# Thread: This was offered up as evidence

1. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

hackenslash said
Even if you take it as read that there was some sort of miraculous recovery, there's a pernicious logical fallacy underlying the assumption that Jesus is to blame. The name for this fallacy is 'affirming the consequent'.

To expose this, propositional calculus is your friend:

$$P \rightarrow Q, Q \therefore P$$

For a syllogistic example:

1. All men are mortal
2. Socrates was mortal
C: Therefore, Socrates was a man

One might think that looks OK, right until I tell you that Socrates was my neighbour's cat, who was run over last week (I made that up; the cat was called Heidegger).

Point is, men aren't the only things that are mortal, and this conclusion discounts all of them

In the case of the apologist, they're overlooking all sorts of not only possible but plausible explanations and running with their preferred conclusion, which can't even be said to be possible.
I'm sorry for your cat, especially with such a name. There is tragedy in pets.

2. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

There was no such cat, in reality. Much as is probably true of the original Socrates, he was a didactic invention.

3. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

To be fair it is evidence, but of an incredibly poor type. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is only a fallacy when it is assumed to be true, especially without other corroborating evidence to suggest A caused B.

Indeed that is the reason for the fallacy in the first place, because B often follows A and is caused by A.

The main fault lies with not looking for other causal candidates, and settling for the highly dubious "divine" Jesus as the causal factor without question.

Indeed Classical Physics used Post hoc ergo propter hoc and served us generally quite well for thousands of years. Take a beam of light striking a mirror: "The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection" True enough as a rule of thumb, but if quantum mechanics is true, things are not quite that simple.

The path of a photon behaves more like a path integral formulation than what was imagined in classical optics:-

The path integral formulation of quantum mechanics is a description of quantum theory that ..... The result is a sum over paths with a phase, which is the quantum action. ... amplitude (corresponding to the classical correlation function) as a weighted sum of all possible histories of the system from the initial to the final state.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path_integral_formulation

Last edited by Darwinsbulldog; 27th September 2017 at 10:56 AM.

4. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

Darwinsbulldog said
To be fair it is evidence, but of an incredibly poor type.

El Snippo
Prof Pupp, I wouldn't actually let the tale grace itself with the title "evidence". Sometimes it's all theatre.

Let me tell you how a "miracle" happened to me:
(Book notes excerpt begins)

Thanks to personal experience, I can provide a personal perspective which may show just how shabby some of this stuff is.

The Heeeeeeeeeeeeeealer may still be beating the boards and playing at Human Ninepins, for all I know. He has a long history of starting churches, leaving (or being booted out for having a wayward wiener on a couple of occasions), repenting, rehashing the act and going back on the game.

Around the time our story takes place, the chap was bounding back from his second major downfall. The senior pastor of the place I was attending was a big softie where hard luck stories were concerned, and it only took a few words about the old reprobate’s supposed reform to get him gushing.

Within hardly any time at all, a guest spot was arranged, and The Heeeeeeeeeeeeeealer was out front, doing his schtick for all it was worth.

For a man who’d been born and raised in Australia, The Heeeeeeeeeeeeeealer would sound remarkably like an American bible-belter as he hit his working pace.

There were many speech mannerisms like repeating things three times - three times - three times!!!, and a sort of body-plus-speech emphasis on certain phrases which would be used like a hypnotist’s snappy fingers.

The “message” part of the show would not have been out of place at most tent-meetings or small charismatic-style churches. He could have left it at that, but The Heeeeeeeeeeeeeealer had a reputation among the people, and he must have deemed it necessary to uphold it.

He asked for people wanting prayer for ailments or problems. As far as I could tell (me being the King Of Bad Readers Of Body Language) he was homing in on those who looked uncomfortable or somehow out-of-sorts. Since I was up the back and avoiding eye contact, like a good Goat should, it took him about a dozen point-at-person-and-call-them-out-front routines before he got around to me.

Now I should probably explain at this point that I have a physical disability of sorts. In 1995, I was climbing a ladder at a mate’s place, helping put a box of Christmas decorations into his ceiling storage space, when said good friend stopped holding the ladder, quite unannounced, to deal with a brawl among his kids.

(Cue three-metre plummet and ungraceful dismount)

After a rapid trip to hospital, various indignities, and a few months off work, Your Humble Narrator walks almost like anybody else and lifts moderately big things, at least within limits.

There’s a little damage in my neck around C6, and thoracic vertebra #12 is wedge-shaped instead of cylindrical. There are no visible signs of the damage, except some discomfort sitting or standing for prolonged periods.

I’m mentioning this because it has some bearing on the tale, coming fairly shortly.

Okay, so I am bad at refusing invitations in situations of potential threat or embarrassment. I should probably have gotten up and just kept walking.

I certainly didn’t feel any supernatural compulsion. My major emotion was concern: I knew this guy was into having people fall down, and my back can’t tolerate jerks. Still, out I went.

The Heeeeeeeeeeeeeealer was doing a sort of cold-reading. He didn’t need to do a lot of the preliminaries that stage psychics do: he had the “need“, “religion” and “can be compelled” boxes ticked, thanks to the people being in a Congregation Of The Excitable.

So, he came to each person, and after a bit of question-and-answer he would get a bit specific, speak some platitudes, then RAISE HIS VOICE and move right into the victim’s personal zone.

If they didn’t fall down at first, he repeated the last few steps. I’ve put a chicken’s head on the ground and drawn a chalk line away from the beak: isn’t nature wonderful?

I was about the last person in line. The great showman asked me (quietly) if I had a problem with my back or legs. He didn’t give me much time beyond a “yes”, when he suddenly became all theatrical and loud again, and started rabbiting on about…
my legs, and how they were of unequal length, and how, LOOK, my left (or was it right?) leg was GROWING and NOW THEY WERE EVEN!!!

Insert David Byrne Talking Heads Voice here:
“The same as it ever was,the same as it ever was…“

My legs were always bloody well even!

I felt a number of things:
1 - Cheated and cheapened;
2 - Like shouting “Bullshit!” and giving the game away;
3 - Fear - I was in a minority of one, and may have been crushed in a mosh-pit of devout loons trying to “drive out the demons” if I ruined the show;
4 - Like getting far from this farce and staying away.

I realised I wasn’t going to get away until the old charlatan had all he wanted, so I surreptitiously glanced over my shoulder to be sure a couple of beefy members of the Faithful were in range, and did my best Slow Pratfall. It hurt.

5. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

And to this day your legs are of the same length, Praise the Lord.

6. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

bruce1937 said
And to this day your legs are of the same length, Praise the Lord.
Like David Byrne put it... The same as it ever was, the same as it ever was.

The Lord can get fucked: or if he doesn't show up, his little messengers can get fucked as proxies.
Last edited by The Irreverent Mr Black; 27th September 2017 at 12:33 PM.

7. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

The Irreverent Mr Black said
Prof Pupp, I wouldn't actually let the tale grace itself with the title "evidence". Sometimes it's all theatre.

Let me tell you how a "miracle" happened to me:
Sure, but that was not my point. Science [as the pup understands it] is not to reject any tale, however outlandish or absurd, on an a priori basis. If I used that method, I would reject quantum mechanics along with fairies and UFOs.

We are story-telling creatures, and these stories cover many genre, and a spectrum of deliberate or unconscious motivations. Science is one story-telling system, and the various religious narratives another. Science proceeds with the method of trying to not have any a priori assumptions, but religious narratives [even when sincere] do the opposite.

So my attitude is not how outlandish a tale may be, but what are the a priori assumptions and can I destructively test the narrative?

Now is a story a form of evidence? I think yes, but for obvious reasons most stories of this type raise a red flag or two, which soon puts us into debunking mode.

Then we can accept those stories which seem to survive the debunking process as probably true. At least in a probational sense, subject always to further confirmation or invalidation.

Like it or not, those unfortunate souls who choose to regard myth as evidence need to be weaned off those types of mental habits, which mostly involve jumping to conclusions.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc is not an absurd strategy, so long as it is not the only game in town. Of course, it is particularly deadly to reason when looking for ultimate causes [eg like a god-creator] but in terms of proximal causes [note the plural] it is a reasonable rule of thumb, [IMHO]. Which is probably why many people over-use it, and indeed abuse it, to the detriment of "truth".

I don't want to over-sell this, but it is in this way that I try to keep an open mind.

Science [again as I understand it] does not need to be realistic. Indeed, I think being reality-"agnostic" is the very core of science.

We can leave claims of reality to the clerics.

8. ## Re: This was offered up as evidence

So the conclusion is obvious. It was the flying spaghetti monster, once again filling in for the absent Jesus, in between making new midgets.

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