Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ evidence

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “being”, once again highlights the bizarre world of theology. I needn’t expand on this, for it’s certainly true that many believers mistake “conviction” (or “revelation” or “feeling”) for evidence. And the last panel gives the whole thing a kind of ontological-argument feel:

28 Comments

  1. Posted September 4, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The erroneous notion that one’s certainty is equal to fact applies to many areas or life depending on the standard of evaluation

    An abusive person says “ no one can tell me that I don’t love you I know I love you”

    A failing student remarks “I studied hard for the test and I should get an ‘A’ “

    Person with adventurous side says “I’ve seen plenty people pop a wheelie on their bike down this hill.. I’m confident that my bike will go higher than theirs” right before he ends up on the stretcher.

    Or my personal pet peeve “I put a lot of effort into selecting and buying this gift because it’s a great gift so you should be ecstatic about how great it is”

    Confidence is a hell of a drug

    • Posted September 4, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Correction : not confidence, but OVER-confidence or should I say, adamance.

      The real question is “what’s the cure ?”

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 5, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Death works.
        Less terminal cures are, for some reason, popular with the excessively confident.

    • DFMGV
      Posted September 4, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      excellent comment—-when i read the cartoon and your comment
      it made also think of the folks I run into during my average day that use all of the above arguments……(Usually they are wearing a red MAGA hat)

      Trumpism
      Narcissism
      Dunning–Kruger effect………..

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 4, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      As a student I learned to insist, when doing bad at an exam to (truthfully) tell the prof I didn’t study the subject, because (less truthfully) I made an error in my study planning (unless going out partying may be considered such).
      I mean, if you study hard and still do badly, he/she will consider you stupid, while making a timing mistake in your study program does not really reflect badly on you, only in a minor way. Of course, when the second chance came you had to be outstanding, of course.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 5, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      A failing student remarks “I studied hard for the test and I should get an ‘A’ “

      I do think something went badly wrong when people switched form marking by comparison to marking by point-scoring. When you knew that someone who got an A-grade scored in the top ten percent of their cohort, you knew what it represented. These days, you’d have to look at the date of the exam to have any hope of determining how good a student was, and then you’d have to read their entire curriculum closely. I’m glad I don’t have to review applicants any more.

  2. ploubere
    Posted September 4, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Good one.

  3. bjornove
    Posted September 4, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Cartoon probably inspiree by this loon:

    William Lane Craig: “the way we know Christianity to be true is by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit”

    http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=5225

    • Posted September 5, 2019 at 4:35 am | Permalink

      Your daily reminder that William Lane Craig is a relativity denier!

      -Ryan

  4. Posted September 4, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Paging R. Descartes. Monsieur Descartes, please complete your circle! Paging R. Descartes!

    • rickflick
      Posted September 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Monsieur Descartes says he hear you, but has doubts about your existence. He’s saying something about he might be a brain in a vat.

  5. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted September 4, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    This reminds us of Baron Munchausen pulling himself -and his horse- out of the marsh by his pigtails (or in an alternative version by his bootstraps).

  6. Laurance
    Posted September 4, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this Jesus ‘n’ Mo is a hoot!! Great!! And real. I think there are people who really do think this way somehow. They’re certain because they just know. The fact that they just know it is proof.

    I hear arguments that atheists really do know there’s a god, but we willfully refuse to believe. There has to be a god!! There has to be because they’re certain!! If there were no god they wouldn’t be sure and certain!! This mentality always kind of blew my mind.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 4, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      This is the fallacy of a false premise. I am confident God exists; my confidence is (evidence) enough to prove it; Therefor God exists.

      The first premise IS true, which gives one the feeling of a logical/rational argument, but the second premise is hidden and assumed and is wrong.

      An alternative premise would be, God would not fool me in belief in Him. But that premise assumes the conclusion. Dead in the water either way.

  7. Posted September 4, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    “. . .many believers mistake ‘conviction’ (or ‘revelation’ or ‘feeling’) for evidence. . . .”

    I’m aware, Jerry, that you and I differ radically on the issue of “feelings” as evidence (and I would never put “revelation” on a par with subjective experience as evidence). E.g., I would argue that because your factual knowledge about your ducks is combined with your obvious love of them you have a greater knowledge of ducks than someone who knows only the facts. At the risk of wandering into sappyville, I would go so far as to say that we don’t truly know a thing until we love it.

    • Posted September 4, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      All of my knowledge about ducks gained by observation comes from the observation itself, and NONE of it from my love of ducks. Now my affection for them may have driven me to watch them more keenly, or look up more stuff about them on the internet.

      I am not sure what you mean by “we don’t truly know a thing until we love it,” but that means that we don’t know Hitler and can’t know anything that we don’t love, like the course of brain cancer.

      Come on, give me a break. All real knowledge comes from observation, testing of theories, confirmation by others, and so on: in other words, science construed broadly. Even in theory, an emotion towards something in itself does not give us knowledge about it. At best it can promote the acquisition of empirical knowledge.

      And no, I am sure that many people who don’t love ducks as much as I do know a lot more than I about them.

      What are you trying to justify here?

      • Blue
        Posted September 4, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        +1 … … Yeah ! in re relationships,
        Dr Coyne, between / among human beings, too !

        Blue

      • Posted September 4, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        “All real knowledge comes from observation, testing of theories, confirmation by others, and so on: in other words, science construed broadly. Even in theory, an emotion towards something in itself does not give us knowledge about it. . . . What are you trying to justify here?”

        The fact that you say “an emotion toward something” indicates to me that you’re not understanding the distinction I’m trying to make—namely, between observation of and participation in. With observation of something, the subject remains outside the object, detached and neutral. Without this there would be no such thing as science. With participation in, the subject enters into and becomes part of the object. Without this there would be no such thing as love (nor any creative experience of art or nature, for that matter).

        What I’m trying to “justify,” as you put it, is that in addition to your observation and empirical knowledge of your ducks you have a participatory and experiential knowledge of them. You balk at calling the latter “knowledge” because you consider it merely subjective; I balk at reserving the word “knowledge” for that which is merely objective. So we’re at an impasse–one that is, I’m afraid, more than merely semantic.

        • Murali
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          ‘You balk at calling the latter “knowledge” because you consider it merely subjective; I balk at reserving the word “knowledge” for that which is merely objective.’

          You are making a distinction between two things. So why do you want to use the same word?

          Would you, at least in principle, agree to using different words? If you don’t, why not?

          Is there something about the word ‘knowledge’ in the more objective sense that you want conferred to the other sense of the word?

          There is nothing terribly wrong with using the same word. However, in scientific discourse, people tend to clarify issues rather than introduce ambiguity.

          I think it is a semantic issue that you are introducing; and I am not using the word ‘semantic’ in a dismissive sense. I think it is an important difference in meaning.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 5, 2019 at 4:02 am | Permalink

        I’m right with you there, PCC.

        In fact, greatly liking a thing may lead one to being blind to its deficiencies or to any negative aspects of it, and thereby result in LESS knowledge of it than an impartial observer might have.

        My one caveat is that liking a subject undoubtedly makes it easier and more pleasant to acquire a broad knowledge of the subject. But that doesn’t mean that one could potentially discover any facts that a disinterested investigator couldn’t.

        I think there may be varying opinions of the meaning of ‘knowledge’ going on – I suspect the phrase ‘lived experience’ is hovering around the fringes of the discussion.

        cr

    • Murali
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      Do you have a way of distinguishing ‘factual knowledge’ from the ‘greater knowledge’ that you get from loving ducks?

      If you do, you could in principle use different words for them. Even if you use the word ‘knowledge’, you may need to clarify what you mean because of the ambiguity that you have introduced.

      Some people equivocate on the word ‘truth’. To my experience, even though they admit to knowing the difference, they want to use the same word. Perhaps they yearn for something that is concomitant with the word in the more objective sense.

      It seems that you are using the word ‘knowledge’ in a different sense — or giving it a different sense. The things to which they refer are distinct.

  8. Posted September 4, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    The duck flew across the sky, an objective fact, ducks fly, the sun moved across the sky, looks and feels under observation like an objective fact but is false, we move, it doesn’t with evidence.
    The god exists thing doesn’t even have this going for it, I knows what I knows and damn you to hell if you can’t see it.

  9. Posted September 27, 2019 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Actually, many strongly religious people believe that the entire “I think/feel, therefore it is” philosophy is heresy, not theology. After all, it isn’t even a smidgen Biblical. I would highly recommend you look into Pirate Christian Radio: http://www.piratechristian.com/pirate-christian-radio. The host focuses on this particular heresy a great deal.
    And if we are entirely honest, if this argument is about having faith when faith is required rather than about an emotional sensation, everything we can’t understand completely or see happening for our eyes (and even some things we do) eventually requires faith. Even evolution.
    All the best to you, friends.

    • Posted September 28, 2019 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but “faith” in science is not at all like “faith” in religion. See my article in Slate about this: https://slate.com/technology/2013/11/faith-in-science-and-religion-truth-authority-and-the-orderliness-of-nature.html.

      I’m sorry, but I reject your claim that I’m not honest when I reject the characterization that science requires a kind of religious “faith”.

      If YOU were entirely honest, you’d admit that.

      • Posted September 28, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        You don’t have to apologize for what you think. I realize science and religion are two very different things, and your article presents an interesting discussion on the term of “faith.” I can’t, however, agree that all religious beliefs are unfounded, although if you are looking at emotional experience-based heretical groups, I can easily see why you think that. There is historical, interpersonal, and natural evidence for some, not all, religious beliefs. Again, religious people are not the enemies of logic or reason. Faith in Christianity, is not, in fact, blind. I would again encourage you to listen to a few of the Pirate Christian podcasts and notice his emphasis on logic over emotion. If you would be interested in discussing this with the host, as he is far more educated on the topic than I am, I would be more than happy to get in touch with him for you.
        All the best.

        • Posted September 28, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          Please give me, for the enlightenment of our readers, two examples of
          a. Historical evidence for religious beliefs
          b. Interpersonal evidence for religious beliefs, and, especially
          c. Natural evidence for religious beliefs.

          No, I’m not really interested in listening to Pirate Christian broadcasts; too many times I’ve gone along with religious people’s claims that “Oh, you haven’t heard the BEST arguments for God–read Plantinga/David Bentley Hart. . ad nauseum. And there’s never anything new. I’m asking YOU to give us EVIDENCE.

          • Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            With all the respect I can muster, will you really listen to me if I do? Or have you, in fact, already made up your mind about what I have to say and are preparing arguments to counter whatever I offer, however logical it may be? I can’t help but wonder, as your previous comments to me have been somewhat demanding and belligerent. And if you are not interested in at least considering other voices far more educated and qualified to speak on the topic, why is it you would be so determined to hear mine? Or are you just toying with me now, and this is for your entertainment, and not “enlightenment” at all? I have no desire to engage in a hostile debate, but I have even less to see what I hold to be sacred made into a game.

            • Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

              I asked and will listen, though I have to say that I’ve heard many arguments for god and have found none of them even remotely convincing. How can I be preparing arguments to counter you if I don’t know what you are going to say.

              And, by the way, I have read TONS of theology, so I have considered voices “far more educated and qualified to speak on the topic.”

              I’m always interested in hearing new arguments for god, but you have to expect that I’ve heard many and have yet to be convinced.


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