Monday, May 18, 2015

Atheist Clichés to Avoid

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. The problem with invoking this phrase to dismiss religious claims is that it implies that the claim in question has “ordinary” evidence going for it, but simply lacks “extraordinary” evidence. But that’s FAR too generous when it comes to most religious claims, which typically fail to meet even “ordinary” standards of evidence (and in many cases lack any evidence whatsoever beyond an unsupportable claim of divine revelation).

I disagree with where he takes this. He's an atheist, after all, so he will naturally take it in the wrong direction. But Vic Wang does draw attention to an amusing irony, for that statement, which goes back to Sagan, popularizing Hume, is a tacit admission that there's evidence for miracles. In the face of that evidence, the best an atheist can do is to up the ante. The statement is actually an unwitting concession to Christianity. A move to preemptively discount the evidence for miracles. But why would an atheist do that unless he was insecure? Afraid of having his bluff called? To dismiss the evidence in advance is a sign of weakness.

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