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Extraordinary Claims Demand Extraordinary Proof

Atheists and skeptics frequently write articles from the standpoint that their view is ‘rational’ and ‘logical’ and that religious or ‘New Age’ views are irrational and based on incorrect assumptions. This view is fallacious and in these writings I explain that atheism is simply another belief system with as many (if not more) irrational assumptions as many religions. Skeptics place great emphasis on arguing techniques. Ostensibly, their motive is to expose the false arguing techniques used by their opponents but the fact is, many of them place greatly more emphasis on arguing than they do on understanding. In my personal experience, I would say this applies to the vast majority of skeptics. One of the arguing techniques that seems to raise its head frequently is that Extraordinary Claims Demand Extraordinary Proof. The basic proposition here is that science has established some rules for how the universe works. These rules appear to work, they are useful in that we can build on them to, for example, produce computer chips or send rockets into space. If a claim comes along that appears to go against the established way of seeing the world then we can’t apply the same rules of proof to it as we would to a claim that goes along with our current way of seeing the world. For instance, an investigator trying to determine why an aeroplane crashed would look at the known possibilities for crashes: Pilot error, equipment failure, maintenance failures, these sort of things. If someone suggested that it was caused by an alien UFO, most investigators would be dismissive of the idea. This is, in...

Atheism is on an evangelical drive

Atheism is on an evangelical drive. Largely fuelled by Richard Dawkins they are out to convert people. To some extent one might argue they are simply making it more respectable. In the same way as the Gay movement see themselves not as converting people to homosexuality but as allowing homosexuals the freedom to express themselves, one could argue that the evangelical atheists are simply allowing people who are atheists the freedom to say so without stigma. Except, of course, that is not their agenda. They want to convert people away from religion and what they call ‘belief’ to what they call ‘reason’ and ‘science’. A recent item on the US National Public Radio reports that atheism is on a crusade. One of the weapons in their armoury is ridicule. This would not be a surprise to anyone who has had dealings with members of the various sceptical societies. I have in the past tried to engage in intelligent email debates with sceptics only to be sent an email reply that the author obviously thought was clever but relied on ridicule rather than answering the issues I raised. Atheism relies on what they call reason to counter what they call faith. If they are unable to put their case using reason then really they have nothing to offer. In the NPR program is a reference to the TV program ‘House’. In this program a rather cynical doctor (Dr House) uses logic and reason to find the cause of esoteric symptoms that patients exhibit. In one episode, a colleague uses a scoreboard. When Dr house finds a scientific reason, he scores a point; when he can’t...