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Re: [UFOnet] Proof [over faith]

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  • Roger Anderton
    ... From: Joe (uk-ufo) McGonagle To: uuksg ; Sent: Sunday, November 06, 2005 6:36 PM
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 6, 2005
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Joe (uk-ufo) McGonagle" <joe@...>
      To: "uuksg" <ufologyinuk@...>; <ufonet@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, November 06, 2005 6:36 PM
      Subject: [UFOnet] Proof [over faith]


      > From www.skepticrant.com
      > http://www.skepticrant.com/2005/11/proof.html
      >
      > Proof
      >
      > Ambrose Bierce describes proof as "Evidence having a shade more
      > of plausibility than of unlikelihood. The testimony of two
      > credible witnesses as opposed to that of only one." I really
      > enjoy the writings of Bierce, and most of the time I find his
      > perceptions insightfully sardonic. But, I really don't agree
      > with him on this. Proof is about evidence not testimony. It's
      > about verifiability and repeatability not plausibility. I know
      > he was being sardonic and was perhaps commenting more on judicial
      > proof than scientific proof, but I think this illustrates why
      > skeptics are often so offended by what some people consider
      > proof. If 100 people claim to see a UFO, that does not prove
      > that they saw extraterrestrial life. It only proves that 100
      > people saw something in the sky. UFO proponents are insistent
      > that extraterrestrial life is visiting earth. Well, if that is
      > true, then the proof is out there, and I, for one, would really
      > like to see it.
      >
      > UFO religions are not that much different than believing in more
      > traditional God systems, and they are valued for the same
      > reasons. If you believe that extraterrestrial life is visiting
      > Earth, then life is not limited to what we see around us. If
      > extraterrestrials are visiting Earth then there must be more to
      > existence then our little lives. This is a powerful hope,
      > because for reasons I do not understand, existence itself is
      > insufficient reason for amazement to most people. Personally, I
      > am amazed everyday by my existence. I can't think of anything
      > more astounding than waking up every day and finding that I am
      > still alive and that the Earth continues to spin. These are not
      > things that should be taken for granted. They should be embraced
      > and exalted. Still most people are emotionally greedy, they want
      > more, life is not enough, they want "purpose". Rather than look
      > to themselves for that purpose they look beyond this world and
      > create unattainable purposes. Why would people want an
      > unattainable purpose? Because, if your purpose is unattainable,
      > i.e. not of this world or this life, then you can never be
      > disappointed.
      >
      > That is really what faith and religion is all about, creating a
      > world view that is impossible to achieve so that you never have
      > to face ultimate failure. No matter how crappy, insignificant,
      > or meaningless your life really is, as long as you believe in
      > God, and the afterlife, you always have an emotional out. This
      > survival technique is similar to waking the instant before you
      > "die" in a dream. The body startles us out of sleep to spare us
      > the anguish of experiencing our own death. In that same way,
      > humans embrace religion so that they do not have to face the
      > totality of death without an afterlife.
      >
      > This emotional smoke screen is incredibly powerful and is capable
      > of blinding even the most intelligent people from realizing the
      > truth. It is therefore not surprising that the concept of proof
      > is dismissed by most religions as irrelevant. They fill the gaps
      > in their logic, left by the absence of proof, and replace it with
      > faith. There has even been a recent tendency to call
      > "Intelligent Design" the "science of the gaps". Which is kind of
      > funny because the God of the Gaps argument has been discredited
      > for so long.
      >
      > In regards to faith, I am in complete agreement with Bierce, he
      > describes it as, " Belief without evidence in what is told by one
      > who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."
      >
      > "Things without parallel" or in other words, things that cannot
      > be proven. Clearly, proof is not essential to religion. In
      > fact, evidentiary examination of supernatural claims has rarely
      > (if ever) benefited the cause of the faithful. I have often
      > heard evangelical's argue that the reason they must defend the
      > inerrancy of Genesis so steadfastly, is that to allow one aspect
      > of the Bible to be disproven, is to open the flood gates of doubt
      > about the entire document. Thus, in order to believe the
      > inerrancy of the Bible, faith must replace proof, evidence must
      > be ignored, and logic must be hog tied by the absence of truth.
      >
      > In defense of faith over proof, society has granted an
      > unreasonable weight of authority to faith. Faith is revered as a
      > virtue while scientific skepticism is often derided as a cynical
      > vice.
      >
      > Plan 9 from Outer Space: "My friends, you have seen this
      > incident, based on sworn testimony. Can you prove that it didn't
      > happen?"
      >
      > Meaningless arguments like that, between skeptics and believers
      > take endless circular sojourns around the relative merits of
      > phrases like, "burden of proof", "extraordinary claims /
      > extraordinary evidence", "prove a negative", etc. But, the
      > bottom line is that the "supernatural" lies outside of nature,
      > and therefore outside of proof or science. That which cannot be
      > proven requires faith. Faith does not require proof, nor
      > evidence, nor logic. Proof requires all of these but faith.
      > Faith and proof are in essence mutually exclusive. This means
      > that arguing from either position against the other will forever
      > feel like a meaningless effort in futility.
      >
      > So, why bother?
      >
      > To answer that, I am borrowing (from myself) the finale of a
      > comment I made on an Evangelical Atheist thread. " A small child
      > that is afraid of the dark will call out to it's parents for
      > protection. As adults, calling out to a non-existent imaginary
      > friend in the sky might make some people feel better, but like
      > the child, eventually mankind must master it's fear of the dark
      > and face it alone." It is my hope, that with time, people will
      > grow to value proof over faith, reason over superstition, and
      > hope over fear. There is no other way I know to express this
      > desire than to discuss/debate it with those that need it most.
      >
      >
      >
      Load of rubbish. If one person wants to interpret things by a belief in God
      and another person wants to interpret it by not believing in God, there is
      no proof that can be shown to either of them to make them change their
      minds, if they don't want to change their minds.
    • Joe McGonagle
      Hello Roger, I thought that the article made several good points, including: In defense of faith over proof, society has granted an unreasonable weight
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 6, 2005
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        Hello Roger,

        I thought that the article made several good points, including:

        <snip>

        In defense of faith over proof, society has granted an
        unreasonable weight of authority to faith. Faith is revered as
        a virtue while scientific skepticism is often derided as a
        cynical vice.

        <snip>

        Meaningless arguments like that, between skeptics and believers
        take endless circular sojourns around the relative merits of
        phrases like, "burden of proof", "extraordinary claims /
        extraordinary evidence", "prove a negative", etc. But, the
        bottom line is that the "supernatural" lies outside of nature,
        and therefore outside of proof or science. That which cannot
        be proven requires faith. Faith does not require proof, nor
        evidence, nor logic. Proof requires all of these but faith.
        Faith and proof are in essence mutually exclusive. This means
        that arguing from either position against the other will
        forever feel like a meaningless effort in futility.

        <snip>

        > Load of rubbish. If one person wants to interpret
        > things by a belief in God and another person wants to
        > interpret it by not believing in God, there is no
        > proof that can be shown to either of them to make them
        > change their minds, if they don't want to change their
        > minds.

        Which is exactly the point that the autor was making, I thought?

        Joe
      • Roger Anderton
        ... From: Joe McGonagle To: Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 1:23 AM Subject: Re: [UFOnet] Proof [over faith] ...
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 7, 2005
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Joe McGonagle" <joe@...>
          To: <ufonet@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 1:23 AM
          Subject: Re: [UFOnet] Proof [over faith]


          > Hello Roger,
          >
          > I thought that the article made several good points, including:
          >
          > <snip>
          >
          > In defense of faith over proof, society has granted an
          > unreasonable weight of authority to faith. Faith is revered as
          > a virtue while scientific skepticism is often derided as a
          > cynical vice.
          >
          > <snip>

          Society is composed of lots of different opinions; to say "society has
          granted an
          unreasonable weight of authority to faith" is an error, part of society
          might have, but not all of society.


          >
          > Meaningless arguments like that, between skeptics and believers
          > take endless circular sojourns around the relative merits of
          > phrases like, "burden of proof", "extraordinary claims /
          > extraordinary evidence", "prove a negative", etc. But, the
          > bottom line is that the "supernatural" lies outside of nature,
          > and therefore outside of proof or science. That which cannot
          > be proven requires faith. Faith does not require proof, nor
          > evidence, nor logic. Proof requires all of these but faith.
          > Faith and proof are in essence mutually exclusive. This means
          > that arguing from either position against the other will
          > forever feel like a meaningless effort in futility.
          >
          > <snip>
          >

          Saying that a certain phenomenon is supernatural and that "supernatural lies
          outside of nature,
          and therefore outside of proof or science" is a way of dismissing the
          phenomenon from scientific investigation, when really everything should be
          subject to scientific investigation.



          >> Load of rubbish. If one person wants to interpret
          >> things by a belief in God and another person wants to
          >> interpret it by not believing in God, there is no
          >> proof that can be shown to either of them to make them
          >> change their minds, if they don't want to change their
          >> minds.
          >
          > Which is exactly the point that the autor was making, I thought?
          >
          > Joe

          Not quite.
          Roger
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