The following is my response to Ben’s comment on the Part 2 part of my interactions with him. This was the one about the evidence that Christians apologists think they have for their god. We got a bit off topic in the comments but it’s worth a post on its own. My response has gotten rather long, so I’ll split it into two parts. This one deals with “expectations” of evidence or how presupposition can really screw you up.
I agree with Ben in that critically examining human expectations for gods is crucial. It allows us to understand humans better and that’s always a good thing. The results from that examination will help us understand the world around us. However, when Ben says that our expectation determines whether evidence supports or doesn’t support a hypothesis, he fails badly. As the quote goes “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” (attributed to various sources).
Expectations are expectations. Apologists only add “justified expectations” when they want to claim that their version of their religion is the only true religion ever. Every religion thinks that their expectations of their god/gods are justified because they are *sure* their god exists, aka a presupposition that forms all of their claims. Ben may expect a god, but unless he can show it exists, it’s like expecting to see Sekhmet striding 100 meters tall leading the tanks in the modern Egyptian army.
Now, the scientific method does not and cannot work like this, and neither do my expectations about some supernatural force. For example, Ben has tried to claim that this world is what one should expect if there is a god. I don’t agree, and every bit of evidence points against the supposed existence and actions of a god in this world.
Ben believes that there is evidence for his god, and by this one would assume that he thinks he knows that there is no evidence for any other god or he would be worshipping those gods too. He doesn’t expect those gods to be real though. And here is where expectations of gods gets interesting.
How our expectations of gods formed? Since there is no evidence of the supernatural, despite the always vague and secret claims of theists of their supposed experiences, we are left with stories told to us by people we trust. We think that this trust can be applied to all situations with these people who we have deemed trustworthy, so we think that this trust justifies our belief, e.g. proves the belief, in what they tell us. However, it proves nothing, except that we have had reason to trust people in the past. If those people who have told us a questionable claim have no evidence, no facts, then we have no reason to believe their claim.
Ben unsurprisingly disagrees with my interpretation of the Christian bible. He thinks that I expect too much from it when I point to it as the only source of information on his god that he has and point out that this god does not do what it says it will do. He of course has no evidence that his interpretation is any more accurate or valid than mine or billions of other Christians. He pulls out a verse from the bible and uses it to claim that his version is the right one “Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and savior of Israel.” Isaiah 45:15 And claims that this shows that his God has always been revealing itself selectively to people “carefully selected”. That would be a very nice bit of evidence for his claims but alas, the bible says that this is wrong “18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-32
It also amuses me that Ben picks his verse from Isaiah 45, that is such a lovely example of how this god claims that its going to do all of these impressive things and not one scrap of such events are found (funny how the “tall Sabeans” etc didn’t all decide that this version of God was the one to follow). What the apologist’s usual answer about *this* little problem is that those claims haven’t happened yet, since that’s what their magic decoder ring has told them. It’s also great for being a the origin of the claims in Romans 9, where this god supposedly has no care about giving its humans a choice, but considers them all pots to be destroyed or saved according to its whim. Not exactly the best chapter to pick when claiming that this god is supposedly so careful to keep hidden.
Rather than have a monster post, we’ll end it here and I’ll post its second half in a moment.