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Old 06-06-2001, 07:43 PM   #11
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
Layman, here's that article on "Kooks and Quacks in the Roman Empire":

http://www.infidels.org/library/mode...ier/kooks.html

Read it and see for yourself. I think that it's an excellent essay -- it shows very convincingly that there were lots of miracles reported outside of the Bible, and that there were several self-styled prophets on the loose.

Why believe in Jesus Christ's miraculous cures and not those of the Greek god Asklepios?

Why believe that statues of Christian saints can bleed but not those of pagan deities and heroes?

Why believe that Jesus Christ had raised someone from the dead but not Apollonius of Tyana?

The evidence is at least as strong for the pagan miracles.

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I've read that article a couple of times. I haven't refuted it because up until now I have confined myself to arguing on the boards, and doing my own site. That takes up more time, and I'm not sure that any argument on boards isn't a waste of time.

The probelm with that appraoch is it assumes that one merely beleives in Jesus because some miracles are reproted. That's absurd. Jesus' miracles are part of the over all package, they are not a reason in themselves to beleive anything.

But they do differ in some important respects from other calimed miracles. For one thing most of the others profited from their miracles, some had lavish life styles; apparently Jesus didn't get anything out of his miracles in an earthly sense.

Secondly most of the reports of the others were recorded some time after the evetns. Yea I know the Gospels were so very long after, but really they demonstrate earlier traditions that probably go back to the very evetns themselves. But more importantly, Jesus' miracles spawned a huge movment that grew into a major world religion and it began immediately, which might indicate people really expernced somehting--its not proof but it might indicate it.

None of those guys had major bodies of ethical teachings, none became respected by learders of all world religions. I think that makes a difference becasue it shows that Jesus was much more than just another two bit miracle worker.
 
Old 06-06-2001, 10:26 PM   #12
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Yes Mad, evidence is evidence. Even if it's not cross-examined. Even if it is hearsay.

Many, many legal claims are resolved all over the world by arbitrations that do not involve any cross-examination but allow reams of hearsay evidence in.
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Based on this reasoning, pratically anything can be considered "evidence". The Greek civilization (all stories and articfacts) is evidence of the Gods of Mt. Olympus. The Egyptian civilization (stories and artifacts) are evidence of the Gods, Ammon, Ra and Set. Reincarnation testimonies are evidence for Hinduism and Buddhism. Ghost experiences are evidence of hauntings. The testimony of channelers are evidence of the ability to speak with the dead. I could go on an on here..

With such a loose definition of evidence it seems to me your on very slippery ground. But it goes without saying that your entitled to this view I suppose.
 
Old 06-06-2001, 10:40 PM   #13
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
Based on this reasoning, pratically anything can be considered "evidence". The Greek civilization (all stories and articfacts) is evidence of the Gods of Mt. Olympus. The Egyptian civilization (stories and artifacts) are evidence of the Gods, Ammon, Ra and Set. Reincarnation testimonies are evidence for Hinduism and Buddhism. Ghost experiences are evidence of hauntings. The testimony of channelers are evidence of the ability to speak with the dead. I could go on an on here..

With such a loose definition of evidence it seems to me your on very slippery ground. But it goes without saying that your entitled to this view I suppose.
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The "proof" is in the pudding. Examination of Christian origins provides much better evidence for the miracles of Jesus than for the Greek or Egpytian gods. If you insist they are comparable, please demonstrate that to be the case.

However, it seems much more likely that what you are doing is denying that there can ever be evidence for miracles. If you deny "evidence" in such a way that anything offered to show that a miracle likely happened then you will come to the conclusion that there is no evidence for miracles. Of course, you really haven't done anything since you started with that assumption in the first place.
 
Old 06-06-2001, 11:05 PM   #14
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Layman: The "proof" is in the pudding.</font>
It's trivial, but I can't resist. Actually, the aphorism is "the proof of the pudding is in the eating."

And having recently read a biography of Harry Houdini discussing how difficult it was, even as late as the early 20th century, to prove that mediums were fakes, I give no real credence at all to ancient second (third, fourth, etc.) hand reports.
 
Old 06-07-2001, 07:52 AM   #15
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by lpetrich:
[b]Responding to Metacrock:

But more importantly, Jesus' miracles spawned a huge movment that grew into a major world religion and it began immediately, which might indicate people really experienced something--its not proof but it might indicate it.

Lots of religions have started out as obscure cults; does doing so prove their truth?
[Quote]

Good point lpetrich, this argument is often used by Mormons to "endorse" their faith....which Christians hold as being completely apostate and dangerous.




[This message has been edited by MOJO-JOJO (edited June 07, 2001).]
 
Old 06-07-2001, 08:24 AM   #16
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
The "proof" is in the pudding. Examination of Christian origins provides much better evidence for the miracles of Jesus than for the Greek or Egpytian gods. If you insist they are comparable, please demonstrate that to be the case.

However, it seems much more likely that what you are doing is denying that there can ever be evidence for miracles. If you deny "evidence" in such a way that anything offered to show that a miracle likely happened then you will come to the conclusion that there is no evidence for miracles. Of course, you really haven't done anything since you started with that assumption in the first place.
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Your assumptions are off the mark. When I speak of evidence I have a certain idea in mind. Its probably derived from what I see as "good" evidence. In your view of it, "evidence is evidence" as you say. I'm not going to call this view wrong since your are completely free to have this view of course. However the point is that once you have this loose a definition for "evidence", just about everything becomes evidence. You may not consider the evidence for the Greek Gods, Egyptian Gods, ghosts, reincarnation, Bigfoot, Lock Ness, or channelers "good" evidence, but it still is evidence under your view. Otherwise you end up being inconsistent.

In the American system of justice, certain "evidence" is sometimes thrown out and regarded inadmissable due to the inherent unreliability of it. Is it still called evidence? &lt;shrug&gt; For what its worth, I guess the description still technically fits. I just have a hard time watching John Grey presume to talk with the dead and call it evidence that he's actually doing so. But if I stick with your technical definition I guess its warranted to do so.

In regards to miracles, your assumptions are quite wrong. I will be happy to evaluate any evidence for miracles you wish to present. So far I haven't seen any good evidence that they happen.

 
Old 06-07-2001, 09:10 AM   #17
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
Your assumptions are off the mark. When I speak of evidence I have a certain idea in mind. Its probably derived from what I see as "good" evidence. In your view of it, "evidence is evidence" as you say. I'm not going to call this view wrong since your are completely free to have this view of course. However the point is that once you have this loose a definition for "evidence", just about everything becomes evidence. You may not consider the evidence for the Greek Gods, Egyptian Gods, ghosts, reincarnation, Bigfoot, Lock Ness, or channelers "good" evidence, but it still is evidence under your view. Otherwise you end up being inconsistent.

In the American system of justice, certain "evidence" is sometimes thrown out and regarded inadmissable due to the inherent unreliability of it. Is it still called evidence? &lt;shrug&gt; For what its worth, I guess the description still technically fits. I just have a hard time watching John Grey presume to talk with the dead and call it evidence that he's actually doing so. But if I stick with your technical definition I guess its warranted to do so.

In regards to miracles, your assumptions are quite wrong. I will be happy to evaluate any evidence for miracles you wish to present. So far I haven't seen any good evidence that they happen.
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I am not the one making the assumptions here you are. In fact, it seems quite clear that you decide what is evidence by whether or not it comes close to "proving" the issue under consideration. This is a results driven definition of "evidence" which in fact is no definition at all. Evidence is simply that which has some tendency "to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact." Does Paul's own statement that he saw the risen Christ have some tendency to prove that there was a resurrection? I think so. Based on that evidence alone, of course, I probably would not be convinced. But it some tendency to demonstrate its truthfulness.

Having served in the "American System of Justice" for a few years now, I don't share your apparent optimism in its "truth finding" ability.
 
Old 06-07-2001, 12:56 PM   #18
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I am not the one making the assumptions here you are. In fact, it seems quite clear that you decide what is evidence by whether or not it comes close to "proving" the issue under consideration. This is a results driven definition of "evidence" which in fact is no definition at all. Evidence is simply that which has some tendency "to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact." Does Paul's own statement that he saw the risen Christ have some tendency to prove that there was a resurrection? I think so. Based on that evidence alone, of course, I probably would not be convinced. But it some tendency to demonstrate its truthfulness.

Having served in the "American System of Justice" for a few years now, I don't share your apparent optimism in its "truth finding" ability.
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Actually, as you seem to do a lot Layman, you are overreacting. There is no argument here. I have actually taken your idea into consideration and am reevaluting my definition of the word "evidence". Am I not allowed to do this?

Of course I will be forced to define categories to accomodate this idea. Perhaps thats what I always did in the first place without realizing it. For instance there will be "strong" evidence, "so-so" evidence, "weak" evidence, "piss-poor" evidence, "so-weak-that-its-almost-laughable" evidence and so forth.

As for my "optimism" regarding the courts ability to determine the truth of things, I am not sure where you derived that I was indeed optimistic. On the other hand I'm not overly pessimistic either. But just out of curiosity, what other system would you advocate to determine the truth of crimes and such? Or what changes would you like to see to the current system to make you less pessimistic about it?

If Paul's statement that he saw the risen Christ gives some credence to the actual possibility that it happened, than Shirley McLaine's testimony that she was reincarnated gives some credence to that claim. (There are other even more substantial claims than hers on this subject.) John Grey's testimony (and that of those who witness his feats) gives credence to his ability to actually talk with dead people. Sai Baba's (turtonm's guy) numerous claims of miracles give credence to his ability to actually do them. The testimony of Indian spiritualists and their ability to meet and speak with their dead ancestors, to have visions and Spirit Guides, perform astral projection, gives credence to their claims.

As long as your consistent in your application of the worthiness of claims, then thats okay I guess. If you assume Christian claims are something special and only those claims are worthy of such consideration, then I'm going to begin to doubt the sincerity of your view on "evidence".
 
Old 06-07-2001, 01:11 PM   #19
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
Actually, as you seem to do a lot Layman, you are overreacting. There is no argument here. I have actually taken your idea into consideration and am reevaluting my definition of the word "evidence". Am I not allowed to do this? </font>
I'm not sure how I overreacted, but sure you can change your definition all you want. Are you admitting that saying "no evidence" for miracles existed was an overreaction?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Of course I will be forced to define categories to accomodate this idea. Perhaps thats what I always did in the first place without realizing it. For instance there will be "strong" evidence, "so-so" evidence, "weak" evidence, "piss-poor" evidence, "so-weak-that-its-almost-laughable" evidence and so forth. </font>
Sure. But such definitions rest on discussions about the evidence. That is a large part of what we do on this forum. And this is what you seemed to be avoiding by saying there was "no evidence" of Christian miracles.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> As for my "optimism" regarding the courts ability to determine the truth of things, I am not sure where you derived that I was indeed optimistic. On the other hand I'm not overly pessimistic either. But just out of curiosity, what other system would you advocate to determine the truth of crimes and such? Or what changes would you like to see to the current system to make you less pessimistic about it? </font>
Your optimism is represented by your continued use of the American Justice System as somehow a model of how to investigate assertions of truth.

It is not just a matter of determining the "truth" of crimes or not. The justice system is a realm of competing values, only one of which, although important, is determining the truth.

As for changes in our justice system, I think there are several changes that would be worthwhile and would contribute to focusing on truth finding, rather than other concerns. I would eliminate the exclusionary rule (with some additional safeguards) and would allow more so-called "prejudicial" evidence in. I think more civil cases should be referred to arbitration where much more evidence is freely considered, but allocated probative weight by evaluation of its dependability.

But there are other changes that might serve truth finding but are not worth the costs to Constitutional protections. The constitutional right not to incriminate oneself, for example.


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If Paul's statement that he saw the risen Christ gives some credence to the actual possibility that it happened, than Shirley McLaine's testimony that she was reincarnated gives some credence to that claim. (There are other even more substantial claims than hers on this subject.) John Grey's testimony (and that of those who witness his feats) gives credence to his ability to actually talk with dead people. Sai Baba's (turtonm's guy) numerous claims of miracles give credence to his ability to actually do them. The testimony of Indian spiritualists and their ability to meet and speak with their dead ancestors, to have visions and Spirit Guides, perform astral projection, gives credence to their claims. </font>
Paul was reporting things sensed visually and audibly, at the least. McClaine and Grey's claims are based on mental impressions. Big diff. I have no idea who Sai Baba is but Turton claims he's been discredited, so I gather the evidence was not enough (at least in his eyes).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> As long as your consistent in your application of the worthiness of claims, then thats okay I guess. If you assume Christian claims are something special and only those claims are worthy of such consideration, then I'm going to begin to doubt the sincerity of your view on "evidence". </font>
My sincerity is actually irrelevant to the issue, whether you have reason to doubt it or not. But I don't prima facia assume that only Christian miracles are possible. There certainly could be evidence for other miracles out there.

The devil, however, is in the details.

 
Old 06-07-2001, 02:35 PM   #20
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Yes Mad, evidence is evidence. Even if it's not cross-examined. Even if it is hearsay. </font>
I'm sorry, Layman, but you're incorrect. Hearsay testimony is not admissable in our courts and is not considered evidence for irrefutably sound reasons.

But then, I guess you knew that, which is why you broadened your statement to include "all over the world," and left out the legal overtones, yes?

Remarkably disengenuous, but it's expected of the cult mentality.

If I may just ask, what in your mind would not be considered valid "evidence" if anonymous centuries old cult mythology is considered valid evidence?

 
 

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