Fallacious Arguments from Silence

JMartyr asks:

——————————
Hi, I have a question.

What would an atheist’s reply be 2 the Christian who argues that most of atheism’s arguments for Jesus’ non-existence rely on fallacious arguments from silence? I know they say that we would’ve found something by now, but didn’t it indeed take centuries, even millenia, for most if not all historians/archaeologists to make many of their discoveries?

Thanks,
JMartyr
——————————

Thanks for the question, JMartyr!

19 Responses to Fallacious Arguments from Silence

  1. The Atheist says:

    Hi, JMartyr,

    Interesting question!

    Personally, I think that Jesus did exist. However, I wouldn’t say that theories that deny Jesus’ existence are necessarily fallacious (see Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition by Robert Price for an example of a very cogent argument for a non-historical Jesus).

    As you correctly point out, arguments from absence can indeed be fallacious, but not all arguments from absence are. In fact, it would be fallacious to claim that because some arguments from silence are fallacious, then all arguments from silence are therefore fallacious.

    Here’s an example of an argument based on lack of evidence that I think you will agree is not fallacious. If I were to claim that a bogeyman was hiding under my bed, it would be perfectly reasonable for you to doubt my claim based on the absence of any bogeyman under my bed (absence of evidence). On the other hand, if I were to claim that I just saw a shooting star, it would not be very reasonable for you to doubt my claim based on the absence of the shooting star, once you finally got around to looking into the sky. So what is the difference? Why is it questionable to admit the absence of evidence as bona fide evidence of absence in one case, but not in the other case? There are a few things we should consider:

    We don’t have evidence that bogeymen exist at all. In fact, most of us believe that bogeymen do not exist, based on the lack of any credible evidence for their existence. Then my claim of a bogeyman would need to be substantiated, and it would be reasonable for you to doubt the existence of my bogeyman in the absence of any evidence – you would say that there is no bogeyman based on a lack of evidence. On the other hand, shooting stars are common and we have ample evidence that they exist. In addition, we know that they appear for only a brief moment. Then if I see a shooting star, and you don’t look in time to see it, that is not a very good reason for you to doubt that I saw one. In both of these cases, you must take into account an absence of evidence. When presence of any evidence is lacking (as in the case of my bogeyman), then the absence of any evidence is an important consideration. On the other hand, when evidence exists in general (as in the case of my shooting star) but we expect that the evidence is fleeting and not always available, then the lack of evidence is less of a consideration.

    Another important things we should consider is the importance that the ‘evidence of presence’ (the opposite of ‘evidence of absence’) is to your claim. For example, if I claim that I am wearing a Rolex watch, and search as you might, you fail to locate my Rolex, then the absence of evidence is pretty good evidence of absence. The absence of my Rolex is inconsistent with my claim that I am wearing a Rolex.

    Many Christians cite Jesus’ empty tomb as evidence for his resurrection. Would you consider this lack of evidence a fallacious justification for the resurrection? Why or why not?

  2. lisabee51@yahoo.com says:

    Many Christians cite Jesus’ empty tomb as evidence for his resurrection. Would you consider this lack of evidence a fallacious justification for the resurrection? Why or why not?

    Basically, I believe that we can search for all the evidence that we want and still be in denial. It all goes back to faith, you either believe or you don’t.

    The empty tomb can be discarded as someone took the body, (we still have people believe that Elvis is alive and walking around).

    Many Christians today, feel it is their ‘duty’ to provide evidence, when in actuality our ‘duty’ is to give correct interpretation of scripture-spread the gospel-then it is up to the individual to make the decision for themselves.

    Giving a correct interpretation of scripture is the difficult, part mainly due to the fact that there is an overabundance of false doctrines provided by none other than the very churches we go to. Does that mean that a christian should stop going to church-God forbid! it means that we are to stop the spread of the false teachings-no matter where they reside.

    P.s. Missed our talkes –uptil now it has been a rough year –still trying to recover from the ice storm–

  3. The Atheist says:

    Hi lisabee, good to see you back! I’ve missed your insights and I hope you didn’t have too much damage or inconvenience from the storms!

    I agree that it comes down to faith (though I would prefer to say “belief”). But the question is, belief base in what? Belief based in available evidence? Belief based in critical thinking? Or belief based in ancient stories taken at face value (that is, without the understanding of who wrote these stories and why) that you learned as a child that you ought to believe?

    To arrive at plausible interpretations of biblical texts, I think it is essential to take into account the work of the critical scholars. Their knowledge of the original languages (e.g. Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew) and historic context and culture, etc., are essential. Many of these critical scholars are themselves Christian, and many Christians look to scholarship to supplement their understanding. I think it is irresponsible for Christians to claim as some do that they understand the scripture while at the same time willfully ignoring the most plausible interpretations.

    So does this mean that these people, both Christians and non-Christians who consider the findings of the critical scholars are “in denial”? While they may conclude that certain things in the Bible are not true (that is, they “deny” the truth of certain things in the Bible), this is not the same as “being in denial”. Being “in denial” means refusing to accept that something is true in the face of overwhelming evidence. It would be more accurate to characterize Christians who ignore evidence that is presented by critical scholarships as “being in denial”; not because they have a plausible basis for disagreeing with the scholarship, rather because the willfully disregard it.

    I think the most irresponsible position of all is to claim an understanding of the scriptures because the Holy Spirit has revealed them. The reason there are so many Christian denominations is that the Holy Spirit has “revealed” incompatible interpretations.

    In asking Christians about their experience with the “still, small voice”, I find that their experience is indistinguishable from what most people would recognize as the “voice” of their own thoughts. In fact, it is precisely because the “still, small voice” is indistinguishable from other “voices” that many Christians test the voice to see if it is “of the Lord”. They test it by checking what it “says” against their understanding of the scripture – that is, their understanding of what the scripture means, based on… (you guessed it)… revelation by the “still, small voice”.

  4. lisabee says:

    I think the most irresponsible position of all is to claim an understanding of the scriptures because the Holy Spirit has revealed them. The reason there are so many Christian denominations is that the Holy Spirit has “revealed” incompatible interpretations.

    Not exactly so, the Holy Spirit reveals the same interpretation, it is the human who changes his heart to give a different interpretation.
    It is like saying how many ways can God say something is an abomination only to have some false prophet behind the pulpit saying–God does not mean that…..

    Most of the changes started many years ago, when those in power ‘changed’ parts of scripture and twisted it to justify their own unrighteous actions. The general public was mainly to illiterate/indigent to know the difference. Many have followed false prophets who have claimed to have ‘revelations’ from the apostles when in all actually they were demonic spirits and the ‘man’ did not test the spirit according to 1 John 4.

    Now we have an overabundance of false doctrine that has been taught for over 1900 years and the difficult task of trying to the full truth and not the distortion perpetuated by the church’s greed/power.

    I still have a problem with highlight to copy and paste, so the first paragraph is your own. LB

  5. The Atheist says:

    lisabee,

    Not exactly so, the Holy Spirit reveals the same interpretation, it is the human who changes his heart to give a different interpretation.

    Maybe you could clarify your statement for me. If the Holy Spirit reveals the same interpretation to everyone, but humans fail to understand, is He then unable to communicate effectively with humans? It seems that if the Holy Spirit is God, and God is all powerful, then He can find a way to communicate in such a way that humans are able to understand. In other words, I wouldn’t expect God to be limited by human frailties. Of course humans would still have the freedom to accept or reject the message, but they would reject or accept the correct message, not a garbled message that is not a true revelation. In my experience, people who “receive” contradictory revelations seem to be equally sincere in their desire to hear from God.

    On the other hand, if you are saying that humans lack the innate wherewithal to comprehend what the Holy Spirit reveals, no matter how sincerely the human wants to hear from God, and no matter how God tries to communicate effectively, then there can be no true revelation. What’s more, it raises the question of why God would create humans in such a way that they are unable to communicate effectively with Him.

    Most of the changes started many years ago, when those in power ‘changed’ parts of scripture and twisted it to justify their own unrighteous actions.

    I agree. In fact, Matthew and Luke changed what Mark wrote when they incorporated Mark’s texts into their own writings, although I personally don’t judge the authors of Matthew or Luke to be “unrighteous” for doing so. And of course the Hebrew Bible authors also changed earlier traditions that they used to formulate their own texts.

    Whatever the origin of the corruptions, if all we have are corrupt manuscripts, then we cannot rely on the manuscripts as a touchstone to judge that a “revelation” is from the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit might be revealing a correction to the corrupt manuscripts. And if we cannot rely on the manuscripts, then how do we discern a revelation from God? That is how do we know that the “still small voice” isn’t simply our own thoughts, or perhaps the “revelation” of a demon? In fact, how can we know if we or anyone else has ever received a revelation?

    I still have a problem with highlight to copy and paste, so the first paragraph is your own.

    Looks like you did fine! :)

  6. lisabee says:

    Maybe you could clarify your statement for me. If the Holy Spirit reveals the same interpretation to everyone, but humans fail to understand, is He then unable to communicate effectively with humans? It seems that if the Holy Spirit is God, and God is all powerful, then He can find a way to communicate in such a way that humans are able to understand.

    This is an old excuse–
    I did not say that humans did not understand scripture, I did say that those that are in charge “change their hearts and give a false interpretation” by twisting of scripture–it is relatively simple to do and I believe many atheists refer to it as ‘cherry picking’—these twisted (taken out of context) scriptures have been ‘accepted’ through the dark ages mainly due to the fact that the Bible was removed from the general public (as they were too ‘stupid’ to understand what they were reading anyways~according to the powers that be)
    Today we have a bunch of church members who are Bible illiterate-simply because they do not want to study the Bible.

    On the other hand, if you are saying that humans lack the innate wherewithal to comprehend what the Holy Spirit reveals, no matter how sincerely the human wants to hear from God, and no matter how God tries to communicate effectively, then there can be no true revelation.

    I am not saying that at all~I teach a 7 year old Downs syndrome child during the day-he understands me completely, but there are many times I do not understand him-so who has the communication problem-me or him? My dog and cat understand me-but I do not always understand them so who really has the communication problem “the highly evolved human” or those creatures who may not be able to express themselves correctly?
    99% of the time humans simply want to do things their own way, (this does not mean they do not hear nor do not understand) we do not always want to ‘hear’ the truth because it is contrary to what we want or it does not justify our actions.
    We humans think if God does not answer they way we want and in a short amount of time–then we have not ‘communicated’ or there is no God, or simply that we favors someone else. I often think of Abraham- He went 11-15 years (from the birth of Isaac- to the ‘trial’ of the sacrifice) without hearing from God. I say to myself that Abraham was perhaps a more righteous person than me (only sometimes though-lol) so why should I say a prayer today and expect results by the end of the week?
    Does all this mean that the Holy Spirit/God is unable to communicate effectively –it probably means that we ‘highly evolved humans’ are so only in our own liberated piteous mind.

  7. The Atheist says:

    lisabee,

    “Those in charge” certainly do take scripture out of context to promote their own agendas as you say, and many Christians are certainly bible-illiterate. But I’m not sure that you’ve considered what I was asking – why people who sincerely seek the Holy Spirit for interpretations come up with contradictory revelations.

    I think you may have the analogy backwards: you seem to be saying that it’s not God’s fault that humans are unable to communicate with him. In your analogy, you represent God and the Down’s syndrome child and your dog represent humans, and you say that the child and the dog both understand you even if you don’t understand them. I was pointing out the reverse: that humans don’t seem to have the ability to understand God. So in your analogy, that would be like the dog or the child being incapable of understanding you. And of course the analogy can’t address the important question of why God would create humans in such a way that they are unable to effectively understand Him.

    By the way, that’s very cool that you teach a Down’s syndrome child!

  8. lisabee says:

    humans don’t seem to have the ability to understand God

    and of course the analogy can’t address the important question of why God would create humans in such a way that they are unable to effectively understand Him.

    < why did you capatilize Him? Are you truly an atheist, or just one in doubt??< <

    God did create everyone to understand him-He even inspired the Bible to be written in a way that a child can understand Him, but it is up to the individual to read it. Ecc 1:5 is a prime example.

    http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/banned.htm

    it would seem that for many years those in power has used the technique of the ‘battered wife syndrome’ to their advantage. Keep the public uninformed, uneducated, slightly abused/working day and night, and inform that how to think so that they might stay in power. This has been a ploy of every nation that employed slavery.

    Had the Bible not been banned from the public, they might have read Ecclesiastes 1:5 and said “wait a minute that is not what it says” and the whole Roman Inquisition may have never happened. Did the RI occur because people did not understand scripture as given by the Holy Spirit or because they allowed themselves to become ‘oppressed’ into believing that they were too dumb to understand what was/is written?

    I see the same ploys being used today. People are losing their jobs and are having to work two jobs instead of one (because now the jobs they are taking are at a much lower pay schedule). Companies know that there is an abundance of people seeking jobs so they do not have to hire at the higher wages. Does this mean people were ‘created’ with less intelligent or unable to comprehend what is going on around them? No what it means is that we were only ‘stupid’ in allowing it to occur in the first place. If our government succeeds with this type of oppression, then we will see all Biblical prophecy occurring in our lifetime fulfilled.

    Ecc 1:5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. < < < one could interpret this to mean early to bed, early to rise …..the sooner your head hits the pillow the sooner you have to get up and go to work.

  9. The Atheist says:

    Hi lisabee. I typically capitalize words like He, Him, etc. when speaking about God to Christians whom I suspect are evangelical. I know that evangelicals capitalize those words out of reverence so I capitalize them out of respect for the evangelicals I’m writing to. I do this for the same reason that I spell the word God as G-d when writing to and orthodox Jew, and the same reason that I write (Pbuh) following sacred names when writing to a Muslim.

    God did create everyone to understand him…

    If you believe that this is indeed the case, then how do you account for my initial observation: that sincere Christians who want nothing more than to hear from God, receive “revelations”, but the “revelations” contradict?

    He even inspired the Bible to be written in a way that a child can understand Him, but it is up to the individual to read it.

    How to you account for II Peter 3:16 which says: “As also in all his [Paul’s] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction”? Another good example of a verse that a child would not be able to read and understand is Dan 9:25: “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.”

    So you’ve brought up a new issue: if the Bible is meant to be read and readily understood by all, then why the difficult verses? But that’s not the issue I’ve been raising. My issue, the one I’ve been raising (and which I’m hoping you’ll be interested in interacting with) is: “I think the most irresponsible position of all is to claim an understanding of the scriptures because the Holy Spirit has revealed them. The reason there are so many Christian denominations is that the Holy Spirit has “revealed” incompatible interpretations.” Care to reflect?

    If the Bible is truly comprehensible even by a child as you say, then the fact that the Bible was once banned would have little effect on modern Christians (who “receive” contradictory revelations) since many Christians typically read the Bible daily and often have much of it memorized.

    Does this mean people were ‘created’ with less intelligent or unable to comprehend what is going on around them? No…

    You have offered a very good example of people who really are “created” with less intelligence – the Down’s syndrome child that you tutor. Of course that is a more extreme example – people are “created” with widely varying degrees of intelligence; some people are much smarter than others. Most Christians would claim that even the most intelligent among us are incapable of understanding the scripture without revelation from the Holy Spirit. If this is not your view, do you believe that God created many people (the Down’s syndrome child being an example) without sufficient intelligence to understand the Bible?

  10. lisabee says:

    You have offered a very good example of people who really are “created” with less intelligence – the Downs syndrome child that you tutor. Of course that is a more extreme example – people are “created” with widely varying degrees of intelligence; some people are much smarter than others. Most Christians would claim that even the most intelligent among us are incapable of understanding the scripture without revelation from the Holy Spirit. If this is not your view, do you believe that God created many people (the Downs syndrome child being an example) without sufficient intelligence to understand the Bible?

    First I believe that we may have to define intelligence; the learning of knowledge. Who among us would be considered more intelligent if there were no schools of learning? Do I believe that a DS child is less intelligent–no he is only “unlearned” because the society considers him to be less intelligent and, therefore, do not strive to educate him. Can he understand the Bible–he may not understand the word abomination as written but he does know the word ‘bad’, He can deferianiate the difference between right and wrong so is understanding all the ‘prophecies’ as in Daniel 9:25 refer to (which is the coming of the Messiah) a necessity to teach him–no, but this does not make him less intelligent~only uneducated as many of us are.

    What about the sincere Christian~there is only one truth. We are Christians by the ‘blood’ of Christ~human by nature. We often choose not to believe in the truth because it is contrary to what we have been brought up to believe or even yet want to accept and therefore stuggle with what we know as the truth that has been given us.
    Many religions have taught that Polygamy is OK and cite the wives of Abraham and Jacob–the Bible does not teach that it actually says that in the beginning it was not so-one man, one woman (Matthew 19. Man for his own selfish reason choose to believe in multiple marriages.
    Many churches today teach the “rapture” theory as a doctrine-when the Bible never concedes to the fact that we will ‘fly away’ before the tribulation–the very verse that they quote is 1 Thessalonians 4:16 which states that the dead will rise first-which happens at the second coming which is after the tribulation–why do people choose to believe this~~they have a fear of the tribulation and do not want to go through it.

    II Peter 3:16 said it best “which they that are unlearned” today I call them Biblically Illiterate for we do not really study scripture, but more inclined to memorize verses.

    P.S. I think I like you so much because you are considerate of others –with respect.

  11. The Atheist says:

    lisabee,

    First I believe that we may have to define intelligence; the learning of knowledge. Who among us would be considered more intelligent if there were no schools of learning?

    I like to define terms too. I think it might be especially useful in this case because there seems to be some confusion between “knowledgeable” and “intelligent”. By most accepted definitions, intelligence is the measure of the ability to reason, think abstractly, and problem solve. Knowledge on the other hand is acquired skills, information, and expertise. These attributes are quite different, however they are related in the sense that intelligence is a measure of the ease with which one acquires knowledge. A Down’s syndrome person is not intelligent by normal human standards, since the vast majority of humans are able to learn with much greater facility than people who suffer from Down’s syndrome. I would be in awe of a Down’s syndrome sufferer who is able to understand even moderately difficult passages in the Bible, let alone passages that many trained scholars wrestle with.

    We often choose not to believe in the truth because it is contrary to what we have been brought up to believe or even yet want to accept and therefore stuggle with what we know as the truth that has been given us.

    This brings us back around to one of the original questions: how can you (or anyone) know that your understanding of the Bible is the true understanding? If it is from “revelation”, then why do sincere Christians receive conflicting “revelation”? How can you (or anyone) know that you’ve had a revelation at all (vs., say, just thoughts in your own mind)? What exactly is “the truth that has been given to us”?

    PS: thanks for the kind words! :)

  12. lisabee says:

    By most accepted definitions, intelligence is the measure of the ability to reason, think abstractly, and problem solve. Knowledge on the other hand is acquired skills, information, and expertise. These attributes are quite different, however they are related in the sense that intelligence is a measure of the ease with which one acquires knowledge.

    My DS child, at the beginning of school one afternoon, was preparing to go home. He saw a back pack hanging that belonged to another child, and took it off the rack and matched the name on the backpack to the name on the desks of the other children–it was at that moment that I realized that it is Society who sets the standards for intelligence by their own standards, and ultimately has nothing to do with the individual.
    I have another Child, who I spend 30 minutes a day (lunch relief), who has anger management problems. This child far excels most high school children in Math, but cannot spell simple words like want, went, go- which ultimately brings frustration -which leads to his anger. I told him one day that Einstein’s teacher once thought he would amount to anything and we looked up all the things Einstein accomplished in his lifetime–what a difference it made in this child.

    I would be in awe of a Downs syndrome sufferer who is able to understand even moderately difficult passages in the Bible, let alone passages that many trained scholars wrestle with.

    This is how the learning process should go (just an example):
    Run, Spot, Run (1st-2nd grade); Run, Spot, Run past the tree (3rd grade); Run, Spot, Run past the tree over in the meadow (4th grade); Run, Spot, run past the tree over in the meadow by the blue lake (5th grade) ~~~~ has the truth changed in this example? No. Can all who read it understand what is read a”at their level”? Yes.
    Now enters the scholar: Run, yellow labrador retriever Spot, run past the Elm tree, over in the meadow by Lake Ontario. Now the first denomination thinks about what the scholar stated and says “well you have it right, but it was Lake Erie”. Another denomination steps up and argues that it was Lake superior and then the Bible Belt person steps up and states “you bunch of dummies–it was the Mississippi River. So where did we all get our information–was it “inspired” or did we read into it what we wanted to?

  13. Durzal says:

    Forgive me if this has already been said(i didnt bother reading it all) but i dont think its the atheist view that jesus of nazerath didnt exist on the contrary there is a wealth of documentation that corroborates his existen so why would we deny it? The fact that he existed doesnt however mean he was the son of a god.

  14. The Atheist says:

    Durzal, I tend to agree with you (and others here) that Jesus really existed in history. However, there are some noteworthy arguments against an historical that merit consideration. See “Deconstructing Jesus” by Robert Price for a good collection of those arguments.

    I heard an interview with Price after he wrote “Deconstructing Jesus” where he says that he tends to go back and forth about an historical Jesus, and a Jesus is not a single historical figure. In any case, this is a very good book which I would recommend for it’s presentation of evidence both for an historical and for a non-historical Jesus.

  15. The Atheist says:

    Durzal,

    I should clarify – I agree with you that a non-historical Jesus is by no means an “atheist view” of Jesus – it is only the view of certain scholars who find the evidence for a non-historical Jesus more compelling than the evidence for an historical Jesus.

  16. The Atheist says:

    lisabee

    You seem to be arguing that God wrote the Bible for all to understand, and your argument seems to pivot on whether a Down’s Syndrome person is as intelligent as a “normal” person (though you seem to tacitly admit that Down’s Syndrome children need special education that normal children don’t need). Your justification seems to be that there is some subset of things that both a normal person and a Down’s Syndrome person can understand. Do you concede that despite the subset of things that both a normal person and a Down’s Syndrome person can understand, there are many significant things that a Down’s Syndrome person is incapable of understanding? And do you concede that Down’s Syndrome people have a significantly shallower understanding of those things in this subset than normal people have?

    Also, could you comment on the verse, II Peter 3:16, that I posted earlier which states that Paul’s writings are hard to understand?

  17. Anonymous says:

    II Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

    Peter is saying here that those who are “unlearned” or uneducated, those who do not believe in God, and the false prophets/teachers will struggle with the ‘wording’ in his letters–which mostly pertained to the apostasy and second coming of Christ–not much unlike today. People would rather believe a lie, because it justifies the lifestyle they choose, and they will ‘flock’ to these false religions.

    Do you concede that despite the subset of things that both a normal person and a Downs Syndrome person can understand, there are many significant things that a Downs Syndrome person is incapable of understanding? And do you concede that Downs Syndrome people have a significantly shallower understanding of those things in this subset than normal people have?

    No, I do not concede (I’ sorry). What I have noticed is that we ourselves deem DS children as “uneducatable” and therefore do not ‘strive’ to educate them, so yes they are going to be far behind other children as far as becoming ‘learned’ does not mean they lack intelligence.

    We are raising a generation of children that do not know how to tie their shoes–we have velcro; do not know how to spell–they type on a computer which does all the spelling for them; that do not know how to do math–they have adding machines;and they will never be able to write a check or read the Declaration of Independence–they do not have to be taught cursive writing for everything is by computer now. in short we are raising a nation that is basically illiterate-although learn able–and this will lead to government domination.
    I’ll admit the spell checker is a great tool to use. LB

  18. The Atheist says:

    Hi lisabee – a.k.a. anonymous :^p

    Peter is saying here that those who are “unlearned” or uneducated, those who do not believe in God, and the false prophets/teachers will struggle with the ‘wording’ in his letters–which mostly pertained to the apostasy and second coming of Christ–not much unlike today.

    Thanks for responding to this passage. I just reread II Peter 3, and as far as I can tell, the author doesn’t appear to say what you imagine that he says. He simply says that some of the things that Paul says are hard to understand. Could you offer a reason to interpret II Peter 3.16 in the manor that you prefer?

    Regarding your claims that Down’s Syndrome people are as intelligent as “normal” people, I feel I can confidently rest my case. If you can provide a compelling reason for me to abandon the common knowledge about the intelligence of Down’s Syndrome sufferers, and to doubt the large body of clinical knowledge in that regard, I’d be pleased to reconsider. Otherwise, I don’t see any way around viewing the claim as a naive, eccentric belief.

    Maybe claims about God’s revelation and God in general are as naive and eccentric? I don’t mean any disrespect, but it does cause me to wonder. You seem to find yourself in the unenviable position of defending the existence of divine revelation by showing that Down’s Syndrome children are as intelligent as normal people (review the discussion above for the line of reasoning: from God’s inability to communicate clearly, to the Bible being simple enough that even a Down’s Syndrome child can understand).

  19. lisabee says:

    common knowledge about the intelligence of Down’s Syndrome suffers

    this is the reasoning behind why society does not think they are pushed aside and not bothered with–society deems them unworthy.

    2 Peter 3:16 follow up- I read verses 1-15. Any verse can become confusing when we form conjectures from a single verse.

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