BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

"DIFFICILE EST SATURAM NON SCRIBERE"

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

What Is Evidence?

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When does information become evidence? Is information evidence just because we call it evidence? Does information have to pass some sort of a test in order to be considered evidence, or can anything be considered evidence just because we believe it is evidence or because we say it is evidence?

These are some of the questions which have presented themselves to me when I have tried to discuss what constitutes "evidence" with a believer. A believer has already come to a conclusion, so I doubt that evidence is actually required. I think the process of determining evidence is flawed if you already believe that your proposition is true. This can apply whether you have an economic belief, a cultural belief, a political belief or a religious belief.

If a conclusion has already been reached, the temptation is to select information which is compatible with the already held belief and to discard information which is incompatible. That is, a process of "cherry-picking" the information which is called evidence, takes place.

Does a believer actually weigh the information and test it for veracity so that they can then consider the information as evidence? I don't think they do. But this is exactly what a religious person told me that they do. I was told that they believe in allah/god because of "the evidence."

Now my opinion on god belief is exactly that. It is a belief and as such it doesn't require evidence. As a christian, you are required to believe that jesus died on the cross for your sins regardless of the information or lack of it, which supports this belief. It is entirely a matter of faith. And as a result, god believers BELIEVE that the existence of a god or gods best explains inexplicable or intangible conditions.

Mind you, when I was a believer, I didn't believe for those reasons. I held religious beliefs because it gave me comfort to believe, which is precisely the same reason why millions of people still believe. Now, because I received emotional and psychological comfort from belief, isn't evidence for the existence of whatever it was I was believing in. It does suggest however, that the process of believing (not specifically in gods), may produce physicochemical or psychochemical reactions which the mind and body probably find pleasurable.

Anyway that wasn't specifically what I wanted to write about. I want to ascertain when information is categorized as evidence.

Information is evidence if it can be confirmed as evidence. It is NOT evidence just because we believe it is or because we say it is. When trying to confirm something or trying to establish the certainty or validity of something else, information is presented which is then tested to see if it can be considered as evidence.

In order to confirm something as evidence, the information presented needs to be established as being relevant, true or genuine. Information cannot be presented as evidence in order to authenticate a proposition, theory, or concept unless these criteria are met. The information isn't evidence unless it can be shown to corroborate, to demonstrate, to validate, or to verify something else. In orther words, for the information to constitute evidence, it must be demonstrated that it is directly related to the proposition in question.

If ALL information can be considered evidence then the word "evidence" becomes meaningless.

I will use this proposition as an example. ~" My poop doesn't smell because it is a full moon." Not many people would suggest that because it is a full moon that this is information which would be classified as evidence as to why my poop doesn't stink. In other words, that which is presented as evidence must be able to be shown to be directly related to, or to be acting as a direct influencing factor upon the initial claim. So how do we determine if information is evidence?

All information is not evidence, but all evidence is information. The difference is that the information you claim as evidence needs to be able to be demonstrated as influencing the proposition which you are trying to prove.

If I claim that grass is green because of the existence of the "green tutu fairy", believing that the green tutu fairy exists is not evidence that grass is green BECAUSE of the existence of the green tu tu fairy. This would be considered a logical fallacy and an example of circular reasoning.

It might be admissible as evidence if and when I can demonstrate the existence of the green tutu fairy. And even if I can demonstrate the existence of the green tutu fairy, I need to be able to directly correlate green grass with the green fairy. I need to be able to demonstrate HOW they are related.

Once again, I need to be able to demonstrate how that which I claim as evidence, is directly linked to the proposition I am trying to prove. I need to be able to demonstrate how the green tutu fairy did it.

This is information. "I believe in the existence of the green tutu fairy." This is information because I have now imparted to you what I believe. It doesn't mean that the information is accurate. Nor does it mean that it is inaccurate. It doesn't mean that the green tutu fairy exists, nor does it mean that the green tutu fairy doesn't exist.

This is information which claims to be evidence. " I believe that grass is green because of the green tutu fairy." This is information which cannot be considered evidence to verify the colour of grass because:
1. Evidence for the existence of the green tutu fairy would be necessary or we are just indulging in circular reasoning.
2. Let's say the green tutu fairy exists, how do we confirm that it is the reason why grass is green?
3. How do we demonstrate that they are directly related?

Evidence does not require belief that it is evidence. Information is evidence if it can be demonstrated to be evidence. My believing it to be evidence doesn't make it any more valid than believing that my shit doesn't stink. By the way, I can demonstrate that my shit stinks, but I am sure most of you will take my word for it.

Unfortunately, this is what god believers do all the time. They claim that something else is evidence for the existence of their god. In reality, they need to provide evidence for the existence of the god first, then we can discuss what they claim their god does. God believers begin with the belief that god exists. This is why they are called "god believers." In an attempt to validate and legitimise their belief, they shoehorn every bit of information they have about the world into that belief and call it "evidence" for the existence of their god.

The process of shoehorning is diametrically opposed to the scientific method. This is information. "My grass is green."
This is information which is also evidence as to why my grass is green.
"My grass is green because of the existence of chlorophyll."


It is information AND evidence because: ~
1. The existence of chlorophyll can be observed.
2. The existence of chlorophyll can be confirmed as molecules which absorb sunlight and use its energy to synthesise carbohydrates from CO2 and water.
3. The existence of chlorophyll is responsible for the perception that my grass is green.

The existence of chlorophyll in grass is evidence which explains why my grass is green. I don't need to believe that it is evidence for it to be classified as evidence. It is evidence because it can be demonstrated to be evidence. It is evidence because it can be demonstrated to be information which is directly linked to why I perceive my grass as being green.

A broken window is not automatically evidence of a burglary. It is information that may or may not be evidence that a burglary was committed. It becomes admissible evidence when it is determined that a burglary has been committed. Up until then, it is just information which may or may not be relevant or pertinent to the case in question.

In the same way, a flower is not automatically evidence of the existence of a god. It is information that may or may not be evidence that a god exists. It becomes admissible evidence when it is determined that a god actually exists. Up until then, it is just information which may or may not be relevant or pertinent to the case in question and does NOT constitute "evidence."

"Evidence doesn't have a personal opinion."

(Yes, the misappropriation amd misuse of words in an attempt to gain authenticity or legitimacy for an already held belief, gives me the shits.)



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36 Comments:

Anonymous SH said...

a flower is not automatically evidence of the existence of a god. It is information that may or may not be evidence that a god exists. It becomes admissible evidence when it is determined that a god actually exists.

So if nothing can be admitted as evidence of the existence of something until the existence of that something is proven, then how does one prove the existence of anything? :-)

Broken window can be a piece of evidence in support of burglary, but because there are possible alternative explanations for the broken window it is not a sufficient evidence to conclusively prove that burglary occurred.

A flower can be used as evidence for a hypothesis that "god exists". But it is insufficient evidence to demonstrate with any degree of certainty that the hypothesis is true.

So it seems to me that it is not as much about evidence vs. non-evidence, as it is about figuring out to what extent a given piece of evidence favors a given hypothesis. So if a piece of information is only supports a hypothesis 50% of the way, so to speak, it is as good as nonexistent to us.

Conversely, if a piece of information can be shown to favor one particular hypothesis over the alternative explanations it becomes "stronger" evidence in support of that particular hypothesis.

In other words, there are not certainties, no evidence vs. non-evidence. There are only degrees of certainty where every piece of information favors a particular conclusion to an extent.

Coming back to the argument with a flower. When a believer says that a flower is an evidence of the existence of god, she basically claims the following: "the most likely explanation of the existence of the flower is the existence of god."

"Great!" answers an atheist, "Now prove it."

:-)

7/9/06 3:20 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sh:
If god is defined as an entity, I don't think that a flower can be used as admissible evidence for the existence of that entity until the existence of the entity is evident.

With man made objects we acknowledge that the existence of a chair is most likely to be because of the existence of a human and it is ONLY with man made objects that we are able to follow this line of thinking with any degree of success.

Unfortunately, believers attempt to use the same line of anthropomorphic thinking when it comes to attributing the existence of other objects to a god.

The process goes something like this: NOT US, THEREFORE GOD. (A classic case of the false dilemma if there ever was one.)

I think believers keep the decription, attributes and characteristics of their gods as vague as possible so that everything can be attributed to this nebulous construct.

God is defined by each believer to be whatever it is that the believer wants it to be.

And each subsequent believer shifts the goal posts to accomodate their idea of what god is, so that they can never be tied down as to what god actually is or is not.

So god becomes whatever the respective believer "feels" they want god to be. What they feel or believe god to be is influenced by the cultural construct.

I think that the idea of a god is a religious meme. (A meme refers to a unit of cultural information that can be transmitted from one mind to another.)

Because "god" is such a vague, nebulous construct, any probing questions expose how imprecise the "god meme" is.

Is god supernatural? Is god natural? Is god a concept? Is god an entity? Is god a theory? Is god a process? Is jesus god? Is god jesus? Is god allah? Is god Ra? Is god the trinity? And so on...

To me "god" might as well be the sound believers make when they are faced with a situation or circumstance for which they have no answer.

In fact, they might as well be claiming that a flower is evidence of Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarimbo, or the invisible, miniature, yellow teapot which revolves around alpha centari because there is no way to either confirm nor deny their claims.

Consequently, when they say they have "evidence" of the existence of god, my first reaction, aparts from muttering "BS", is to ask "which god?"

If there is no way to confirm it or deny it, the "evidence" is insufficient or suspect.

Basically, religious belief relies on faith. I have no problem if they are smart enough or honest enough to acknowledge this.

When they are honest enough, they don't attempt to pluck, what they BELIEVE SUBJECTIVELY to be "evidence", from their collective orifices.

And consequently, they do not have to endure my wrath. lol

Oh, I am so scary ... not. :)

7/9/06 4:25 pm  
Anonymous Pablo said...

Hey, Beep, you used to be a believer?

7/9/06 11:28 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

or the invisible, miniature, yellow teapot which revolves around alpha centari

What's this? A flower isn't evidence of Flying Teapots? Oh... It's obviously just another Teapot heresy! There'll be an inquisition soon, just you wait. And how do you know it's yellow if it's invisible? Got you there haven't I?

8/9/06 12:54 am  
Blogger doc-t said...

I flat out LOVE this post!!!

unfortunately I don't have time for a proper comment... it'll be rather long and in depth... but i'll definitely be back!!!

I've actually given this quite a bit of thought.

One of my favorite sayings is "Evidence demands a verdict"

It was one of my favorites long before i became a scientist. (bioengineer).

We need to talk... :-)

8/9/06 1:17 am  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

"Evidence doesn't have a personal opinion."

Bears repeating, eh.

Nor do any of the laws of reality. Only our perspectives on the bits of reality we each experience - even in our own li'l heads - can create opinions. These are generally cool to hear from others; unless they're in some way demeaning or physically harmful to us. But even the latter requires our perspective to be valid.

Great Primer Beep! Beep! I've not read one of these all the through for a long time now; not since the first 6 or so months I was bloggin'.

"Evidence doesn't have a personal opinion."

Yep. Sure does bear repeating.

8/9/06 3:46 am  
Blogger CyberKitten said...

I asked a theist a while back to give me at least one piece of evidence to prove the existence of God. He was happy to oblige..

He said that *I* was the proof...

I had a rather long laugh at that one!

But of course if we had proof (or otherwise) for the existence of God then we wouldn't need faith - as we would know.

Without faith & belief would we have religion at all? Would proof destroy the various Churches?

8/9/06 7:41 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE pablo: Yes, I was a believer, probably most people were at some time in their lives.

It stopped making sense, if it ever did, and I gave it up for lent. (joke) ;)

8/9/06 10:31 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE michael:

Yeah, I think that for many evidence is purely a subjective experience. Not much that mankind makes or does would be possible if all evidence was subjective.

The "evidence for god" is a subjective experience, if it was objective, we would all be atheists.

8/9/06 10:34 am  
Blogger Daniel said...

Nice post, Beep! There'll be a lot of believers scratching around to try to refute the points you've made, I'm sure. But their problem is that they have no evidence! None! Zippo!

8/9/06 10:35 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE cyber:

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." [Hebrews 11:1]

To a christian, according to their bible, their faith is their evidence. Which makes their evidence an entirely subjective affair and not the sought of evidence that I would rely upon.

It's basic message is " if you believe it to be true, then it is true."

Hardly the stuff for a courtroom, or any other situation where you need to establish truth.

8/9/06 10:39 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted: I know its yellow and invisible because I have faith it is. lol

My cultural/religious meme told me so.

8/9/06 10:41 am  
Anonymous SH said...

Hi beep,

If god is defined as an entity, I don't think that a flower can be used as admissible evidence for the existence of that entity until the existence of the entity is evident.

I still don't see how one is suppose to be able to demonstrate the existence of any entity (forget god for a moment) under such conditions. It seems to be a catch 22. You seem to be saying that in order for us to prove that X exists we have to first prove that X exists. No evidence for the existence of X is admissible until the existence of X is evident. It's a bit circular, don't you think?

I am not trying to pick a fight. I just think that there is a problem with the above argument.

Regardless of the above, there are different believers and some of them, I am sure, think of the "flower argument" in somewhat primitive terms, similar to what you've described as "not us, therefore god." However, the "flower argument" can be viewed as a first cause argument for the existence of god that is applied to a specific object. "Why does flower exist? Why does anything exist? There must be a cause. This cause is god." And so on. From this point of view, the flower, you and I, and anything we can see are evidences for the existence of "things that are not nothing." And the existence of something leads them to believe that there is god. Well, you all know the drill. :-) But it is a bit more sophisticated argument than just "not us, therefore god" and consequently, it is much harder to reproach an average guy for not seeing through it.

*goes to hide from the fury of beep's wrath* ;-)

8/9/06 11:24 am  
Anonymous ted said...

Nice one Beep...:-)

Seriously though, I don't think that a single piece of information can be considered evididence on it's own. One piece of information (this flower exists) in itself is simply not enough information on which to make an informed decision, we need more. As we garner information though, the evidential nature of the information grows. Soon enough, we'll have a body of information that may (or may not, it will need to be thoroughly tested after all, a process which will only provide more information) consitute evidence. Evidence that teapots are actually blue and orbit Pluto, for instance...

8/9/06 1:04 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sh:

"I still don't see how one is suppose to be able to demonstrate the existence of any entity (forget god for a moment) under such conditions."

But isn't that what we do? We establish the existence of an entity through ITS existence, not through the existence of something else. Certainly this is the case in science.

Now, we might use clues or information in order to find the existence of something else. But the clues do NOT become evidence until AFTER the existence of the "something else" has been established.

Example:

The clue might be the colour green in plants. This leads to exploration of the processes associated with plants and the eventual discovery of the existence of chlorophyll.

So the colour green in plants might be considered the clue or information which led to the discovery of chlorophyll.

It is ONLY evidence of chlorophyll AFTER it has been ascertained that chlorophyll exists.

Until that time, the flower is only a clue or information that may or may not lead to the existence of something else.

In the same way that the broken window is only evidence of a burglary AFTER it has been ascertained that a burglary has taken place.

Until that time, the broken window is a information which may or may not lead to the existence of a burglary.

8/9/06 2:56 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted: I agree. I think. I am not sure at this time as I think I might be brain dead.. lol

8/9/06 3:00 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

More on the topic of "evidence"

In other words the existence of a flower does not establish the existence of a god anymore than it establishes the existence of tikki tikki tembo, so it cannot be considered evidence of either of those things.

Something is called evidence AFTER it can be demonstrated that the other something exists.

Up until that time, it is considered information which might lead to the discovery of something else.

8/9/06 3:24 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

RE: Flower = God.

Is a non-sequitur for the "Tikki Tikki Tembo" reason you give BeepBeep. Also, "nature being nice" is explained somewhat be evolution.

Organisms that find life=shit, tend not to live (and therefore reproduce) as well as organisms that enjoy life. Hence, organisms that like flowers, rainbows, stars etc are more heavily selected.

The niceity of nature comes from the observer, not the observed.

As for evidence more generally, it's worth looking into the principal of "empirical adequacy" as outlined by Bas van Frassen.

8/9/06 3:47 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE bruce: TY for the link on empirical adequacy.

8/9/06 4:29 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: Also, "nature being nice" is explained somewhat be evolution.

I am not sure where this fits in? Was this comment addressed to me or someone else?

8/9/06 5:32 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Well Beep, you said it yourself;

clue or information

A single piece of information is only a clue. A single clue, unless it's a doozy, is rarley ever considered "evidence" in itself. A number of clues on the otherhand, all pointing to the same thing, collectively become the evidence ie, the broken window, missing TV and the trail of destruction from the TV cabinette to the window. The window on it's own is simply not enough. The individual clues however, also need to be examined and tested for validity. A broken window for instance, would not be considered as valid information supporting evidence for the existence of god. The question as I see it should probably be; "Is the flower a valid clue?" I don't think it is either but...

I think sh has a point though, you need to allow the information or clues (the flower or the window) to be considered as being a part of a body of information that may provide the evidence, but only if you are working forwards, from the gathering of information and evidence towards a firm and well supported conclusion, not the other way around.

You have a good point too though because when it comes to god belief, people don't tend to be quite that rational and usually begin with the conclusion then try and find "evidence" to support it. "I know Flying Teapots exist, now how am I going to prove it? Why is this flower so beautiful? Well, because the Teapots made it that way. That was easy, now what's for lunch?"

8/9/06 8:34 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE ted:

You expressed that well, thanks for your comments :)

9/9/06 10:12 pm  
Anonymous ted said...

Well it took a couple of tries, but thanks Beep, any time...:)

10/9/06 1:28 am  
Anonymous Adam said...

Ripping post Beep. You explained things beatifully.

12/9/06 11:49 am  
Anonymous SteveK said...

1) All the evidence we have says that information requires an intelligent source.

2) DNA contains the information needed to build a living organism.

3) DNA requires an intelligent source.

"Evidence doesn't have a personal opinion." I agree!

14/9/06 8:15 am  
Anonymous SteveK said...

Trying again as I don't think it went through the first time.

1) All the evidence we have shows that information requires an intelligent source.

2) DNA contains the information needed to build a living organism.

3) DNA requires an intelligent source.

"Evidence doesn't have a personal opinion." I agree!

14/9/06 8:18 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE stevek:

"1) All the evidence we have says that information requires an intelligent source.

No, it doesn't. You might as well be a 1400 year old muslim and say say "look at the flower, it is evidence of allah". To have that thought of thinking process you don't need scientific information like DNA.

DNA is evidence of DNA. It is not evidence of a the existence of a god in the same way that it is not evidence of the invisible green tutu fairy.

RE: "Evidence doesn't have a personal opinion." I agree!

I am glad that you agree because it means that your "evidence of DNA" is only your personal opinion that that DNA is evidence of a god.

God believers typically do this:

Anything which is complex must be evidence of the existence of my deity. So if ancient egyptians had known of DNA, they would have said that DNA is evidence of RA.

In order to BELIEVE that DNA is evidence of RA, you need to hold the existing belief that RA actually exists.

So, it is just the usual theist ploy of shoehorning any bit of information into a pre-existing belief. If you were an ancient egyptian who worshipped RA every day, you would have also have made the illogical conclusion that DNA = the existence of RA.

14/9/06 10:01 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: ") All the evidence we have shows that information requires an intelligent source."

Once again. No it doesn't.

Let me explain your thinking for you. And it is a very anthropomorphic way of jumping to conclusions.
Anthropomorphism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism

This is what you have done beginning with a false premise.

FALSE PREMISE: EVERYTHING MUST BE DESIGNED BECAUSE: ~

1. We know that human beings design and make things.

2. We don't know of any other organisms which designs and makes complex objects.

3. We didn't design or make the universe therefore something else designed the universe.

4.If we didn't do it, it must be something smarter or more complex than us.

AND THIS IS THE RESULT OF THE FALSE PREMISE:

1. Let's imagine or DESIGN an entity more complex and smarter than us and call it god/allah/RA/RE/ (insert preferred deity here).

2. Let's attribute the existence of everything known and unknown to the deity/intelligent designer which we have OURSELVES designed in the first place.

Loaded questions lead to loaded answers.

Instead of asking "Who designed the universe?" which leads to the loaded answer of a god or intelligent designer; an unbiased question is "What is the origin of the universe?"

The latter question is not bent in favour of religious belief as, if you so choose, you can still belief that a "god did it".

IN my opinion, if you feel a need to attempt to validate your religious belief through science, it isn't much of a religious belief in the first place.

14/9/06 10:23 am  
Anonymous SteveK said...

Beep:
"DNA is evidence of DNA."

By that statement then inkblots are evidence of inkblots - and nothing more. Similar to the DNA you are saying there is no evidence for the information contained in the inkblots you are reading. Clearly this is not true, in both cases. The DNA is "read" like a book and the organism is built based upon that information.

Likewise, where is the evidence for the information in your mind? I can only see chemical reactions and molecules.

15/9/06 3:09 am  
Anonymous SteveK said...

Beep:
"Evidence doesn't have a personal opinion."

As I said before, I agree with this. However, since all evidence is filtered through a personal agent it unavoidably becomes personal, even if only a little. There is no way for humans to become 100% objective. There are only degrees of objectiveness.

In purely technical/logical terms you are correct but in application - in reality - you are incorrect.

15/9/06 3:57 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

stevek:

A broken window is evidence of a broken window.

Inkblots are evidence of inkblots.

DNA is evidence of DNA and the south americam columbus monkey is evidence of a south american columbus monkey.

A broken window is only evidence of a broken window UNTIL it can be shown to be information which is an indicator of something else.

It is NOT considered "evidence" of a burglary until you can demonstrate that a burglary occurred.

It is relatively easy to establish if a burglary has been committed. The police ask a lot of questions to ascertain if anything has been stolen and then they search for fingerprints on and near the broken window to see if entry was gained in that way. If it is then established that a burglary has been committed, the broken window may be considered evidence of the burglary.

An inkblot is only evidence of an inkblot UNTIL it can be shown to be information which is an indicator of something else.

The Rorschach inkblot test is a method of psychological evaluation. Psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients.

The psychologist evaluates the responses of a patient in order to ascertain psychological disturbances. In this way a specific study of inblot tests can be considered "evidence of psychological disorders."

The south american columbus monkey cannot be considered evidence of evolution until you establish that evolution exists.

In the case of the columbus monkey, organisms vary in many ways, and much of that variation is heritable - that is, variations that exist in the parents are passed on to the offspring.

This change in allele frequency over a period of time is referred to as evolution. So if a change in allele frequency is observed, evolution has occurred and the organism being studied can be said to be evidence of evolution.

DNA is only evidence DNA UNTIL it can be shown to be information which is an indicator of something else. DNA cannot be considered evidence of a god or evolution UNTIL you can establish that either 1.the god exists or 2. evolution has occurred.

This needs to be done in the same way that: ~
1. a burglary was established
2. mental disturbance was established
and 3. evolution was established.

DNA is NOT evidence of god unless you believe that evidence is subjective or a personal opinion.

Evidence is NOT subjective, it does not have a personal opinion. Something which we have previously established.

If you BELIEVE that evidence is subjective and hence has a personal opinion, it isn't evidence, it is faith.

15/9/06 9:46 am  
Anonymous Damani said...

OK, SteveK, I'll bite: inkblots are evidence of what? (if not inkblots)

18/9/06 8:12 am  
Anonymous SteveK said...

When the inkblots form the shapes below are they evidence of inkblots only or inkblots plus information?

1) "Go 50 paces north then 20 paces east to find the treasure"

2) "&(k o ;+ 3 !``n]]]. U8ixk"

19/9/06 3:11 am  
Anonymous stevek said...

No reply, damani??

Which statement, 1 or 2, has evidence beyond mere inkblots (in this case computer text) and how do you know that it does, or doesn't?

21/9/06 7:53 am  
Blogger Mike Pitzler said...

"IN my opinion, if you feel a need to attempt to validate your religious belief through science, it isn't much of a religious belief in the first place." -beepbeep

Exactly. God cannot be described, or 'apprehended'. He reveals himself to his creation in a way it can comprehend.

Psalm 19:1 ASV Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork.

and in his Word

2 Peter 1:20-21 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. 21 For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

That doesn't mean that the Bible contradicts logic. The law of non-contradiction is not abrogated by the Bible. It means that God is greater than space and time. Can God part the sea and turn water into wine? Can he bring the dead to life? Can he hold the heavens in the palm of his hand? Can he send soul and body into hell?

Romans 9:20 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus?

(Sorry to be so preachy, but, as is said, evidentialism goes nowhere, and I'm not against science, as far as it stays scientific. I just believe God when he says that 'men hinder the truth'. We're not very reliable interpreters of reality.)

30/9/06 6:38 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: mike:

And posting bible passages to someone who thinks that the bible is the work of men, doesn't do anything towards proving the existence of god.

It is the classic appeal to authority fallacy which I am obliged to ignore.

7/10/06 9:17 pm  

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