CCC and I were talking on another thread, and I responded to his comment, on the topic of religion. Rather than derail the original conversation, we decided to continue it here.

Here's the main point of my response, just for reference (original here):

I find your post very interesting, because I tend to respond almost exactly the same way when someone asks me why I'm an atheist. ... Anyway, I find it really curious that we can disagree so completely while employing seemingly identical lines of reasoning.

So, CCC, here are a couple things that I'm curious... (read more)


You also said that " there are parts of the Bible that are not intended to be taken literally". What process do you use to determine which parts were intended to be taken literally, and which weren't ?

Piping in a month later: originally, this is what the Talmud was for. It contains very precise and detailed debates on exactly what's literal, what's allegorical, and what's probably just metaphor for something that wasn't quite so miraculous when it really happened.

4CCC6yI started with merely a reasonably strong prior (above 50%), and found some non-massive amount of evidence to reinforce it. However, should I find evidence that contradicts my position, there will be a number of possible explanations. First is that the evidence is a true sign that my position is incorrect; second is that the evidence has been presented in such a way as to be more convincing than it really is; third is that the evidence has been faked, by a particularly aggressive militant atheist. (There may be further possibilities as well, but let us consider these three for the moment). Now, this is a subject of great importance. One of the reasons why it is of great importance is the question of the afterlife (specifically, whether it exists or not). Since it is a subject of such great importance, it is of equal importance that I take caution when updating. Specifically, I must take particular care to avoid deliberate attempts at deception. In order to do this, I must first evaluate any evidence I recieve to see what the odds are that it could have been produced, or selected, in a deliberate effort to pull the wool over my eyes. I know that aggressive militant athiests exist. I know that there are people out there, convinced that God does not exist, who will go to great effort - including subterfuge and deliberate deception - to convince others of this view. Such people have a clear motive for elaborate deceptions. In order to pass the bar for being considered 'massively convincing' evidence, the evidence must pass the following test: it must be more likely that the evidence is a true sign that God does not exist, than it is that the evidence has been either faked or cherry-picked in order to support the atheist hypothesis. It is the same process as I use to determine whether a given piece of writing is fiction or non-fiction. I consider, given what little I know of history, and what I know of fiction, and what I know of human nature, and come to a decision

Open Thread: March 4 - 10

by Coscott 1 min read4th Mar 2014391 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.