Showing posts with label Outsider Test Links. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outsider Test Links. Show all posts

Dr. Matthew Flannagan Opposes Known Facts Requiring the OTF

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Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly submit to you more in the case study of Dr. Matt Flannagan's view of the The Outsider Test for Faith. Here's an example of what cognitive biases do to someone's brain when rejecting the requirement for sufficient objective evidence. He's digging his heels in deeper and deeper into the muddy waters of his faith bias. [See Tag for earlier entries].

This exchange took place on Facebook. I had posted pictures of the Christian apologetics books I own and Flannagan commented.

Flannagan: I am pretty confident that during my education: through secular public school, a public university known for leftist leanings and activism and a secular philosophy department. I studied, read and listened to more atheists and secularists than the average atheist has to Christians. I certainly have read more atheists philosophers than any atheists I know has read Christians.

I had to pounce!

Loftus: You had me up until the bold claim of your last sentence. I think you may know of one such atheist. Even if what you claim is true, it only shows that cognitive biases run wild within your brain. I know this from your review of the outsider test for faith.

The goal of the OTF is to help indoctrinated people to require sufficient objective evidence for their own faith, just as they require it for the faiths they reject. You failed to properly object to the OTF because your brain wouldn't allow you to understand it. LINK.

The Conclusion Driven Arguments of Cameron Bertuzzi of "Capturing Christianity" Regarding The Outsider Test for Faith, Part 1

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It doesn't take much for people in the pew to mindlessly quote mine from the Bible and/or the apologetics based on it. But upon thinking just below the surface we find it's all a ruse, a sham. Christian apologists have a hidden agenda. Instead of getting better at arguing for their faith they are getting better at obfuscating (or obscuring) it from view. They have become experts in conclusion driven arguments. That's all they have. It's called special pleading, and it's all special pleading. It's special pleading all the way down. That means they base their arguments on double standards, one for their faith and a different one for other faiths. It's double standards all the way down since they would never allow other people of faith to do the same. It's faith-based apologetics, never reasoned-based apologetics; no matter what they say. It's always their faith seeking reasons, never reasons leading to their faith. It's all based on assumptions, all the way down. They never argue to their faith. They always assume it and argue based on it. All apologetics is therefore presuppositional. It's presuppositional all the way down.

Cameron Bertuzzi of "Capturing Christianity" seems to be a good enough guy. He's a wannabe Christian apologist though, who has goaded me a bit to deal with his three part disputation of The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). He honestly admits he hasn't read my book on it, LINK, but that's where the intellectual honesty ends. In the Introduction to it I said it's "my final understanding" of the test up until it was published. He still hasn't read it, preferring instead what I wrote before I wrote my book.

This Could Be Your Religion!

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I've been sharing a weekly link of photos from Religion News Service that depicts people of different religious faiths from around the world. Some of them and their festivals are quite bizarre; the one highlighted here for instance [click it to read the caption]! The people pictured are sincerely and deeply committed to worship differently conceived religions and deities. They cannot all be right, although they could all be wrong. More pics here.

What does this global religious diversity say about a god who will judge us by what we believe (cf. John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10)? It makes a mockery of such a notion! No reasonable person can accept belief unto salvation. Only unreasonable people do. That's why Christians who worship such a god make all kinds of excuses for this statute of his. Catholics say it's not about belief but good deeds in keeping with belief. Some others say everyone will be saved in the end, while still others take the bite out of damnation by saying the final destination of unsaved sinners is not all that bad. Probably most Christians offer the excuse that God knows our hearts and is a merciful judge, with the implication that even I, a blaspheming apostate debunker, can and will be saved. But if so, such a judging god would be unfairly letting unsaved sinners into heaven who didn't obey this divine statute. Why did he state it in the first place?

If you still wish to maintain your god's stated policy of belief unto salvation from a terrible final destination, then think as you look at these photos. When you look at them ask yourself how your god is going to judge people who just happened to be raised to believe differently? What if they refused to be honest by re-examining their own inherited religion as outsiders do?

But more importantly, what if you're wrong and it's YOU who were raised to believe the wrong religion? What if YOU will face a future final judgment for not believing the true religion, if there is one? Wouldn't you want to know now, not later after you die?

The Outsider Perspective Helps Believers in Two Ways

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I am arguing for a test to help believers examine their own faith fairly and honestly, without any special pleading or double standards. I am not specifically arguing any particular faith is false, hence no rebutting defeater. Nor am I specifically arguing on behalf of a different religious faith, hence no undercutting defeater either. How, for instance, does a fair test for religious truth argue for or against anything? This should be seen in the first few pages of my book.

I do think the test leads to unbelief, but that's a separate discussion. I can't even help most believers agree to this fair test, much less help them to abandon their faith.

The outsider test is designed to help believers see the need for requiring sufficient objective evidence. Believers can play lip service to this requirement by saying they accept it. But what is meant isn't always readily apparent. So the test also helps them see what is meant by sufficient objective evidence. That's it. In other words, the outsider test helps believers twice-over. It's both a test and a teaching tool. The test helps believers to accept the requirement for sufficient objective evidence (all by itself a hard task!). But it goes on to teach believers what it means by forcing them to consider how they reasonably examine the other religious faiths they reject. It teaches them to apply the same single standard across the board to their own religious faith.

If someone already accepts the requirement for sufficient objective evidence that person doesn't need the outsider test. To the degree then, that belief is involved--especially the kind that blinds people from seeing the need to require sufficient objective evidence--to that same degree the belief should be subjected to an outsider's perspective. And there is no better way to know who needs the outsider perspective than the believer who adamantly refuses to require sufficient objective evidence for their beliefs.

In other words, to the degree believers reject the outsider perspective is to the same degree they are the ones who need it the most.

Victor Reppert Just Cannot Ignore the Force of the Outsider Test for Faith

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Dr. Reppert keeps trying to chip away at my argument in The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF), and there's a reason why. There's a force to it he cannot ignore. Inside his head one side says there's got to be something wrong with it. The other side comes up with something, anything, to deflect the force of it so he can continue believing. You would think if he's demolished it there would be noting left to say, right? But his other side keeps thinking about it, wondering if there's something to it, and subsequently false about his faith. In Vic's post, titled "The Outsider Test for Human Rights, or OTHR" he said,
We might ask what evidence there is that rights exist. You have a feeling that everyone ought to be treated equally. Isn't that just your social conditioning? If you grew up in India, and were raised to believe that people occupy different positions in the caste system based on the Law of Karma, wouldn't you think that the idea that everyone was created (or evolved?) equal was slightly ridiculous? LINK.
In the comments I wrote,
As the person who has named and argued for the OTF, let me say that an OTHR is merely asking for a justifying reason for embracing this or that human right. Since no religion passes the OTF this means the justification for human rights must be found in secular reasons based on whatever evidence is available. The OTHR does not automatically entail people will agree, but it does offer a standard that reasonable people should embrace.

If nothing else, since people without religion are demanding to live under secular democracies, a secular democracy is probably the best way to eventually achieve a consensus about human rights, even though it's far from perfect.
I answered this type of objection previously. Just substitute "Human Rights" in place of "Moral/political views" in what I wrote here. Until next time...

John Loftus vs David Marshall: "Does Christianity Pass the Outsider Test for Faith?" Part 1

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Justin Brierley hosts the very popular Christian podcast Unbelievable? He's an amicable guy, but he's clearly not as neutral or objective of an interviewer as he portrays himself. Before agreeing to have this discussion with David Marshall, who had written a book on the OTF, I had insisted on equal time. However, it was a bit annoying up until the 28 minute mark to sit and listen to so much drivel without a good chance to respond. So when I was given a chance to speak at length (after the 28 minute mark) I came up with 5 objections to what was being said. Justin subsequently took each one of my objections and had a discussion about them. This is not what he did when Marshall spoke. There were many times in the interview where Marshall said things I wanted to respond to, but wasn't given the same chance. LINK. It was very annoying. Part 2 is next week. It was pre-recorded.

What's The Only Alternative To The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF)?

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The answer? The Insider Test for Faith (ITF). How does the ITF work? Believers should test their faith against any evidence to the contrary, and against any perceived internal inconsistencies. That's not a bad test. It does work. It worked for me, and many others. But it has serious deficiencies.

Two Negative Reviews of the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF)

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I find that people who disagree with a reasonable non-double standard test for religious faith cannot be reasoned with, for obvious reasons. How we test a truth claim has a great deal to do with the kind claim we're testing. Sometimes a poll can settle one type of claim. Other times we can settle a different claim by traveling somewhere. Counting spoons can test a certain type of claim, while sitting on a fluffy pillow can test a different one. Logic and/or math can test other types of truth claims. In testing some types of claims we rely heavily on one discipline of learning, while testing other claims we rely heavily on other disciplines of learning. Some claims demand testing from several different academic disciplines. It depends on the type of claim we're testing that determines how we test it.

The Devastating Force of the Outsider Test for Faith

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In his massive 480 page book, Deconstructing Mormonism: An Analysis and Assessment of the Mormon Faith, published by American Atheist Press, Thomas Riskas is the first author to use the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF) against a different religion, Mormonism. On page xxxiii he writes that it:

G. K. Chesterton on the Outsider Test for Faith

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One Christian response to the Outsider Test for Faith is that it is faulty in some way. If that's the case then perhaps they ought to listen to Chesterton, who became a Catholic. His book, The Everlasting Man, contributed to C.S. Lewis's conversion to Christianity. In his Introduction Chesterton said:

The Introduction to "The Outsider Test for Faith"

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I'm progressing on my new book well enough to write my introduction to it. Here it is below:

The Outsider Test For Faith

Below you'll find a fairly extensive list of links to the Outsider Test for Faith for anyone who wishes to learn about it. You'll see how my defenses of the OTF have been improved with time as I received various criticisms of it. There is a lot to read here.

No wonder I've decided to write a whole book about it, which is now available. Check it out:



The book supersedes and supplants everything I've written about it in the links below.

Of this test Richard Carrier has said:
Though this idea has been voiced before, Loftus is the first to name it, rigorize it, and give it an extensive philosophical defense; moreover, by doing so, he is the first to cause a concerted apologetic to arise attempting to dodge it, to which he could then respond. The end result is one of the most effective and powerful arguments for atheism there is. It is, in effect, a covering argument that subsumes all other arguments for atheism into a common framework.

The Outsider Test for Faith is the Antidote to Confirmation Bias

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[Written by John Loftus]
First let's define confirmation bias from Wikipedia, which...
...is a tendency for people to prefer information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses, independently of whether they are true. People tend to test hypotheses in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and neglecting alternatives. This strategy is not necessarily a bias, but combined with other effects it can reinforce existing beliefs. The biases appear in particular for issues that are emotionally significant (including some personal and political topics) and for established beliefs that shape the individual's expectations.