The Shame of Non-Evidence

“The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.” –Thomas H. Huxley

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“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” –Christopher Hitchens

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“It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”  –William K. Clifford

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“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” –Carl Sagan

 

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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
This entry was posted in atheist, belief, christopher hitchens, Common Sense, deceived, faith, fallacious reasoning, freethinker, god, laws of logic, logic, occam's razor, philosophy, probability of God, quote, reason, reasonable evidence, religion, religion vs. science, scientist, skeptic, skepticism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Shame of Non-Evidence

  1. Awesome ascii art… Picard face palm? right?

  2. unkleE says:

    Hi Marcus,

    We haven’t conversed for a while. I still follow and read your blog, but I don’t comment much now. I thought this post gave me an opportunity to comment and to explain why I have stopped commenting (until now). You have always been very friendly and welcoming to me, so I hope this is helpful rather than hurtful.

    It seems to me that there is a vast understanding gulf between most christians and most atheists. This post provides a few examples that I thought worth mentioning:

    1. I of course don’t know your reasons for posting this, but many atheists make these points against christians, believing that christians don’t base their beliefs on evidence but on faith, which the atheists define as being anti-evidence. This despite the fact that christians say this is a misunderstanding of faith. So there’s the gulf straight away.

    I think this occurs because atheists can point to christians who do treat faith this way. But equally, I could point to unbelievers who are thoughtless about their beliefs. As I see it, thoughtful and committed atheists and christians alike have evidence for their beliefs, they just disagree about what is the best evidence. Likewise, less thoughtful and less committed non-believers and believers don’t think much about evidence at all.

    It may be an effective argument technique to compare thoughtful atheists with unthinking christians, but it doesn’t help come to truth and it doesn’t earn respect.

    2. When atheists talk about evidence, they often mean scientific type evidence. (Of course I don’t know if this is how you mean it.) This despite the facts that (1) you cannot supply scientific evidence to support the very statements you have quoted (their truth or otherwise is determined on other grounds), and (2) few atheists require scientific type evidence for most other parts of their life. So there is a glaring inconsistency, it seems to me.

    3. Several of your statements are especially contestible. I think most philosophers would agree that Sagan’s ECREE is quite mistaken and begs several questions. Clifford’s and Huxley’s statements sound like ethics, but how can an atheist support ethics as anything other than a personal choice? And if a personal choice, how can it be promoted the way it is as an absolute? Hitchens is the one statement I fully agree with, but like I said above, it applies to believers and non-believers alike – and I think I can show just as much reason as the non-believer. (In fact, when Hitchens debated WL Craig, Craig had much more of the reason and evidence, though Hitchens had more humour and emotion, which may have won the audience more than Craig’s logic – go figure!)

    So I believe here, and in other of your more atheistic posts, you are espousing views that are from the other side of a gulf that you are not really attempting to bridge. That is fine – it is your blog and your worldview. But I thought it might be helpful to know that this christian at least thinks you are starting from a heap of misunderstandings and arguable premises and that make discussion a bit pointless. Doubtless you and your blog don’t need my opinions, but I thought as old friends I would at least share why I have gone silent.

    Best wishes to you.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      Sorry for the delay in commenting…

      I sometimes find myself think, what should I say if a particular christian friend ask me why I am not a christian. Should I go through my entire deconversion? or should I tell him my six top reasons I am not a christian. https://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/why-i-am-no-longer-a-christian/ or One that I have recently considered using….’I don’t have a reason to believe that God exist.”

      Whenever I have gotten into the few conversations why I am not a christian, or why I am an atheist. I always to tend to get a last ditch argument of FAITH. That it should be about faith, and not reasoning nor evidence. And for me when I hear that I interpret that as saying I don’t need evidence, all I need is blind faith. And that sounds shameful. Really I put these quotes, because they really remind of why and what I would ever need to ever believer again…..EVIDENCE and SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.

      The facepalm I put in there cause I thought it looked cool…:), but thank for the comment..

  3. unklee-

    you said

    “Clifford’s and Huxley’s statements sound like ethics, but how can an atheist support ethics as anything other than a personal choice? And if a personal choice, how can it be promoted the way it is as an absolute?”

    I think it’s safe to assume that all people have to make personal choices, in other words, it is a universal experience. Just like our need for air.

    It’s an absolute in the sense that all of us will have to do it at some point in our lives.

  4. unkleE says:

    “I think it’s safe to assume that all people have to make personal choices, in other words, it is a universal experience.”

    Yes, I agree completely. My problem is not there, but with the strength of the statements. “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone” doesn’t sound like a personal choice to me but an objective general statement of absolute truth. The two don’t go together, do you agree?

  5. Pingback: The Skeptic Vs. The Miracle….. #Buying a Miracle | The BitterSweet End

  6. unkleE says:

    Marcus, you should read this discussion of Clifford’s Principle.

    • Arkenaten says:

      It s a crappy argument and about as worn out as an ancient pair of shoes.
      The last sentences defines god belief and how ridiculous it truly is.

      ”So how can I lose? Even if they are illusions, believing in God and the soul incurs no costs and disbelieving brings no benefits. ”

      What utter irreconcilable garbage.

  7. Pingback: Religion vs. Science: How they are fundamentally incompatible? | The BitterSweet End

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