Saturday, 5 May 2012

Things Christians say: part 14. A life based on evidence?

A weekly series of responses to the things Christians say to atheists, based on the video reproduced here on 30th January 2012.  The aim is to tackle one every weekend, to give both a moderate, polite response to each question ('Piano'), followed by a more forceful rebuttal of the same question ('Forte'). 

You can't go through your whole life only believing in what you have evidence for.


I wonder why you might think it better, in general, to live your whole life believing in something that you have no evidence for.   Given the choice of one option or the other, it is perfectly obvious that you would not live that life for very long if you really did do that.

The point that I am trying to make is that your very survival depends on your use of evidence.  Would you lean very far out of a window on the tenth floor of a building and then, believing that you could fly, let go?  I thought not.  The evidence of your experience keeps you from doing that.

Do you look both ways before crossing the road?  I thought so.

For most of your life you use rational thought and evidence based reasoning.  But somehow you drop all of that when you come to examine your belief in God.

Sometimes you hear variations on this theme.  Just this week, one of my twitter correspondents, @LostForWords17, tweeted about one of my posts, Faithful genius - a contradiction? He said "This is really interesting, and I agree to a point. What about outside 'irrational' events which only Theists can explain?"  Naturally this got my interest and I invited him to write a guest post to explain, and he kindly agreed.  You will find here in a day or two.



Mercifully I do not hear this argument very often.  I don't always challenge things christians say, to their faces and immediately (as it tends to interrupt an interesting conversation) but this is one thing that rarely goes unchallenged.

As soon as I detect this kind of question, I ask them what sort of thing they mean.

In a sense, the very question is an example of a logical fallacy called "The Appeal to Ignorance".  Naturally we are all ignorant about many things.  Indeed we are all ignorant about most things in the universe and should not be offended by anyone pointing this out.  It just feels as though we know a lot because 'our' little bit of the (supposedly fine tuned) universe is so small.

Things that can only be explained by the presence of gods are getting fewer in number as science progresses.  Things that individuals think are only explicable by their God will only go the same way if they are open to the explanations that others can provide.

Last week: You know, I think deep down you really believe!
Next week:  Your atheism is just a way for you to persecute christians

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