It has not occurred to me that the meaning of evidence was ever in contention until a few days ago. The great antagonizer has asked this question on his blog. Debilis, who we have already met and Mark Hamilton have also written articles on the same and the two of them ask what do we want as evidence for god.
I know this post will not deal completely and exhaustively with this question but will attempt to answer some of the questions the three bloggers have raised and hopefully help us in moving the conversation forward.
To deal with this problem, I am going to start by giving definitions then proceed to point out where I think they are wrong.
Definition from Merriam Webster
1 a : an outward sign : indication
b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically :something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter
2 : one who bears witness; especially: one who voluntarily confesses a crime and testifies for the prosecution against his accomplices
the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid
noun1.that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.2.something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.3.Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.
verb (used with object)4.to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest: He evidenced his approval by promising his full support.5.to support by evidence: He evidenced his accusation with incriminating letters.
When the statement is made, it would seem to mean that there is no scientific evidence that God exists. Whether or not that is true, the idea that there is no physical evidence for the non-physical is hardly mind-blowing. Rather, it is a simple category error. It has no more weight than saying that there is no mathematical proof that Winston Churchill was the Prime minister of Great Britain, or that there is no grammatical evidence of cosmic expansion.
But, taken more broadly, the claim is simply false. That is, if the claim is taken broadly enough to be relevant to metaphysical issues such as God’s existence, then the metaphysical arguments for God’s existence is such evidence.
We can debate whether or not the evidence is sufficient, but the bold declaration that there is no evidence for God’s existence is simply out of touch with the facts.
Can you prove that I have a liver?
For many people this is the kind of evidence they want when asking “Is there a God?” They want something they can see and smell and experiment on.
And it’s true, I do take it on faith that God exists. I don’t have empirical evidence for God. I also don’t have empirical evidence for the existence of my liver.
1. All things that come into existence have a creator.
2. Things exist.
3. Therefore, something must exist that has always existed.
After saying this he proceeds immediately to tell us
Now this does not prove the existence of God. But it does show that somewhere there must be an eternal and uncreated Something that everything else is based on.
Even if this were true, it does not answer whether it was one god, a bazillion gods and whether such gods are still alive today.
Nobody has ever observed, weighed, measured, or tested something that by necessity has always existed. It would be impossible to observe something to have always existed unless the observer has also always existed as well.
I don’t know, but how does this statement support his cause? He claims to have evidence for god, has he [Mark] always existed or how did he come by this evidence?
He ends his piece thus
However we still can reasonably believe in it’s existence despite the impossibility of ever finding empirical evidence for it. I have faith in God’s existence the same way I have faith in my liver’s existence: confidently and reasonably without need of empirical evidence.
I definitely need help here. What is reasonable here, I must have missed it somewhere so friends please help. No your having faith in having liver is supported by many things, for example that you can take a piss, that you are not dead and more specifically because you have seen that all mammals have liver, you don’t have comparable evidence for god and so again you commit a fallacy.
I apologize for the long length of the post but I hope that I have been able to answer some of the questions concerning evidence, and specifically evidence for god.