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← Refuting supernatural

jay29's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by jay29

Replying to Jos Gibbons

it merely amounts to defining supernaturalism out of existence; it furthermore commits the fallacy of begging the question since it turns out that an argument which is supposed to show that supernaturalism is impossible depends on a premise which rules out supernaturalism from the outset

Arguments of the form "A, therefore B" are not invalidated by A being equivalent to B or, equivalently, by the converse "B, therefore A" being as valid. If you wish to invalidate the argument, either show A doesn't imply B (but you've already conceded it does) or critically assess A. Indeed, tell us: what is your definition of the supernatural? If you won't give one, stick with the one used here.

None of this is pertinent to my earlier rebuttal since the fallacy of begging the question is an informal fallacy: in this case it just involves assuming (as a premise) what you are attempting to prove. Such fallacious arguments do not provide any support for their conclusion.

Jos commits, implicitly, a logical fallacy here, an argumentum ad ignorantiam: there is no evidence for x therefore x is false.

No I don't. "I don't believe X because X is unevidenced" is different from "I know from X being unevidenced that X is false". The burden of proof is on those who believe in the supernatural.

If you are merely stating that you personally do not believe in x because you consider that x is unevidenced then I have no objection: you are, then, simply making a statement of your lack of personal belief not attempting to present a general argument showing that belief in the supernatural is untenable.

it isn't true that there is "no evidence" for the supernatural, rather one might say that the status of the >>evidence offered (arguments for religion, Biblical claims etc..) is contentious

Either A is evidence for B or it's not. If there is a contention over whether A is good evidence for B, that >doesn't say anything about whether or not it is evidence for B. Whether it is or not is an epistemic >matter which, whether or not it is a matter of consensus among human beings, is nonetheless a matter >of fact.

If there is disagreement concerning whether, say, some claim or other is good or bad evidence then, of course, there needs to be careful evaluation of the claim being made. Such evaluation is common in, for example, a legal context. My point was just that there needs to be an examination of what the supernaturalist presents as evidence for supernaturalism not merely an a priori assertion that “there is no evidence”.

Now you've never posted on richarddawkins.net before this thread, so here's an interesting question: >what example, if any, of "Supernatural claim X is well-evidenced by Y" do you personally think is true? >One will do for discussion. As I said before, I prefer to talk about individual examples rather than >assessing "the supernatural" without ever defining it.

Well, I should say that my purpose was principally to critique the argument presented here. So far as definitions of the term “supernatural” are concerned I would probably find any definition from a reputable philosophical dictionary acceptable.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 21:58:41 UTC | #949006