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Should theistic fact claims be subjected to the same standards of scrutiny as other fact claims?
Posted: 21 August 2013 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Deeply embedded in our culture is the notion that falsifiable/verifiable fact claims are properly considered by an evidentiary standard, whereas certain other claims, such as the fact claims of theology, need not be subjected to that standard. This double standard is entirely unjustified and produces tragic consequences. I cannot recall ever seeing a theist explain why their fact claims should not be scrutinized in the same fashion as any other fact claims. This topic is an invitation for the theists here to provide such a justification.

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Posted: 21 August 2013 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Should theistic fact claims be subjected to the same standards of scrutiny as other fact claims?

Absolutely yes. The people who make these claims assert them to be fact.

Fine.

Prove it.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 03:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 21 August 2013 05:47 PM

Should theistic fact claims be subjected to the same standards of scrutiny as other fact claims?

Absolutely yes. The people who make these claims assert them to be fact.

Fine.

Prove it.

That response comes from an interpersonal perspective. I’ll offer another approach.

As a college freshman, I was a practicing Roman Catholic. One day as I was discussing theistic belief with my RA, an atheist, I gave a common theistic response, with the emphasis on “prove”: “I can’t prove it.” My RA wasn’t mean about it, he just replied very matter-of-factly: “Then why believe it?”

That question stunned me. No one had ever asked it of me before. I didn’t immediately give up my Catholicism but fortunately I was intellectually honest enough to know that I had to wrestle with that question, and I needed a good answer. Of course, I never found one, and within a couple of years, I had abandoned my theism.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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A good argument for why theists should be challenged. Sounds like the guy did it in a respectful manner that allowed you investigate the question yourself.

In answer to the OP: the question kinda answers itself, unless you accept that “theistic fact” has some real meaning. Otherwise a fact is a fact and we all have to agree on what that word means. So, I’ll address what a “theistic fact” is. Hopefully we can forego any discussion of whether or not some actual event being reported in scripture somehow makes it real.

Mainstream religion will use the term “Biblical truth” or “spiritual truth”. The best I can figure what is meant are things like ethics, life lessons, love, consequences of greed and other things that can’t be expressed well in a dictionary definition. The trouble with that is, for the most part, religion does a horrible job of expressing those things. And when they do a good job, they claim it as their sole property and proof of the divine. Most, but not all, churches will also say that to get access to the spiritual gifts they offer, you need to perform their rituals, tithe, sing their songs, recite a creed and believe certain things, etc. So they take something that could be said to belong to all of humanity and try to wrap some facts around it and make it theirs. That definitely needs scrutiny.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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As I suspected might happen, none of the theists who have been posting have taken this on. They’ve commented on other topics but have completely ignored a topic that challenges one of their fundamental methodological assumptions.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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PLaClair - 21 August 2013 05:10 PM

I cannot recall ever seeing a theist explain why their fact claims should not be scrutinized in the same fashion as any other fact claims.

What theistic fact claims are you talking about?

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Posted: 22 August 2013 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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LilySmith - 22 August 2013 03:21 PM
PLaClair - 21 August 2013 05:10 PM

I cannot recall ever seeing a theist explain why their fact claims should not be scrutinized in the same fashion as any other fact claims.

What theistic fact claims are you talking about?

Now I know you’re just trolling.

The parting of the Red Sea

John 3:16

Matthew 2:21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

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Posted: 22 August 2013 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Lausten - 22 August 2013 04:26 PM
LilySmith - 22 August 2013 03:21 PM
PLaClair - 21 August 2013 05:10 PM

I cannot recall ever seeing a theist explain why their fact claims should not be scrutinized in the same fashion as any other fact claims.

What theistic fact claims are you talking about?

Now I know you’re just trolling.

The parting of the Red Sea

John 3:16

Matthew 2:21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

I agree, hers is a completely dishonest response. That is what she does every single time she doesn’t have a legitimate response to a point. Had she been honest, she would have acknowledged that the question pertains to all theistic claims, of which she has many. Then she would have addressed the question along those lines.

Lausten, your three theistic claims will do just fine. To add to them:

  —- the claim that a supreme being created the world, the universe, every living thing, etc.;
  —- the claim that there is a life after death, at least for some;
  —- the claim that there is a heaven and a hell, and maybe a purgatory and a limbo if you’re Catholic.

It doesn’t matter whether LilySmith personally believes any of those claims. They are all theistic fact claims. Why shouldn’t they be subjected to the same tests of truth as are other fact claims?

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Posted: 23 August 2013 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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That response comes from an interpersonal perspective. I’ll offer another approach.

Not quite. It’s simply practical and addresses your original question as posed in the title of the thread. It also addresses the silly notion that religious beliefs deserve some measure of extra respect and deference simply because the tag “Religious” is attatched to it.

That RA of yours sounds like a neat and challenging guy.

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Posted: 24 August 2013 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Well, what about it, Smith, McKay, et. al.? Why do you make no attempt at all to address this question?

Do you have no answer? Will you even allow yourself to consider the question?

Can you not face its implications?

Why no response?

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Posted: 24 August 2013 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’m pursuing a similar line of questions over on the “Flavians” thread. I have serious doubts about seeing any results.

The analogy I thought of for their type of reasoning is, what if you were in Med school and two Dr.s told you two different procedures for a diagnosis. Would they say, “just read all the anatomy and biology books and figure it out for yourself?” Let’s hope not. The worse case would be there are two ways to do it, both with decent evidence. Some level of judgment is needed by the individual. But in no circumstance would a Dr. teach someone a completely unproven procedure based only on their feelings about it.

That’s what theologians do all the time. It wouldn’t bother me so much, but they are saying things about important aspects of life, like moral rules to follow, and what life means. We should not give them a pass on this.

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Posted: 24 August 2013 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I agree, Lausten. It stuns me that I was once a part of that myopia, and shame on my culture for putting people like me in a position of having to dig out from under it. However, I do understand that when you’re in that mentality, you can’t see outside it; or won’t allow yourself to see outside it. So while it irks me when someone tries to psychoanalyze me online, I’m convinced that is why McKay, Smith and any other theists here refuse to respond.

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Posted: 25 August 2013 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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PLaClair - 22 August 2013 04:49 PM

  —- the claim that a supreme being created the world, the universe, every living thing, etc.;
  —- the claim that there is a life after death, at least for some;
  —- the claim that there is a heaven and a hell, and maybe a purgatory and a limbo if you’re Catholic.

It doesn’t matter whether LilySmith personally believes any of those claims. They are all theistic fact claims. Why shouldn’t they be subjected to the same tests of truth as are other fact claims?

You’re taking tenets of a FAITH, and saying they must be proven or what?  You’re going to put religious people in jail?  If you don’t want to believe these teachings, then don’t.  I’m not Catholic so I don’t believe the last one.  But you have an even bigger problem—you can’t verify your fact claims either…


1.) The universe is a result chemical reactions that took place over billions of years to produce the orderly universe we have now, and all this started because…  oh yea, you have no idea what existed before this universe.

2.)  All life on earth evolved over billions of years to produce the complex being that is man, and this life began when…  oh yea, you have no idea how life began.

3.)  After death, you believe the psyche ceases to exist as the material body decomposes and breaks down to simpler compounds and elements…  oh wait, you don’t have proof of what happens to a person’s psyche after death, only a guess.

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Posted: 25 August 2013 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Lily, there seems to be a difference between the scientist and/or atheist who is quite willing to admit that s/he doesn’t know everything such as items 1) and 2) above and a theist such as yourself who has extremely strong beliefs in what we atheists recognize as fairytales.

I don’t know what you mean by “psyche” but if you are talking about a person’s mind, that’s essentially equivalent to the programs in a computer, and the same thing happens when the computer is destroyed or the person dies—the programming, in the case of animals including humans, fades and disappears.

Occam

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Posted: 25 August 2013 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Lily, you are so tiresome. I addressed your 3 snotty remarks in my last comment, so I’m not going to go over that again. The question is not about what I choose to believe, it is stated clearly in the title of the thread. I love it that you say “either”, it reveals that you don’t really considered your belief verified. There is a difference between believing something you can’t verify and considering your understanding the best you can do with the evidence available.

But what I really want to speak to is this jail thing. No, we’re not going to put religious people in jail unless they break a law of the country they live in. And no, no one has ever seriously suggested saying belief in science should be a law. It doesn’t even make sense. But, and here’s the thing that you really need to look into for yourself; many people were jailed, tortured and burned at the stake for not believing religious claims. And religion didn’t decide for itself to quit doing it. Look up the history of how Voltaire protected people from the monks.

And there are still a lot of people alive today that think it should still be the law. This is true for the three big monotheisms and many others. And it doesn’t matter that they don’t agree with your version of Christ’s love. It’s happening, it’s happened, it’s real, it is part of religion. There has never been a nation that rules based on a scripture that does not discriminate against everyone who doesn’t accept that scripture.

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Posted: 25 August 2013 06:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Occam. - 25 August 2013 04:45 PM

Lily, there seems to be a difference between the scientist and/or atheist who is quite willing to admit that s/he doesn’t know everything such as items 1) and 2) above and a theist such as yourself who has extremely strong beliefs in what we atheists recognize as fairytales.

Occam,

We both have strong beliefs.  Neither of us has proof.  I’m asked on this thread to verify my beliefs scientifically, so I’m just pointing out that there is no scientific proof for atheist beliefs on this subject either.

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