What the Boss Likes: claims, reasons and evidence

When I discuss religion here, it is usually about claims that theists make based on their respective religions. In most cases, those claims and religions get their details from what are deemed “holy books”.   These can be anything from how the universe came to be, to how one should eat, or how one should treat other people, etc.

Many theists want to start with a presupposition, that their holy book is true. What they forget is that to everyone else but a believer, it is a set of claims.

The Department of Communication at University of Pittsburgh has a great explanation of how claims, reasons and evidence works. Claims aren’t evidence of themselves like the theist presupposition requires.  They can be evidence that people did indeed believe such things, but they are not evidence that the events happened or the beings existed.

Addendum:  if you want to see me discuss this with a Christian, go to Joe’s blog here: https://trueandreasonable.co/2014/12/23/no-evidence/   At this moment, if my posts are still up, Joe is trying to use trial lawyer arguments for evidence for his god.

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14 thoughts on “What the Boss Likes: claims, reasons and evidence

  1. Excellent article! I especially liked this in the last paragraph: … appeals to authority, come in two main types, eyewitness and expert. Eyewitness or first-hand testimonies are reports from people who directly experience some phenomenon. (emphasis mine) — Not the people who heard or read about someone else’s experience.

      1. Not THAT bored! 😄 I rarely visit Christian blogs … they are generally so entrenched in their beliefs (which have been repeatedly “confirmed” by their leaders) that, to me, it’s a fruitless effort. It reminds me of the bible verse “throwing pearls before swine” — only in reverse.

        This isn’t to say I entirely let them off the hook as I do, on occasion, point out their belief fallacies on other blogs. 😉

        In any case, I say more power to you! Go get ’em Tiger!

  2. I do not have to play (nice) with theists, especially not the evangelical fundamentalist (what fun?) types. Life is good…no, life is wonderful. I don’t have to say why, or to ask why, nor do I particularly give a shit why someone believes what they do or don’t. 🙂 SWEET!

  3. Thank you for the link to my site Vel. I think people can certainly learn how people understand how to support an argument in different ways. I offer how it is done in philosophy and law, you offer communications. All three are important. I still wonder how you would address most history textbooks. You still have not addressed that since the authors of the textbooks were not actually there and are usually second or third hand sources.

    1. Logic is logic and evidence is evidence, Joe, no matter how you may want to pretend otherwise. The idea of claims, reasons and evidence are the same across communications, philosophy and law. I should find it astonishing that you would think otherwise, but I know that theists will deny anything they find useful as long as they think that it supports their beliefs.

      Yep, most history books are not from eyewitnesses. Just like your bible. The various authors do indeed claim that they were eyewitnesses or that they spoke to eyewitnesses but we have nothing to support those claims. We have no corroborating evidence, something you should understand as a lawyer but which you seem to ignore when it comes to your religion.

      For all that some Christians try the “were you there argument”, they all fail to realize that their own beliefs are based on things that no one could have witnesses, and things that have no evidence to support they ever happened. The only primary sources we have for Christianity is that there were indeed Christians. However, we also there were indeed worshippers of Isis, of Allah, of Vishnu, which the believers of other gods won’t accept as evidence for the existence of those gods.

      What actual historians use is evidence to support that events happen and the idea of probability that something could happen, e.g. we know that there were Roman generals, emperors, and wars; so it’s not unlikely that the Gallic Wars happened. We have remains of Roman marble palaces so there’s a good chance that Nero’s palace was pretty nifty. We know that Egypt was strong at any time that is postulated for the “exodus”, and we have no evidence that its entire army was destroyed nor that it suffered a series of devastating plagues. We don’t have a single latrine from 600,000+ people wasndering around for 4 decades. What we don’t have is that there were wars of hundreds of thousands of combatants in Israel, nor that there were fabulous leather tents, tons of gold, and fabulous palaces in the land of the Israelites.

      Where is your evidence, based on the historical method, that the essential events in the bible happened? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method What years did the essential events in the bible happen, Joe? Christians and Jews can’t agree. And then we have the problem that Christians and Jews can’t agree on what is to be taken literally and what is supposedly metaphor.

      1. Hi Vel
        Do you think Bart Ehrman is a Historian? He agrees the gospels and other books in the bible can be a source material for historical conclusions.

        You are simply way out of touch with the understandings of these terms and what is expected. I gave the criteria used by Ehrman. I gave the definition of evidence according to the federal rules of evidence. I gave the definition of hearsay according to those rules. You are fighting the definitions and standards used by experts (without offering any replacement) because you want try to maintain your claim there is no evidence for God.

        It is not a reasonable position and that is why most atheists would say there is insufficient evidence for God.

      2. Bart Ehrman is a historian. He has concluded that there likely was a man who thought he was the Jewish messiah. This is because we have from other sources that also have men who thought they were the Jewish messiah, that there was upheaval in the Jewish religion at that time, etc. He does not take the bible alone evidence. It is a claim that is supported by evidence from other sources that there was a human being, not the magical savior you try to claim existed and not the god you claim exists and is defined and described in the bible. I find it curious when Christians want to claim that there’s evidence for a historical man, but that is not the entity that they worship.

        It is solely your opinion that I am out of touch, an opinion that is not supported by evidence. You want to hide behind legal terms as if they are some how different than other definitions of claim and evidence. I offer the definitions and standards that historians and legal experts use, and I am no twisting them like you are.

        You keep trying to claim I don’t have a reasonable position and you have yet to support that claim too. Most atheists would say that there is no evidence for the god of your bible since there is no evidence for the supposed events of the bible and plenty of evidence for other things happening during the claimed times of the bible events; we have both positive and negative evidence that they never happened. Many atheists may say that there is insufficient evidence for *a* god, one too vague to determine actions and intent. I myself have no problem saying that.

      3. If the events of the bible actually happened, it would seem they would be taught in secular schools as part of world history. But they aren’t. And I don’t think it’s because of bias against Christianity. I think it’s because, as Val has said, there are no evidential remains of the battles, people, and/or civilizations written about in the bible.

        And there is definitely no substantive evidence to validate the writings of Paul, who for all intents and purposes, is the author of Christianity. In fact, search as they may, biblical scholars has been unable to confirm that Paul even existed.

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