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    A defense of ECREE

    It seems that many apologists discard ECREE as nonsense, but I do not think they should. ECREE, Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, is not a requisite for proving a claim. It is all about what people will believe. It is entirely relational and not scientific.

    If two people are in a room and a sheet of paper is blown off the a desk and onto the floor. One person claims the wind blew it off. The other believes the claim without a second thought because experience has taught that person that it is a natural occurrence. That person has felt wind before and likely seen it blow paper in a similar fashion. That is a Natural claim which requires little evidence, as proof, based on the listener's experience of the natural world.

    However, if the claimer had instead said, a tiny leprechaun ran through the room faster than the eye could see and brush the paper onto the floor, it is a different story. The listener has never seen a leprechaun before, had no witness to the claimed events, and has only heard of leprechauns in myth. The listener is right to be skeptical of the claim and is not likely to accept the claim until additional evidence, other than personal testimony, is provided.

    So while ECREE is not a scientific method, it is a part of our everyday life. We call those who do not require ECREE gullible. It is highly subjective and dependent on several factors, such as relevance to the listener, conformation with natural laws, etc. The point of ECREE in the theological debate is that the Bible and claims of deities do not meet the standard for ECREE to be believed by skeptics. Personal testimony is not enough for us to accept something that fails empiricism and that natural laws explain better.

    Understand that ECREE is not a method for finding truth, it is only a measure of evidence required for believability. What we accept is based on what has been sufficiently demonstrated to us, many here do not believe in evolution, because it fails to meet their standard of evidence. It is exactly the same, ECREE, that make the scientifically minded not accept the bible.

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    Honestly, I agree with ECREE to an extent. But only to the extent that other claims can be (relative to the "extraordinary" claim) shown to be improbable.
    -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
    Sir James Jeans

    -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
    Sir Isaac Newton

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Personally believe some what differently concerning matters of religious belief, faith, and what the role of methods of evaluating 'Evidence' needed to justify ones belief. Many apologists believe strongly that the evidence for justification of their belief in the Resurrection, and other miraculous events in the Bible is conclusive. I do not believe this so, but it does mean that these beliefs are false. Neither the affirmative nor the negative can be conclusively demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence we have today. All any methods proposed by those who support ECREE would be that there is reasonable doubt based on the evidence to believe that it is conclusively true. There remains a strong elements of faith, tradition, and belief in the accuracy of the word of the church father's, and the apostles.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 02-05-2014 at 03:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Personally believe some what differently concerning matters of religious belief, faith, and what the role of methods of evaluating 'Evidence' needed to justify ones belief. Many apologists believe strongly that the evidence for justification of their belief in the Resurrection, and other miraculous events in the Bible is conclusive. I do not believe this so, but it does mean that these beliefs are false. Neither the affirmative nor the negative can be conclusively demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence we have today. All any methods proposed by those who support ECREE would be that there is reasonable doubt based on the evidence to believe that it is conclusively true. There remains a strong elements of faith, tradition, and belief in the accuracy of the word of the church father's, and the apostles.
    I don't think that the lack of Extraordinary Evidence is or claims to be a falsifier of any extraordinary claim, its lack merely means that sufficient evidence for reasonable belief is lacking. Personal testimony of miraculous events is not sufficient evidence for reasonable belief.

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    I don't think that the lack of Extraordinary Evidence is or claims to be a falsifier of any extraordinary claim, its lack merely means that sufficient evidence for reasonable belief is lacking. Personal testimony of miraculous events is not sufficient evidence for reasonable belief.
    Agreed in part. The concept of Extraordinary Evidence is a bit slippery. Actually, there are no falsifiers for religious claims of the miraculous. I prefer more specific types of academic ways of evaluating evidence in terms of different epistemologies. Nonetheless conservative and many moderate apologists most often overstate the strength of their logical arguments for their beliefs. Regardless of ancient religion the evidence remains anecdotal subjective testimonies that are not even documented as first person testimony. Most of these arguments are mainly used to justify the beliefs of the faithful from Plantinga to JP Holding.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber GioD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damanar View Post
    It seems that many apologists discard ECREE as nonsense, but I do not think they should. ECREE, Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, is not a requisite for proving a claim. It is all about what people will believe. It is entirely relational and not scientific.

    If two people are in a room and a sheet of paper is blown off the a desk and onto the floor. One person claims the wind blew it off. The other believes the claim without a second thought because experience has taught that person that it is a natural occurrence. That person has felt wind before and likely seen it blow paper in a similar fashion. That is a Natural claim which requires little evidence, as proof, based on the listener's experience of the natural world.

    However, if the claimer had instead said, a tiny leprechaun ran through the room faster than the eye could see and brush the paper onto the floor, it is a different story. The listener has never seen a leprechaun before, had no witness to the claimed events, and has only heard of leprechauns in myth. The listener is right to be skeptical of the claim and is not likely to accept the claim until additional evidence, other than personal testimony, is provided.

    So while ECREE is not a scientific method, it is a part of our everyday life. We call those who do not require ECREE gullible. It is highly subjective and dependent on several factors, such as relevance to the listener, conformation with natural laws, etc. The point of ECREE in the theological debate is that the Bible and claims of deities do not meet the standard for ECREE to be believed by skeptics. Personal testimony is not enough for us to accept something that fails empiricism and that natural laws explain better.

    Understand that ECREE is not a method for finding truth, it is only a measure of evidence required for believability. What we accept is based on what has been sufficiently demonstrated to us, many here do not believe in evolution, because it fails to meet their standard of evidence. It is exactly the same, ECREE, that make the scientifically minded not accept the bible.
    Your example does not justify ECREE. It would be irrational to believe the Leprechaun claim (at least over the other one) because it fails on many less-disputed criteria for probable explanations, such as explanatory power and simplicity than simply because "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence". And why presuppose empiricism here when it comes to determining the rationality or probability of claims? Furthermore, by your own admission ECREE is highly subjective. This greatly diminishes its use as a criterion for probable explanations and rational belief - imagine a man who has never before seen ice denying a traveller's claims to have seen it based on his prior experience. I know you said this was meant for subjective believability and not actual probability, but it is only rational for those two factors to correlate. If what one believes when it comes to history and science isn't based upon what the evidence suggests is probable, one isn't acting rationally. If one refuses to change one's beliefs because they are not supported by personal experiences and go against personal assumptions, throwing one's hands in the air and saying "well, that doesn't meet my personal standard of evidence so I won't believe it," as you imply atheists are doing with the Bible when appealing to ECREE, is simply irrational. And I say that as readily for Christians denying evolution as I do for atheists denying the Bible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GioD View Post
    Your example does not justify ECREE. It would be irrational to believe the Leprechaun claim (at least over the other one) because it fails on many less-disputed criteria for probable explanations, such as explanatory power and simplicity than simply because "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence". And why presuppose empiricism here when it comes to determining the rationality or probability of claims? Furthermore, by your own admission ECREE is highly subjective. This greatly diminishes its use as a criterion for probable explanations and rational belief - imagine a man who has never before seen ice denying a traveller's claims to have seen it based on his prior experience. I know you said this was meant for subjective believability and not actual probability, but it is only rational for those two factors to correlate. If what one believes when it comes to history and science isn't based upon what the evidence suggests is probable, one isn't acting rationally. If one refuses to change one's beliefs because they are not supported by personal experiences and go against personal assumptions, throwing one's hands in the air and saying "well, that doesn't meet my personal standard of evidence so I won't believe it," as you imply atheists are doing with the Bible when appealing to ECREE, is simply irrational. And I say that as readily for Christians denying evolution as I do for atheists denying the Bible.
    Amen to this

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    Quote Originally Posted by GioD View Post
    Your example does not justify ECREE. It would be irrational to believe the Leprechaun claim (at least over the other one) because it fails on many less-disputed criteria for probable explanations, such as explanatory power and simplicity than simply because "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence". And why presuppose empiricism here when it comes to determining the rationality or probability of claims? Furthermore, by your own admission ECREE is highly subjective. This greatly diminishes its use as a criterion for probable explanations and rational belief - imagine a man who has never before seen ice denying a traveller's claims to have seen it based on his prior experience. I know you said this was meant for subjective believability and not actual probability, but it is only rational for those two factors to correlate. If what one believes when it comes to history and science isn't based upon what the evidence suggests is probable, one isn't acting rationally. If one refuses to change one's beliefs because they are not supported by personal experiences and go against personal assumptions, throwing one's hands in the air and saying "well, that doesn't meet my personal standard of evidence so I won't believe it," as you imply atheists are doing with the Bible when appealing to ECREE, is simply irrational. And I say that as readily for Christians denying evolution as I do for atheists denying the Bible.
    Yes, if a man who had never seen ice before is confronted by a traveler who describes it, it is unlikely he will believe that when water becomes cold it becomes solid. It is a claim that is not reproducible in his environment and the claim is not coming from a trusted source. Had it been his brother returning from a trip, it would be a different story.

    Improbable, or extraordinary, claims should be criticized and tested. The problem with Biblical claims is that a large portion of them are untestable/unfalsifiable. There are also testable claims in the Bible which, when they do not prove true, are justified by saying, "God shall not be tested," or similar justifications; as far as I know no man, regardless of the amount of faith he possessed, has ever moved a mountain, but that could have just been metaphorical.

    The point is that supernatural claims defy the understanding of our environment. They should require more than limited subjective evidence to refute the hundreds of years of scientific experiment and debate to achieve acceptance. I assume you do not believe in Big foot merely because several people claim to have seen him? Evolution has been proven by its ability to predict, by several scientific disciplines noticing the same behavior, and by archaeological evidence. The Bible's only proof is itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by damanar View Post
    Yes, if a man who had never seen ice before is confronted by a traveler who describes it, it is unlikely he will believe that when water becomes cold it becomes solid. It is a claim that is not reproducible in his environment and the claim is not coming from a trusted source. Had it been his brother returning from a trip, it would be a different story.
    Maybe it’s not reproducible in his environment but it is a claim concerning the natural world nevertheless. Thus, in principle, it is empirically testable - unlike supernatural claims.

    Improbable, or extraordinary, claims should be criticized and tested. The problem with Biblical claims is that a large portion of them are untestable/unfalsifiable. There are also testable claims in the Bible which, when they do not prove true, are justified by saying, "God shall not be tested," or similar justifications; as far as I know no man, regardless of the amount of faith he possessed, has ever moved a mountain, but that could have just been metaphorical.

    The point is that supernatural claims defy the understanding of our environment. They should require more than limited subjective evidence to refute the hundreds of years of scientific experiment and debate to achieve acceptance. I assume you do not believe in Big foot merely because several people claim to have seen him? Evolution has been proven by its ability to predict, by several scientific disciplines noticing the same behavior, and by archaeological evidence. The Bible's only proof is itself.
    And yet limited subjective evidence is all there is.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    Maybe it’s not reproducible in his environment but it is a claim concerning the natural world nevertheless. Thus, in principle, it is empirically testable - unlike supernatural claims.


    And yet limited subjective evidence is all there is.
    I couldn't agree more.

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