Sunday, March 22, 2015

Evidence, proof, and low standards

Apparently, having large numbers of a specific type of believer in a specific geographic area really can warp people's sense of reality. The Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah wasted both ink and space on a piece that was so ridiculous I had to read it multiple times just to make sure it really was printed. Daniel Peterson manages to make one point that is technically true but so incredibly misleading and silly that it hardly matters at all. The main point of "Defending the Faith: Proof, evidence and the need to decide" rests on the fact that evidence and proof are not synonyms. That's is true in the strictest sense. However, there are two huge problems with Peterson's premise. The first is that the average person uses these two as synonyms. I'm pretty sure he is aware of how common that conflation of those two terms are. The second and larger problem is that the standards of evidence that Peterson has to rely are so pathetically low that anyone could make a case for any idiotic notion that occurs to him/her. By his use of the term "evidence" I could make a case that the events in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is based on a true story. His reasoning really is that pathetic. It also, amusingly, never occurs to him that even if you can come up with "evidence" for something it is still possible that others can come up with evidence that refutes your own. At no point does he ever note that all evidence is not equally valid. This is not necessarily a surprising approach given that he is most concerned with defending the Book of Mormon from criticism.

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