Quality evidence is needed for big religious and paranormal claims.  The bigger the claim the better the of quality evidence that is needed.  I didn't say quantity.  I said quality.

In theory there have to be some claims that should be matched only with a good quantity of quality evidence.  Ignore those who say that you will never know what the quantity is.  Settle for at least two pieces.  They don't want you to settle for that for they want you to think, "I will make do for I would never be satisfied."  That plays into their hands.

Surely the resurrection of Jesus and the existence of an infinitely good God would be examples of such claims?  If they are not then nothing is.

Anyway we have brains and must not insult them.

Errors thrive on errors so we need to try to be right and sensible.

We need to avoid those who want us to lower the bar of evidence so that they can tell us what to think and manipulate us.

The bigger the claim the more quality evidence is needed. This is not exactly the same thing as "extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence."  But it is what we should mean by that expression.

The demand for extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims is said to be unfair.  Yet we aim for extraordinary evidence for claims that are important such as that x murdered y.  They don't remind us of that!  It's a matter of huge concern that miracle defenders and fans of the paranormal won't be honest enough to admit it.

- what if you really did see an alien and it left no trace [answer, it is true that things can leave no trace and be true but that does not mean we should affirm them. In fact we should make no decision. We should devote the research to something that shows there might be evidence. Go where the best evidence is.]

- miracles like radio waves cannot be seen [radio waves are not miracles. Radio waves can be true and miracles be false. Even if miracles are true, it may be that miracles of healing happen but miracle visions from Heaven do not.  A competent God might do miracles of healing as signs of his love and guide us to debate and learn for ourselves instead of making us lazy and giving us the truth on a saucer.]

- there might be no evidence yet for something that is extraordinary and true [An argument for keeping an open mind.  That does nothing to refute the demand.]

- we might have the evidence and not understand it or explain it – there could be differences of interpretation.  [The differences of interpretation is the only one worth considering. But it is too subjective. A priest could be throwing water from a vase on a weeping statue and one investigator says he is not and the other says he probably is for it is the most natural explanation.  If we really have the solid and quality evidence we will know we have it.]

David Hume said that it is always more likely for a miracle report to be wrong than to be right even if it is right. Perhaps he was thinking of solid witnesses to miracles who were accepted and then who admitted the real truth.  Nothing changes the fact that a person lying about a brick floating in mid-air is more likely than the brick truly doing it.

 We have to go by probability unless we are the witnesses ourselves.  The reason is that nature itself shows how easy it is that a person could be mistaken or lying when they say a miracle happened.  He did say that nature should be assumed not to change or allow for miracles even if they happen.  It is an argument against credibility not miracles.  Religion pounces on " nature should be assumed not to change or allow for miracles even if they happen" to try and discredit that. But it should be understood only as a detail.  The real argument is obviously correct and it is, "its always more likely, for it is so easy, that a person could be mistaken or lying when they say a miracle happened."  That is the essential. Debates about nature are only about trying to sidetrack. 

They say Hume is guilty of thinking that rationally assessing evidence means that you add up the evidence to see how much there is instead of weighing evidence.  This is not true.  He has quality evidence that people can easily lie or make mistakes with magic and the supernatural that they think they have experienced.

A framework of lies and errors is needed to declare a miracle or paranormal event true.  Or worse, a matter of religious faith that people should devote themselves to for life!

No Copyright