71 thoughts on “Skeptics”

  1. The article says;
    At PopMech, we advocate that a healthy dose of skepticism is needed to be an informed consumer of science.

    The fact of the matter is that they need to drop the last two words, for skepticism is required to be an informed consumer of anything, not just science.

    1. Is skepticism required to be an informed consumer of religious faith?

      But that’s not my problem. My problem is that I don’t know what amount of skepticism constitutes “a healthy dose of skepticism”. The video only increases my skepticism about my ability to avoid an overdose.

      1. Personally, I’m skeptical that there can be such a thing as too much skepticism. 🙂

      2. Is skepticism required to be an informed consumer of religious faith?

        Yes. The bible says believers should let their reasonableness be known to all.

        Gullibility is not faith according to Hebrews and Romans.

  2. “Is skepticism required to be an informed consumer of religious faith? ”

    Is this some sort of knock against people of faith? Why would you insert this question, as it’s irrelevant to the topic? You got some sort of anti-religious ax to grind? Think your pretty swell because you think you have lodged a contradiction in religious thinking?

    I think you do.

    And I say that as a person who is NOT a person of faith. However I respect their freedom to do as they please. Clearly you do not.

    But to answer your snide, sarcastic, irrelevant and inflamatory question of course skepticism is required:

    When people first start to read the Bible they often pray for guidance, inspiration and understanding. This is because they know they are fallible and can get the interpretation wrong. There were many debates and several serious wars over this.

    To know whether or not you understand something correctly, you have to have skepticism about your own position. This is something Marxist-Socialists, Leftie-fascists and Obama-bots, such as yourself, entirely lack.

    And yes I introduced Obamabots et. al. into the reply even though it’s irrelevant to the question – I did it on purpose so you’d *maybe* notice a little bit how it feels to be the target of stupid, vindictive, sarcastic and irrelevant questions such as yours.

    1. Bob-1’s standard approach on almost any topic is to pose irrelevant questions in an attempt to hijack the thread. He’s the SQUIRREL! Master.

      1. Arizona CJ said “skepticism is required to be an informed consumer of anything, not just science.”

        Whenever I see an expansive claim like that, I try to think of a counter-example, as a way to test the claim. This is not strange behavior for a skeptic. In fact, Gregg and Larry, I bet each of you do it too, because you’re capable of thinking critically.

        I don’t think I said anything very clever, but then again, “Be skeptical” is not exactly sophisticated advice, and I was trying to work with the material I was offered.

        Faith (including religion but also anything else you choose to take on faith, like sports advocacy – eg “The Mountain Lions, we’re the BEST!!!1!”) is the one area where skepticism isn’t going to help, so I mentioned it. And hey, maybe someone wants to disagree. Maybe someone wants to argue that skepticism and faith can co-exist nicely – this could be an interesting claim.

        I also thought the phrase “healthy dose” of skepticism could be interesting. An underdose is the usual state of affairs, but can there be an “overdose”? I think so, although it is very difficult to say how to figure that out.

        I enjoyed Arizona CJ’s reply – he took my comment in exactly the spirit which it was offered. (Thank you CJ.)

        Maybe the two of you are being a bit too skeptical about my motives here. Or maybe you’re so sure that I’m up to no good that you’re not being skeptical enough about own prejudices.

        1. “Maybe the two of you are being a bit too skeptical about my motives here.”

          Hard to do given your history.

          And given that your question is so wholly unrelated, I’m willing to bet you were engaging in snark.

          You see, lefties and sychophants such as yourself think that alternative explanations MUST be taken at face value even when common sense says otherwise. Hence we get things like Carney’s ridiculous reply on Benghazi emails and your mushy response.

        2. Maybe someone wants to argue that skepticism and faith can co-exist nicely – this could be an interesting claim.

          Sorry you’re so simple minded. Perhaps if you’d had a Catholic education…

          1. Ha ha! Have you seen Aquinas’ proofs that God exists? Do you want to talk about why they are silly?

          2. I bring up Aquinas’ proofs as an example of his sloppy thinking, but I do admire his attitude.

          3. However, lack of religious faith also requires faith of a kind. Nobody knows the origin of the universe, or of life itself. Why does DNA even exist? What makes those atoms, in Douglas Adams’ turn of phrase, cling together in the most extraordinarily unlikely fashion, and replicate their patterns?

            Being an atheist requires an extraordinary measure of faith. The only scientifically valid position is agnosticism.

          4. Bart, I reject faith as a means of knowledge. No faith here. That makes me an atheist. So either 1) your claim is false, or 2) my claim to having rejected faith and holding none is false. For 2) to be false, I must be holding some faith unconsciously (or you can be uncivil and call me a liar). I would prefer not to hold any faith, consciously or unconsciously, so please be a good Samaritan and help me identify this faith so that I may or may not hold so that I can eradicate it if it exists in the dark recesses of my mind.

            That or change your mind and state that your bold assertion is false.

            Btw, ignorance doesn’t require faith, it requires acceptance, and hopefully it inspires some curiosity.

          5. Sorry if it ruffles your feathers but, if faith is the belief in something which cannot be proved, then belief in there being no deity is as much a leap of faith as belief in there being one.

            We have such a built-in fear of the unknown that few are willing to state simply that they don’t know. We must insist that we know the unknown, and moreover that those who disagree with our view are fools.

            I am fiercely agnostic. I insist vehemently that I have no vehement viewpoint. But, in the current day and age, with atheism ascendant, and its obnoxious proselytizers every bit as pugnacious as the hardliners whom they seek to replace, I tend to side with the religionists. At least they have, as their model, a fellow who insisted it would be a good thing to be nice to each other.

          6. No ruffled feathers here. Well said. I agree with your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. I think there are more motivations than just fear though, like ambition for power enabled by exploiting the ignorance of others, among more innocuous motivations like loyalty to tradition, but the underlying desire to explain away our ignorance is fundamental, regardless of the emotional motivator.

            But taking any deity out of it, you stated a couple postulates of the form B is A or B is not-A. The excluded middle being what it is, one postulate is true and the other is false. You said yourself that B is A requires faith, it lacks evidence to support it. That leaves B is not-A, which we can only assume is true, as long as evidence supporting B is A is undiscovered.

            More to the particular formulation of your statements re: deity:
            ‘B is A’ requires only one piece of evidence to show it is necessarily true. It can be strongly verified (or proven).
            ‘B is not-A’ requires more than infinite evidence to show it is necessarily true, because future experience needs only 1 piece of evidence that ‘B is A’ is true to refute it. ‘B is not-A’ can only be weakly verified. An infinite amount of evidence may support it, but even with that, it only takes one piece of evidence to refute it.

            That is why I don’t think agnosticism is a rational position. It answers the claim of ‘B is A’ with “maybe, I don’t know”, where atheism answers the same claim with “show me the evidence, don’t have any? then I reject the claim.”

            Atheism is merely the rejection of particular claim made by the non-atheist. It is not a claim of its own. For it to be otherwise would actually be kind of silly – why bother thinking up subjects for which they have no evidence, just to assert that those subjects don’t exist?

          7. Atheism is not merely a statement of lack of belief, it is an assertion of the iniquity of belief. Without that assertion, it becomes agnosticism.

            Your binary worldview notwithstanding, we have more than two choices. In digital logic, there actually is a third possibility. We have A, not-A, and “d”.

        3. “Maybe someone wants to argue that skepticism and faith can co-exist nicely – this could be an interesting claim.”

          I did that in my original reply.

          Clearly you didn’t read it. Which is why it’s very easy to be skeptical of your motives and extemely difficult to be over skeptical.

          But you’ve swayed the discussion from the main topic long enough.

          You are dismissed.

  3. Actually, I’d like one more time at bat, if that’s ok with you.

    Why is faith itself, not religion, not belief in God, but faith, the act of having faith in something, how is it compatible with skepticism? Isn’t “having faith” the act of believing in something even if there is an absence of sufficient evidence? If so, isn’t that equivalent to failing to be skeptical?

    1. Here comes bob-1 with some bigoted thinking about religion. You could learn a few lessons from some other people here who are not religious and who are also not hateful of those who are.

    2. Isn’t “having faith” the act of believing in something even if there is an absence of sufficient evidence?
      This is where I figured you might be going with your initial conversation about faith, but you added the “religious” qualifier onto it.

      A “healthy dose of skepticism” is still compatible with the concept of “faith”, in my opinion, inasmuch as I can be skeptical about the Chicago Cubs ever having a winning season in the future (or winning a World Series), but still have faith that, at some point, they’ll turn things around.

      To me, “faith” != “blind faith”. YMMV.

      1. I’m not sure what you mean about the Chicago Cubs. Are you making a statistical argument that they’re very likely to win some day if professional baseball continues on in its present form for a long enough period of time, and that allows for the possibility that they’ll defy the odds and never win? But if so, where is the faith? Is it in how you estimate the odds?

        I find it extremely pleasing that discussions about faith, among nerds at least, so often become discussions about math.

    3. “Actually, I’d like one more time at bat, if that’s ok with you. ”

      I won’t be replying to any more of your stupid attempts to change the topic or foment the debate you want. I would not presume to speak for others.

      If you want to talk about this so much why don’t you create your own blog?

    4. Then mathematicians and scientists aren’t appropriately skeptical.

      The root axioms are assumptions with no basis other than faith.
      When you assume a Euclidean worldview, you get Euclidean Geometry.
      (When you assume Riemannian, what you get instead is a headache.)

      1. “The root axioms are assumptions with no basis other than faith.”

        Absolutely true….and something that can bunch up the panties of scientists/engineers.
        ALL science is based upon 3 Aristotelian axioms which are taken on faith.

        Aristotle posited three laws as basic to all valid thought:

        the law of identity,

        A is A;

        the law of contradiction,

        A cannot be both A and not A;
        – something cannot be true and false at the same time

        and the law of the excluded middle,

        A must be either A or not A.
        Every statement has to be one or the other. That’s why it’s called
        the law of excluded middle, because it excludes a middle ground
        between truth and falsity. So while the law of non-contradiction tells
        us that no statement can be both true and false, the law of excluded
        middle tells us that they must all be one or the other.

        1. Gregg, you didn’t back up your assertion that “ALL science is based upon 3 Aristotelian axioms which are taken on faith.”

          I think you’ll have a hard time proving that.

          1. Yes, because there exists things called “science” that don’t manage to properly show their work from first principles.

            CAGW.

            QED.

            What did I win?

          2. To be fair, this was a 2 part clause that Gregg asserted: 1) that all science is based on 3 Aristotelian axioms, and 2) that these Aristotelian axioms are taken on faith.

            Your point Al, that there are things like CAGW, colloquially called science by the ignorant, that are taken on faith actually doesn’t prove either clause 1) or 2).

            CAGW supporters definitely try to have it both ways at every propaganda opportunity (breaking 1). Which either refutes Gregg’s claim, or CAGW isn’t science. The 2nd bit being your point of course 😉

          3. Yes, the definition “Words mean what an observer wants them to mean” leads to badthink.

            These guys have pushed logic all the way back to pre-history. (But, yes, I was trying to slide through with that.)

          4. “Gregg, you didn’t back up your assertion that “ALL science is based upon 3 Aristotelian axioms which are taken on faith.”

            Well by “ALL” I do not include the AGW fantasists.

          5. Sorry, I should have clarified further. My focus in your comment was on the 2nd clause.
            I think you’ll have a hard time proving that the 3 Aristotelian laws you mentioned must be taken on faith.

          6. Ryan wrote:

            “Sorry, I should have clarified further. My focus in your comment was on the 2nd clause.
            I think you’ll have a hard time proving that the 3 Aristotelian laws you mentioned must be taken on faith.”

            Ok…prove them for us. Or show us the proof.

            If you can’t, they are taken on faith since we use them in *good* science all the time.

          7. “Scientists take many things on faith, e.g. there is an objective reality, laws of physics are universal, etc.”

            Quite true.

          8. 😀
            I’ll take that diversion, illegitimately passing the burden of proof to me, as a concession that my postulate is true then. That you did indeed have trouble (insurmountable trouble) proving your assertion.
            Since I’m in a good mood I’ll be magnanimous (and verbose, and arrogant ;D) and take up your challenge, though it really isn’t quite fair. My challenge was impossible for you successfully answer, and you’ve already proven your challenge to me, time and again in this very comment thread, albeit unconsciously.
            To start, the 3 laws you mentioned, identity, contradiction and excluded middle, are so self-evident and so often used in your every day life that you don’t even consciously notice. For instance, Food is Food. You eat food, probably every day barring extreme circumstance, because of the particular nature of the objects we classify as food to be converted by our bodies into energy. Food is not Poison (i.e. not food), you eat it to fuel your body, not destroy it (and your certainly don’t use faith to discriminate between the categories). Food is not both Food and Poison at the same time in the same manner. Without this knowledge you wouldn’t be able to live. The same could be said for the Air you breathe (which isn’t water) or the water you drink (which isn’t plasma), etc.

            But back to what I alluded to regarding this very thread – the words you use to communicate and be understood – have a particular meaning, as we’ve (in the royal sense) defined them. That particular definition is not also its inverse at the same time. “Faith” is “Faith”, and cannot be “not Faith” at the same time it is “Faith”. You already understand this and accept it, shown by your very use of the word. Going further, you don’t use the word “Faith” because you have faith you’ll be understood, you use it because it is demonstrably, objectively, true that it has a particular communicable meaning based on the evidence of your senses (and mine, and all others’ reading this). No faith required. On the contrary, to use faith in such an endeavor would result in very poor communication of your ideas. I have no clue what “yrgmaasjlarr” means (or any other random monkey pound on the keyboard) and no amount of faith on anyone’s part that is has a particular meaning that everyone can understand would help me actually understand it or communicate meaning to me if you used it.

            Aristotle was brilliant because he inductively reasoned these abstract laws from the evidence of reality around him. Everyone else operated by them unconsciously as a given, which they had to in order to live. He formalized them using his reasoning mind into an abstract concept, a tool, we could use as a foundation for further reasoning. To say they are taken on faith is an insult (hopefully an unintentional one, as it seems you value his work) and factually incorrect. They are the product of exquisite reason, and good reasoning is very often seen, in retrospect, as obvious or self-evident.

          9. “Scientists take many things on faith, e.g. there is an objective reality, laws of physics are universal, etc.”

            Some scientists might, though I’m doubtful they hold those views without evidence (whether consciously considering the evidence or not). I don’t.

          10. “I’ll take that diversion,…”

            It’s not a diversion. It’s a demonstration as to why we take the axioms on faith. You CANNOT prove them. By definition they are unprovable starting points.

            “illegitimately passing the burden of proof to me, as a concession that my postulate is true then.”

            I concede nothing. You made the *claim* that I would have a hard time proving it. I demonstrated that since you cannot prove the axioms – and you can’t – you take them on faith if you use them. Since good science uses them on a daily basis (as you say), then good scientists are taking them on faith.

            To save myself from typing (though I added the caps):

            “As used in modern logic, an axiom is simply a premise or starting point for reasoning. Axioms define and delimit the realm of analysis; the relative truth of an axiom is taken for granted WITHIN THE PARTICULAR DOMAIN OF ANALYSIS, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other relative truths. NO EXPLICIT VIEW REGARDING THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH OF AXIOMS is ever taken in the context of modern mathematics, as such a thing is considered to be an irrelevant and impossible contradiction in terms.

            Within the system they define, axioms (unless redundant) cannot be derived by principles of deduction, nor are they demonstrable by mathematical proofs, simply because they are starting points; there is nothing else from which they logically follow otherwise they would be classified as theorems. However, an axiom in one system may be a theorem in another, and vice versa.”

            “That you did indeed have trouble (insurmountable trouble) proving your assertion.”

            I didn’t have trouble proving my assertion because my assertion is true by definition.
            To show you that you are wrong, I asked you toprove the axioms – knowing all along that you could not.

            “To start, the 3 laws you mentioned, identity, contradiction and excluded middle, are so self-evident and so often used in your every day life that you don’t even consciously notice. ”

            Ok it’s back to remedial logic class for you……”self-evident” is not a proof. You’ve proven my point. It may seem self-evident to you but it isn’t proven. And by definition the axioms CANNOT be proven (see above) and so therefore if you use them you are……

            ….taking them on faith.

            “My challenge was impossible for you successfully answer, and you’ve already proven your challenge to me, time and again in this very comment thread, albeit unconsciously.”

            I know you think you’ve woven a neat little web but you clearly do not know what you are talking about. You lack or have forgotten basic defintions.

            ” They [the axioms] are the product of exquisite reason, …………”

            This is why I say you don’t know what you’re talking about. By definition, axioms are not the product of reasoning. You cannot reason your way to an axiom. They are by defintiion basic and unproven, starting points.

            “……and good reasoning is very often seen, in retrospect, as obvious or self-evident.”

            Many a person has made a fool of themselves by making a deduction which seemed obvious or self-evident….but was wholly wrong. “Self-evident” is not at all a reason for accepting a statement. it’s ok in politics but politics is not science.

          11. My use of “self-evident” is descriptive, showcasing how much most people take it for granted, and clearly not the entirety of my argument. The body of which you avoid.

            That you use the term “axiom” where I did not, and say “I win because I use a word that means ‘it cannot be proved'”, is a pathetic argument that proves nothing. I know the meaning of axiom, which is why *I* didn’t use it, so quit with the trite dictionary regurgitations and illegitimately insulting my knowledge of language, it only makes you look like a hard-headed ass. Nor did I say I “deduced” anything. I specifically mentioned inductive reasoning. Shall I reciprocate and copy-paste a definition for you?

            You are trying to build a straw-man, but my argument stands directly above it plain to see. Why did you bother?

        2. Not all mathematics is based on Aristotle. The obvious example is Fuzzy Logic, where a proposition can have a Truth value of 0.5, and thus be both A and not-A at the same time. This is handy for resolving paradoxes: “This statement is false” is half true.

          1. “Not all mathematics is based on Aristotle. The obvious example is Fuzzy Logic, where a proposition can have a Truth value of 0.5, and thus be both A and not-A at the same time. ”

            I’m pretty sure that’s NOT what it means.

            That 0.5 is a *confidence* value. It says nothing about THE way it is. It means you are 50% sure you have the right answer, and not that the right answer can change.

            It’s just that you don’t know.

          2. Nope. Fuzzy Logic values are not probabilities.

            Let’s suppose you have three fuzzy variables, each with a value in the range [0,1]. Call these variables Red, Green, and Blue. When we say that a medium purple is (Red=0.5; Green=0; Blue=0.5), we’re not saying that we’re uncertain about the values of these variables, only that they can have values between all-the-way-on and all-the-way-off.

          3. I can understand and visualize purple, but what does a Red=0.5 look like? 😉

          4. What does a Red=0.5 look like?

            An easy question for any programmer.

            Red 1 is pure red. Red 0 is black. Red 0.5 is dark red.

        3. No, of course there is evidence. But evidence is not proof. After all, many believe that they have evidence for the existence of God.

          Maybe we are using the term “evidence” differently. In this context, I’ve used it to mean a fact by which a postulate is demonstrated to be true or false. If some fact (or collection of facts) merely indicated a higher likelihood of truth or falsity of a particular postulate, I’d call it circumstantial evidence. While I’m not trained in the legal profession, that’s my understanding.

          For instance, at risk of being slightly macabre, I could make the statement: “Rand Simberg died April 30, 2014”. The fact that you are actually alive today, at a time after April 30, 2014, demonstrates that statement is false (I would have used myself, but then someone might quibble and say someone could be posting under my name). It also proves this statement: “Rand Simberg did not die April 30, 2014”. That you are alive today is a fact I would call evidence, as it relates to these two postulates. My apologies if any of this seems at all condescending, it is not my intention.

          Of course, whether a person “believes” they have evidence is different from actually having evidence. If they can’t demonstrate the supposed fact, they don’t really have it.

  4. Hey Bob, I’ll heal you of all your ills and give you 72 virgins for the low, low price of all of your earthly assets.

    We mostly all have a lot of skepticism in religion, or we’d all belong to some cult.

    The parts I personally have left filed under ‘Religion’ are all items I’ve decided “Well, I might not be able to -prove- it, but I do think society as a whole would be better off if I (and everyone else) acted as if it were true.”

    It’s a very short list, but ‘No lying, no cheating, no theft, and no murder’ still has people violently opposed to my beliefs as ‘maintaining the evil patriarchy!’ Shrugs.

  5. Isn’t Faith the opposite of skepticism?? If you have faith in something aren’t you by definition believing in it without applying skeptical analysis?

    And that isn’t targeting religion, faith in a belief can be anything to Flat Earthers to believers in astrology, ESP, Bigfoot, etc.

    1. Yes, they are mutually exclusive. Faith = belief, in absence of evidence. Skepticism = lack of belief, in absence of evidence.

      You cannot have faith and be skeptical with regard to the same subject. A person can have faith in a particular subject, and be skeptical of a related subject (Aquinas, for example). Compartmentalization is common, most people (if any) do not integrate their every thought with a consistent philosophy/epistemology.

      1. “You cannot have faith and be skeptical with regard to the same subject. ”

        You are assuming faith is binary….yes/no. One/zero. All faith/no faith. You are not allowing for “Fuzzy Faith”. I bet you have no trouble allowing for Fuzzy Math. 😉 Nor are you allowing for “change of state”…..people questioning their own faith or struggling with it.

        You are also not accounting for the fact that having faith does not preclude asking questions about it every once in a while (skepticism). Skepticism does not mean “that’s wrong dammit!”. It means generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere. (Wiki)

        Also, don’t assume that faith universally covers all topics equally within a person’s psyche. However, it’s possible to have faith that the Bible is the Word of God, but not have faith in your interpretation of it.

        1. When I used “same subject” I was inferring same in time, space, and in the same manner, if it wasn’t clear from the rest of my comments. The rest fits into my compartmentalization, non-integrated epistemology, comment, which should have made it pretty clear I don’t assume faith is an all or nothing epistemology for any particular human or topic.

          1. You like big words. But since you don’t know the defintion of a medium-sized word (skepticism) I doubt you kow the meaning of the 50 cent words.

            “which should have made it pretty clear I don’t assume faith is an all or nothing epistemology for any particular human or topic.”

            What is clear is that you contradict yourself.

            ” A person can have faith in a particular subject, and be skeptical of a related subject (Aquinas, for example).”

            Prevarication. You’re trying to weasel your way out. You said:

            “Yes, they are mutually exclusive. ”

            No compartmentalization there….

            “Faith = belief, in absence of evidence. Skepticism = lack of belief, in absence of evidence.”

            1/0…0/1 Binary. and you do not know the definition of skepticism

          2. You are being insulting and obtuse.
            Do you work in TV media? You’d make a decent ambush interview editor, with all the copy-pasting and dropping of context you do. Only problem is, in this forum my actual comments are still readable and you don’t have sole control of the narrative. So I don’t understand why you waste your time trying to make me sound like I’m saying things that I’m not.

          3. I like precise, evocative language. English is fantastic for this. We have more words, and therefore more communicable meaning, in our lexicon than any other language. That you sneer at my appreciation and use of English is a disturbing insight into your character. It may help you to see a psychiatrist – to help you overcome your feelings of inadequacy and correct your angry expressions of same.

            Also, I don’t follow rap music, and whatever language 50’Cent uses in his medium, I’m doubt it is eloquent or even intelligible in many cases, and I don’t think that speaks poorly of me. =P

      2. “Yes, they are mutually exclusive. Faith = belief, in absence of evidence. Skepticism = lack of belief, in absence of evidence.”

        That is not what skepticism is.

        You get a dictionary for christmas

  6. …you have to have skepticism about your own positions.

    ^^^This^^^

    It’s easy to be skeptical of others. The question is do you self examine your beliefs?

    Obamanauts need to express more of this.

  7. Heb. 11: Faith is the assured expectation of what is hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities that are not seen.

    How is something assured? what does ‘evident demonstration of realities’ mean to you? Consider all three words in isolation then combined.

    This is the opposite of gullibility. This kind of faith is based on evidence. It looks for contradiction. That’s skepticism.

    1. I’m having trouble with the juxtaposition of “evident demonstration of realities” and “that are not seen”. Does not compute.

      1. A good skeptical comment Ryan. 😉

        Lots of reality is unseen. Give science a bit more thought and you will realize this.

        1. Lots of reality is unseen”
          I entirely agree. We use science to push out the boundaries of our ignorance. So?

          “Realities” isn’t the dopey part of that Heb. 11 statement. It is the “evident demonstration” vs. “that are not seen”. You could keep the descriptions and use a different subject, e.g. “my skill at ballet” (which would definitely be ‘not seen’) instead of “realities”, and it still couldn’t make any sense. A subject cannot both be “not seen” (not apparent) and “evident” or “demonstrated” (apparent) at the same time.
          It is like calling a single object both all black and all white. The statement breaks the Law of Contradiction.

        2. Let me compute for ya…

          Based on a single piece of evidence, a star dimming or wobbling, the reality of unseen exoplanets are demonstrated… does that compute? More than that it strengthens our faith that most stars have planets around them so we believe their are not just a few hundred that we’ve detected but billions of billions of them. Based on a dimming or a wobble. The evidence of god’s existence goes well beyond this.

          So with just one example out of millions I have shown that “not seen” (not apparent) and “evident” are not contradictions when perceived correctly. Perceiving incorrectly is not a difficult trick as you’ve shown. You have biased your perception to achieve your belief. Like those that created the multiverse to explain away god.

          Not seen does not always mean not apparent. Choosing to make it so is bias.

          Also note that we are trusting witnesses in most cases as most of us do not actually analyze data, we trust others to honestly do it for us. I happen to trust those that witnessed bible events more than I trust climate scientists that hide their data and have a financial interest in the outcome.

          1. I meant to add…

            Not seen does not always mean not apparent. Choosing to make it so is bias. Exoplanets are not seen but are apparent.

          2. Ok, I get your argument, but I think it uses an unfairly narrow definition of “seen” akin to “directly observed” vs. “apparent” akin to “observed in some fashion, directly or indirectly”. And the argument kind of misses the point as stated, since I introduced the word “apparent” as a synonym to both “seen” and “evidently demonstrated”, but I’ll take it that you’d also argue that “seen” is not intended to communicate the same meaning as “evidently demonstrated” in the context of the Heb 11 passage. Which leaves me asking, what do you think is meant by these words?

            The exo-planet formulation isn’t quite right either. We didn’t start saying “exo-planets are everywhere!” until we made multiple observational tests that all indicated the same presence of exo-planets around other observed stars (where our observational test can be applied). It took more than just one indicating observation. Of course, until we’ve got multiple types of tests indicating the presence of exo-planets, it could be that one of our assumptions regarding the laws of physics that indicate their existence is wrong. Different tests using different laws, making other indirect observations, would solidify the indication. Direct observations would of course verify their existence.

            To tie this back to the origin of the comment and the topic of the Heb 11 passage, it seems to me you are effectively saying that believing a claim based on indirect observation is equivalent to faith. Is that a fair distillation?

            Lastly, I’m not pulling “tricks”, willfully doing anything “incorrectly”, or any of the rest of the morally loaded language you were using. My comments to you were all in good faith. I think most people, hopefully yourself included, would think “apparent” is a pretty reasonable synonym for “seen” and “evidently demonstrated”. So I’d appreciate it if the “this guy disagrees with me on this particular subject and thus he must be a nefarious ne’er-do-well” (forgetting all the other topics where we agree) stops.

            I really value these types of honest, deep, (and sometimes intense) intellectual interactions. They rarely happen face to face with people (and I really enjoy those too, regardless of disagreement). In many respects I know more of the fundamentals about some of the people that comment here on Rand’s website than I do about friends I’ve had for decades. Not everyone is willing and capable of having these types of conversations.

          3. Ryan, none of us are without bias so please don’t construe my comment to be disparaging of you. Rather I appreciate your integrity. I share your value of good conversation.

            believing a claim based on indirect observation is equivalent to faith. Is that a fair distillation?

            Very close, but it’s more than that. Faith is a direct result of trust. Usually it’s indirect but sometimes we have to have faith in things we’ve directly experienced as well. We don’t always immediately understand the things we’ve perceived. Often we have to mull them over.

            Trust is built over time and does not usually depend on just one source. Even when you immediately trust someone (like Rand) it is the decades that pass that strengthens that trust and builds your faith. Then something comes along to shatter your faith and you have to rebuild it with a new paradigm. 😉

            …or as many do, ignore the new evidence to become a gullible stooge. Which is not the same as simply struggling with contradictory evidence. SDB has an article on Noah and genetics which is quite a blow to Christians if you don’t bother to research it a bit deeper. It turns out he left out some important information.

  8. Both the bible and science rely on observers/witnesses. In both cases truthfulness must be determined. For science we can often duplicate experiments. For history we can’t so it’s more important to examine the honesty of the witnesses (are they dupes or liars?)

    People that hide their raw data hurt their credibility. Having many unrelated witnesses helps.

    For example the historian Josephus is one source outside the bible that refers to the life of Jesus (calling him a magician but that’s understandable.)

    1. The best part about this comment is that “Guest” probably only ever had to type it once , and just copy-pastes it into every comment thread he doesn’t agree with. Too much credit actually, I suppose someone else could have wrote it first and “Guest” just appropriated it.

      Of course this person goes by “Guest” because having such a worthless non-sequitur ascribed to his/her actual reputation would potentially damage their carefully managed image as an intellectual giant among us. Har.

  9. Isn’t Faith the opposite of skepticism?

    No, although perhaps for some. The bible tells Christians to examine their faith (in other words, be skeptical.)

  10. Gregg, I beg you help me with this…

    Does Godel prove that all axioms are false? Or at least one of any set?

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