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12:01 AM
Another comment on the question: "why exactly are we using x-rays to determine if someone is alive or dead" - I'm no expert, but a quick Google search suggests that x-ray is "the gold standard method for identification of unknown deceased" (and identifying a body is an important part of figuring out that some claimed person is dead).
Not to mention the possibility of using x-rays to identify various possible causes of death (which may or may not serve as useful evidence that someone is actually dead). I'm not sure whether Dillahunty meant this or the former.
So "how many coroners Dillahunty knows that do that" could be quite a high number.
12:38 AM
"The Romans did have at least 2 foolproof means of testing whether someone was dead: a) beheading & b) crucifixion" - those are more "foolproof" methods of killing someone. The claim isn't that Jesus was beheaded, as far as I know, so that's a moot point (but even proving that someone who's been beheaded is dead is not quite that trivial).

And I don't know enough about the science of crucifixion to say much about that (and I'm doubtful that there is much directly reliable science around crucifixion, given that reliable scientific results are fairly recent, and we object quite strongly too
1:01 AM
@NotThatGuy Please. In another discussion, you had the audacity to repeatedly claim that I'm wrong in a way that (embarrassingly) proved that you had no idea what you were talking about. So no, you don't argue in good faith. You confidently proclaim others are wrong when you don't even understand the basics of the subject being discussed.
@user76284 So now you're going from one discussion to another just to insult someone further. What horrible things that must be in your past that would make you such a bitter person.
1:24 AM
@NotThatGuy That's not an insult. It's a description of your dishonest behavior.
@NotThatGuy the qualifiers in your argument are very decent of you (and intellectually honest), thanks. you'll know it when you see it is a little reductive--I don't disagree though that words sometimes fall short of describing something when there is no common experience to reference (e.g. love, revelation, Spock's inability to tell McCoy what it's like to die, etc)
I believe you are justified in believing in cause-and-effect. I don't believe you've shown you can get there without philosophy.
I was wondering if/when anybody would comment on the medical section of my post. Crucifixion tragically has been studied in modern times (Nazi experiments); Gary Habermas has written extensively on this. Swoon theory is a theory that's pretty much dead.
X-rays can be used to identify a dead person; they are not (to my knowledge) used to confirm that the body lying on the table is dead. I was merely responding to Dillahunty's claim: You don't have a way to test for sure that somebody's dead. If we wanted to go off an a tangent about identifying who the dead person is (I don't really care to) that's another matter. But could the Romans make pretty darn sure someone was dead? Yes.
Here's a Habermas response to swoon theory: academia.edu/43469068/…
I'll add the citation to my post; to your point, the claim I made in my post is deserving of a citation to further detail
1:58 AM
Re applying scientific (or clear & consistent) principles to one's beliefs--I've offered a process and claimed that if you follow this process you'll get this result.
Re and everyone else, arguably - this would be stronger if you included the argument
until clear evidence of a person with 4 hearts is presented - assuming 4 hearts represents the existence of God in your example, I think you've hit the nail on the head in terms of showing why we are both being rational. You have not seen clear evidence, and thus come to one conclusion. I have seen clear evidence, and thus come to a different conclusion.
Do we have different views on what "clear evidence" means? Possibly, I do not know what is in your head. But unless we've both run the same experiment, or both had the same experience, we will probably continuously talk past each other... and we're probably both rational to do it =)
1 hour later…
3:16 AM
@HoldToTheRod Thanks.
I wouldn't claim to have a justified belief of cause-and-effect without philosophy. I think philosophy is quite important for establishing what's true. But we might just have slightly different ideas of what philosophy entails, how this applies to religion and whether this involves believing anything without sufficient evidence (i.e. believing what's *not* most likely given the evidence available).

My criterion above is "sufficient evidence", rather than testability and falsifiability. I'm not personally quite as big of a fan of testability and falsifiability as Dillahunty - those are cert
4:09 AM
@NotThatGuy re We almost certainly have different views on what "clear evidence" means, otherwise either...or... I think there's a 3rd option not on that list =)
Re everyone else - I get what you are saying, but this argument is fully reversible
Re As in someone claims to have a convincing spiritual experience, but this fails to be verified - this looks like a slippery slope towards verificationism.
4:26 AM
My 2 cents from what we've discussed: you are convinced that anyone who has come to a different conclusion is either uninformed or mistaken (but graciously acknowledge those on the other side may feel exactly the same way about you), and you are unconvinced that the burden of proof for belief in God has been met in other's experiences, because it has not been met in your experiences. This is then fundamentally an argument about experiential evidence.
But the absence of evidence in your life experience is not evidence of absence in someone else's life experience.
Since we cannot download our respective experiences to the other's mind, I would have to refer you to the source where I got my information (see my video above)
@NotThatGuy I am genuinely curious though...do you believe I exist? Why?
5:01 AM
@NotThatGuy - I don't want to interrupt your exchange of thoughts with @HoldToTheRod, but very briefly, re the half-an-hour video, here is a short summary of main highlights (feel free to see the video for the details):
1:54 Chelsea received the gift of tongues
2:40 the two oldest sisters (Rachel & Emily) felt the need to fast independently and simultaneously
2:55 Emily woke up at 3:00 am and was visited by a bright light, started repenting, heard an audible voice in her ear say "speak" and then she spontaneously spoke in an unknown foreign language for 30 mins straight.
4:00 Rachel (the youngest sister) is prayed over by Emily in tongues, and after a while Rachel starts manifesting
8:05 Rachel & Emily had been seeing demons and experiencing sleep paralysis for two months prior to Rachel's possession
5:35 AM
(*) Minor error: I meant 2:40 the two oldest sisters (Chelsea & Emily)
(*) Similar error at 8:05, I meant Chelsea & Emily had been seeing demons [...]
5:56 AM
@HoldToTheRod Indeed. That's why it was originally just a footnote.
@HoldToTheRod Maybe, but I don't maintain that verificationism is necessarily a problem. Re your criticism of it, I would argue that "you shouldn't believe anything that can't be demonstrated by science" is technically incomplete (and I'll just substitute "sufficient evidence" in there, to more accurately reflect what I believe). As a guidelines for what to believe, it's probably fine.
But it cannot reasonably be considered a statement of fact (with a significant indicator of this being that it contains a "should"), rather a principle for how to act in order to achieve some goal. Thus it cannot in itself be considered something you "believe".

Phrasing it as a statement of fact might look something like: "not believing anything we don't have sufficient evidence for is the most reliable known way to determine and adjust our beliefs to most closely reflect reality". Now you apply logical reasoning to it (and it's certainly possible for it to meet a burden of sufficient evid
@HoldToTheRod My position is actually more extreme than this. I maintain that no experiential evidence that has been recounted to me seems sufficient to justify belief by even the people who experienced that. Exactly explaining various feelings one might experience may indeed be difficult, but I will disregard this regardless, because I fundamentally don't consider it to be a reliable form of evidence.
If someone is having full conversations with God, and God is actually speaking back to them in full English sentences, and/or we have some clear "words of knowledge", then we'd have something, and we also have something both they and the rest of us can potentially verify (although words of knowledge would have a hard time uniquely identifying God).
@HoldToTheRod I maintain that you exist because my eyes providing an accurate account of reality seems like the most likely explanation for the evidence I have in the form of my senses (whereas my emotions and random thoughts I have in the form of a voice have never reliably said anything about reality outside of my own body, that my other senses can corroborate, and this has proven to be so ineffective in society as a whole that I don't believe anyone else can reasonably consider it to be...
... particularly reliable either). I see the comments you've typed. I have extensive experience of coherent and interactive comments being the result of humans. Therefore the most likely explanation is that you exist. And I could reason the same way given the YouTube video of yours.
6:31 AM
@NotThatGuy I don't mean to be difficult--but since you have been offering objections to my views, 2 can play at that game. You believe I exist for 2 principle reasons: 1) seeing & hearing me from my video 2) you see interactive comments--which you graciously acknowledge are coherent--and infer that there is a mind behind them.
Re #1, to put this in perspective, you believe I exist because you saw a person in a video, and I claimed to be that person. Really??? #2 is stronger, but most of us have had text conversations with bots online before; furthermore, a large % of what I've typed in this chat is a copy-paste from similar conversations I've had in the past scattered across a number of webpages...from which a computer could conceivably compile responses to many common objections to theology.
But I'll give you that for #2 an Occam's razor solution is that I'm a real person, not a computer pretending.
Re thoughts being unreliable -- do you think so? Is that thought reliable?
Re seeing being reliable...we could have quite the conversation about Bigfoot and countless other conspiracies...
A friend of mine tried to convince me the other day that there's a monster living in Lake Champlain, supporting his claim with video evidence (you'll be pleased to know I don't believe him)
I have extensive experience of coherent and interactive comments being the result of humans - there you have it--we are now making the same argument
Your strongest argument for believing I exist ^^ (which I think is rational by the way) is remarkably close to one of the arguments I made for God's existence (though admittedly your interaction with me has been over a very brief period of time and only a relatively limited subject matter).
6:48 AM
@NotThatGuy - if you are interested in very short clips (under two minutes each) of accounts of experiences with a good chance of uniquely identifying God, then feel free to check out (and share your thoughts on) these: video 1 (just watch 2 mins), video 2, video 3 (just watch a couple of minutes and read the description), video 4 (just watch one minute)
2 hours later…
8:26 AM
@HoldToTheRod Whether you (the person commenting) exist, whether the person who made the video exists (or used to exist) and whether you're the same person are 3 separate claims. The first 2 are the most likely explanation given my knowledge of humans typically doing such things. The last one I don't have much evidence for, but I also don't have much reason to doubt, and it doesn't really affect my life in any way, so the standard of evidence is quite low.
That's perhaps a good demonstration of why I say "the most likely explanation for the evidence I have" (and why I use this interchangeably with "sufficient evidence", since evidence only needs to be sufficient to make it the most likely). I wouldn't put money on the fact that you're the person in the video, but I can take that as a provisional position (I believe it with low confidence, and confidence is a whole other discussion).
@HoldToTheRod I didn't just say "thoughts are unreliable". I quite heavily qualified that: "emotions and random thoughts I have in the form of a voice have never reliably said anything about reality outside of my own body". Logical reasoning and abstract thinking do not fall within the former.
@HoldToTheRod My point is not that sight is 100% reliable always (or that the interpretation of sight is reliable, which is a different thing), my point is that it (combined with other senses and logical reasoning) provides a reliable way to establish truths (in as far as we can know what's true). Someone sees something which looks like Bigfoot. ...
They investigate this by using their senses to establish facts about the world (e.g. we have no reliable evidence for Bigfoot despite many people searching for it and what you quickly see in the corner of your eye is often not what it appears to be). Then they conclude that they didn't see Bigfoot. Or at least that's what a rational person would do.
@HoldToTheRod Not quite. I, a human, have made many such comments myself. I have seen other humans in person writing things on computers. So I have a whole lot of direct evidence that it's a result of human action. Supernatural claims do not and cannot have any direct evidence (short of God himself descending from the heavens, but even that doesn't strictly prove that what you're seeing exists outside of reality as well).
Anything you feel, any disembodied voices you hear, anyone speaking in tongues or appearing to be possessed, any "words of knowledge" (even when verified as being facts you couldn't have known): those all consitute indirect evidence in my book. You've never directly observed God causing some feelings. You've only inferred your feelings come from God based on the fact that you believe God exists and causes such feelings.
If the voice explicitly says "I am God", and you can have an actual conversation with it, and it replies back in full sentences, then maybe that's direct evidence for the person hearing the voice (the line gets blurry). Indirect evidence might be enough for some claims. But a claim so fundamental to reality itself and the lives of every person on the planet really requires more compelling evidence than that.
1 hour later…
9:32 AM
@SpiritRealmInvestigator That's probably one of the more convincing personal experiences I've heard.
My thoughts on speaking in tongues are above.

Feeling the need to fast independently and within a few hours of one another could be explained by them, say, watching some sermon or something that mentioned fasting together the day before. She says "for the first time ever", but it's also the first time ever someone close to her has started speaking in tongues, so it's not surprising that she'd be acting differently.

It's hard to establish the exact timeline there. If by "that morning" (when she started fasting, with her sister starting the night before) she meant the morning after she was
9:59 AM
Back to the question: "my comments here appear to have ruffled some feathers; I believe it is worth clarifying 2 matters: I am not critiquing a belief in science; I am critiquing the worship of science..." - I would posit that essentially no-one worships science, by any reasonable definition of "worship", and that certainly appears to include Dillahunty (but then my epistemology isn't all that different from his, so if you believe he worships science, then you probably believe the same about me).
4 hours later…
1:58 PM
@NotThatGuy - Thanks for the detailed analysis of the half-an-hour video. Without knowing all the details of Chelsea's family (that is, without the report from an investigative journalist who takes the time to interview the family and stuff), your thoughts sound like reasonable alternative hypotheses to consider from a skeptical standpoint.
Just a few comments: (1) I think you forgot to say something in your analysis about the fact that Chelsea & Emily (the oldest sisters) had been experiencing sleep paralysis and seeing demons two months prior to Rachel's possession. In Christian terms, it looks like the whole family was starting to undergo "spiritual warfare", something totally unknown to them prior to these experiences
(they were oblivious to the supernatural their whole lives prior to those events, this was something new to them).
(2) Regarding possessions, I have two objections in mind: a) how do you explain the fact that many individuals dry-heave during deliverance? See this related question; b) what are your thoughts on accounts of paranormal experiences accompanying possessions & exorcisms? See this related question.
Also see the list of related questions linked here.
Another question: when you said "That's probably one of the more convincing personal experiences I've heard", did you mean Chelsea's family's story or were you referring to one of the four short clips I shared later (see my last comment above).
3 hours later…
5:28 PM
@NotThatGuy you may be reading something into my comments about worshipping science that isn't there - for a more extended version of my thoughts (or the thoughts of some guy who might be me =)=)=) ), see here
Re So it's reasonable to consider the scientific method to be the only reliable way to discover the truth...it may be for those whose experiential evidence hasn't encountered other reliable/repeatable methods...so I think at best what follows from the argument you've presented is "So it's reasonable to consider the scientific method to be the only reliable way I am familiar with to discover the truth".
Surely we both agree that bogus claims that have been made in the name of science do not discredit the existence of good scientific inquiry
5:48 PM
@NotThatGuy earlier in our conversation you argued that we need some clear, consistent, and objective way to verify [a given belief]. When your own belief was put under the microscope, you deferred to experiential evidence and outlined a remarkably subjective means for adjudicating standards/levels of confidence/degrees of reliability/blurry lines/direct vs. indirect evidence. You've also made pronouncements (with surprising confidence) about what I have or have not experienced.
And while your own thought process may indeed be perfectly rational, it does not mirror the standard suggested by Dillahunty in the original post (although I think you've already acknowledged you do not agree 100% with Dillahunty).
6:06 PM
@NotThatGuy your own statement above was prescient: There's no way for you to measure you own personal experience up against the personal experiences of others. Would you be willing to apply that maxim in reverse? You're drawing conclusions from your experiential evidence and you may well be rational in doing so. Other people are drawing conclusions from their experiential evidence and they may well be rational too.
4 hours later…
10:06 PM
@SpiritRealmInvestigator Re sleep paralysis, in my limited knowledge about the topic, this is how I understand it (assuming it wasn't just a dream): when you sleep your brain basically turns off/ignores signals that your brain sends to control your body. Sometimes this process doesn't work perfectly, and then you get people flailing around in bed and sleepwalking (talking in your sleep may be related, but I'm not sure). When you wake up, your brain turns on these signals again.
Sometimes some people manage to start becoming conscious before those signals are reactivated, thus sleep paralysis. Suddenly being paralysed can be quite scary when it happens, so that can be paired with seeing things (like demons), especially when you're not fully conscious yet (blurring the line between dreams and reality) and your brain tries desperately to try to explain what's happening (often attributing the cause to some physical entity, who is non-human, because it doesn't match our experience of humans, who is humanoid, because such an entity would clearly have some intelligence a

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