GaTech Raley wrote:
One, I am not claiming anything to be true. I am not claiming X or Y to be true. I don't believe that I have made any claim or assertion for myself, other than I found an interesting book. I am not making the claims of others my own.
What I did say was the claims of others X is a reason for me to experiment to see if Y is true.
Second problem. You can't PROVE religion is false. There is very little you can absolutely prove. That's why the legal standard is beyond reasonable doubt. Now you are free to believe the case against Mormonism is beyond all reasonable doubt, but you can't prove it absolutely false. Even Richard Dawkins covers this in the God Delusion. All you can say is ABDCEF make an extremely unlikely case for religion. It may be very improbable, but you can't prove it false.
So he IS using the same circular logic, because he is actually making a claim, whereas I am not.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you made those claims here or not. I could go back through the last 6 or 7 pages but in the end for one to believe in Mormonism one will eventually employ circular reasoning.
The believability of Mormonism begins with the veracity of the Book of Mormon because this is the first (only?) point investigators are prompted to “test”. Once “proven” true, the Book of Mormon is the foundation for accepting the entirety of Mormonism.
Missionaries encourage investigators to pray about the Book of Mormon to see if it is true. A positive confirmation of prayer is a good “feeling” from the Holy Ghost.
The test used to confirm the truth about the book is encouraged to be used because the book itself says to use the test in Moroni 10:4-5:
" And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
--If the investigator follows the formula he/she will arrive at the conclusion, based on feelings, that the Book of Mormon is true.
--If the confirmative “good feelings” are not felt, the investigator clearly didn’t “ask with a sincere heart”, didn’t have “real intent” and/or didn’t have “faith in Christ”. The investigator must wash rinse and repeat the test until the desired effects are obtained because the book is true because the book states that the test works.
Right from the start, circular reasoning is used.
1.The Book of Mormon is true because one can use the test in Moroni 10 to know that it is true.
2.The test in Moroni 10 is true because the Book of Mormon is true.
Conclusion: Joseph Smith was a prophet of God because he translated the Book of Mormon and was the founding member of Mormonism. Therefore Mormonism is true.
A prudent “investigator” would ask the question:
“What objective evidence exists to prove that the Book of Mormon is true?”
There are numerous objective evidences against the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon but for me, the fact that there isn’t a scrap of archeological evidence supporting the book is reason enough to dismiss the book as a work of fiction. My reasoning is this:
The Book of Mormon claims to be a truthful and historical record of an ancient civilization.
1.Ancient civilizations leave behind archeological record.
2.The archeological record for the Book of Mormon does not exist.*
3.The Book of Mormon is therefore not truthful and not a historical record of an ancient civilization.
(*The truthfulness of the Bible is certainly debatable but at least there is a Jerusalem and an Egypt)
I will grant you, absence of evidence is not evidence. However, it isn’t practical to believe and act on every claim made simply because evidence to the contrary does not exist.
If that were the rule, then I could easily claim that God came to me and told me that Mormonism was false and that I was now the prophet and that all Mormons should send me 10% of their gross income. I could then require that Mormons PROVE that God didn’t come to me as I sit back and count my money.
IMO, it is reasonable for one to require certain objective standards for measuring probability of truth.
I also believe that one can never KNOW truth. I especially believe that one can not KNOW truth from subjective feelings.
Objective standards have been a more reliable means to gauge truthfulness in my life and therefore I strive to utilize that in my search for my own belief of truth. Consider this analogy:A man is standing on the edge of the roof of a 100 story building holding an egg. He drops the egg and watches it fall 100 stories to the ground. The egg makes a “splat” as its yolk and shell splash on the concrete below. A voice in the man’s head tells him that if he jumps he will fly like a bird and not be harmed.
The man does not KNOW that he will fly and he doesn’t KNOW that he will hit the ground but he does have a decision to make based on both subjective and objective evidences.
1.He can choose to jump and fly like a bird based on the subjective voice in his head.
2.He can choose to jump and subsequently die based on the objective egg hitting the ground.
There is of course the third option of not jumping but for the sake of this example I’m just going to talk about 1 and 2. He can’t prove 1 or 2 to be the truthful outcome unless he acts and he must make a decision based on the data available to him at the time.The Objective evidence:
From his experience, men flying like a bird have only been witnessed with the aid of mechanical apparatus, gliders or parachutes.
The man saw the egg hit the ground from this same elevation and break.
The man has studied physics and understands the effects of gravity.
The man has studied human anatomy and understands that the impact with the concrete will inflict sufficient trauma to cause death.
The man has studied Psychology and understands that people diagnosed with Schizophrenia hear voices in their heads and often require medication and treatment. The subjective evidence:
A voice in his head said that he would fly like a bird.
To me, the best way to predict truth is to give more weight to the objective evidence because subjective evidence is often unreliable and changes depending on the source. This same logic applies to my decision process with regard to Mormonism and have therefore come to the conclusion (unless objective evidence to the contrary pops up in the future) that I believe Mormonism is false. I came to this conclusion of belief despite past "good feelings" that told me it was true.
You have mentioned Dawkins and presumably you already know about his “tea cup” anecdote and so I won’t go into all of that.