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Author Topic: Math proves Jesus was Resurrected?
FireSpook
The First USA Noel


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I've tried wording out the math and I think this a load of BS, but I'm not sure I'm doing it right. It looks to me that it's how you interped the numbers; plus there are too many unknown factors.

The Story

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I thought we'd discussed this before, here, but strangely enough that was a different professor (Unwin rather than Swinburne) who apparently calculated a 67% probability of God's existence. His logic appears to have been similar though.

quote:
This stunning conclusion was made based on a series of complex calculations grounded in the following logic:
1. The probably of God's existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn't.
2. The probability that God became incarnate, that is embodied in human form, is also one in two.
3. The evidence for God's existence is an argument for the resurrection.
4. The chance of Christ's resurrection not being reported by the gospels has a probability of one in 10.
5. Considering all these factors together, there is a one in 1,000 chance that the resurrection is not true.

1: False premise
2: False premise
3: No it's not. How? If God didn't exist then sure, he couldn't have been resurrected, but existence in itself isn't an argument for resurrection - lots of people have unarguably existed but not been resurrected. Lots of Gods have been proposed who weren't resurrected too.
4: I don't understand this one.
5: Since 1 - 3 are wrong, you can't draw this conclusion.

Since they've helpfully written it out in words, I don't think the maths would do anything other than obfuscate.

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snapdragonfly
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I was never much good at math, so I dunno about those numbers.

However, our previous priest (Anglican, not Catholic) was also a philosophy professor - all the classical greek dudes, ya know - and he could "prove" (in a debate sense, not scientific) the faith in a philosophical "if x then y" manner that was pretty logical, actually. Wish I could remember it. Something about if there actually were a God (and he didn't claim any 50 /50 about it or numbers) , that the God would want us to know about him, and would probably send us a messenger, and that messenger would probably be in the same form as us - not, for example, a talking donkey ("hi! I just met a talking donkey who told me that there's a God and he loves us!") but that's all I remember and I'm sure I'm misquoting. The talking donkey part always cracked me up.

The closest thing to "proof" of the validity of the claims in the 4 cannonized gospels I have run across is a book called "The Case for Christ" by Lee Stroebel. He was a very firm non believer in Jesus and a police chief - a detective - for his entire adult life - and he decided to prove that the New Testament was wrong by "investigating" it the same way he would at any crime where the only evidence he had was the testimonies from witnesses or people who had talked to witnesses.

As he did this, he started to believe that the behaviors and ways people reacted and behaved, were more consistent with people reporting what actually happened, as opposed to making them up, and he ended up becoming converted and then wrote the book.

If you want specifics you'll have to go to the source and read it yourself because I loaned out my copy, but he did make some good points.

It's still not the same thing as a controlled, double blind, classically scientific method way of "proving", and it never will be, and that's why it's faith, and people who need more than that will not find it. I don't think it can be "proven," and some people will believe in it without proof, and some will not.

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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FireSpook
The First USA Noel


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then he wasn't a good cop was he? I mean a reseacher wouldn't even use the bible, but other reports from the same era and non-writen evidence to prove or disprove the bible; that's what Christian 'scientists' don't understand, in order for them to 'prove' jesus exists to another non-believe with half a brain they have to be able to present the evidence using multible sources and Occam's razor as a scientific tool.

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Jimbolaya
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I read his book "The Case for Christ". For me, it was more of a case against Christ. It was full of illogical conclusions, lots of "the Jesus story is true because the Bible says the story is true"

As someone who truly wants to beleive, because of the obvious benefits, I just find it hard to because of the lack of evidence.

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snopes
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quote:
The probability of God's existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn't.
This is just as mathematically ridiculous as claiming that "The odds of flipping a coin and having it land 'heads' a thousand times in a row are one in two. That is, it either happens or it doesn't."

- snopes

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Trying to prove God exists -or not- using mathematics orprobability is interesting, but does indeed leave the interpretation of the results skewed in favor of the mathematician's desired result... and, it doesn't matter. The truth may be opposite the result, "just because".

It might be more fun to prove that God is not petting Schroedinger's cat...

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Senior
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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1. The probability of me being a blue rumped mandrill is one in two. That is, I either am a blue rumped mandrill or I'm not.

2. The probability of blue rumped mandrills being inhabitants of Mars is also one in two.

3. Therefore, the probability of me being a Martian blue rumped mandrill is one in four (2 x 2). QED.

Should I now apply to become an Oxford professor like Swinburne?

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Ad astra per asparagus.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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He's just using the wrong maths:

There are n people who have died.
There are n-4 people whose physical remains are on the earth.
Ergo: four persons have been resurrected and bodily ascended to heaven.

(One must not leave out Elijah, Mary, and Mohammed.)

Very simple arithmetic. It is an exercise for the reader to provide the actual evidence.

Silas

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callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
1. The probably of God's existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn't.
2. The probability that God became incarnate, that is embodied in human form, is also one in two.
3. The evidence for God's existence is an argument for the resurrection.
4. The chance of Christ's resurrection not being reported by the gospels has a probability of one in 10.
5. Considering all these factors together, there is a one in 1,000 chance that the resurrection is not true.

#1. Yes, I agree, this is false. Probability, or the odds, refers to the actually likelyhood of an option being realised, not just to the number of options. If we say "X has a 2 in 5 chance of occurring" then what we mean is that out of every 5 attempts X will usually occur twice. Having two options (exist or not exist) does not imply that either option has a "1 in 2" chance because it is not known how likely each of the two options are individually. For example, let's say we sat a teenage boy at a computer with a web browser that could only visit three pages: www.snopes.com, www.theologicalwritingsofpopebennedict.com, or www.freepixofHUGEbreasts!.com. There are three possibilities, but do each of those have an equal 1 in 3 chance of being the site the boy visits? Of course not. Obviously snopes.com is a much more likely choice than the pope bennedict site.

#2. Ditto

#3. I can sorta see this, because, as someone already posted, the existence of God is a necessary pre-requisite for resurrection. So in that case the existence of God does make the resurrection more of a possibility than it would otherwise be. However, I think the increase is minor. I mean, just proving the basic existence of God does not prove what kind of God he is, i.e. whether he is the type of God who would make a practice of resurrecting people. And if you could prove that the God who exists was that type of a God, there is still the matter of volition: would he want to? I am the type of man who could eat well and exercise, but I don't. And even if God wanted to, does that mean that he did? In other words, there is a long chain of "what-ifs" between "God exists" and "the resurrection occurred"; too long a chain for the one to really help out the other by itself.

#4. I can see what he's getting at here. He is trying to point out that the gospel accounts should not be completely dismissed as "biased literature" and that they can have some historic value, and generally that is a point I will agree with, but his application of it is not correct here. Simply put, the gospels themselves dispell his claim. Basically he's arguing that if there was a resurrection the gospels surely would have reported it. But, there are several resurrections that the gospels do not report. For example, although the synoptic gospels - Matthew, Mark, and Luke - talk about Mary & Martha, only John bothers to report how when their brother died Jesus resurrected him. Or, only Matthew includes the report that hundreds of dead saints were resurrected with Jesus. In the original ending of Mark, the resurrection was only referred to in the very last 8 verses. In other words, while the gospels all manage to include the news of Jesus' resurrection, they otherwise feel free to omit news of other resurrections. Given that, I would be hesitant to structure an argument along the lines of "the gospel writers surely would have included X." I think we'd be surprised what they were willing to omit.

#5. Obviously, if the premises were bad, the conclusion can't follow.

And this while all the time I actually to embrace his ultimate conclusion: that the resurrection occurred. I am devout in my faith, and that is precisely why I don't need the faith being even further reduced in the eyes of the world's joe bentleys by the employment of such strawmen.

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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Izunya
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
Something about if there actually were a God (and he didn't claim any 50 /50 about it or numbers) , that the God would want us to know about him, and would probably send us a messenger, and that messenger would probably be in the same form as us - not, for example, a talking donkey ("hi! I just met a talking donkey who told me that there's a God and he loves us!") but that's all I remember and I'm sure I'm misquoting. The talking donkey part always cracked me up.

I don't buy it. The first part of delivering a message is getting the recipient's attention, right? Well, which is more likely to make you sit up and take notice? A talking guy, or a talking donkey?

(How 'bout a talking, flying donkey . . . [fish] ow!)

Seriously, if God were to set up direct communication with us, the first thing He (or She, or It) would need to do is establish that He is who He says He is. An extraordinary messenger would be a reasonable first step. Humans claim to speak for God all the time. Donkeys don't.

Izunya

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I've seen a lot of these lately. Trying to use science to "prove" religion. It is rather stupid.

One of my favorites was the "proof" that Jesus is Lord because his followers were willing to die for their faith. Excuse me, what about all those suicide bombers?

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And now for something completely different...

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Senior
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by callee:
For example, let's say we sat a teenage boy at a computer with a web browser that could only visit three pages: www.snopes.com, www.theologicalwritingsofpopebennedict.com, or www.freepixofHUGEbreasts!.com.

callee, the last link doesn't work.

I got it [fish]

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skeptic
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
I've seen a lot of these lately. Trying to use science to "prove" religion. It is rather stupid.

One of my favorites was the "proof" that Jesus is Lord because his followers were willing to die for their faith. Excuse me, what about all those suicide bombers?

Yes, this arguement always amazed me. How could people be so stupid.
List of people willing to die for their beliefs.
  • Nazi soldiers.
  • IRA terrorists. Actually, to save time, I'll just say all terrorists.
  • Buddist monks protesting the Viet Nam war.
  • Secret Service agents.
The list is endless, and so it the stupidity of those who use that arguement.

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by skeptic:
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
I've seen a lot of these lately. Trying to use science to "prove" religion. It is rather stupid.

One of my favorites was the "proof" that Jesus is Lord because his followers were willing to die for their faith. Excuse me, what about all those suicide bombers?

Yes, this arguement always amazed me. How could people be so stupid.
List of people willing to die for their beliefs.
  • Nazi soldiers.
  • IRA terrorists. Actually, to save time, I'll just say all terrorists.
  • Buddist monks protesting the Viet Nam war.
  • Secret Service agents.

The list is endless, and so it the stupidity of those who use that arguement.

I don't know why this has come up all of a sudden. Maybe it has to do with (un)Intelligent Design and “If it works for one thing, it should work for ALL things” mentality.

The other day, a friend tried to 'prove' to me that Jesus was Lord. His 'proof' was quite lame. I shot down several of his 'ideas' right away. He then made a rather weird statement to the effect of, “How then do you know 'Jesus is Lord'?” I said, “Faith” and he was actually surprised. He then told me that it was not enough. Excuse me, I thought that was the whole point of it: faith.

So some of these fundamentalists now have 'proof' of their beliefs. That also means as soon as you shoot the false proofs down, they will no longer believe. Stupid, and a total missing of the point of the whole Jesus thing (remember what He said to Thomas...).

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And now for something completely different...

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
. . . He then made a rather weird statement to the effect of, “How then do you know 'Jesus is Lord'?” I said, “Faith” and he was actually surprised. He then told me that it was not enough. Excuse me, I thought that was the whole point of it: faith. . . .

Hit him with the Babelfish argument! (Grin!)

re the OP, actually, in math/probs/statistics, if you have *no information at all* about a proposition, the default estimate of its probability is 1/2.

In other words, if you were a bookmaker, and someone asked you to make book on an event about which you had zero information, you would give even odds, as this is the way to minimize the amount of money you would lose.

A practical bookmaker, on the other hand, would do all he could to *find out* pertinent information and thus derive more realistic odds!

Silas

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Rexodus
Deck the Malls


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This is all pretty similar to Pascal's wager, which claimed that there are two possibilities: either a god exists, or he doesn't. And you have two possible actions: believe or don't. The consequences were as follows:

1) God doesn't exist, and you believe: You gain nothing and lose nothing.

2) God doesn't exist, and you don't believe: You gain nothing and lose nothing.

3) God exists, and you believe: You gain everlasting happiness.

4) God exists, and you don't believe: You suffer eternal torment.

He worked out the math as well, using .5 as the probability of god existing (or not) and using infinity, negative infinity, and zero as the values of the possible results. Same mistake.

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Mistletoey Chloe
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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He also missed the possibility that there are other gods, and what the effect of believing in a different one might be.

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~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

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steve s
Almond Joy to the World


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Using the logic in the OP, my chances of winning the lottery are 1 in 2. Woooohooooo!!!!!!! I'm gonna be rich!

Steve S.

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Senior
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Rexodus:
This is all pretty similar to Pascal's wager, which claimed that there are two possibilities: either a god exists, or he doesn't. And you have two possible actions: believe or don't. The consequences were as follows:

1) God doesn't exist, and you believe: You gain nothing and lose nothing.

2) God doesn't exist, and you don't believe: You gain nothing and lose nothing.

3) God exists, and you believe: You gain everlasting happiness.

4) God exists, and you don't believe: You suffer eternal torment.

He worked out the math as well, using .5 as the probability of god existing (or not) and using infinity, negative infinity, and zero as the values of the possible results. Same mistake.

Here's a good writeup of Pascal's Wager.

The problem with Pascal's Wager is that it ignores intellectual honesty. God, as an omniscient being, would know if you were playing at believing to "cover the bases," so to speak, or believed out of true spiritual honesty. I suspect He would not be pleased by any attempt to fool Him.

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Ad astra per asparagus.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Senior:
The problem with Pascal's Wager is that it ignores intellectual honesty. God, as an omniscient being, would know if you were playing at believing to "cover the bases," so to speak, or believed out of true spiritual honesty. I suspect He would not be pleased by any attempt to fool Him.

But...before one could be concerned with God's wrath at one's attempt to fool him...one must believe in God...

Or, perhaps more to the point, it may be impossible to deceive God, but it isn't difficult at all for humans to deceive themselves.

Silas

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James D
Deck the Malls


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Centuries of philophers must be turning over in their graves. Rene Descartes may not have had flawless logic, but at least his attempts were reasonably intellegent and attempted to cover most of the bases.

This attempt, OTOH, is plain laughable. Let me give an arguement that stands up (or at least sort of stands up) in a logical manner.

1. the probablity of God's existence is between 0 and 1, inclusive.

2. If God exists, the probability of God having Human form is also between 0 and 1, inclusive.

2.5 If God exists then the odds of this God being the God of the Abrahamic tradition is between 0 and 1, inclusive.

3.0 If God exists, and is the God of Abrahamic tradition, the odds of the Reserection of Jesus being correct is between 0 and 1, inclusive.

3.1 If God exists, and is not the God of Abrahamic tradition, the odds of the Reserection of Jesus being correct is between 0 and 1, inclusive.

4. The odds of a story about reserection being in the bible, whether true or not, is very near 1. (Unless memory fails me)

5. Considering factors 1-3.1 together (4 is an independent variable and not relevent to the oddsmaking) The odds of a traditional Christian worldview being correct are...

Between 0 and 1, inclusive. [dunce]

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The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.
Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - )

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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Rexodus:
This is all pretty similar to Pascal's wager, which claimed that there are two possibilities: either a god exists, or he doesn't. And you have two possible actions: believe or don't. The consequences were as follows:

1) God doesn't exist, and you believe: You gain nothing and lose nothing.

2) God doesn't exist, and you don't believe: You gain nothing and lose nothing.

3) God exists, and you believe: You gain everlasting happiness.

4) God exists, and you don't believe: You suffer eternal torment.

He worked out the math as well, using .5 as the probability of god existing (or not) and using infinity, negative infinity, and zero as the values of the possible results. Same mistake.

In Pascal's defense (although his "wager" certainly is a poor one) he does not commit the 50/50 fallacy. In fact, his wager is of interest to mathematics as being an early example of the concept of "expected value." It takes into account both the probability of an event AND the quantitative benefits of that even occurring, not just one or the other, to determine whether it is a good 'wager" to make.

To find expected value, you take the probability of an event happening and multiply it by some numerical measure of the benefits to be gained in the event it pans out. He is essentially making the arguement that the benefits of believing in God would be infinite if God existed as described (and they would be), it would be logical to choose to believe (and it would be). Therefore, he claims, no matter what or how small the probability of God existence, the "expected value" of such a belief would still be infinite. That's pretty much the gist of what he's saying, even if he doesn't use the same terminology. The two biggest flaws I see are:

1) From a matematical standpoint, it did not take into account the possibility of other Gods existing that would condemn you to eternal damnation for beleiving in the Christian God (which would be infinitely bad).

2) From a philisophical standpoint, as someone already mentioned, it represents a serious misunderstanding of faith. You cannot tell yourself to believe. You either do or you don't. At best you could force yourself to act as a faithful man would.

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"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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pinqy
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quote:
The closest thing to "proof" of the validity of the claims in the 4 cannonized gospels I have run across is a book called "The Case for Christ" by Lee Stroebel. He was a very firm non believer in Jesus and a police chief - a detective - for his entire adult life - and he decided to prove that the New Testament was wrong by "investigating" it the same way he would at any crime where the only evidence he had was the testimonies from witnesses or people who had talked to witnesses.

Umm Strobel was never a cop, he was an investigative journalist. From his website:
quote:
Lee was educated at the University of Missouri (Bachelor of Journalism degree, 1974) and Yale Law School (Master of Studies in Law degree, 1979). He was a professional journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, winning Illinois’ top honors for investigative reporting (which he shared with a team he led) and public service journalism from United Press International.
In my experience, I have met a few Fundamentalists who claim to have previously been atheists. But listening to their stories, what it seems more like is that they simply had a crisis of faith and a period of rejecting what they had been taught as children but still were searching for spiritual answers. It's atheism of a sort, in that they didn't actively believe, but it wasn't really an intellectual rejection of gods based on reason and logic. From what I remember of Strobel recounting his past (and I could be confusing him some with Josh McDowell), it seems to me that he was of the sort that simply fell out of active religion and didn't know what to actively believe and rather ignored the whole concept of religion rather than being an American Atheist Society version of Atheist. There's a distinct difference between someone who rejects their childhood teachings of religon but never intellectually rejects the concept of gods and later finds meaning in other (or even the same) teachings and a "real atheist" who has thoughtfully considered the evidence and rejected god concepts.

pinqy

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Since there are an infinite number of possible gods, the probability of yours being the right one are vanishingly small. Instead, how about a nice, hot cup of coffee?
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hoitoider
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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This always reminds me of when someone uses statistical math to 'prove' that there must be life on other planets.

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No man has a right in America to treat any other man "tolerantly" for tolerance is the assumption of superiority. -Wendell L. Willkie

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
This always reminds me of when someone uses statistical math to 'prove' that there must be life on other planets.

To be fair, the famous [URL=imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/ docs/ask_astro/answers/970924.html]Drake Equation[/URL] is perfectly valid: it explicitly states its assumptions. Also, most of the terms in the equation are not assigned numerical values, because no one knows (for instance) how many planets that are capable of producing life actually *do* produce life.

What we do know, for damn sure, is that there are a *whale* of a lot of stars! Even if all of the other terms in the equation are very small, that overwhelmingly large initial number makes the probability of intelligent life *plausibly* large.

Silas

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Rexodus
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by ASL:
In Pascal's defense (although his "wager" certainly is a poor one) he does not commit the 50/50 fallacy.

I admit that I haven't personally read what Pascal wrote, but from others' accounts, it looks like he did commit the 50/50 fallacy. It's not contained in his basic premise (which as you pointed out is still flawed) but elsewhere in his writing, he employed it. (Look at Section 3 in the link Senior posted.)

But this might have been just for the sake of simplified explanation, since he later concluded that the wager would hold up even with worse odds. (Section 4 in Senior's link.)

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"Your name is Thurmon Mermon?"

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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Pascal's Wager fails because it can be generalized to any premise.

If you give me $100, you will attain paradise once you die; if you don't, you will burn in the fires of hell forever and ever.

How do you know? The only rational thing to do is to give me the money, since the payoff matrix, with infinite rewards and punishments applied against only a moderate profit/loss, work in your benefit, even if the odds are only microscopic that my claim is actually true.

Silas (the odds are, of course, less than that of Pogue Mahone ever getting his $10,000.)

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Grand Illusion
Jingle Bell Hock


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I read somewhere (maybe elsewhere on Snopes, or somewhere similar) that it is common practice among statisticians and scientists to ascribe a 50/50 probability to any circumstance that is entirely unknown. In other words, in the absence of any information that might render something more probable or less probable, the only number you can really guess in fairness is 50/50. The author of the story linked in the original post is using that practice fallaciously (IMHO). There are many bits of evidence that might sway the odds one way or the other, depending on what evidence you use and how you interpret it.

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There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" - The Brain

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Methuselah
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:
I read somewhere (maybe elsewhere on Snopes, or somewhere similar) that it is common practice among statisticians and scientists to ascribe a 50/50 probability to any circumstance that is entirely unknown.

You might have read it in the same place I did...in Silas' post about 15 posts up from here. [lol]

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"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G.K. Chesterton

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
This always reminds me of when someone uses statistical math to 'prove' that there must be life on other planets.

To be fair, the famous Drake Equation is perfectly valid: ... ...because no one knows (for instance) how many planets that are capable of producing life actually *do* produce life.
The Drake equation, while an excellent exercise in possibility and probability, can't be "proven", as our sampling rate right now is "0". However, at this point it IS a good comparison for the probability of the Christian God - that is, the physical proof, (or non-proof) will have a sample rate of "0" until you die. Which does no one a smidge of good trying to calculate the probablility NOW.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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El Camino
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Izunya:
quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
Something about if there actually were a God (and he didn't claim any 50 /50 about it or numbers) , that the God would want us to know about him, and would probably send us a messenger, and that messenger would probably be in the same form as us - not, for example, a talking donkey ("hi! I just met a talking donkey who told me that there's a God and he loves us!") but that's all I remember and I'm sure I'm misquoting. The talking donkey part always cracked me up.

I don't buy it. The first part of delivering a message is getting the recipient's attention, right? Well, which is more likely to make you sit up and take notice? A talking guy, or a talking donkey?

(How 'bout a talking, flying donkey . . . [fish] ow!)

Seriously, if God were to set up direct communication with us, the first thing He (or She, or It) would need to do is establish that He is who He says He is. An extraordinary messenger would be a reasonable first step. Humans claim to speak for God all the time. Donkeys don't.

Izunya

Or a burning bush?
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KingDavid8
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
I've seen a lot of these lately. Trying to use science to "prove" religion. It is rather stupid.

One of my favorites was the "proof" that Jesus is Lord because his followers were willing to die for their faith. Excuse me, what about all those suicide bombers?

I'd say the difference is that the suicide bombers are in a position to believe or not believe, but the original followers of Jesus were in a position to know or not know. If Jesus wasn't resurrected, then it's pretty likely that the Biblical authors, and other early followers, knew this.

Personally, I find the Gospels pretty convincing evidence of Jesus' resurrection. They're four relatively independent accounts, either eyewitness or only once-removed from eyewitness statements, and we just aren't seeing what we would expect to see if the authors were making it all up or were writing based on mere beliefs and not knowledge. And they stand up to historical scrutiny as well as, if not better than, any other ancient historical documents.

The only problem is that they describe things happening that are pretty wild. If one is an atheist, then they're absolutely right to believe that there is no way Jesus was resurrected, since, if there is no God, true resurrection is impossible. Writing it off to delusion or lies really kinda makes sense for an atheist. But if God exists - in fact, if it's even possible that God exists - then Jesus' resurrection is possible.

David

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www.MySpace.com/KDavid8

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by fund-o-ramus:
The Drake equation, while an excellent exercise in possibility and probability, can't be "proven", as our sampling rate right now is "0". However, at this point it IS a good comparison for the probability of the Christian God - that is, the physical proof, (or non-proof) will have a sample rate of "0" until you die. Which does no one a smidge of good trying to calculate the probablility NOW.

Sample size doesn't matter. That's just a number, n.

Let's do a quick comparison: there are n items in the grocery store. Of these, some fraction, A (a number between 0 and 1) are foods. Of these, some fraction, B, have meat. Of these, some fraction, C, have chicken. The total number of food-products containing chicken, then, is nABC.

That's *true.* It's proven, in that nothing concrete is concluded.

If n is very large, then the odds of nABC being greater than zero begin to grow. Even if we don't know ABC (although we do have reason to believe that they are greater than 0) once we know that n is really whopping gargantuan, then the notion that nABC might equal zero becomes less plausible.

And the number of stars in the cosmos is really whopping grody gargantuan, mega mondo!

The fun part about the Drake Equation is, even if you take extremely pessimistic values for those elements of it that can be figured -- e.g., how many stars have planets, or how many planets orbit within a habitable zone, etc. -- the total number *still* comes out to be rather large.

If you go to Las Vegas and roll a pair of (honest) dice a couple of million times, and don't get snake eyes even once... Well, let's just say, nuh-uh.

Silas

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