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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why I am a Cynic

Some skeptics use the term "cynic" to designate people who would never be convinced. I've decided to adopt it. Because of my epistemic position, I am of the position that "extraordinary claims CANNOT be justified".

For example, I remember it was found a while ago that pressure at certain areas of the skin could reduce pain, or somesuch thing. It was hailed as evidence of acupuncture. But acupuncture is justified by old pseudo-science and belief. "Acupuncture" as a belief can NEVER be proven ! We can prove scientific hypotheses, but not beliefs. Whatever you want to call that hypothesis, it is not "acupuncture".

In the same way, if perhaps more simplistically, no one would believe in Santa Claus, even if evidence was given. Santa Claus is a child's story.

The larger epistemic issue at hand is whether a belief can be found true by anything else but justification through evidence - whether we have grounds to consider anything beyond what the evidence gives us. Since I've come to hold that the answer is "no", I have come to the inevitable conclusion that extraordinary claims cannot possibly be found true.

What does this have to do with the issue of theism ? Theism is definitely an extraordinary claim, at least in the sense that it is acquired from principles which strongly deviate from the scientific. Theism, which rejects naturalism by definition, is in fact the opposite of the scientific methodology, which assumes naturalism is valid. So it is as extraordinary as any belief can be. Because of this, it is my position that no evidence can possibly reveal that "God exists" (never mind the fundamental semantic problems with the word "God").

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