Certainty contradiction

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Palerider
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Certainty contradiction

Post by Palerider » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:55 pm

I came across this quote this evening. It's from a scholar who apparently has an online site that is based on the etymology of words and language. He's being somewhat sarcastic, pointing out that an individual had criticized an article for some of its uncertainties. Whereas the scholar felt the author had done an excellent job where not everything COULD be known.

"...yes, awareness of and statement of the limits of the certainty of one's evidence is (seen as) a sign of weakness, whereas bald-assed assertion with no effort whatsoever to make or show evidence smells like victory."

I've long been a critic of church apologists who constantly load their explanations with the words maybe, probably, possibly. "Perhaps" seems to be a big one in the church.

And I don't generally mind a degree of uncertainty. But the problem comes with the contradiction in the absolute certainty of church leadership in the truth of their claims when the actual evidence for such claims goes missing or is weak at best.

They want the best of both worlds. To have their cake and eat it too.

To state with absolute certainty and authority that "such and such" is the case but when called upon to support it with some sort of empirical adequacy, they want the grace of our accepting a truckload of maybe, possibly, perhaps and "we just can't be sure". But be assured, Joseph Smith was absolutely and with 100% certainty, a prophet.

I actually do believe that some things can only be known through the Spirit. But those things are "hoped for". They are not absolutes. A given amount of faith is required.

But even faith needs a healthy amount of empirical adequacy and logic.

I could never believe in Pegasus no matter how much enjoyment I might receive from riding a flying horse.

And yet if archeologists found several fossils that were highly indicative of such a creature it might give me reason to believe in the actual possibility of such an animal.

I could then accept "maybe", "perhaps", "possibly" and "probably" as a proposition within reality.

So we have these two contradictory principles living side by side in the church. The plea for the scholarly grace of acceptance of lack of evidence right next to the arrogance of the "bald-assed assertion of certainty" with no evidence whatsoever...

It must be nice.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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Not Buying It
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Re: Certainty contradiction

Post by Not Buying It » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:27 am

Palerider wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:55 pm
But even faith needs a healthy amount of empirical adequacy and logic.
Well said. I once believed that holding onto your faith in the face of contradicting evidence was an indicator of the strength and virtue of said faith. I have now come to see that it is a damnable perversion of faith, and keeps noble and honest people believing ridiculous and sometimes even harmful things.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Hagoth
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Re: Certainty contradiction

Post by Hagoth » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:29 am

Palerider wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:55 pm
To state with absolute certainty and authority that "such and such" is the case but when called upon to support it with some sort of empirical adequacy, they want the grace of our accepting a truckload of maybe, possibly, perhaps and "we just can't be sure". But be assured, Joseph Smith was absolutely and with 100% certainty, a prophet.
That's the Gospel Topic Essays in a nutshell. They try to give the impression that they are laying out a solid empirical case (and hoping you're not well enough informed to recognize the cherry picking) so you'll come away feeling like they have cleared things up. But if you're actually paying attention you realize that all they have given you is a list of maybes and what-ifs and other excuses, hoping that one of those will be roughly the right shape to plug your question hole.

But then, the punchline is always that they abandon their own premise of empirical argument and tell you that you can only know these things by faith, so suck it up, doubt your doubts, and trust your leaders.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

jfro18
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Re: Certainty contradiction

Post by jfro18 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:46 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:29 am
That's the Gospel Topic Essays in a nutshell. They try to give the impression that they are laying out a solid empirical case (and hoping you're not well enough informed to recognize the cherry picking) so you'll come away feeling like they have cleared things up. But if you're actually paying attention you realize that all they have given you is a list of maybes and what-ifs and other excuses, hoping that one of those will be roughly the right shape to plug your question hole.

But then, the punchline is always that they abandon their own premise of empirical argument and tell you that you can only know these things by faith, so suck it up, doubt your doubts, and trust your leaders.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I think what amazes me is how they write it with such confidence, but that's the name of the con, right?

And they can't allow for any doubt to linger past the essay, so it has to give a "choose your own adventure" list of options for members to keep believing in it to the point they can claim to "know it's true."

But worst of all is that it works for most members. It might not work forever, but it certainly works to strengthen those who have questions for at least a while. I'll be curious to see how much more they can continue to go this route (gospel essays, saints, etc) as more members are exposed to the info.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Certainty contradiction

Post by RubinHighlander » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:13 pm

Add on top of all of this that it's a sin to ask for a sign or want any evidence. This goes back to what you said about them wanting it both ways. Religionist claiming super natural powers used this tool all the time. With JS it started with finding buried treasure, but then telling the clients the treasure was taking away or unreachable because THEY pissed on the guardian spirits. Pair this with the blaming the victim or member or not knowing the unknown when it comes to the COBs coverup, or the doubt your doubts. Even the statement "We are as transparent as we know how to be." is one of those phrases that could give them an out later on down the road, like they kept to door open for future leaders to change the narrative and then say that they (Ballard and Oaks) didn't have further light and knowledge.

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deacon blues
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Re: Certainty contradiction

Post by deacon blues » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:20 pm

When my shelf broke I got a new view of people who say: "I know" or "I am 100% sure." It makes me more suspicious of them, and what they are promoting.
God is Love. God is Truth

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