jury say?

If I expressed to a jury my deep conviction that the act in question wasn't committed by me but was instead undertaken by my friend Joe whose presence they will only be able to detect if they embrace belief in his existence - I think the jury would quite justifiably consider me to be delusional.

Chuck writes:

This is the kind of faith that is rewarded, all you have to do is believe, THEN you can know and your FAITH is rewarded.

Likewise Allah? Vishnu? If I believe in them no doubt my faith will be rewarded in them too. No?

Chuck writes:

Straggler writes:

No. I mean is God able to be empirically detected? Is God audible? Visually detectable? If not how exactly are you detecting his presence and communicating with him? Is it all inside your head?

God can be audible yes.

Then our audio detection and recording instruments should be able to record God speaking shouldn't they?

Chuck writes:

Not me tho.

Yet you communicate with God - How so? Are you claiming to have some sort of god detecting sixth sense?

Chuck writes:

Jesus can appear to anyone he chooses.

As apparently can Allah, Vishnu, Zeus etc. etc etc. Isn't it amazing how numerous mutually exclusive deities can all appear at will and thus all provide "evidence" of their mutually exclusive existence? Maybe this suggests that the standards of evidence believers are applying leaves something to be desired?

Chuck writes:

Ive personally never seem jesus visually but felt His presense undeniably.

Do you think feelings derived from deep personal conviction are a reliable method of distinguishing between wishful thinking and fact?

Chuck writes:

The evidence is that tons of people can attest to this.

Are you aware that argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy?

Chuck writes:

It's not a coincidence that EVERY believer has some kind of story that ALL of us can relate to

Of course it isn't coincidence. The objective evidence strongly favours the conclusion that humans are extremely psychologically prone to putting unjustifiable faith in feelings and believing things for reasons that have little to do with veracity and everything to do with the very human need and desire for such things to be true.

Chuck writes:

It's not blind faith. This is the kind of faith that is rewarded, all you have to do is believe, THEN you can know and your FAITH is rewarded. No longer "blind faith". It takes believing to find out.

If you believe then the evidence will be forthcoming - Hallelujah. This is exactly the sort of recipe for confirmation bias, selective reasoning and ultimately false conclusions that the methods of science have been constructed to combat.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Chuck77, posted 07-12-2011 4:40 AM Chuck77 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Chuck77, posted 07-13-2011 12:38 AM Straggler has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 8 of 12 (623799)
07-13-2011 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Chuck77
07-13-2011 12:38 AM


Re: Great Debate (Straggler & Chuck77 Only)
In my last post I asked you this question:

Straggler writes:

Exactly how do you know that your friend Joe is real rather than imaginary?

Not only did you evade the question but in doing so the contradictions in your position have begun to unravel. You started out in this thread stating that you know for a fact that God exists. However you now seem to be declaring that anything which cannot be proven is merely a subjective assumption. Unless you are claiming proof of God’s existence it would seem that by the terms of your own argument your “knowledge” of God’s existence is based on nothing more than a subjective assumption.

Chuck writes:

You just assume everything went right and your parents are who they say they are?

Whilst absolute certainty isn’t possible nor can this conclusion be accurately described as a mere assumption. But let us consider this issue of uncertainty with regard to whether or not Joe is real or imagined. We can come back to my parentage later if you so wish.

Chuck writes:

Everything is subjective until you can PROVE it.

No. Everything is uncertain until proven. But not all unproven conclusions demand equal uncertainty. Consider the following subjective experience:

SCENARIO1: I am walking back from the pub. After a beer too many I am a little bit the worse for wear. It’s late. Nobody is around. There are no witnesses. I bump into Joe, a friend who lives locally. He greets me with a shake of the hand, tells me that he is going to the all-night-shop to get some milk and also informs me that a mutual friend of ours has become a father of a healthy baby girl in the last hour or so. Noticing my unsteadiness and bleary eyes he laughingly sends me on my way home with a pat on the back and a wave.

Now I have no PROOF that I met Joe on the way back from the pub last night. I cannot even PROVE that Joe actually exists to a degree of absolute philosophical certainty. And I am sure that you cannot PROVE that God exists or PROVE that you have subjectively experienced his presence. So where does that leave us? Is my knowledge of Joe’s existence and even my knowledge of meeting him last night really on an equal footing to your “knowledge” of God’s existence and the subjective experiences you attribute to his presence?

I say not. What do you say?

Chuck writes:

It's pretty arrogant of me to think I "know" God exists, huh?

It may or may not be arrogant. But it does demonstrate that you are conflating deep personal conviction with knowledge.

Chuck on audio recording the voice of God writes:

And would you believe it if someone did get it on audio?

If the recorded voice of God told us verifiable things that it would be impossible to know otherwise this would indeed add great weight to the claims of those who say they communicate with God. It would be strong evidence that they have actually experienced something objectively real and significant rather than imagined and of little consequence to anyone but themselves.

Chuck writes:

Straggler writes:

Yet you communicate with God - How so? Are you claiming to have some sort of god detecting sixth sense?

YES, my spirit.

So before it is even possible for you to have these god detecting experiences that you want us to accept as evidence we must first baselessly assume that you have an undetectable immaterial spirit. This is not an evidentially strong position is it?

Chuck writes:

If I went by the way I feel I'd never get outta bed in the morning.

Yet you consider feelings of God’s presence to be reliable evidence of God’s actual existence. Aside from conviction you have no more basis for attributing these feelings to God’s presence than to fluctuations in the Matrix or any other conceivable cause. So how can you call these experiences evidence of God?

Chuck writes:

Now you're asking me to bring Science into it and if I can't then all I have is confirmation bias?

No. Your confirmation bias manifests itself in attributing the cause of your subjective experiences to God. There is no reason to suppose such experiences are caused by God other than your conviction that they are.

Chuck on argumentum ad populum writes:

I assume they didn't since a majority ruling is needed to decide hearings.

Majority decision making has been found to be one of the better methods of deciding how best to organise and govern a society. But it has also been found to be a woefully unreliable and inaccurate method of discerning what is actually real and what is not. If it worked we wouldn't bother conducting scientific research to find things out we would just ask people what they believe about the nature of reality and then take a vote.

Chuck writes:

There's a lot of good that can come from belief.

Both good and bad can come from belief. Whether the belief in question is false or otherwise. But this has nothing to do with the validity of subjective evidence.

Chuck writes:

Christianity is the original faith, starting with Adam and Eve.

This is just historically inaccurate but of absolutely no relevance to this discussion whatsoever either way.

Chuck writes:

You put them all on the same level of quality? Or do some stand out as more reputable than others?

Certainly some claims of knowledge are better founded than others. But it is you who is suggesting that all things which are not proven are equally subjective.

Chuck writes:

Im taking the same position as bluegenes as "knowing" God exists as he "knows" "the only source of supernatural beings is the imagination".

Bluegenes himself is more than capable of explaining why you are wrong about his position. See Message 1218.

Chuck writes:

I say there is more subjective evidence FOR God than against.

The question in this thread is whether or not the subjective experiences you attribute to God are evidence of God's existence at all. If someone had the exact same subjective experience and chose to attribute that experience to a fluctuation in the matrix would that experience qualify as evidence that the Matrix exists?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Chuck77, posted 07-13-2011 12:38 AM Chuck77 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Chuck77, posted 07-15-2011 12:35 AM Straggler has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 10 of 12 (623996)
07-15-2011 8:09 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Chuck77
07-15-2011 12:35 AM


Re: Great Debate (Straggler & Chuck77 Only)
Chuck writes:

Straggler, im taking the impossible position here.

It is only impossible because with only a small amount of thought it becomes evident that what you are calling "evidence" amounts to nothing more than deep personal conviction.

Chuck writes:

Obviously you think subjective evidence is useless.

I think that claiming that you can know something because you have had a feeling or a vision or a dream or some other wholly subjective experience is a deeply deeply flawed approach to distinguishing between knowledge and belief.

Chuck writes:

When im here for 5 more years then I can prove the existance of God to you better than now? Better than Craig has or tried?

Chuck this obsession with proof that you and so many other theists exhibit is a considerable stumbling block to communication. To the extent of absolute philosophical certainty nobody can prove that God does or doesn't exist. But to that pedantic and pointless degree nor can anybody prove that their friend "Joe" does or does not exist. This doesn't mean that both are equally evidenced or that it is equally reasonable to believe in the existence of both Joe and God. It simply means that we are talking about evidenced based conclusions and degrees of certainty rather than absolute knowledge.

With that in mind maybe you can try and better understand the arguments of those who propose that gods are more likely to be products of human imagination than to genuinely exist.

Chuck writes:

Wheather it's in person or just sensing His presense. No it's not in your head. Just like if your friend Joe stopped by, you would know it wasn;t your imagination.

You say that you have never seen, heard or otherwise empirically experienced God. But you do claim to have non-empirically felt the presence of God and communicated with him via your immaterial and undetectable spirit. In order for anyone to accept your subjective experiences as a form of evidence they must first assume that you actually possess an immaterial spirit that allows you to interact with God in this non-empirical manner.

But why would anyone make this baseless assumption rather than conclude that it is far more likely that these experiences are sourced from the internal workings of the human mind in a way that we know humans are demonstrably capable of and prone to doing?

Aside from human belief there is nothing to link the experiences that are being cited as evidence in favour of God's existence to the actual existence of God.

That is the problem with subjective "evidence".

Edited by Straggler, : Grammar


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Chuck77, posted 07-15-2011 12:35 AM Chuck77 has taken no action

Straggler
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 11 of 12 (624053)
07-15-2011 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminPD
07-11-2011 8:42 AM


Open Up The Topic?
Given that Chuck doesn't want a 1 on 1 anymore can this thread be opened up more generally as originally intended when I wrote the OP?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by AdminPD, posted 07-11-2011 8:42 AM AdminPD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by AdminPD, posted 07-15-2011 8:19 PM Straggler has taken no action

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