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Thread: What is evidence?

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    What is evidence?

    As I review the many discussions between theists, and atheists over the question of the existence of God, the issue always seems to boil down to the question of what is meant by the term "evidence". So, what, then is "evidence", and what is the purpose? Is evidence a subjective term whose only purpose is to convince one's self of a position, or is evidence an outward objective quality used to prove, or disprove a position to others looking for answers to questions?

    Logically, it seems to me that when one asks for evidence of a thing, they are asking for a quantifiable, verifiable quality that determines the rational expectation for the resolution of a question. For this reason there are various types of evidence, some more rational than others.

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Oh, my. Here I thought I had finally hit upon a concept that atheists, and theists could discuss, and come to some understanding that would help in future discussions. No one seems interested in exploring this...

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    Here I thought I had finally hit upon a concept that atheists, and theists could discuss, and come to some understanding that would help in future discussions.
    Aside from the fact that it was not very long between your first and second posts ... atheists likely understand and agree with your post, and do not need to discuss, while most theists do not understand it and thus cannot discuss it. As someone in the middle - a theist who understands and agrees with your post - there is similarly little to discuss, since my belief in the existence of G-d is not based on evidence, nor do I claim it to be.
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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Aside from the fact that it was not very long between your first and second posts ... atheists likely understand and agree with your post, and do not need to discuss, while most theists do not understand it and thus cannot discuss it. As someone in the middle - a theist who understands and agrees with your post - there is similarly little to discuss, since my belief in the existence of G-d is not based on evidence, nor do I claim it to be.
    It seems to me, though, that, as theists insist that their belief is based on evidence, that it would be in their interest to express what they understand the term evidence to mean, and try to come to a mutual understanding of the term.

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Aside from the fact that it was not very long between your first and second posts ... atheists likely understand and agree with your post, and do not need to discuss, while most theists do not understand it and thus cannot discuss it. As someone in the middle - a theist who understands and agrees with your post - there is similarly little to discuss, since my belief in the existence of G-d is not based on evidence, nor do I claim it to be.
    Looks like you're right. No one sees to want to even try to understand what evidence actually is.
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    Member Robert Urbanek's Avatar
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    Under what category would you include statistics and probability?

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    Veteran Member Czernobog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Urbanek View Post
    Under what category would you include statistics and probability?
    I would presume that statistical data would be gathered under case studies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    Oh, my. Here I thought I had finally hit upon a concept that atheists, and theists could discuss, and come to some understanding that would help in future discussions. No one seems interested in exploring this...
    The rules of evidence is clear enough to everyone. What you need to ask yourself is whether proof or evidence in a particular field of inquiry may be applied to another? Most people here, including yourself, insist on asking for scientific evidence to support theological, even metaphysical statements. Which is why I often ask you -- do you even know what you are talking about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Aside from the fact that it was not very long between your first and second posts ... atheists likely understand and agree with your post, and do not need to discuss, while most theists do not understand it and thus cannot discuss it. As someone in the middle - a theist who understands and agrees with your post - there is similarly little to discuss, since my belief in the existence of G-d is not based on evidence, nor do I claim it to be.
    Really? You understand the question, eh?

    So tell us, what is the standing of scientific evidence in philosophical inquiries, hmmmm?

    Does it make sense to you to form a moral framework based on, say, the theory of natural selection or the laws of thermodynamics?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Czernobog View Post
    It seems to me, though, that, as theists insist that their belief is based on evidence, that it would be in their interest to express what they understand the term evidence to mean, and try to come to a mutual understanding of the term.
    Ok. So, as an atheist, what do you suppose govern the space smaller than planck lengths, hmmmm? Based on heisenberg's theory, it is scientifically unknowable. Does it exist then in your atheist mind?
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