The Need To Analyze Information

Do we know how to analyze information? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The internet has increased the amount of information many of us have access to. Unfortunately, it has also increased the amount of misinformation many of us have access to. If we do not know how to properly analyze the information and compare it, then we will be prone to error easily and most often, just accepting information because it agrees with the point we have prior.

For instance, yesterday, I found myself arguing with an atheist who was just cutting and pasting everything from a web site. (And in fact a web site I think has hideously false information) Of course, there are times cut and paste is appropriate to show what some authority says, but that should also be done with proper citation and one should seek to have the best authorities.

When this was pointed out, the gears immediately switched to a different topic that was still being used to attack Christianity and yes, another cut and paste job. It has led me to the conclusion that there are too many atheists on the internet that simply look at a claim and decide whether it’s true or false depending on how it treats Christianity. If it puts Christianity in a negative light, it must be true. If it supports Christianity in any way, it must be false.

Before my atheist readers start complaining about a double-standard, I will address the complaint I see coming. Yes. Christians too often do the same thing.

I used to have it where my Dad would send out emails complaining about something Obama had done and with a statement of his. There was often a little problem with them. They were false. The events described did not happen. Now I’m no supporter of Obama, but I am a supporter of truth and if I want to take down an ideological opponent, I want to make sure that the claim is true. Too many times this kind of email was sent out to a large group of people so I’d hit the “reply all” button and start typing out what the true situation was.

On Facebook, this can easily happen with the “share” button. Consider how recently there was a story going around about a pagan eyewitness testimony being found to Jesus doing a miracle. Problem? The story was a complete fabrication, and yet Christians shared it like wildfire. When Christians do this, it gives the impression that Christians are gullible people who will believe anything as long as it supports their view.

Too often, that can be true.

When these claims are being passed around on the internet, it’s important to try to look and see if any valid sources are really backing this claim. If you want to know if a certain event happened, check local news to see if there is a record. My wife recently sent me a story about someone smashing a statue of the Ten Commandments saying the devil told him to do it. Sounds a bit crazy, but I checked. I saw local news stations sharing the story. That told me story was true. I said it was okay to share at that point.

What both sides need to learn is how to process information better and analyze it. There are arguments Christians use that I don’t think work. To give one example, I don’t think the ontological argument works. I know it has its supporters and many of them are very intelligent people. Still, it just doesn’t work in my eyes.

Meanwhile, there are many atheists that if you show them something that could indicate that there is some truth to something that was said in the Gospels, their heads will start turning and you would expect that they were in the Exorcist. This can be found on many popular internet atheist blogs. If anything gave any credibility to Christianity, it must be thrown out.

A great solution to this is what many people want to avoid. Read books. Many scholars will not put their work out there for free on the internet. If you read their books, you can have access to that information, and it could be a better usage of your time than watching that TV show that you want to watch. Read also the ones you disagree with. Let them show you the blind spots that could exist in your worldview. It’s why I often ask people “When was the last time you read a scholarly work that disagreed with you?”

The age of the internet can be a blessing if you know how to use it, but for too many on both sides, they will just uncritically accept whatever goes with their confirmation bias. Don’t be one of those. Research the claims. Especially if you’re a follower of Christ and claim to be a person of truth. Make sure your words are true.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

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7 Responses to “The Need To Analyze Information”

  1. labreuer Says:

    It has led me to the conclusion that there are too many atheists on the internet that simply look at a claim and decide whether it’s true or false depending on how it treats Christianity. If it puts Christianity in a negative light, it must be true. If it supports Christianity in any way, it must be false.

    Sadly, they may have learned this from Christians who are well-criticized by Heb 5:11–6:3. I know you acknowledge this in your next sentence, but I want to posit that there is a cause and effect relationship, that atheists are using Christians as templates. I love this section of Os Guinness’ The Gravedigger File:

        A second type of faulty analysis involves a distortion in evaluation. The distinction between description and evaluation is not hard and fast, of course (even in science), but it is important. Let me illustrate. One evening, after dining at one of the Oxford colleges, Lord Nuffield was surprised at the porter’s accurate memory in handing him his hat. “How did you know it was mine?” he asked.
        The porter replied, “I didn’t, Sir! All I know was that it was the one you came in with!” Such a cool and judicious refusal to make judgments that go beyond the evidence is exactly what is rare among Christians today. (43)

    What’s especially dangerous in all this is that frequently, the error is in what is omitted. You can be 100% scientific in asking questions A, B, and D, while conveniently omitting question C. Perhaps C is politically incorrect. Perhaps it threatens an ideology. Whatever it is: it can be really hard to detect C, unless you know enough. Scripture contains a wonderful example of this:

    Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business. (Ecl 4:7–8)

    So often, it’s those unasked questions which are so important. One way God can show us grace is to ask those questions; see Ps 19:1–4, as well as ‘hear’, ‘heard’, and ‘hearing’ in Hebrews. I’ve even encountered people who do everything they can to avoid answering a given question.

  2. tildeb Says:

    Compare and contrast information? That would require critical thinking and analytic tools used appropriately, and therein lies the rub. We must select only those methods that allow us to convince ourselves that our assumptions have been correct all along… methods like utilizing the form of logic while ignoring the truth value of premises to arrive at the conclusion we start with, methods like utilizing metaphysics while ignoring the truth value of physics to arrive at the conclusion we start with, methods like utilizing apologetics while ignoring factually incorrect scriptural claims, and so on

    Yes, confirmation bias is tempting for everyone to indulge in but how one recognizes its use – whether by one’s self or another – is best addressed by understanding what informs likelihood. This means addressing information both for and against certain propositions and first accounting for, and latter honestly weighing, discrepancies (as if one were indifferent). One must then consider the importance of alternatives that do a better explanatory job with a wider and demonstrable application before establishing a level of likelihood. An honest accounting can then be seen by how much or little confidence is then placed on the snapshot analysis (or claim) under review that makes room for these various factors and it is here where we see a marked difference in arrogance and audacity between the ‘true believer’ in some proposition and those who exercise reasonable skepticism if warranted. Note, this is not just the religious believer but anyone who decides to first believe before selecting a likelihood (rampant in alt medicine, complimentary therapies, supernatural forces, denialism, and so on)

    For religious folk oh-so-certain about their theological propositions to then offer criticism of non believers who supposedly and presumably haven’t ‘read’ enough to properly understand and appreciate the depths of theological ‘knowledge’ (aka mental gymnastics and terrible methodology) required to become oh-so-certain is rich in hypocrisy. To absolutely no one’s surprise, the atheist’s reading list will never, ever, be quite adequate to be accepted by an oh-so-certain religious believer to be cause to exercise justified skepticism of these oh-so-certain beliefs.

    Funny, that.

    Not.

    And, of course, exercising reasonable skepticism against central tenets of any faith is usually categorized by the religious believer as a different kind of oh-so-certain religious belief! Now, ain’t that a handy-dandy sleight of mind!

    I find it remarkable how often and easily and consistently apologetic authors think it reasonable to present up as another kind down, black as another kind of white, and all legitimate skepticism of supernatural claims of central religious tenets as another kind of unreasonable ignorance… addressed adequately if only the nonbeliever would read more! It’s a truly remarkable yet preposterous apologetic tactic on display yet again here in this post.

    Check sources rather than simply believe because it agrees with an a priori belief? Sure. Sounds very reasonable.. but this is religious apologetics we’re dealing with so you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s another agenda at work here, can’t you? (And it’s not about respecting what’s true. It’s about shifting the burden of proof… this time to those ignorant atheists who unreasonably don’t believe in gods or a god.) Imagine if Christians who wrote apologetics took the same advice we see here and did the same to their oh-so-certain a priori confidence in their religious beliefs!

    I’m sure many heads would explode all over the place!

    • labreuer Says:

      Compare and contrast information? That would require critical thinking and analytic tools used appropriately, and therein lies the rub. We must select only those methods that allow us to convince ourselves that our assumptions have been correct all along… methods like utilizing the form of logic while ignoring the truth value of premises to arrive at the conclusion we start with, methods like utilizing metaphysics while ignoring the truth value of physics to arrive at the conclusion we start with, methods like utilizing apologetics while ignoring factually incorrect scriptural claims, and so on

      Hey, this smells like the choice of scientists in the early 1900s to adopt the tabula rasa conception of human nature, per Steven Pinker’s TED talk on his book The Blank Slate. One of the fruits of this was the two orders of magnitude prediction failure exposed by Milgram experiment § Results. Compare this to the frequent scientific validations of common sense. Add to that the results of The Third Wave, and you start understanding that perhaps this model of human nature adopted in the early 1900s blinded scientists and intellectuals to what Hitler was doing, what he would be able to do. So, science did two things:

           (1) gave Hitler the ability to mass-murder
           (2) deprived itself of understanding Hitler’s capabilities

      The adoption of tabula rasa can be seen as the logical conclusion of Enlightenment thinker Julien Offray de La Mettrie‘s 1748 Man a Machine. It is a fruit of the mechanical philosophy, which is a current dogma of science/scientism. Well, the results are in: this model of human nature is terrible, as exposed not only by the above experiments but in Donald E. Polkinghorne’s Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences, Douglas and Ney’s Missing Persons: A Critique of the Personhood in the Social Sciences, and Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self.

      The scientist most equipped to detect the result of the above on massive scale is the sociologist. And so, here is one such result:

          Another exaggeration may have been the conventional view of the reach of scientific rationality. One does not have to look at religion only in order to find this thought plausible. It is amazing what people educated to the highest levels of scientific rationality are prepared to believe by way of irrational prejudices; one only has to look at the political and social beliefs of the most educated classes of Western societies to gain an appreciation of this. Just one case: What Western intellectuals over the last decades have managed to believe about the character of Communist societies is alone sufficient to cast serious doubt on the proposition that rationality is enhanced as a result of scientifically sophisticated education or of living in a modern technological society. (A Far Glory, 30)

      Someone who is also well-equipped to detect such results is the philosopher of science, who looks not at the dogmas of how science is done, but how it is actually done. And so, I suggest taking a read of Paul Feyerabend’s The Tyranny of Science. From the editor:

          Just as Against Method is a collage of Feyerabend’s early papers, The Tyranny of Science intertwines many themes from different phases in Feyerabend’s philosophical development, even from early publications. It is not a systematic investigation. It is about the drawbacks of systematization. Feyerabend argues that some very basic and widespread assumptions about ‘science’ are simply false, and that substantial parts of scientific ideology were created on the basis of rather superficial generalizations that lead to absurd misconceptions of the nature of human life. He argues that far from solving the pressing problems of outage, such as war and poverty, scientific theorizing glorifies ephemeral generalizations instead of confronting the real particulars that make life worth living. For the objectivity and universality of science are based on abstraction, and as such, they come at a high cost. Abstraction drives a wedge between our thoughts and our experience, resulting in the degeneration of both. Theoreticians, as opposed to practitioners, tend to impose tyranny through the concepts they use, which abstract away front he subjective experiences that make life meaningful. (xi)

      For a fun result of the dogmatism of objectivity in science, see eliminative materialism, which is a logical consequence of refusing to grant ontological status to intentionality. Common sense simply gets thrown out of the window. ‘Evidence’ is only allowed after interpreted through ridiculous theoretical frameworks. And yet, we say that we are discovering the true nature of reality as a result. Well, the result of said “true nature” is exposed: by sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers of science, psychologists, and whatever you want to call Charles Taylor.

      But hey, science is awesome, right? It’s always more rational than religion. It could never be possible that Deut 5 and 1 Sam 8 could give one a better view of human nature than was predicted at Milgram experiment § Results. It is simply impossible that Yoram Hazony is right in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, that the Hebrew Scriptures contain profound philosophy, political theory, ethical theory, and social criticism. No, you see, while Parmenides was highly respected despite the fact he claimed his ideas came from the gods, when the Hebrew Scriptures say “thus saith the LORD”, that discredits them. This double standard is allowed because we know, conclusion-first, that religion is false.

  3. tildeb Says:

    Lab, now you’re using your nose to divert attention from likelihood?

    Really?

    And then to ramble on about the blank slate proposition as if the latter testing of it didn’t profoundly alter over time by utilizing the scientific method?

    Truly bizarre.

    And then the dip back into sociology as if it were a science equivalent to physics. It’s not. As far as I can tell it’s an academic area that focuses on the creation of new terms for the awarding of doctorates. Science… not so much. What good science I can find in sociology almost always pertains to some borrowed field.

    And then the mandatory diversionary dip into the pool of philosophy to describe science in a way that tries vainly and arrogantly and audaciously support some weird notion that the method of science all of us use every day to function is somehow a ‘tyranny’! This is confirmation bias on display.

    The method works, Lab, and someday you’ll come to understand that the confidence you place that your computer will operate successfully really has absolutely nothing to do with accommodating your wishes and hopes in supernatural agencies. You’ll come to realize that turning to a sociologist or philosopher if the machine or its programming fails to function properly isn’t very clever of you and whining about tabula rosa and the Milgram experiments won’t address the material problems you face should your computer malfunction. All this tactic will accomplish – like,your comment – is to divert you from addressing the problematic issue at hand.

    In the case of my comment, the diversion you offer says nothing about the importance of evaluating likelihood as an essential ingredient to critical thinking (to try to gain some reasonable measure of likelihood and confidence for different sources of information). But you don’t want to have to deal with the importance of that ingredient – likelihood – because you know perfectly well how damning it is to your a priori religious assumptions. So here you go again trying to muddy the religious puddle enough so that you can pretend its opaqueness indicates significant depth and pretend that depth is deduced from some reading list rather than actually testing its depth.

    But when measured on the scale of likelihood, your religious beliefs are very shallow… not because I say so but because the explanation offered stand contrary to better explanations about how reality operates that seem to work for everybody everywhere all the time and produce stuff like your computer. No metaphysicians needed.

    So when you try yet again to denigrate this method of establishing likelihood for confidence in various propositions and claims and substitute a carefully selected ‘readings’ to suit your a priori religious beliefs, you demonstrate yet again your confirmation bias towards your beliefs, your hopes and wishes about divine agencies busy at work and causing effect, and elevate these beliefs to be another kind of ‘good’ information (ie. poor information of exceptionally low likelihood)… which is an example of the kind of relativistic crap so often wrapped in a supposedly sophisticated bow of pseudo-academic dressing. And that’s all your comment is: a sham and joke of critical thinking hidden by the prettiness of many links acting as if they indicated a relevant ‘reading’ list.

    • labreuer Says:

      Lab, now you’re using your nose to divert attention from likelihood?

      Oh, I understood likelihood; you only mentioned the term in one paragraph—your second—and so I didn’t see it as absolutely central to your position. Instead, I focused on two aspects of your first paragraph:

           (1) dogmatism
           (2) refusal to face the evidence

      I showed you that scientists do (1) and (2) as well. The practice of (1) and (2) is most salient when it comes to the ‘human sciences’, such as economics, psychology, and sociology. In the ‘hard sciences’, one can go a lot further in assuming nature is a machine, than you can in the ‘soft sciences’. There also aren’t the same costs in doing (1) in physics, than doing it with the constitution of human nature. A desire to believe that people are generally neutral/good or that society is generally neutral/good will bring (1) and (2).

      And then to ramble on about the blank slate proposition as if the latter testing of it didn’t profoundly alter over time by utilizing the scientific method?

      What do you mean by this? Would you give some examples?

      And then the dip back into sociology as if it were a science equivalent to physics. It’s not. As far as I can tell it’s an academic area that focuses on the creation of new terms for the awarding of doctorates.

      Of course it’s not; the nature of a science during its infancy is much different than during its maturity. You continue to make sociological claims, though, so to the extent you laugh at sociology is the extent to which I laugh at any and all sociological claims you make. For example, if you claim that the act of dropping religion makes one a better scientist, I will laugh, unless you provide actual evidence. Given that I have challenged many atheists to provide such evidence (which would heavily imply causation instead of merely correlation), and they have failed, I have reason to think you will, as well. And so, you will fall back onto dogma which you will not allow to be questioned by sociology or the philosophy of science—the two fields most poised to challenge your beliefs.

      The method works, Lab,

      It works to some extent, in some fields. You might find the failure to reproduce 47 out of 53 landmark cancer publications to be concerning, but maybe you won’t. I pointed out “The method” failing horribly when it comes to anything related to human nature, but somehow, you can still say “The method works”, instead of qualifying, with something like: “The method works [when it doesn’t challenge our pretty view of ourselves]”. You want to pretend that dogma hasn’t infected science in a deep and penetrating way. Well, keep having that Boghossian-faith of yours, I guess. Maybe you’ll succumb to eliminative materialism, too!

      and someday you’ll come to understand that the confidence you place that your computer will operate successfully really has absolutely nothing to do with accommodating your wishes and hopes in supernatural agencies.

      I have no idea what you’re talking about with “accommodating your wishes and hopes”. Instead of imputing views to me which make me look bad, I suggest arguing against views I have actually presented. One promotes rational debate; the other promotes bigotry.

      You’ll come to realize that turning to a sociologist or philosopher if the machine or its programming fails to function properly isn’t very clever of you and whining about tabula rosa and the Milgram experiments won’t address the material problems you face should your computer malfunction.

      Actually, soft systems methodology (SSM) was forced to deal with precisely the bad model of human beings which so pervades scientific and engineering belief systems. See Peter Checkland’s Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. You see, there is this assumption that a person is a machine†, and that groups of people are machines, was the reigning assumption. It was wrong. A hilarious study of the failure of this assumption can be found in John Gall’s Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail. This stuff is important for science too, especially interdisciplinary work: a sociologist is studying my wife’s lab and in particular, how interdisciplinary science succeeds and fails. Without oiling those gears, if not retrofitting them, the rate of progress in science will slow. This stuff, it turns out, actually matters.

      † See Enlightenment thinker Julien Offray de La Mettrie‘s 1748 Man a Machine.

      But when measured on the scale of likelihood, your religious beliefs are very shallow… not because I say so but because the explanation offered stand contrary to better explanations about how reality operates that seem to work for everybody everywhere all the time and produce stuff like your computer. No metaphysicians needed.

      Funny, I don’t see said “better explanations” when I look at the areas the Bible is most interested in: psychology, sociology, political theory, philosophy, economics. Indeed, your mockery of sociology and philosophy [of science] makes it clear you think those fields are infantile, if deserving of the term ‘field’ at all! However, in order to attack Christianity the best you can, you compare its ‘likelihood’ to that of physics, chemistry, and the like. The Bible is much more likely to speak to stuff like When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself, than Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity.

      So when you try yet again to denigrate this method of establishing likelihood for confidence in various propositions and claims

      Patently false. You’re playing fast and loose with “this method”, as if the same method is used in the ‘hard sciences’ and the ‘soft sciences’, or as if the Bible is much more concerned with the ‘hard sciences’. If you want to see what happens when you take “this method” and apply it to economics, see F.A. Hayek’s Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason; to the human sciences, see Donald E. Polkinghorne’s Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences.

      • tildeb Says:

        Lab, you flip your responses aimed at ‘science’ with ‘scientists’ and flip your responses aimed at ‘the method of science’ with ‘scientific studies’. You do this to try to discredit one by utilizing the other. This is foolishness. For example, being unable to reproduce findings demonstrates the strength of the method. That’s why scientific findings are always open to testing. This is part of the process simply unavailable to the method of faith-based beliefs (the one that relies on personal revelation, scriptural authority, and anecdotes). The products of this method then demonstrate whether or not to lend confidence to the explanatory model. You select particular cases that have not withstood testing and replication and, because some people loaned these cases confidence that were later shown to be poor explanatory models (unable to replicate results), tell us that this failure demonstrates unworthiness for confidence in the model. This is exactly backwards. Without the model, no emphasis on replication would be needed and this is exactly what we find with religious beliefs: no means to test independent of personal revelation, scriptural authority, or anecdotes! That’s why the model of faith-based beliefs doesn’t produce explanatory models that work! And by ‘work’ I mean producing applications, therapies, and technologies that rely on the explanation. This model of protected and shielded claims (you’re not going to reproduce any of the miracles, now are you?) doesn’t grant you any means to have anything other than either confidence or disbelief. And the barrier cannot be crossed by independent and compelling evidence because that is not necessary for faith. In fact, if you could reproduce some of the miracles, they wouldn’t be miracles! And without miracles, then you lose any claim to some supernatural interventionist. You’re stuck with an explanatory model that may or may not actually explain anything and you have no means to differentiate between them. This is why some believers choose these bits to be historical and those bits to be metaphor while other choose differently. There is no means to establish which is which… other than the liberal use of faith.

        In comparison, the method of science does provide a means… and it is this use of the means that allows people like you to point to propositions and claims later found to be not deserving of confidence. Whereas you presume that this reveals a failure of methodology (confusing an initial product of the method to be the method), I see this exercise as a testament to the method’s usefulness in awarding confidence based not on my personal preferences but on claims that withstand the rigors of testing over time and earn a high level of confidence.

        Now, you carry on your comment and say, “For example, if you claim that the act of dropping religion makes one a better scientist, I will laugh, unless you provide actual evidence. Given that I have challenged many atheists to provide such evidence (which would heavily imply causation instead of merely correlation), and they have failed, I have reason to think you will, as well.”

        I don’t know any atheists who suggest one becomes a better scientist if one drops religion. Clearly, many fine scientists are also religious but each separates the method they use to do good science from the method they use to apply confidence in their religious beliefs. I have no clue why you think I would be so stupid as to suggest otherwise when the world is full of contrary examples. But you will not find someone doing good science by relying on revelation, scriptural authority, and anecdotes. Those are a guaranteed way to fail at producing good science.

        If one wishes to learn about philosophy, then I suggest one study philosophy and not religion. If one wishes to learn about psychology, I suggest one study psychology and not religion. If one wishes to learn about religion, then I suggest one study comparative religion and not just one’s preferred religion. Why so many apologetic writers presume that studying religion will magically provide insight into areas of academic and knowledge expertise is a great mystery to me. It is always failed to produce any insights and/or answers that require knowledge.. no matter how long the reading list may be.

      • labreuer Says:

        This is part of the process simply unavailable to the method of faith-based beliefs (the one that relies on personal revelation, scriptural authority, and anecdotes).

        I see nothing scriptural which precludes scientific testing, and indeed Jesus seems pretty big on doing just that:

        “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Mt 7:15–20)

        Now, I do recognize the concept of a dead tradition, one which is entirely focused on maintaining extant dogmas, one which is entirely uninterested in heeding evidence or reasoning which would challenge it. However, this does not mean there is not such a thing as a live tradition, which can have crises which are ironed out through reason, evidence, and yes, metaphysics. Alasdair MacIntyre has some profound things to say about ‘tradition’; a wonderful place to start is his Epistemological Crises, Dramatic Narrative and the Philosophy of Science. Incidentally, he rejects Kuhn’s and Feyerabend’s conception of scientific paradigm change; he argues for more continuity—in the form of ‘tradition’—than either philosopher of science allows.

        You aren’t arguing against a straw man, but you are fallaciously arguing from ‘some’ ⇒ ‘all’, or ‘many’ ⇒ ‘all’. For example, many Christians supported slavery in the American South, it is true. But many abolitionists used resources within the Christian tradition to fight against slavery. You can see this all the way back in Gregory of Nyssa‘s Easter homily against slavery. Live traditions can allow for crises which produce progress within those traditions. And yet, you wish to deny the possibility of progress.

        You select particular cases that have not withstood testing and replication

        Please support this imputation with cited and sourced things I have said, or admit that you have constructed a straw man.

        Without the model, no emphasis on replication would be needed and this is exactly what we find with religious beliefs: no means to test independent of personal revelation, scriptural authority, or anecdotes!

        Slanderously false. Once again, you are engaging in ‘some’/’many’ ⇒ ‘all’ reasoning. Passages like Mt 25:31–46 provide plenty of phenomenological tests. You could also look at Gal 5:16–24 and Ja 3:13–18. We understand what “disorder” looks like, compared to “peaceable”. Just take a look at the Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Egypt. Christianity is expressly concerned with unity amidst diversity; see Mt 5:43–48, Jn 13:34–35, Jn 17:20–23. One can examine all recorded history in the light of unity vs. diversity. Catalan independence? A failure to maintain unity amidst diversity. Power in Christianity unifies without enforcing uniformity. Fail to have this kind of power, and you get the phenomenological results expressed in 2 Tim 3:1–5.

        I say “phenomenological” expressly because it requires no “spiritual discernment”, whatever that might be. There’s plenty of predicted behavior in the NT which can be observed by the unbeliever. The idea that there are no predict–test–update loops in Christianity is laughable.

        That’s why the model of faith-based beliefs doesn’t produce explanatory models that work! And by ‘work’ I mean producing applications, therapies, and technologies that rely on the explanation.

        Do you believe utility implies truth? If something helps us accomplish thing we currently want to accomplish, that something is true? This is a very dangerous way to define ‘truth’.

        In fact, if you could reproduce some of the miracles, they wouldn’t be miracles! And without miracles, then you lose any claim to some supernatural interventionist.

        Thank you for admitting that your worldview is unfalsifiable, that there is nothing I could possibly do which would show you that you are wrong.

        But you will not find someone doing good science by relying on revelation, scriptural authority, and anecdotes. Those are a guaranteed way to fail at producing good science.

        Ahhh, but this is a way to falsify. Suppose someone falsified your “a guaranteed way to fail”. What would you then say? That aliens helped with the composition of the Bible?

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