Inference and what jehovahs witnesses fail to see wrt. 607, evolution, the ark, etc.

by bohm 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • bohm

    "Hey guys, last summer i spend 3 days in the stomach of a live sperm whale"

    The imediate reaction when you hear that is to think im lying. If i had written that in a book called "The things I did last summer", everyone would tend to treat that rest of the material in that book with sceptisism. Sure there might be explanations, the whale might have had a giant bag with me surgically placed inside it which i lived in while i breathed through a tube, or Thor the thundergod may have prevented me from dying, but at the end of the day its the kind of statements that hurt your crediability.

    The obvious connection i want to make is with the bible (and the jw interpretation of it). It says a guy DID infact live inside a whale for a couple of days, however (im guessing) it would be rationalized in the following way: "I know the bible is true, so when it says Jonas lived inside a whale that was a miracle. It does not affect the crediability of the bible because God does perform miracles and this is just one of them". What happends here is that the person says the bible is true, invent a RATIONALIZATION of the evidence (that God may have performed a miracle), use THAT to explain the evidence, and thus isolate the bibles crediability from evidence. This is done time over here on this forum, with 607-chronology, noahs ark, no evolution, magic hair, talking snakes, etc. playing the role of the whale.

    This way of arguing is simply false, provided one will accept the basics of statistics and logic. If a person wish to continue argue this way, fine, but you got to throw logic out of the window and pretend that does not matter. Thats what i want to point out in this thread.

    In reality, noone was not born knowing that the bible was true. They was convinced. Thats why the preaching work makes sence: you CONVINCE people by arguments. Thus the truthfullness of the bible is inferred based on evidence, i want to show here how evidence affect the level of trust we can put in the bible.

    Say we are having yet another discussion with a guy who likes to defend biblical 607 chronology, and he point out that he trust the bible more than secular history. Lets call the belief the bible is true for "B" and the evidence from secular history which contradict the bible for "H". What we want to do is talk about the level of trust we put in the bible given the evidence from history. In statistics we write: P(B | H). We want to compare that to our level of trust in the bible BEFORE introducing the evidence, P(B). Notice this analysis is insulated against various retionalizations, like "the kings may be lying", "we may find more cuniform tablets", etc. Using bayes theorem we may calculate:

    P(B | H) / P(B) = P(H | B) / P(H)

    the bible is true, B, or not true, here "not B". We may marginalize over this event and get:

    P(B | H) / P(B) = P(H | B) / [ P(H | B)P(B) + P(H | not B)P(not B) ]

    However, since we must assume P(H | B) is much less than P(H | not B), ie. if we assume the bible is false, its a hell of a lot easier to explain secular history around 607 than if we assume bible is true, we must have (P(B) + P(not B) = 1):

    P(B | H) / P(B) < P(H | B) / [ P(H | B)P(B) + P(H | B)P(not B) ] = P(H | B) / P(H | B) = 1

    Thus: P(B | H) < P(B)

    So we are just stating the obvious fact that evidence that contradict the bible, even if it may be rationalized by various explanations, reduce the probability of the bible being true, no matter how you twist it. you got to throw out statistics and or logic to get a different result.

  • bluecanary

    I'm not so good at the maths, but I follow the words. The thing is, I don't think anyone will disagree with you. The unbelievers get frustrated because the believers don't rely on logic; the believers get frustrated because they see no need to rely on logic, but on faith. The problem for unbelievers is that we don't understand the basis for their faith. They usually say they are moved by holy spirit. Which means that those of us who aren't moved by holy spirit either aren't asking enough, aren't sincere enough, or aren't worthy enough.

    There's no way to quantify receptance of holy spirit. There's no way to prove you do or do not have it. JWs believe they have it and everyone else does not. Other Christians believe they have it and JWs do not. So (a) holy spirit moves you to believe the Bible and (b) your understanding of the Bible leads you to believe you have the holy spirit and (c) two groups may have opposing interpretations of the Bible, which means either one or both of them does not have holy spirit (unless the HS is kind of a prankster that's just messing with people). All in all, holy spirit seems like an unreliable method for Bible interpretation. If God wants us to believe this book, it needs to be corroborated by something that can't be badly misinterpreted.

  • DaCheech
  • DaCheech

    I come from a backward thinking european country.

    my mom and grandma told me so many stories of "miracles" and "supernatural", and "visions". they seemed real to these people living 80-35 years ago (no mentioning their ancestors). my question to these are, why don't we have proof of such in our civilized modern society?

    It would be too easy catching these supernatural on camera and making believers?

    i personally think that in "the good old days" some people injested some hallusonigenic (close) plants and thought these things really happened, when their brain was seeing (drug induced phooey).

    are we real? or are we in a matrix?

    all religion is false and there is proovable truth in God. no worth fighting for

  • Farkel

    :P(B | H) / P(B) < P(H | B) / [ P(H | B)P(B) + P(H | B)P(not B) ] = P(H | B) / P(H | B) = 1

    Thus: P(B | H) < P(B)

    One doesn't need all that fancy stuff to arrive at the same conclusion, but only to draw on the major and most important argument used by true believers:

    "The Bible is the Word of God."

    "How do we know that?"

    "We know that because in the Bible it clearly states it is God's word."

    "It also states God cannot lie."

    "Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God, because God always tells the truth."

    The is called "circular reasoning", or "begging the question" and is the most elementary and transparent of logical fallacies.

    If the only "hard evidence" true believers can drum up is a logical fallacy, there is no need for anyone with half-a-brain to delve any further on the subject.


  • bohm

    bluecanary: you are right on the money about the holy spirit. sometimes it feels that the less you know, and the more you believe, the mor faith you have and the more worthy are you. Its a really strange psychology to assume God possess - on one hand he want us to believe and obay, on the other hand, he wants to give us as little reason as possible to do that. Somehow that makes God a good guy.

    Im even willing to buy the part about belief being an emotional thing that i just havent experienced yet - like Love it cannot be explained through reason. This forum has learned me that it is possible to feel that way and through that feeling experience a lot of good things in life and be a really cool person. Where the chain jumps of is when you, like a obsessive lover, try to impose that emotion [belief] on other, by demanding they follow your way of doing things, ie. disfellowshipping, blood, no university, etc.

    DaCheech: No problem, i LIVE in a small backward european country :-). Supernaturnal phenomena are allmost impossible to proove false. Try to read Dean Radins book "The conscious universe". There is a bit of junk statistics (okay a lot :-) ) in it and some selective datapicking, but beside all that its a really fascinating tale of how hard it is to create experiments with humans. (though you got to use google and read about the experiments to get the most out of the book)

    Farkel: At the convention, the only time they mentioned evidence for noahs ark, or anything for that matter, was in one sentence: "The best evidence for the flood is that jesus mentioned it in xxx". uhm, okay. so we can believe in noahs ark because jesus says so. we believe in jesus because he is in the bible. we believe in the bible because the things told in the bible are factual. uhm..
    My experience is that nobody likes circular reasoning and illogical things. It simply hurt the brain. That means it creates cognitive dissonance when pointed out to someone, even though it may have to be through examples from other religions. Actually i made this thread because a guy on this site [like to talk about babylon and celebrate scholars he dont know who are] once AGAIN failed to realize that if there is evidence against the biblical explanation on something, even though it can be rationalized by a bit of hopefull thinking, it is STILL evidence against the bible. garh. think i should not post before lunch, im to grumpy :-).

  • Out at Last!
    Out at Last!

    What a loving God to tell Nostradamus like prophesy that can be fufilled in numerous times and ways, then record it hundreds of years later by men. Then over centuries let men translate and twist Gods words to fit any number of beliefs and teachings.

    If God is almighty and loves mankind, why can't he provide a book that undesputedly contains his thoughts and teachings. Could not an almighty accomplish that? And why can't he just say what he means? Why would he have things written in a way that it could be mis interpreted? Why all the math that the JW's teach, inspired visions, and "miracles" that could mean just about anything?

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