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January 02, 2016

Comments

Tim,

Have you heard of Bayes' Theorem?

It offers a useful interpretation and a useful answer to this question.

What, in Bayesian terms, is an extraordinary claim?

It's a claim with a very low prior probability.

It's a claim that your background knowledge says is very probably not true.

And what, in Bayesian terms, is extraordinary evidence?

It's evidence that is would be very unlikely to find were the claim not true.

Claims with very low prior probability DO require very strong evidence.

They require stronger evidence than claims with middling or low (as opposed to very low) probability.

These are neutral interpretations of extraordinary claim and extraordinary evidence.

There is no need to get into side issues.
(The supernatural/natural distinction nothing to do with this.)

The answer Bayes's Theorem gives is: Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence.

Maybe an illustration (chosen to avoid inciting any prejudice) ...

Which of these claims is ordinary? Extraordinary?

I skipped lunch.
I haven't eaten for 2 days.
I haven't eaten for 20 days.
I haven't eaten for 200 days.

Suppose we have just met on a plane and I make one of these claims.

Considering each claim, what evidence do you want?

The first claim is quite ordinary.
The last conflicts with what we (I) think is possible.
The last is extraordinary.

Think of the claim that the “universe came from nothing.” Almost all physicists and cosmologists agree that at some point in the finite past the universe begin to exist.

What is the source of this "almost all" claim?

There is no physics of nothing.

the burial, the empty tomb, the post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief

We don't have a burial.
We have a story about a burial.

We don't have an empty tomb.
We have a story.

We don't have the 'post-mortem appearances' or "the origin of the disciples’ belief" either.
We have stories.

I mean nothing prejudicial by the word 'a story'.
Substitute the words 'documents mentioning' if you like.

Just mind the distinction between an empty tomb and writings about an empty tomb.

I believe God gives extraordinary evidence to those who believe. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)

The question is; must we first have hard cold facts that do not exist in order to believe? Or do we believe because God gives us the Holy Spirit, bearing witness to what he says?

Ron H, the same applies to the theory of evolution, correct? Sauce for the goose...

I don't know whether the evidence provided by the following 70-page paper about the resurrection is extraordinary in Bayesian terms, but it's a beginning: http://bitly.com/1O1ogs6

@ RonH What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Where is the extraordinary evidence (indeed, any evidence at all) for the following extraordinary claims?

1. a non-mind can create a universe that from the very beginning is governed by a specific subset of precise mathematical and chemical parameters.

2. a non-mind can further create a highly sophisticated digital genetic code and most resilient and compact digital storage system that can compile complex, environmentally-adaptable, conscious, and intelligent biological systems..

3. a non-mind can further create life from non life (abiogenesis).

4. a non-mind can cause through random mutations and natural selection over time massive infusions of sets of instructions to the afore-mentioned digital genetic code in order to compile for even more sophisticated life forms.

5. a 210-byte set of basic information like the Arecibo message is proof of intelligence, whereas a 750 MB byte-compiled code that exhibits conditional compilation, position-independent code, mirroring, failover, runtime binary patching, forward error correction, multiprocessing, self-hosting, and bootstrapping is not. http://bitly.com/1EH7TP0

RonH

"Just mind the distinction between an empty tomb and writings about an empty tomb."

And what does this distinction signify?

We don't have the War Between the States, just stories of The War Between the States.

We don't have President Lincoln, just stories about President Lincoln.

So I guess we need extraordinary evidence then?

Is that where you are going? All historical events need extraordinary proof and should be regarded with extreme skepticism?

Cory,

Ron H, the same applies to the theory of evolution, correct? Sauce for the goose...

Nothing about the theory of evolution amounts to an extraordinary claim.
And, there is a ton of evidence for the theory.
So: no, not similar.

Christianity asks us to abandon something we know with near certainty: When you're dead, you're dead.

Nothing like this is asked of someone being offered the theory of evolution. In fact, it simply builds on things we know.

Francesco,

The paper takes as facts stories related in the Gospels.

For example, it talks about "The thirteen witnesses for the resurrection".

Again: We have no witnesses!

Let us say no more about it.

1) Huh? What is this is about?
2) See #5.
3) Why not?. Even today, the boundary between life and non-life is unclear.
4) See #5.
5)I could list many points of disanalogy between 'dna information' and any actual code.
But, this one is more than sufficient the idea that dna is 'programming' or 'code':

In an actual code the connection between the two sides (coded and decoded) is conventional and arbitrary.

Any actual code or language is based upon a convention: for example, a computation or dictionary of some kind.

In contrast, the connection between dna and proteins is not a convention and not at all arbitrary: it's chemistry.

DNA is a chemical.

Goat Head 5,

We do have stories about Lincoln and the American Civil War.

We also have original documents, including photographs of each.

And we have physical things like weapons and bones.

Besides, there is nothing extraordinary about either the claim that Lincoln lived or the claim that the American Civil War happened.

Ron is spot on regarding Bayes Theorem and how it is applicable to the resurrection story. If you choose to believe that Jesus rose physically from the dead you do so on faith, which is ok.

Someone wants an opinion regarding the article at this website: http://bitly.com/1O1ogs6#sthash.HwQcF1Hm.dpuf I briefly scanned the article and it is not extra ordinary evidence. I was going to copy and paste part of it here and then dismantle it but to go into the details would be off topic of this blog. If STR want to create another blog regarding the referenced website I'll chime in if time allows.

We don't have the War Between the States, just stories of The War Between the States. We don't have President Lincoln, just stories about President Lincoln. So I guess we need extraordinary evidence then?"

No sir, civil wars and presidents are common place and there is able evidence to support the ordinary claims of both.


Ron,
Come on, we are expecting more from you. It seems you didn't even try hard to give real answers.

Atheists do need to provide extraordinary cumulative evidence for the extraordinary claims I outlined above.

Remember, it matters not whether there's a 1:1 relationship between DNA and computer code. It only matters that DNA is a set of instruction several (several) orders of magnitude more complex than the information contained in the Arecibo message, which all parties already agree is proof of intelligence.

Have you read the entire 70-page paper above? Have you read the bayesian analysis of R vs ~R? Or the part about the validity of testimonies and historical records from those days?

Francesco,

I answered you more completely than your comment justified.

Atheists don't need to do any such thing.

Being an atheist means only not being convinced by any and all the arguments for the existence of god.

Being an atheist does not entail believing ...

a non-mind can create a universe that from the very beginning is governed by a specific subset of precise mathematical and chemical parameters.
... whatever it might mean.

DNA is not a set of instructions.

It's a chemical!

Of course I haven't read all of that paper.

I read enough, however, to see how it treats the Bible.

As I said, it refers to 'witnesses'.

Where are these witnesses, Francesco?

(Not that witnesses would be enough to overthrow When you're dead, you're dead.

You admit the evidence and argument in the McGrew paper isn't extraordinary.

So do they...

Our argument will proceed on the assumption that we have a substantially accurate text of the four gospels, Acts, and several of the undisputed Pauline epistles (most significantly Galatians and I Corinthians); that the gospels were written, if not by the authors whose names they now bear, at least by disciples of Jesus or people who knew those disciples – people who knew at first hand the details of his life and teaching or people who spoke with those eyewitnesses – and that the narratives, at least where not explicitly asserting the occurrence of a miracle, deserve as much credence as similarly attested documents would be accorded if they reported strictly secular matters. Where the texts do assert something miraculous – for example, Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances – we take it, given the basic assumption of authenticity, that the narrative represents what someone relatively close to the situation claimed.

I want you to be satisfied with my responses, Francesco.

I have limited time for this. So you need to help by making your requests much better.

More specific. More coherent. More relevant.

You can start by simply dropping this DNA is programming/language stuff.

Ok?

"Our argument will proceed on the assumption that we have a substantially accurate text of the four gospels, Acts, and several of the undisputed Pauline epistles (most significantly Galatians and I Corinthians); that the gospels were written, if not by the authors whose names they now bear, at least by disciples of Jesus..."

Ok, the writer is admitting that she is making an assumption to support her claim of evidence. That is a shaky start, no?

Then the writer slowly backs away from the idea that that the gospels are written by by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Good thing, because they are not.

And as you will see below she further distances the stories from the events in question.

"... or people who knew those disciples – people who knew at first hand the details of his life and teaching or people who spoke with those eyewitnesses..."

So, the gospels are not written by eye witnesses. Of course bible scholars have know that for a long time. It is possible, if not likely, that even the above is overstating the argument.

The apostle Paul never claims to have been a eye witness of a bodily resurrection, he saw a light, heard a voice which told him it was Jesus.

Then the writer slowly backs away from the idea that that the gospels are written by by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Good thing, because they are not.
How did you come to know that?

Ron H. I am curious if you are an atheist or agnostic. Since you seem an intelligent sort you must recognize that
"Being an atheist means only not being convinced by any and all the arguments for the existence of god."

Is actually more of a definition of agnosticism, as in not knowing definitively if God exists or does not exist.

An atheist by definition believes that God does not exist. That type of belief is more firm and is similar in many ways to deism in that it believes firmly in something, for an atheist it is that God does not exist, without firm and completely convincing evidence of that fact.

It is not provable that God does not exist in any kind of scientific way. As has been said by atheists before such as Dawkins, that proving God exists is not science since you can not test for it. The same is true for atheists. You can not prove your theory. Therefore it requires faith to have that view. Many atheists dismiss the idea of faith as backward and unsubstantiated and only an uneducated simpleton would adhere to that line of thinking. They argue that of course all worldviews should be based on scientifically proven tenets such as naturalism. Naturalism does not have that kind of proven structure either.

One example being life from non-life, which certainly is not just building on what we know to exist from our own experience or scientifically proven knowledge. The concept of free will is of course difficult for a naturalist as it is random chemical reactions or very complex machinery that gives the illusion of free will. Dealing with these issues requires faith, it's just a question of which faith you choose, one that can explain all observable phenomenon (deism) or one that can not (atheism/naturalism.)

I suspect most atheists should actually be agnostics as that is logically coherent whereas atheism is a pretty tough pickle philosophically as it based on the premise that you shouldn't believe in something you can't prove yet is exactly something that can not be proven. As an agnostic there is no real reason to fight so hard against the idea of God since you don't really know, unless you don't want there to be a god. Most of the atheists I know will eventually admit that. I was a militant atheist for a long time and genuinely did not want there to be a god so I railed against him. In the end I realized that atheism is bankrupt philosophically and became an agnostic and as I looked into both religion/philosophy and basic sciences of biochem, genetics, physics and chemistry came to conclude that there are far too many problems for naturalism to be true and became a deist. Studies eastern and western religions and spirituality and discovered that Christianity is the most internally consistent and substantial of all the religions and I am sure through the working of the Holy Spirit discovered a faith I thought was impossible for so long.

I will pray for you to have truth reveal itself to you I whatever form that takes. Thanks for the thought provoking comments.

Wisdom Lover,

First, I didn't want to go down this road because it is not the topic of this blog however another person implied that the referenced website contained extra ordinary evidence and it clearly does not.

Second thing is that we've already argued this issue on another blog and now we have to repeat it all over again?

Third and perhaps more important question for you to think about is that a fellow evangelical of yours apparently would not argue the point and thereby seems to concede to my views.

Flying donkey, if you are referring to me as conceding your point by not addressing what you said then that is certainly a leap. I would not agree you are correct as the bible scholars that I have read understand the gospels to be written by the apostles or their ghost writer assistants. You are correct that Paul does not claim to be an eye witness. The gospels were actually written early in the post crucifixion period when eye witnesses would still have been alive to refute it. Also the apostles and so many of the early Christians who were eye witnesses were persecuted to the point of death yet refused to rescind their stories is pretty powerful. If they fabricated it they would have been unlikely to be willing to die for it.

Please post your evidence that refutes the apostles and eye witnesses as authors so it can be reviewed.

I assume since you do not refute my comments you are conceding my points...😉 Or is that not valid. I mean assuming someone agrees with you just because they don't address your particular concerns.

Again, thanks for thought provoking questions. Are you an atheist or agnostic or other? We all have biases and it help to know the likely biases of the people commenting. Mine are pretty obvious.

@ RonH

So what does being an atheist entail exactly? How does an atheist account in one paragraph for the beginning and existence of the universe and its rules, and for the beginning and existence of life? And what evidence does he provide for it?

As for DNA, yes it's a molecule. It's a chemical molecule that carries most of the *genetic instructions* used in the development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms.

How does an atheist account for a sophisticated digital genetic code that also happens to be the most resilient digital data storage system known to man?

Why should I drop the DNA as programming language paradigm? It's everywhere and very real http://bitly.com/1mrMpRT

Not sure I understand your reference to lack of witnesses for the resurrection. What are Matthew and John? Furniture?

@ Flying Donkey

If Jesus did not convince everyone, I doubt that an article on his resurrection written 2,000 years later will—no matter how well it argues the case (did a good job by me).

Then again, as far as extraordinary evidence goes, the paper still does a far better job than Dawkins does here http://bitly.com/1Fv644R in arguing the case for natural selection as "creator" of genomic information.

General reminder: The topic here is

Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?
If you have trouble sticking to it, you might ask yourself: Why?

Not sure I understand your reference to lack of witnesses for the resurrection. What are Matthew and John? Furniture?

Produce these 'witnesses' please. I have questions for them.

Greg/all,

Let's say I sit down with you and some of your friends for dinner, and you all testify to have seen a rabid dog on the way to the restaurant. What kind of evidence might want demand for such a claim? Not much. It's a completely plausible thing, and eye witness testimony can certainly carry the load. Now, let's say we sit down for dinner and you all claim to have seen King Kong smashing through buildings and swinging from the empire state building? Well, I'm simply not going to believe that on your word alone. I now require something more.

Hilarious claims don't require hilarious evidence because hilarity is merely in the eye of the beholder. It's subjective. Non sequitur.

What is extraordinary evidence? I would define this as extraordinarily strong evidence. Evidence in proportion to the claim, or evidence that can support a claim. I'll illustrate with some examples.

Claim: Jesus existed

Evidence: testimony of peers and family members

Fine.

Claim:Jesus died and came back to life

Evidence: testimony of religious followers and converted critics of the movement.

Fail.

FD-

One: If You are making the point as part of your argument, then it is On-Topic. If it is not part of your argument, then why did you mention it?

Two: Things that are mentioned in one comment thread may be covered in later threads. Just to let you know...every time you make this or any other false claim, you run the risk that I or some other reader will at least note that it is not obvious, and that you have no real basis for the claim. So use it if you think you need it, but be prepared to defend it.

Third: I'm not sure who you think conceded your point?

Francesco,

Why should I drop the DNA as programming language paradigm? It's everywhere and very real http://bitly.com/1mrMpRT

There's one reason right there for you to drop the DNA is a language stuff: the link you include in support of the idea.

Take a second look.

If you still think the article you link to and the underlying paper even might support your idea that DNA is a programming language, then you should stop talking about these subjects because this work doesn't support any such notion.

WL,

Third: I'm not sure who you think conceded your point?

Looks like the concessions Flying Donkey is referring to are in the passage he/she and I quoted from McGrew above.

See FD at January 02, 2016 at 02:35 PM

The quoted McGrew doesn't exactly sound like the start of a tight argument.

Hi Wisdom Lover,

By the way, Happy New Year to you. Thank you for your response.

Yes, RonH is correct, I was referring to the author of the referenced website who is obviously, based upon his/her writings, quite willing to concede the point.

I should have worded my comments differently but some guy seemed to be claiming that the referenced website contained extraordinary evidence so I felt the need to counter that claim otherwise I would not have digressed into the authorship subject. If we go into authorship of the gospels then this blog will drift away from the topic it began with but
the comment isn't false in that the odds that he apostle Matthew wrote the Gospel of Matthew are, as the saying goes, slim to none. Is there some small chance? Yeah, sure.

You are correct, if I make a claim I do need to be willing to back it up, which I'm quite capable of however I'm obligated to other tasks in the following days as I have a work schedule that averages somewhere around 50 to 60 hours per week and I won't want to do a half-buttocks
job of it (got be carefully with wording here on a Christian website)by quickly ripping off a few comments. Therefore to keep this blog on the
stated subject I'll do a redaction and say I do not "know" Matthew did not write Matthew but rather I'm going with the odds and I do believe I have academia on my side.

I've used Matthew as an example because, if I recall correctly, you are strong proponent of Matthew writing Matthew and that the gospel of
Matthew as being the earliest the four canonized gospels. When STR posts a blog that is more focused on authorship and if my schedule allows I'll post some lucid information specific to the gospel of Matthew.

If I made some typos please pardon as I can't seem to preview my comments from the browser I'm using.

Best regards,
Mike

I appreciate the intellectual honesty. Bayesian logic does suggest that extraordinary claims require stronger evidence. I think the term extraordinary is the crux of the matter. What is extraordinary evidence? A single eye witness is not compelling for the example of King Kong being sited. Multiple eye witnesses? Maybe. Still tough to believe. How about eye witnesses (plural) who were tortured and still refused to redact their statement. Now it would seem you are getting there.

The other issue is secondary gain. If the eye witnesses stand to gain something from their testimony then of course it is suspect even if it is multiple. If they stand to gain ridicule, hardship, physical pain and death for that testimony then the fact that they stake a claim that will get that kind of response bears more weight.

The call for the eyewitnesses to be presented now 2000 years later is of course ridiculous and I am sure the author of that knew it.

If you need photographs and other "hard" evidence for things then basically everything prior to the mid 1800s is non factual or at least anything out of the ordinary is questionable and unknowable in the definitive way being requested.

The other interesting thing is that the Sanhedrin considered quashing the tumors and being aggressive in removing those perpetrating the story of Jesus resurrection yet they choose not to since so many such "savior a" had come and gone. Yet Christianity took off in the very communities where eye witnesses lived and breathed. A falsehood would never have had the kind of legs that Christ story has had, especially in the vicinity of people who would refute the story. The legion of troops for instance would have been able to refute the story easily yet did not...

I guess the question is not really about whether extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence, so much as can there actually be substantial enough evidence for an extraordinary claim that flies in the face of our own preconceived ideas and desired world view. I think for most, but not all, our biases color our view enough that the requirement for evidence is so high that it is virtually impossible to meet. I will admit that I have my own biases as a biochemist that I am extremely skeptical of life from non life and the evidence for that will need to be extraordinary to prove that. I can only assume that those requiring extraordinary proof of Jesus resurrection will of course require the same degree of evidence before belief in abiogenesis and the creation of everything from nothing...

Interesting discussion.

A great post Tim. Too many skeptics hide behind simple slogans. Thanks for responding to this in a clear and logical manner.

Stephen Bedard,

Too many skeptics hide behind simple slogans.

Like what I've written here?

@ RonH
"Produce these 'witnesses' please. I have questions for them."

Sure, when you produce Lucy and all the other transitional forms.

Still waiting to read in a paragraph what being an atheist entails exactly when it comes to explaining the origin of the universe, its governing parameters, the genetic code, abiogenesis, etc.

@ RonH

I still don't understand why I should drop the "DNA as a programming language" paradigm. Maybe you can elucidate in one paragraph.

There is a whole lot of changing the subject going on. Beginning of the universe? Transitional forms? What does that have to do with the resurrection of Jesus and the Christian faith. News flash!

Atheism does not equal materialism.

Atheism does not equal naturalism

Atheism does not entail evolutionist.

Atheism entails no gods or goddesses. That's it. Burden of proof is on you. Shoulder it if you can.

@ Flying Donkey

"some guy seemed to be claiming that the referenced website contained extraordinary evidence so I felt the need to counter that claim"

I did not claim the Web Site contained extraordinary evidence. I wrote it was a start; it provided basic evidence for the historical placement and reliability of the NT documents and of the people mentioned in them in light of historical setting of the time. It's a traditional Argument from Miracles as they would have it in the 18th Century.

@ Boywonder23k

Then what is atheism? Is it so difficult to summarize in a paragraph? I've been asking three times already.

Burden of proof is an all sides. According to the prevalent cosmological model, this universe had a beginning and it's governed by precise mathematical and chemical parameters. The default conclusion of mankind throughout history has been that such universe is the product of intelligence (God or gods). If you want to proselytize me into atheism, you need to provide evidence that this universe is the product of something other than a mind.

Francesco,

You don't know what that paper is about.

That's why you think it supports your view that DNA has something to do or resembles programming.

I count that as 2 paragraphs.

Ron,
Still missing a definition of atheism.

On May 2, 2011, Neo-Darwinist Professor Gregory Chaitin, a world-famous mathematician and computer scientist, gave a talk entitled, Life as Evolving Software. http://bitly.com/1OFson3 in which he called DNA a universal programming language.

You can also check out this post (and comments) about the genetic code being "just chemistry" with no semiotic aspect http://bitly.com/17FuYSo

You may also want to re-read this post to see the analogies with a man-made programming language http://bitly.com/1EH7TP0

To reiterate, it need not be a 1:1 relationship with man-made code; it matters that it's highly structured chemical code that compiles complex biological systems. It points to a mind as the source.

Now, going back to our topic of extraordinary evidence, where is the extraordinary evidence for atheism behind our universe, its rules, life?

Don't evade the question.

Well BW23K,

"Atheism entails no gods or goddesses."

At least you are admitting that atheism makes some claims. Non-claims cannot have entailments. So thanks for that.

That said, there's no such thing as a burden of proof. Either that, or it's so ubiquitous as to not present a special problem for anyone in particular...since everyone makes claims.

At one time, it was thought that the gases one the right side of the periodical table could not form chemical bonds. The prior probability that they would form chemical bonds was low. In fact, there were powerful reasons to think that it was literally impossible for them to form chemical bonds. They were even called the inert gases.

Then in 1962 Neil Bartlett conducted an experiment and observed Xenon forming a chemical bond with Fluorine and Platinum.

Was this experiment ordinary, or extraordinary evidence?

Was the Michelson-Morley experiment that ultimately led to the overthrow of the the Galilean Transformation (thought by most to be a law of nature) ordinary or extraordinary.

I think that both experiments were quite ordinary...in spite of the fact that they overthrew propositions with very high prior probabilities.

@wisdom,

It is not even controversial that there is such a thing as burden of proof. If you are making the claim "Jesus is God" you need to explain why anyone should believe you.

Francesco,

I have no idea what the explanation is for the universe. What does that have to do with Jesus? Absolutely nothing. Maybe some super being created the universe and then committed suicide. Maybe an evil God made the universe. Maybe a mind that doesn't care about us at all made the universe. The possibility of deism shouldn't make you tempted to be a christian. It should tempt you only to be a deist. A much more respectable position than believing in talking donkeys, Noahs Ark, flying axe heads, rocks that follow around tribes, healing handkerchiefs, genocidal commands, and eternal hell fire.

But OK. I'll take the bait. Is this disembodied mind outside of space time? If so, how did it "decide" to create a universe?

OK, but that's deism, a much more respectable conclusion than atheism.

"It is not even controversial that there is such a thing as burden of proof. If you are making the claim "Jesus is God" you need to explain why anyone should believe you."

One of the many claims that everyone knows that just ain't so.

WL,

Here's what is extraordinary about Michelson-Morley.

The results are incompatible with the Galilean transformation.

In other words, the probability of these results given that the Galilean transformation is true are about zero.

This is exactly the kind of extraordinary that's needed.

Wisdom lover,

If you want to deny it that's fine. But you are happily showcasing for everyone the exact reason.Why I left the faith. Apologetics is all about semantics and smoke screens. You don't actually care about the evidence.

Francesco,

I was saying that's the MOST you could get from your little cosmological argument. But that's not evidence of the resurrection. It would barely be evidence of christianity. IF those arguments worked.... which they don't.

Again, how does a changeless mind outside of time "decide" to create something?

"You don't actually care about the evidence."

Thanks for the info. I did not know that about myself. How did you come to know that?

Tell me exactly what this burden of proof is that you speak of?

After all you're the one claiming there is such a thing...by your own rule, I think the burden of proof (if there is any such thing) is on you.

But there is no such thing. In the end burden-of-proof blabber simply comes down to this: You demand that the theist prove his claim to you.

Well, it's fine for you to make demands. We all make demands of others. But don't expect others to always comply. And let's not pretend for a second that making a demand puts you on some sort of intellectual high ground.

I'd like to say that it's baloney like burden of proof talk from atheists showcases the exact reason that I would never leave the faith...because it's all about demands and arrogance.

But you see, I actually do care about the evidence. There is a possibility of evidence that could be provided to make me leave Christianity. For example, the remains of Christ...of course producing a heap of remains and asserting that they are Christ's might be an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.

There is probably no evidence that could make me become an atheist, because the ontological argument is sound.

"The results are incompatible with the Galilean transformation."

I don't think that's actually true Ron. I just think it requires you to say more convoluted things about the luminiferous ether.

It seems that you're just saying that what's extraordinary about the MM experiment is that it is evidence.

I think I'd prefer to this characterization of things "logically contingent claims require evidence". Let's use Bayes' Theorem where we can, of course. But let's skip intensifiers like "extraordinary" that serve only to cloud the issue.

I don't think that's actually true Ron.

I understood you to say it first! :) It didn't sound exactly right to me but I didn't bother checking because exactly what the results of MMX are incompatible with doesn't bear on the issue at hand.

We don't really need to pin this down.

Maybe the results are incompatible with the combination of simple aether (as opposed to 'more convoluted' aether) AND the Galilean transformation.

(Based on a quick review, I think that's about right.)

In other words: Given that ...

1) The Galilean transformation is right and
2) Aether is simple.

... the probability of the MMX results is (about) zero.

We also don't need to pin down whether the result of MMX is a great example.

Did this result produce a revolution (nearly) on it's own? Doesn't matter.

Maybe it did. If not, we can find a better example.

The idea is: even a single experiment, done well and confirmed, etc., can have an effect like the effect a counterexample has on the universality of a proposition.

It seems that you're just saying that what's extraordinary about the MM experiment is that it is evidence.

No. Because, given this result, something 'cherished' HAD to give.

Given that a conditional probably of (near) zero (nearly) extinguishes even a very high prior probability, extraordinary is an excellent word to use to describe the corresponding evidence.

BTW, it's important to distinguish between the MMX procedure and the result in context.

The MMX methods, materials, procedure, etc. were ordinary.

The result was not ordinary because, by itself (we're supposing), the result forced people to give up firmly held prior beliefs - whatever the details of those beliefs were.

(All waves need a medium? t' = t; x' = x - vt ?)

Wisdom lover,

So your position is that there is no such thing as "the burden of proof". Do you also deny the law of non contradiction? How many other logical principles do you defy to defend your faith? We can see that you don't care about evidence by your words on this blog. Cognitive dissonance. The principles of logic don't even hold in the Christian world if that logic would be used against the religion. But If that's the case, why trust the ontological argument?

It's all semantics and smoke screens

So your position is that there is no such thing as "the burden of proof". Do you also deny the law of non contradiction? How many other logical principles do you defy to defend your faith?
I deny no principles of logic.

There is no logical law of the burden of proof. Where did you get the idea that there is?

We can see that you don't care about evidence by your words on this blog.
We can? I wonder if it's more that you wouldn't recognize a concern with the evidence if it bit you on the bottom.
Cognitive dissonance.
Wow! That sounds complicated! Do I fold up now?
The principles of logic don't even hold in the Christian world if that logic would be used against the religion. But If that's the case, why trust the ontological argument?
Not quite sure what you're saying here, but never fear, I deny no principle of logic.
It's all semantics and smoke screens
What's all semantics and smokescreens? Do you know what semantics is? Would it surprise you to know that it is a vital part of logic?

Ron-

Doesn't all science proceed that way? We devise and carry out experiments or investigations that, if they go a certain way, force us to give up a claim.

I guess if the claim is cherished then the evidence that makes us give it up is extraordinary. I think that intensified terminology is more misleading than it is helpful.

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