Here's what I said in that post ...
I am always on the lookout for evidence that some sort of god actually exists. The reason I'm an atheist is because I've never seen any evidence that's the least bit convincing. I keep asking for evidence but nobody ever supplies any.Vincent Torley ctiiticizes me for not making a clear distinction between "evidence" and "convincing evidence" and he is correct [see No evidence for God’s existence, you say? A response to Larry Moran]. When I say there's no evidence for the existence of god(s) I mean that there is no "evidence" that stands up to close scrutiny. That's not quite the same thing as saying that there's no "evidence" that others might believe or no potential facts that are presented as possible evidence.
It's an important distinction to keep in mind but It think it quite clear that when I say there's no evidence for the existence of god(s) I mean that there's no valid evidence. That brings up the question of what defines "valid evidence." The short answer is "I don't know" but I know it when I see it.
Professor Moran will want to see good evidence of miracles, so I’ll confine myself to one case: the 17th century Italian saint, Joseph of Cupertino, who was seen levitating well above the ground and even flying for some distance through the air, on literally thousands of occasions, by believers and skeptics alike. The saint was the phenomenon of the 17th century. Those who are curious might like to have a look at his biography by D. Bernini (Vita Del Giuseppe da Copertino, 1752, Roma: Ludovico Tinassi and Girolamo Mainardi). The philosopher David Hume, who was notoriously skeptical of miracle claims, never even mentions St. Joseph of Cupertino in his writings. Funny, that.If I were to accept the claim advanced by Vincent Torley then this would, indeed, constitute evidence that something very weird happened back in 1630. But I reject the claim. I simply don't believe that people actually witnessed Joseph of Cupertino flying through the air. It's not a fact. It's not evidence.
The evidence for St. Joseph’s flights is handily summarized in an article, The flying saint (The Messenger of Saint Anthony, January 2003), by Renzo Allegri.
This is a case where an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. You can't just rely on what people say they saw because if that's all you need then there must be fairies at the bottom of the garden. And UFO abductions would be real.
Read Vincent Torley's other claims of "evidence" for the existence of god(s). Some of them are quite interesting but most of them are just wishful thinking. Take "fine tuning" for example. If the universe is really "fine tuned" for the existence of life—and that is disputed by many scientists—then why does that constitute evidence of gods? We could not possibly find ourselves in any universe that was not compatible with the existence of life. If this universe arose entirely by accident then we would still be here discussing the meaning of evidence.
Fine tuning is not evidence that gods exist. The best that could be said is that if you believe in gods then you can construct stories about supernatural beings who made the universe with the goal of producing life on one small insignificant planet near the edge of an otherwise unremarkable galaxy. If you don't believe in gods then it all looks pretty haphazard.
1. If you believe that science cannot address any claim that involves the supernatural then, presumably, you will have to dispute Vincent Torley's claim using some other way of knowing. I don't know what that is. Perhaps one of you can describe it for me?