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Common sense, common knowledge, and miracles

civilbuthonest
Posts: 110
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6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.

Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes

Rate the following claimed events :-

(1) A cow (literally) jumped over the moon, landing back on Earth

(2) An athlete ran 500km in 2 hours

(3) Your friend claims his steel ruler turned into solid gold before his eyes.

(4) Your daughter is pregnant, but claims it must be an act of God for she has not had sex or been intimate with a man.

(5) An apparently dead person with severe injuries is left for dead for 3 days, and then returns to life

(6) A person with a dagger through their heart returns to life after 3 days. No surgery, and the massive dagger wound (not surprisingly) prevented the heart from pumping.

(7) A person that has been dead for 2 weeks, starting to smell from decomposition, returns to life

My answers:-

1C
2C
3C
4C
5A
6C
7C

What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?
neutral
Posts: 4,478
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6/15/2014 4:21:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:
I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.


Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes


Rate the following claimed events :-

(1) A cow (literally) jumped over the moon, landing back on Earth

(2) An athlete ran 500km in 2 hours

(3) Your friend claims his steel ruler turned into solid gold before his eyes.

(4) Your daughter is pregnant, but claims it must be an act of God for she has not had sex or been intimate with a man.

(5) An apparently dead person with severe injuries is left for dead for 3 days, and then returns to life

(6) A person with a dagger through their heart returns to life after 3 days. No surgery, and the massive dagger wound (not surprisingly) prevented the heart from pumping.

(7) A person that has been dead for 2 weeks, starting to smell from decomposition, returns to life

My answers:-

1C
2C
3C
4C
5A
6C
7C

What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com...

Not sure what to tell you brother.

It happens, BTW, if not frequently, then noticeably in wars all the time. Guys are horrifically wounded, believed dead in many cases:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

It happens. WWI trench warfare saw instances of this, wit the sheer amount of death confined to tight spaces, frequently.

The real question would be one of perception, and what is common sense is often not. I believe Ben Franklin had a thing or two to say on the subject?

"The thing about common sense is that it is not all that common."
CJKAllstar
Posts: 408
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6/15/2014 4:27:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:
I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.


Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes


Rate the following claimed events :-

(1) A cow (literally) jumped over the moon, landing back on Earth

(2) An athlete ran 500km in 2 hours

(3) Your friend claims his steel ruler turned into solid gold before his eyes.

(4) Your daughter is pregnant, but claims it must be an act of God for she has not had sex or been intimate with a man.

(5) An apparently dead person with severe injuries is left for dead for 3 days, and then returns to life

(6) A person with a dagger through their heart returns to life after 3 days. No surgery, and the massive dagger wound (not surprisingly) prevented the heart from pumping.

(7) A person that has been dead for 2 weeks, starting to smell from decomposition, returns to life

My answers:-

1C
2C
3C
4C
5A
6C
7C

What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?

1) b
2) b
3) b
4) b
5) a
6) a
7) b

I am someone who thinks than one cannot know objectively what is possible and what is impossible. Probably because I am a theist, but I think it is wrong to say that something is absolutely impossible. There is always a chance. Just because we don't know, does not mean it cannot happen.
"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." - George Orwell
civilbuthonest
Posts: 110
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6/15/2014 5:42:52 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/15/2014 4:21:59 AM, neutral wrote:

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com...

Not sure what to tell you brother.

It happens, BTW, if not frequently, then noticeably in wars all the time. Guys are horrifically wounded, believed dead in many cases:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

It happens. WWI trench warfare saw instances of this, wit the sheer amount of death confined to tight spaces, frequently.

The real question would be one of perception, and what is common sense is often not. I believe Ben Franklin had a thing or two to say on the subject?

"The thing about common sense is that it is not all that common."

Hi there. So what are your answers?
neutral
Posts: 4,478
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6/15/2014 5:56:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/15/2014 5:42:52 AM, civilbuthonest wrote:
At 6/15/2014 4:21:59 AM, neutral wrote:

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com...

Not sure what to tell you brother.

It happens, BTW, if not frequently, then noticeably in wars all the time. Guys are horrifically wounded, believed dead in many cases:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

It happens. WWI trench warfare saw instances of this, wit the sheer amount of death confined to tight spaces, frequently.

The real question would be one of perception, and what is common sense is often not. I believe Ben Franklin had a thing or two to say on the subject?

"The thing about common sense is that it is not all that common."

Hi there. So what are your answers?

To examine each claim in context and make an appropriate judgement based on what we know and inductive logic tells us. The answers based on gut feelings tells us only what our gut feeling is. If that gut feeling doesn't jive with the evidence, then we adjust our opinion based on evidence and reasoning rather than ... gut feelings.

For example, on the basis of severe battle wounds, someone coming back to life? Based on what I have seen, the context would have plausibility. The claim could still be a hoax, but the miracles I gave you, magically cured cancer for example, demonstrates that sometimes ... well, its why they call them miracles.
civilbuthonest
Posts: 110
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6/15/2014 6:02:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/15/2014 4:27:24 AM, CJKAllstar wrote:
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:
What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?

1) b
2) b
3) b
4) b
5) a
6) a
7) b

I am someone who thinks than one cannot know objectively what is possible and what is impossible. Probably because I am a theist, but I think it is wrong to say that something is absolutely impossible. There is always a chance. Just because we don't know, does not mean it cannot happen.

Interesting. I suspect that, in general, theists have a less-harsh set of standards for deciding if something is or could be true. My guess is that scientists and atheists are likely to give similar answers to mine, while theists are less likely to dogmatically say something is impossible, and vote in a similar way to you.
marvinthemartian
Posts: 2
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6/15/2014 10:00:48 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:

I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.


Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes


Atheist here

I think you may be investigating the difference between skeptics and non-skeptics. There are plenty of atheists who hold conspiracy-level beliefs and there are theists who think critically in most areas.

Here, we've been offered testimonials which aren't all that impressive to a skeptical mind. We know that people aren't always paying attention, people don't always analyze a situation correctly, and people embellish their memory when they've experienced something excitable. While theres psychology going on when you first hear a claim from someone you love or from a source you trust (and if that's what you're interested in, you're unlikely to find that out through an internet poll), the decision to accept or reject these sorts of claims should correspond to the evidence.

Might be a copout, but as a skeptic I would ask for more information. If you're interested in gut reactions though, sure I'd say c for all those options: Impossible for all practical purposes

Therefore if you want to convince me, I'm going to need evidence to back up your testimony.
twocupcakes
Posts: 2,750
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6/15/2014 10:49:17 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/15/2014 4:27:24 AM, CJKAllstar wrote:
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:
I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.


Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes


Rate the following claimed events :-

(1) A cow (literally) jumped over the moon, landing back on Earth

(2) An athlete ran 500km in 2 hours

(3) Your friend claims his steel ruler turned into solid gold before his eyes.

(4) Your daughter is pregnant, but claims it must be an act of God for she has not had sex or been intimate with a man.

(5) An apparently dead person with severe injuries is left for dead for 3 days, and then returns to life

(6) A person with a dagger through their heart returns to life after 3 days. No surgery, and the massive dagger wound (not surprisingly) prevented the heart from pumping.

(7) A person that has been dead for 2 weeks, starting to smell from decomposition, returns to life

My answers:-

1C
2C
3C
4C
5A
6C
7C

What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?

1) b
2) b
3) b
4) b
5) a
6) a
7) b

I am someone who thinks than one cannot know objectively what is possible and what is impossible. Probably because I am a theist, but I think it is wrong to say that something is absolutely impossible. There is always a chance. Just because we don't know, does not mean it cannot happen.

Is there a chance that God does not exist?

If so would that not make you agnostic because you are unsure if God exists?
twocupcakes
Posts: 2,750
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6/15/2014 10:58:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:
I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.


Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes


Rate the following claimed events :-

(1) A cow (literally) jumped over the moon, landing back on Earth

(2) An athlete ran 500km in 2 hours

(3) Your friend claims his steel ruler turned into solid gold before his eyes.

(4) Your daughter is pregnant, but claims it must be an act of God for she has not had sex or been intimate with a man.

(5) An apparently dead person with severe injuries is left for dead for 3 days, and then returns to life

(6) A person with a dagger through their heart returns to life after 3 days. No surgery, and the massive dagger wound (not surprisingly) prevented the heart from pumping.

(7) A person that has been dead for 2 weeks, starting to smell from decomposition, returns to life

My answers:-

1C
2C
3C
4C
5A
6C
7C

What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?

I think people are more likely to believe something if they want it to be true than something they don't care about. I think it is just human nature.

Christians will believe the stories of Jesus are true. Die hard UFO believers will believe the thing they saw in the sky is evidence of Aliens. Parents will believe their son/daughter is innocent despite all evidence. Sports fans will believe their is a conspiracy by the league/refs to screw over their team ect.
bebil10
Posts: 139
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6/15/2014 11:01:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/15/2014 10:58:50 AM, twocupcakes wrote:
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:
I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.


Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes


Rate the following claimed events :-

(1) A cow (literally) jumped over the moon, landing back on Earth

(2) An athlete ran 500km in 2 hours

(3) Your friend claims his steel ruler turned into solid gold before his eyes.

(4) Your daughter is pregnant, but claims it must be an act of God for she has not had sex or been intimate with a man.

(5) An apparently dead person with severe injuries is left for dead for 3 days, and then returns to life

(6) A person with a dagger through their heart returns to life after 3 days. No surgery, and the massive dagger wound (not surprisingly) prevented the heart from pumping.

(7) A person that has been dead for 2 weeks, starting to smell from decomposition, returns to life

My answers:-

1C
2C
3C
4C
5A
6C
7C

What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?

I think people are more likely to believe something if they want it to be true than something they don't care about. I think it is just human nature.

Christians will believe the stories of Jesus are true. Die hard UFO believers will believe the thing they saw in the sky is evidence of Aliens. Parents will believe their son/daughter is innocent despite all evidence. Sports fans will believe their is a conspiracy by the league/refs to screw over their team ect.

This is true but we should strive to fight this and believe what the evidence tells us.
twocupcakes
Posts: 2,750
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6/15/2014 11:12:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/15/2014 11:01:05 AM, bebil10 wrote:
At 6/15/2014 10:58:50 AM, twocupcakes wrote:
At 6/14/2014 10:56:45 PM, civilbuthonest wrote:
I am fascinated by human behaviour, and the basis on which people make decisions.

For example I remember when a clearly intelligent person argued passionately that we could not discount the possibility that a human could run (completely unaided) a distance of 500 km in two hours. In further investigation of where people draw the line between what is and is not possible, I pose the following questions.

Imagine a friend or family member or person known to be normally reliable told you that they had either witnessed or experienced the following events personally.


Rate your reaction according to :-

(a) Entirely possible.
(b) Unlikely, but cannot be discounted
(c) Impossible for all practical purposes


Rate the following claimed events :-

(1) A cow (literally) jumped over the moon, landing back on Earth

(2) An athlete ran 500km in 2 hours

(3) Your friend claims his steel ruler turned into solid gold before his eyes.

(4) Your daughter is pregnant, but claims it must be an act of God for she has not had sex or been intimate with a man.

(5) An apparently dead person with severe injuries is left for dead for 3 days, and then returns to life

(6) A person with a dagger through their heart returns to life after 3 days. No surgery, and the massive dagger wound (not surprisingly) prevented the heart from pumping.

(7) A person that has been dead for 2 weeks, starting to smell from decomposition, returns to life

My answers:-

1C
2C
3C
4C
5A
6C
7C

What I am getting at here, is at what point should we reject a claim based on common sense and common knowledge in the year 2014? Or should we never reject ANY apparently reputable claim, on the basis that a miracle is always possible?

Are atheists and theists fundamentally different in these respects?

I think people are more likely to believe something if they want it to be true than something they don't care about. I think it is just human nature.

Christians will believe the stories of Jesus are true. Die hard UFO believers will believe the thing they saw in the sky is evidence of Aliens. Parents will believe their son/daughter is innocent despite all evidence. Sports fans will believe their is a conspiracy by the league/refs to screw over their team ect.

This is true but we should strive to fight this and believe what the evidence tells us.

I agree, but I think every human has biases and should be aware of them not just when it comes to religion. It is human nature to have bias, so there is nothing wrong with having them(but we should be aware of them). Often atheists are the first to point out all the biases theists have do not recognize the many other biases they themselves or other have. Mind you, this is somewhat justified because theists (hardcore ones) take religion to the extreme and it affects others negatively.