Elaborating on the notion of how to test beliefs, p. 70 provides the statement that “the whole notion of ‘an independent rational judgment’ is suspect, especially when there are no mutually agreed-upon reliable scientific tests to decide what to believe”.
Previous posts in this forum have outlined the fallacy of looking for scientific proof of something that is beyond science. Yet, that doesn’t mean that theistic beliefs are irrational.
What is interesting about Loftus stating that there are no mutually agreed-upon, reliable scientific tests is that he prides himself on the reliability of his control beliefs to conclusively establish the problems with Christianity. What’s more is that his control beliefs are supposedly based on scientific methodology. With that in mind, do atheist beliefs adhere to the Shermer statement quoted by Loftus that “people...give intellectual reasons justifying their beliefs that they arrived at for non-intelligent reasons.” Merely asserting that there is nothing supernatural without a shred of evidence would definitely fall under the category of a belief arrived at for non-intelligent reasons. Since that's the case, nontheism is certainly no better than theism. Moreover, nontheism can't address many metaphysical issues whereas theism can. In that sense, theism has a distinct advantage over nontheism.
When Loftus says that there is no “independent, rational judgment” he is making an independent, rational judgment. This kind of relativistic, postmodern double standard committed by non-theists never ends.
Non-theists constantly prop up “mutually agreed-upon” tests as the standard par excellence. Yet, he admits all over page 70 that people arrive at their beliefs for non-intelligent reasons. What makes secular rationalists think that such a test is reasonable?