“Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, “Says Ordinary Intellect

God’s existence has been debated throughout the centuries – often fiercely, although most of the time a discussion for café enthusiasts who find the question the mark of a higher intellect; desiring the need to prove themselves worthy of the assumption. For most theists, the debate is considered a matter of common sense, not needing much proof at all, if. That is why it is the atheist who continues to bring this question to light, considering it the greatest aspect of their intelligence that they lack a belief in something. They always justify their endless skepticism about the existence of God because humanity must be “spared from the mythos of a primitive past”. Religion harms us all, so the very reality (or unreality) of the Divine must constantly be questioned until we are freed from our delusions – or so the story goes.

In any case, it is a remarkably noble goal and burden to take on. Atheists are the self-proclaimed superheroes of the contemporary world, saving us all from the evil plans of malicious phantoms for which they claim they lack belief in. Forget the Avengers, Don Quixote is the exemplar.

Windmills and dragons aside, a common weapon used to engage with believers in the Divine is the assertion that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Evidence is considered the hallmark of a justifiable belief for most people, so it doesn’t seem very extraordinary to make such an assertion.

But in fact it is quite extraordinary.

For believers in the Divine, God’s existence is in fact an ordinary aspect of reality; something easily grasped by the mind and deduced from basic internal and external observations. Perhaps for the atheist it is extraordinary, but why a theist should care about the subjective value judgment of a person who doesn’t seem to see the forest for the trees, is the real question that should be asked. If it is the case that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ then every theists on the planet need only wait for such extraordinary evidence to prove the assertion that God’s existence fits within the realm of “extraordinary”.

The atheist may respond that the above requirement is a “switching of the burden of proof” and a ludicrous standard – never mind theirs are double. However, this does not allow them to escape their own demands, nor the reality that they themselves must justify their own skepticism to a believer. For the atheist, their epistemological foundations are “common sense”, but for the theist it is likewise considered the case. Both cannot possibly be, however, very few atheists will ever get farther than making excuses for why they shouldn’t even discuss those possibilities. Until such a conversation begins, there is little that ordinary minds can do to convince us of our follies.

13 Comments on ““Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence, “Says Ordinary Intellect

  1. What do you mean by ” person who doesn’t see to see the forest for the trees, is the real question that should be asked. ” you seem to use the word ‘see’ twice which sounds wierd to me.

  2. This aptly points up the subjective aspect of belief and unbelief which is ignored by most, if not all, interlocutors. Your extreme anti-evidentialism approach also seems to aim to maintain the stalemate. But what about a hypothetical person who was not indoctrinated as a child and has never come to grips with any religious discourse, whether for or against God, until some late point in his or her life, I wonder?

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  4. Well put. Indeed it does, indeed its does!

  5. Off topic, sorry, but I was wondering if Ali or anyone could recommend the best books about Islam? 2-3 would be great, thanks.

    • Can you narrow your interest down a bit? Anyway, Charles Le Gai Eaton’s Islam and the Destiny of Man is quite an excellent primer for a western reader.

  6. The argument is not articulated clearly.

    What do you mean by the following:

    A) “If the case is such that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ – then every theist should simply wait for such extraordinary evidence to prove the statement that God’s existence fits within the realm of the ‘extraordinary’.

    Then you state:

    B) The Atheists state there is a switching of proof.

    However, (B) does not follow (A). Why are atheists claiming a switching of proof? To what? You didn’t make an argument. You said that theists should wait …. and then a switching of proof.

    Are you trying to say that God’s existence is extraordinary and that one does not require extraordinary evidence to prove such a claim? I’m confused about this particular point?

    • Hi William,

      If you don’t mind, I will repost my response to you in our email exchange so that others may benefit from the clarification:

      Atheists claim: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” and suggests that one “extraordinary claim” is that “God exists”

      I say: What is seen as “extraordinary” may be entirely subjective or based on the circumstances of which worldview you hold. Therefore, if Atheists wish to suggest that my belief in God is “extraordinary”,then to me THIS is an extraordinary claim and they need to abide by their own standards and offer me “extraordinary evidence”.

      The Atheist may retort: This is switching the burden of proof!

      To which I would reply: No, it’s just holding you to your own standard.

      • Well said as always, Lion!

      • Your overly simplistic “subjective” and “worldview” framing of “extraordinary” gives and indication that you are really not yet familiar with the depth and scope of Carl Sagan’s critical thinking skills nor his work, nor does it seem you are familiar with Hermeneutics.

        I can almost guarantee that you you would take great umbrage with any novices interpretations of the many simplistic saying from your chosen religion sacred text, so if true would seem rather hypocritical to have inconsistent discernment when commenting on Carl Sagan’s – made for public consumption – simplistic saying that represents much more depth.

      • Oh I’m familiar with his scientific works. Critical thinking? Not much depth behind them. The statement itself is quite shallow. If you disagree, feel free to educate me.

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