Faith is belief absent of proof

I am not sure which is more disturbing, that explainable things are deemed miracles or the low caliber of what’s claimed to be a miracle.

A miracle is supposed to be something that cannot be explained – and not in a we just haven’t figured out the trick yet way.

Babies being born is not a miracle. It’s a well documented and explainable process – and with over 6 billion people on the planet, it’s far too common.

Diseases go into remission all the time and too often, people who claim a miraculous healing lack any documentation that they were ever sick to begin with.

I can’t fathom how anyone could claim Mary or Jesus’ face on toasted bread products, wood grain, the faces of broken rocks, mold, clouds or a host of other locations as a miracle. Is that really the best that these alleged holy people can pull off? Peek a boo I see you?

How about using that miracle power for something meaningful? Save a life, end a war or disease, or clean up some environmental disaster.

Don’t even get me started on disasters where the handful of survivors say they felt god keeping them safe when others were allowed to perish. If this god character was really looking out for them, why not avert the disaster or save everyone? Seems pretty ineffectual a god to me and more likely a justification in the brain to deal with survivor guilt.

But I’d like to know how one of those survivors could look into the faces of the family of one of the dead and make that claim. God saved me because it wasn’t my time and I have a purpose yet to fulfill. Right, like their relative was so done with life.

It’s appalling how frequently the stories of weeping or bleeding statues or paintings of holy figures make the news on page 1 and the story that reveals the fraud is on the back page.

The worst one of course is the Shroud of Turin. A centuries old fake that even the Vatican isn’t dumb enough to claim as authentic – focussing instead that the devotion and belief of the sheeple as more important for it’s symbolic meaning than the reality that it’s a clear hoax.

Even without going to the carbon dating and the history of textiles – just look at the image itself.

It appears to be a man – but the proportions of the face and body are incorrect.

The first area of concern is the head. The image is the front and back of what appears to be a man.

Here’s a close up of the head – you see the front of the head and the back of the head.

1 inch thick?


But no top of the head, like you’d expect if the continuous cloth was wrapped over the head . So, unless the person wrapped in this cloth was about an inch or so thick….

The placement of the eyes relative to the head is wrong, there’s no sides of the body and the limb to body ratio is wrong. If this was a person, it was a very malformed person.

The carbon dating by several independent labs also dates the shroud so the 1200-1300’s. And let’s be serious, they didn’t take the same from the later patches, but the actual cloth. Nor would whatever smoke residue be an issue.

Which, incidentally is 1300’s textiles, as the woven pattern was not seen in the 1st century.

There’s been two re-creations of a shroud. The first was in 2005 using sunlight and painted glass.

Then there’s the recreation of it by Italian chemist Luigi Garlaschelli in 2009.

Check here for a side by side comparison:

which is the real fake and which is the fake fake?

Does all the evidence that this cloth is a hoax change anyone’s religion?

No, and really why should it?

Religious belief has never been grounded in evidence but is essentially a rejection of evidence.

This cloth won’t change anyone’s faith, in either direction.

People who are convinced that this is proof that there was a Jesus who rose from the dead, transferred this image to the cloth as evidence of his passion… to them I say it’s time to put this Tissue of Turin away.

22 thoughts on “Faith is belief absent of proof

  1. You wrote: if you found writing carved into a stone and, after determining that it wasn’t caused naturally by a sandstorm or such, that a scribe had to have done it?

    I respond: I would assume that some person had carved the writing. nothing supernatural needed.

    when the information is clearly incomplete, drawing no conclusion is more appropriate than making wild ones like supernatural.

    So called Haunted Houses are explained easily by people’s imaginations coupled with sounds below our hearing range, drafts and air currents and the audible ghostly sounds as sound carrying from outside locations – and plain hoaxes.

    People tend to see what they expect.

    Again, there is no compulsion to make any conclusions when there’s clearly not enough information.

    The folks who support ID, tend to do so from religious prejudice and lack of understanding of the sciences related to evolution.

    ID is not testable and doesn’t predict anything.

    It’s also funny to me that IDers cannot wrap their mind around biological processes take time when they insist on believing in an eternal creator who works on a different timescale than humans.

    It’s also telling that IDers who want to “teach the controversy” won’t teach any religious creation myths other than the christian one.

    all while pretending that ID is a “science”

    • I respond: I would assume that some person had carved the writing. nothing supernatural needed. When the information is clearly incomplete, drawing no conclusion is more appropriate than making wild ones like supernatural.

      The analogy is not a literal one, friend. It’s saying that if you assume a person had carved the writing, you are assuming an intelligent being did it based on the evidence. You would not listen to a “scribe of the gaps” criticism of your assumption. That is no different than intelligent design assuming that based on the evidence for the fine tuning of our universe that an intelligent being is behind it. It is not a wild conclusion (which first off is a baseless argument–you really need to stop making statements like this because it makes you look bad, and I can tell you’re reasonably smart) if it uses evidence from astrophysics, molecular biology, biochemistry to make its point. These are all accepted sciences, so to say it doesn’t use any science to make its point is an absurd statement at best.

      Again, there is no compulsion to make any conclusions when there’s clearly not enough information.

      And I say there’s clearly not enough information to conclude that biological evolution is true, but that’s not stopping you, is it? But to conclude that you would have to give evidence to support your claim, and I think you would be hard-pressed to give reasonable evidence to validate it.

      The folks who support ID, tend to do so from religious prejudice and lack of understanding of the sciences related to evolution.

      Have you never read Darwin’s Black Box or studied the theory of irreducible complexity? Irreducible complexity shoots down Darwin’s theory of evolution by gradual mutations over long periods of time, because when you look at the idea of blood clotting or the irreducibility of the flagellar motor, you see that these scientific and biological processes could not have happened by way of gradual mutation. This is biochemistry, an accepted science, and ID uses the same science that evolution does. So it’s perfectly acceptable.

      It’s also telling that IDers who want to “teach the controversy” won’t teach any religious creation myths other than the christian one.

      I don’t think IDers are saying that the Biblical account of creation should be the only one. In fact, IDers are very careful about not making that claim, so they don’t come across as creationists. IDers want a theory that it is entirely possible an Intelligent Designer exists that created all things, and the evidence is rooted in science (notably astrophysics and biochemistry), and all they ask is that this be taught alongside evolution. It is evolution that is trying to stamp out all opposition. So which is better? The kid trying to pick himself up off the ground, or the jerk bully who’s holding him there and thinks it’s funny? I think this one explains itself.

      • S:

        Writing in a rock is done by an intelligent being, which I’d know since I’d be capable of carving into rock and would have seen people carving.

        That the universe exists is not a comparable to a plain example of something modifying the environment.

        That mechanical devices are designed by people doesn’t mean that the universe was. Living beings are not comparable to machines.

        That these arguments and intelligent design use sciencey language does not mean that they are drawing from scientific evidence.

        What these arguments and ID draw from is an intentional misrepresentation and outright lies about biology and evolution.

        Irreducible complexity is complete nonsense
        http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200.html

        Biological evolution is supported by a wide range of science disciplines, while “creation science” isn’t science at all.

      • So, would you support history classes that include holocaust deniers?

        ID is creationism tarted up in sciencey language.

        the controversy is manufactured by the ID side.

        If ID is a science, why aren’t there peer reviewed papers, experiments, field observations, predictions, empirical data?

  2. You wrote: Unless and until science has an answer, you have to go with the most plausible worldview.

    I respond: There is no plausible explanation that relies on supernatural causes.

    Supernatural is unexplainable by definition, so you are basically replacing a straight forward and simple “We don’t know”

    with a supernatural we don’t know that is convoluted, rife with conflict, violence, discrimination and oppression.

    Further, it’s hardly fair to demand that science provide instant answers when religious groups tend to deny or delay funding science research.

    Science is a body of knowledge that grows over generations and incorporates new information with a rigid peer review process.

    religions can be invented overnight by a single person and do not adapt easily to social changes and is hostile to new information.

    How is that remotely a reasonable alternative?

    Also, it is a fallacy to create an either or choice.

    It is not the case that if science cannot explain something that religion is the default conclusion.

    This is an Intelligent Design tactic in particular – not saying that you’re an IDer – but this either science or religion is a false choice.

    Especially since there’s 1 science – no matter where you go on the globe, chemistry is chemistry, math is math, etc.

    But, anywhere you go on the globe, the religion differs widely from place to place.

    So, even if it was correct to say it’s science or religion – then you’d have to decide what religion was the correct one to insert when science can’t answer.

    Well, even that’s not totally true – just because science/naturalism can’t answer right now, doesn’t mean the process won’t eventually uncover an answer.

    and the origin of the universe is really the biggest gap of knowledge

    so when there is a science answer, this god won’t be able to retreat to any of the other remaining gaps, since if it wasn’t there in the origin, it wasn’t there after, either.

    • I respond: There is no plausible explanation that relies on supernatural causes.
      Supernatural is unexplainable by definition, so you are basically replacing a straight forward and simple “We don’t know” with a supernatural we don’t know that is convoluted, rife with conflict, violence, discrimination and oppression.

      First sentence: absolute begging the question. That is an inflammatory statement with absolutely no support. Supernatural is unexplainable by naturalistic definition, because it is counterintuitive to naturalism. This doesn’t mean it’s unexplainable at all. Make sure about your argument before you post it. As far as a supernatural that is convoluted, rife with conflict, etc., whom are you talking about? Those Greek and Roman gods that aren’t the theistic God? My God isn’t like that. He’s not violent, discriminatory and oppressive. I invite you to check Him out. Any evangelical Christian church would be more than happy to show Him to you.

      Further, it’s hardly fair to demand that science provide instant answers when religious groups tend to deny or delay funding science research. Science is a body of knowledge that grows over generations and incorporates new information with a rigid peer review process. Religions can be invented overnight by a single person and do not adapt easily to social changes and is hostile to new information.

      This is a straw man argument. I’ve not asked science to provide instant answers. It’s had its shot for years now, and has come up with nothing. If new information comes about that completely proves there is no God, I would be forced to change my mind. But that information has not come, and I firmly believe it will not come.

      It is not the case that if science cannot explain something that religion is the default conclusion. This is an Intelligent Design tactic in particular – not saying that you’re an IDer – but this either science or religion is a false choice.

      I’ll say it for you–I’m an IDer. And again, we’re not talking religion. I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t use that term anymore. We’re talking about naturalism and supernaturalism, or more specifically, atheism and theism. I’m also not asking it to be a choice between science and theism. I’m saying let’s look at the evidence and make a guess based on the best explanation. And when it comes to both the origin of the universe and the fine tuning of the universe, theism is the most plausible. It’s not right, because I can’t prove it, but it’s the most plausible. Under scientific theory, you must rationally accept that until new information is available. I just submit that new information will never come, to answer your last paragraph.

      • It’s not begging the question to state that supernatural isn’t plausible. People have been hunting witches, ghosts and vampires long before there’s ever been a scientific method.

        there is simply nothing credible about supernatural explanations.

        again, science is the same no matter where on Earth you go, no matter the culture, the language or other social factors.

        religion varies from place to place, very dramatically.

        “science” will never prove that there is no god, because god is not part of the natural world, and the natural world is what science is concerned with.

        actually, we are getting close to the origin of the universe, a couple more generations of telescopes will allow us to look farther and farther back in time.

        the christian god is one of the most blood thirsty, genocidal, egomanics and all round cruel fellow that has ever been worshiped.

  3. You wrote: To not do so would be irrational, because selecting no answer over an answer doesn’t work in any naturalistic field when trying to determine fact or even plausibility.

    I respond: Actually, there’s nothing wrong with saying we don’t know yet.

    Why do you expect that we should have all the answers now?

    Science never says this is the answer, anyway.

    Science says that based on the available information, our best answer is this. And when new information comes in, the answer gets revised.

    For example, we once thought that continental drift explained why the continents looked like jigsaw puzzle pieces and later, we figured out global plate tectonics.

    Admitting that we aren’t sure is far more honest, intellectually or plainly, than saying the answer is supernatural.

    There is no shame in not knowing – there is shame in not seeking.

    Stamping an answer “supernatural” is lazy and not seeking.

    It gets back to that god of the gaps – do you really want your god to be a placeholder until the naturalistic answer is found?

    Gods have already lost why there’s seasons, natural disasters, sunrise/set and everything else that we understand.

    If there is a creator god, why are so many things so poorly designed? Why does life suck for so many people?

    no religion has ever come up with a description of any sort of decent or moral god, so why think that there’s all these childish, genocidal, ego maniac cruel entities being concerned about worship and what we wear or do with our genitals?

    • Science says that based on the available information, our best answer is this. And when new information comes in, the answer gets revised.

      Wow. I responded to the other ones before I read this. You just totally made my point for me. The available information says that the best answer is the only one given, so again, if you support science and the scientific method, then you MUST support theism as the most plausible worldview. That’s all of the information we have now. The universe has a cause, there must be an Uncaused Cause that started the universe; God is the only explanation out there for the Uncaused Cause, so based on the available information, theism wins. I’m not saying you can never be an atheist. I’m saying until science comes up with new information and a better hypothesis with some evidence, to be an atheist is to be irrational.

      There is no shame in not knowing – there is shame in not seeking.

      I agree, and rather than looking at my argument objectively, you are already seeking to discredit it again with “God of the gaps.” All I’ve given you is tons of evidence and logical arguments; all you’ve given me is defiance and deflections. I think it’s time for you to give me some evidence that supports naturalism in all of this. And support of naturalism is not to tear down supernaturalism. You must give support in favor of your argument.

      It gets back to that god of the gaps – do you really want your god to be a placeholder until the naturalistic answer is found?

      Sure, because I’m convinced naturalism will never find an answer.

      Gods have already lost why there’s seasons, natural disasters, sunrise/set and everything else that we understand.

      It seems that this is also a common atheistic argument, but you realize that you are talking about Greek, Roman, Egyptian gods, etc. These are not the God of theism, so to bring them up is not have a good background in theism and the characteristics of the theistic God. This is not a valid argument until you accept theism. Cart before horse. Now I’m beating a dead one.

      If there is a creator god, why are so many things so poorly designed? Why does life suck for so many people?

      How do you know that things are poorly designed? How do you know that life sucks for so many people? Are you God, and possess omniscience and know everything about everything? Until you are, I wouldn’t make claims about what you don’t know. Does your life suck? Mine doesn’t. If yours sucks, tell me why and we might be able to take a different approach on this.

  4. I have considered the theist view and framework.

    This is why I am an atheist.

    The theist view has no empirical evidence and lacks meaningful answers.

    Particularly when you factor in the wide ranges of religions that explain the same events with not only differing deities, but also stories.

    The only times religions have similarities is when one lifts a part from an earlier religion with the new religion’s spin.

    There’s a lot of religions with a son of a deity born to a virgin, who rises against authority, is killed and resurrected later, for example.

    • I understand your final paragraphs, but understand this: we’re not trying to establish which religion is right. This is putting the cart before the horse again. We’re trying to establish that the existence of a theistic God is the most plausible worldview, which I feel I’ve done pretty well, since you have backed yourself into a corner by saying no answer is better than an answer, which contradicts the scientific method. We can’t discuss religions yet, particularly because not all religions believe in theism, so once we establish theism we can then start narrowing it down. But not before, so this argument is way off topic at this point.

      When you say the theistic view lacks empirical evidence, what are you talking about exactly? I’ve given you tons of evidence for the theistic view on the origin of the universe, so to say that it’s not there is to deny everything I’ve written. And you haven’t given any good grounds to do so. You just keep trying to push “God of the gaps” out there, and I think my “scribe of the gaps” analogy shows that this is a faulty argument on your part.

      • the scientific method is not opposed to not having a conclusive answer

        I am not sure why you think that.

        the scientific method would certainly prefer a no answer yet than an answer that is not at all supported by evidence or testable or capable of predicating anything

        the scientific method is a process to arrive at an answer, and it’s a constantly slef correcting and adjusting framework

        theism/ID/creationism starts with an answer and then tries to shoehorn evidence to fit it.

        ID proponents have not ever presented evidence in support of ID.

        the ID “evidence” is misrepresenting evolution, scientific terms/concepts and acting as if by claiming holes in evolution then it has to be ID

        and that’s not the case. it is not an either or.

        evolution is not a scientific controversy in science circles, it’s the accepted theory – and that’s scientific theory, not a layman theory is a guess

        there are certainly some mechanics and fine tuning that are debated over and where new evidence fits in. but that is not the controversy that the ID elite want taught

  5. I’m gonna separate my responses to each issue in your last post.

    I do not dispute the premises of the cosmological argument, I disagree with the conclusion.

    That there is a beginning point for things that exist and that things exist is agreed to.

    However, to follow that with a supernatural reason, merely begs the question of how that supernatural event or being began.

    and what began the cause that started the supernatural thing and to infinity.

    the only truthful conclusion about the origins of the universe is that at present, we don’t know.

    We don’t know is a better answer than a supernatural entity for which there is no agreement that this is the conclusion, and if it is the right conclusion, then which deity it is.

    I don’t know allows us to seek an answer.

    goddidit does not and isn’t any kind of explanation

    • I’ll respond to each of your separate ones separately. 🙂

      The conclusion is not that there is a supernatural reason. The conclusion to the argument is that the universe has a cause. If you agree with the premises, then you must agree with that conclusion, because since it is a deductive argument there are no non sequiturs here.

      The next step, once you agree with the argument, is to determine what is the best possible explanation. Now what you’re saying begs the question doesn’t really when you understand my definition of the Christian God. God is transcendent and immanent, and so is not limited by time or space. The logical result of this is that since God isn’t limited by time, He didn’t have a beginning, nor will He have an end. He has always existed, and will always exist. He is the Uncaused Cause of the universe, from which all things began. This is an extremely plausible answer once you agree with the cosmological argument (and you already said you did).

      And to have a hypothesis available and to choose “don’t know” is not only a copout, it goes against everything science and naturalism stand for. So if you believe in science, you have to go with the best hypothesis based on the evidence. Unless and until science comes up with a hypothesis, you can’t rationally conclude that a theistic God isn’t the most plausible worldview. It’s just irrational on so many levels to say that “I don’t know” is better than “Here’s one possible answer.” That’s not logic and reason; that’s defiance.

      I’m not saying for a certainty “God did it.” I hear that from atheists all the time; we’re not establishing proof or certainty. We’re establishing what is the best explanation, and as I’ve said before, an answer with some science is better than no answer with some science. Any naturalist would agree with that statement in any other circumstance, so to discredit it here is to discredit naturalism.

      I’d hate to see you discredit naturalism, because as an atheist that’s really the only game in town. If you don’t believe in the natural, but also don’t believe in the supernatural, well, you don’t believe in anything, which renders your position absolutely meaningless.

  6. But the first two arguments I listed are grounded in data, facts and quantifiable observations, so you have to consider them with some objective merit. You can’t ask for something testable and repeatable (aka scientific method), because then the whole science of cosmology goes out the window, not to mention biological evolution. You have to ask for evidence. And the theist does that on multiple levels. To discredit the arguments without merit shows the manufacturing of your own argument without looking objectively at the evidence.

    • both Cosmological and Teleological are philosophical arguments that pre-suppose there’s a deity and then falls back on that things exist in apparent orderliness and purpose so there must be a god designing everything

      that isn’t evidence based reasoning, that’s begging the question.

      you can’t reverse engineer the situation and start by assuming there’s a god and then looking for evidence

      you need to look at the evidence and determine what conclusions are supported

      each civilization has had it’s own set of gods that have varied widely from pantheons to single deities – we invent them to reflect our culture and values.

      why are you convinced that the real god isn’t Odin or Krishna?

      • Actually both the cosmological and teleological arguments use deductive arguments with a conclusion that implies the existence of a supernatural Creator and Designer. There is no pre-supposition in either argument. The only pre-supposition here is you believing this to be the case without looking at the logical support for each argument.

        I agree that you need to look at the evidence and determine what conclusions are supported. When it comes to cosmology, the only reasonable answer that has been postulated is the supernatural one. Science has no natural explanation for the origin of the universe. Following the evidence where it leads favors the theist, if you actually stop and look at the argument. And Dawkins and Hitchens both say that the teleological argument, though they don’t agree with it, gives them the most pause about whether or not they are correct. So to say that these are baseless and begging the question is really not looking at the arguments objectively, which renders your position meaningless on a philosophical and rational level.

        And I’m convinced by both the horizontal and vertical cosmological arguments that Odin and Krishna aren’t the real gods, but for atheists to commonly make the argument that “how can we know which god is the right one?” is putting the cart before the horse. The atheist must admit that the supernatural realm exists before asking which one or how many.

        • But arguments, no matter what flavour come down to word games and speculation – that the arguments exist doesn’t mean that there’s any truth to them and there is no actual evidence.

          it is not reasonable to assume a supernatural cause – especially since, how can anyone say it’s supernatural, without having any definition or characteristics of that supernatural force.

          That the universe exists, doesn’t mean there’s a creator outside of it.

          the universe had a start and will have an end, as does everything in the universe – this does not support that there’s an eternal and intelligent force outside of the universe – this supports that everything has a life cycle.

          No, I don’t think that any admission that the supernatural is real is needed to point out that if there were a god, then which one of the tens of thousands that have been worshiped through time would be the correct one.

          In fact, pointing out the plethora of gods just reveals that when Intelligent Designer supporters really do mean their god, and are not leaving the creator open to be aliens or another deity. It neatly demonstrates that ID is just creationism tarted up in sciencey sounding language.

          And, just because science doesn’t have an answer for the universe’s origins – yet – doesn’t mean we bookmark it with a supernatural explanation.

          That’s the god of the gaps – using god to fill in the gaps in science – but that makes “god” smaller and smaller when science fills in the gaps with knowledge.

          do you really want to reduce this god character to being a placeholder for a knowledge gap until science fills the gap?

          (plus, thanks for this excellent and fun discussion)

          • “But arguments, no matter what flavour come down to word games and speculation – that the arguments exist doesn’t mean that there’s any truth to them and there is no actual evidence.”

            I would disagree with your false assumption that there is no evidence based on the cosmological argument. The argument exists; neither one of us disputes that. Do you dispute either of the premises? That 1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause, and 2) The universe began to exist or the universe exists? If not, then you must logically grant the deductive conclusion, that the universe has a cause. When we look at infinite regress in relation to our expanding universe, we would have to determine that the beginning would have to be ex nihilo, because looking at an expanding universe in reverse would be to watch it collapse in on itself. So what is the most plausible explanation for an ex nihilo universe? Naturalism doesn’t have one. Theism does. An answer with some science is better than no answer with some science.

            “it is not reasonable to assume a supernatural cause – especially since, how can anyone say it’s supernatural, without having any definition or characteristics of that supernatural force.”

            But the theist does. The theist purports that God is both transcendent and immanent, and as such is not limited to the confines of time and space that our natural universe is. Therefore it’s perfectly logical under the theistic view to think that a God not limited by space could have created a universe from nothing, and could have done so because He exists outside our span of time, so He can be infinite while creating finite things and giving them physical constructs. There is definition and reason in the theistic view, if you are willing to consider it objectively.

            “the universe had a start and will have an end, as does everything in the universe – this does not support that there’s an eternal and intelligent force outside of the universe – this supports that everything has a life cycle.”

            But if the universe had a start, what was this beginning under naturalism? Right now naturalism has no answer, so unless it gets one, being intellectually honest with yourself you would have to conclude that theism is the more plausible worldview when it comes to the origin of the universe. To not do so would be irrational, because selecting no answer over an answer doesn’t work in any naturalistic field when trying to determine fact or even plausibility. Note that I have not in any way been trying to prove God’s existence to you. Just that His existence as Creator of the universe is more plausible than anything the naturalist can present for the origin of the universe.

            “And, just because science doesn’t have an answer for the universe’s origins – yet – doesn’t mean we bookmark it with a supernatural explanation.”

            Well, it sort of does. Unless and until science has an answer, you have to go with the most plausible worldview. Right now that is theism, because theism is the worldview with an answer for cosmology that best fits the evidence. See below for what I mean.

            “No, I don’t think that any admission that the supernatural is real is needed to point out that if there were a god, then which one of the tens of thousands that have been worshiped through time would be the correct one.”

            Here is where the ontological argument is valid. Determining, based on the fact that there are beings, that there would logically be a being that is greater than all other beings, makes sense. So what would the characteristics of this being be? Smarter than everyone else, stronger than everyone else, able to be everywhere at once, for starters. Is there a God that purports to be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, on top of being transcendent and immanent to fit the bill of Creator of the universe? There is; the God of Christianity. This makes it most plausible that if there were a supernatural realm, the God of Christianity would be the greatest possible being.

            “That’s the god of the gaps – using god to fill in the gaps in science – but that makes “god” smaller and smaller when science fills in the gaps with knowledge.”

            No, that’s the inference of the best explanation, which is a scientific term used in the evidentiary method. Would you call it a “scribe of the gaps” if you found writing carved into a stone and, after determining that it wasn’t caused naturally by a sandstorm or such, that a scribe had to have done it? No, you weigh the hypotheses and make an inference based on the best explanation from the evidence available. That’s what I’m doing here. (Interestingly, this idea also applies to intelligent design, where you would not only make a conclusion based on the lack of evidence for a naturalistic explanation, but also the conclusion would be an intelligent mind.) The problem for you is that when it comes to cosmology there is only one hypothesis, so again being intellectually honest you have to say based on cosmology that theism is the most plausible worldview.

            Thank you for the excellent discussion as well.

  7. Religious belief has never been grounded in evidence but is essentially a rejection of evidence.

    I think you’ll find that today there is quite a bit of evidence on which religion is grounded, at least theism in a general sense. The cosmological argument, teleological argument, ontological argument, moral argument, to name a few, are grounded in both science and philosophy, and purport rational and reasonable evidence for the existence of God.

    That said, I don’t think I agree with the legitimacy of the shroud of Turin either. But you are right in saying that this does absolutely nothing in terms of defining whether or not God exists.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Looking over the history of all the past civilizations demonstrates that religion is a cultural product that varies widely by location and era.

      Every natural event that was once associated with the happiness level of spirits and deities has been explained by the study of the natural world – aka science.

      Volcanoes and other natural disasters, crops and seasons and most everything around us, has been understood through a growing body of scientific and natural knowledge.

      No matter what kind of argument can be made for religion, when the argument is not supported by data, facts, quantifiable observations that are testable and repeatable, those arguments are as manufactured by people as the religion that they support.

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