Monday, March 20, 2017

What is truth?

A few years ago, a friend--I suspect that he voted for donald t. rump--challenged me with: "You have read about the world's major religions.  You are a learned man. Tell me whether anybody other than Jesus has ever come back from being dead?"

I usually never take up such questions to debate.  Because, there is no way that one can debate such questions that are not based on evidence.  They are driven by faith.  I merely thanked him for the certification that I was a learned man, and then moved on to other topics.

As a kid, I was raised with stories of people doing extraordinary things.  I believed them.  It took a while to figure out that belief and faith do not invite inquiry.  As my grandmother often replied, "because it is so!"  I remember once my father narrating the story of a Hindu holy man who was reportedly seen in three different places at the same time.  My immediate thought was, "how did they confirm that?"  After all, this was even before the age of telephones--they could not have been on a three-way call and reporting the sighting.  But, I didn't dare to ask my father that, the same way I chose not to respond to the question related to the resurrection of Jesus.

All of us--except trump, and his minions who might be a huge subset of the 63 million who voted for him--seek the truth in anything we want to understand.

The faithful claim about Jesus or other divine people and happenings are extraordinary claims.
The principle of proportionality demands extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Of the approximately 100 billion people who have lived before us, all have died and none have returned, so the claim that one (or more) of them rose from the dead is about as extraordinary as one will ever find. Is the evidence commensurate with the conviction? 
The extraordinary evidence is not there.  "In science, we need external validation." There is no other way.  One might choose to believe in whatever, but that belief by itself does not make it an universal truth.

How do we know that the scientific method works?  Is science itself a "faith" as much as the resurrection of Jesus is a faith?

Nope.  The fact that you are reading this is evidence that science and the scientific method are no "beliefs" or "faiths."  Here is Richard Dawkins explaining that:


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