Crash Offline

42 Happily married Male from St. Louis       336
Crash: “God did X, Y, and Z for me” does not demonstrate evidence for a god. Not only does this fail as empirical evidence, but it doesn’t even count as anecdotal evidence, and therefore ought not be reasonably accepted as such.

The reasons for this are three:

1) Correlation does NOT imply causation. To reach a conclusion about a cause of something simply by observing an event is called a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” (this therefore that) fallacy! It occurs when people explain that a certain event happens because something else (which has not necessarily been demonstrated to be a cause, or even to exist) caused the event to happen.

2) The conclusion that God “did something” is based on an assumption that a god exists to do anything in the first place. If there is no god, then whatever happened cannot be explained by a god (something else must have been the cause). The fact that you don’t know what else could be the cause does not justify assuming that your presumption was the cause.

3) In order to demonstrate causation, one must conduct an experiment which establishes a link between the effect and the presumed cause. Even if a god existed, that doesn’t mean that any effect can be attributed to that god until the cause is tested, under specific controls, and yield repeatable and predictable results. That would give you the anecdotal evidence you need to reach a conclusion about a cause. When someone else using the same methods can independently validate the results, then it would graduate to empirical evidence.

Storytime: My cat “Crooks” has an automatic cat feeder that releases food twice a day. The first few times it went off while he was sitting next to it, it startled him and he jumped as a result. However he quickly realized that each time this happened food ended up in the dish. Now, when he gets hungry he has a habit of purposefully “jumping” next to the auto feeder, as if trying to trigger food to release. He has reasoned (in his cat brain) that because his jumping and the food being released occurred at the same time that his jump “caused” the food to come out. His reasoning is obviously flawed to us because as a cat he doesn’t understand how an automatic feeder actually works, we do! But in his mind he has “evidence” that jumping causes cat food to come out of the feeder.
2 years ago ReplyReport Link