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No evidence is necessary

The Martian Anthropologist was writing about God today in his post called Dragon in my Garage, saying, “if you can’t back up a claim with evidence, it is not worth considering.” He also said, “I’m not going to believe in something just because it makes me feel better.”

Why not? Why not believe in something if it makes you feel better?

I’ve had this argument with a friend of mine back in Canberra, over the years. It’s their fatalistic belief as well that if it can’t be physically proven, then there’s no point considering it.

To me, this kind of argument is completely ignorant. If everyone had this attitude, we wouldn’t have the discoveries that we’ve had over the thousands of years that mankind has been around.

History itself has shown us the fallacy of this attitude, where scientific discoveries have occurred because people look for ways to prove the existence of their beliefs. The belief comes first, and then the evidence comes later. Columbus believed the Earth wasn’t flat, and he believed that if he sailed far enough he wouldn’t fall of the ends of it. The Wright Brothers believed that if man was meant to fly then he’d have wings – so they created the wings! Galileo believed that the Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe.

Most people who went against contemporary evidence were branded as heretics, fools, etc. Sometimes people were even killed for speaking out against commonly held beliefs, which were considered sacrosanct.

“Everyone knows the Earth is the centre of the universe! You just need to look how the sun and the stars and the moon revolve around us! What fools would look for ‘evidence’ that’s in front of their very eyes? Kill them!”

There’s an interesting statement I read many years ago, which I’ve always remembered, and is always appropriate.

For those who believe, no evidence is necessary.
For those who don’t believe, no evidence is enough.

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