A Mockery Of Evidence

Here’s how one Christian defends his faith.

Christianity IS based on evidence. You are free to dispute the evidence, but you cannot rationally say Christianity is not based on evidence…

  1. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. (John 11:47)
  2. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (Acts 2:5-6)
  3. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. (Acts 4:16)
  4. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. (Acts 26:26)
  5. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:44-48)
  6. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
  7. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. (Acts 13:30-31)

Now, you may only change the subject after you accept that Christianity is evidence-based.

From a Facebook exchange in 2009.

There you have it. Pay close attention to the words in bold. Convincing evidence?  

Tommy tells Bobby that he saw a vampire on a street in Paris last year when he visited France.

Bobby: No way!
Tommy: Really! And a bunch of other people saw him too!
Bobby: Like who?
Tommy: Well, the was that guy with the funny hat, and a bunch of people sitting outside a cafe.
Bobby: Do I know any of them?
Tommy: Well…no…
Bobby: Do you have any of their phone numbers?
Tommy: Don’t you believe me?
Bobby:: I’d just like evidence.
Tommy: I told you the evidence. There was the guy with the funny hat, and those people sitting…
Bobby: I know what you said. But do I have access to these witnesses? Did they write about the vampire or something?
Tommy: They didn’t have to. I saw them see the vampire.
Bobby: So the only evidence I have is your word, and your word on their word?
Tommy: Well, yeah. It’s clear evidence you can’t ignore!
Bobby: But how can I contact those “witnesses” to confirm what you say they say they saw?
Tommy: I’ve given you clear evidence. You have to admit I gave you evidence that you are now denying.
Bobby: So just how many people do you say say they saw a vampire?
Tommy: There must have been like over 500 at one time.
Bobby: And are there any sources that can support all this?
Tommy: Well…
Bobby: I mean, you say over 500 people saw a vampire, right?
Tommy: That’s right!
Bobby: I’m perhaps willing to ignore the fact that you have not even a single written account from these “witnesses” if there is a newspaper story or something. Surely if there was a vampire sighted by 500 people, one of those witnesses wrote about it or reported it to a newspaper!
Tommy: Well, there is an article in a newspaper that talks about a vampire.
Bobby: Does it talk about a vampire, or does it talk about someone dressed like a vampire?
Tommy: It’s basically the same.
Bobby: No it’s not. I see people dressed like vampires every week. I have never seen a vampire and don’t believe they exist.
Tommy: You are so closed-minded. Why are you rejecting my evidence?
Bobby: Because it’s not evidence by any standard I know of.
Tommy: So you don’t believe?
Bobby: No, I don’t believe.
Tommy: The vampire promised to bite anyone who does not believe.
Bobby: That is a pretty scary threat, but I still can’t believe without any real evidence.
Tommy: You’ll regret it!

Biblical claims are weaker than even Tommy’s dubious affirmations. Today, we cannot even cross-examine the primary witnesses such as St. Paul for verification of their accounts. Quite convenient for an old vague book full of miraculous claims.

Christianity perverts even the concept of evidence to enslave the credulous.

Another disturbing point to ponder is the fact that a great number of those who pervert the notion of evidence to the degree shown above are now considering themselves to be competent to assess evidence in actual science. Hence we have some claiming to have causally connected their own particular god to biology and brain science.


2 thoughts on “A Mockery Of Evidence

  1. Hasegawa says:

    Hey Phil,

    I want to state that evidence is:

    a submission with the intent of making proof.

    The (legal) dictionary even provides further clarification:

    […] proof, strictly speaking, not being synonymous with evidence, but rather the effect of it.

    Therefore, one could say that Christianity is evidence based. However, what they leave unsaid is that it is hearsay evidence. Along the same standards as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and, yes, even vampires.

    Hearsay evidence is not considered valid since anyone’s testimony who is not cross-examinable (accountable) leaves out the possible nefarious motives (at worst) and/or poor memory (at best) that the absent witness may have.

    • Good point, but the legal definition is not the philosophical (ontological) definition.
      A good example of a parallel problem is the “burden of proof”. If you check Wikipedia, you’ll find both a legal definition and a philosophical (epistemological) definition.
      The philosophical definition of “evidence” is not merely a “submission” but implies an etiological relationship between the fact asserted and the thing being presented as “evidence”. Because this relationship can have various strengths, the raw word “evidence” often carries little meaning without adding qualifiers such as “weak”, “strong”, “dubious” and the like.

      So if someone insists on applying the word “evidence” to verbal assurances that there existed verbal assurances of others that we cannot now access, then I’ll relinquish my participation in convention to do my part to define the word “evidence” and use or coin another word that carries meaning. But, it appears that the word “evidence” is being hijacked by those who wish to emasculate it into meaninglessness. If that become the convention, then I’ll be forced to find or create a different word.

      So what do others think we should do with the word “evidence”? Dismiss it as too adulterated by those who prize vagueness to be meaningful, or stipulate the heck out of it in an attempt to rehabilitate it?

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