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     It [reading the IEP article I suggested] would be pointless as you could only ever gage another opinion. And whether it is their opinion that personal experience can constitute evidence makes it a moot point. You’re simply using one opinion to justify another opinion! Which is merely an appeal to authority, a huge fail.  Personal experiences cannot be counted as evidence unless they can be or were able to be observed by others. "feelings" aren't evidence. To say that an anecdote or a series of cases or personal experiences may constitute evidence for something, is not necessarily the same as to say it constitutes conclusive proof. It is ok to hear it, but not ok to take it as verbatim.

     I find it interesting that you would balk at reading the article that I suggested (an article on a reputable website written by a competent author) by claiming that I am just referring you to 'another opinion' and that I am using an 'appeal to authority'.  First of all, if you think that my suggestion is an illegitimate appeal to authority then I suggest you visit the Nizkor project where under the heading 'fallacy: appeal to authority' there is a list of six criteria that must be met for an appeal to an authority to be justified - simply point out which of the six criteria my source fails to meet.  Second, I find it massively ironic that after accusing me of appealing to an authority, you yourself later in your post cite Wikipedia?? in an attempt to justify your claim that the personal experience that millions of Christians claim to have is anecdotal.  If ever there was a case of someone 'using one opinion to justify another opinion'...this is it.

Humanity's capacity for self-delusion is limitless.

     I don't know if you read it, but in post#67 I did attempt to respond to a similar objection. 

     And also ‘Quirkology’ by Richard Wiseman is another way of explaining why personal experience fails. From Quirkology "20 people were asked to persuade a relative to participate in a study about childhood memories. The recruiters were asked to supply a photograph of the person as a child, and three other photographs of the person as a child participating in events. The first photograph was manipulated to produce a false photograph of a trip in a hot air balloon. The participants were then shown the three real photographs and one false one and asked to describe the events in the photos. About one third “remembered” the event in the hot air balloon. By the third interview, half of the participants were able to “remember” and describe in great detail their trip in the hot air balloon. Because the people thought they should remember the event, their brains helpfully supplied them with a vivid and detailed memory. "

     I really do appreciate the link that you gave me here; Mr. Wiseman is very entertaining and makes some good points as well - my favorite video was "The Prediction" (I know how he does it, but I still had to participate twice).  Regarding his memory experiment, I think it is important to note that Mr. Wiseman was able to 'plant' a memory into the minds of his recruits, not an experience - at the end of the experiment his subjects 'remembered' being in a hot air balloon; they didn't think they were actually in a hot air balloon at that very moment.  An experience with Christ is about more than just remembering what you felt when you were 'converted'.  I do wonder, however, If you have completely explored his website, because anyone who has knows that most of videos (e.g. color changing card trick, the psychological card trick, the mirror, etc...) question our ability to make accurate empirical observations rather than questioning the reliability of rational introspection - don't the conclusions of his videos worry you a bit?
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magicmiles Very good point at the end. May 25, 2013, 02:32:57 AM