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What would count as proof of God

ronburgundy

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

I thought of something that would be rather compelling. Suppose one day every person on the planet simultaneously saw the face and heard the voice of God in the sky. That voice simultaneously declared to every human some personal fact unknown to anyone but that person, then also told them some personal fact unknown to anyone about a total stranger they never met along with that person's contact information so they could verify it. It wouldn't be surprising to for those who already believe to claim both facts they were told are accurate. But this would mean that every non-believing human would also verify their unique facts, which means many millions of people worldwide. While mass hallucinations can occur, they do so b/c all the people are within a particular shared context and frame of mind. That would be impossible for everyone on the planet at the same moment. I can't think of any possible explanation that wouldn't entail some form of supernatural, either God or at least some moment of unified psychic type consciousness.

Would you find this convincing? If not, what alternative explanation could you give?
 

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

I thought of something that would be rather compelling. Suppose one day every person on the planet simultaneously saw the face and heard the voice of God in the sky. That voice simultaneously declared to every human some personal fact unknown to anyone but that person, then also told them some personal fact unknown to anyone about a total stranger they never met along with that person's contact information so they could verify it. It wouldn't be surprising to for those who already believe to claim both facts they were told are accurate. But this would mean that every non-believing human would also verify their unique facts, which means many millions of people worldwide. While mass hallucinations can occur, they do so b/c all the people are within a particular shared context and frame of mind. That would be impossible for everyone on the planet at the same moment. I can't think of any possible explanation that wouldn't entail some form of supernatural, either God or at least some moment of unified psychic type consciousness.

Would you find this convincing? If not, what alternative explanation could you give?

There is literally nothing that a determined skeptic could not find a "scientific explanation" for. If it really was that widespread a phenomenon, it would already be characterized as a "natural law" no more in need of a supernatural explanation than gravity or biogenesis. Laws just exist, positing a Lawgiver is an unnecessary multiplication of entities.

occams-razor-it-slices-it-dices-it-removes-the-superfluous.jpg

I mean, everyone knows that the mysterious knowledge thing happens every now and then, and it happens to everyone regardless of religion. Even if we accept that this is caused by "God", whose god is it supposed to prove the existence of? There are thousands of claimed gods, after all. Saying "God did it" adds no new information, and only leads to argument.

In any case, just because we don't understand the "mysterious knowledge phenomenon" now doesn't mean we never will. The God of the Gaps shrinks every single time a new scientific discovery is made, and there have been exciting experiments in neurobiology lately that might explain this odd quality of unprompted communal empathetic responses. Only theists think that everything strange or unexpected must necessarily be supernatural in origin.
 

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There is no single argument or piece of evidence that should, or ought to, convince anyone of the existence or nonexistence of God. That kind of question oversimplifies the nature of belief in complex concepts, which rely on a network of supporting beliefs. For example, belief in God relies on belief in the plausibility of gods in general. It relies on the belief that mental events can take place independently of brains and that spirits can somehow perceive and control physical reality in the same way that nervous systems control bodily movements. It requires one to believe that people can communicate with disembodied spirits or that such spirits are somehow a part of physical reality itself. That memories, emotions, and perceptions--everything one experiences--can continue after brain death.

Religious skeptics tend to be materialists who reject a range of beliefs that support a conclusion that god belief is plausible and justifiable. In order to convince someone to give up their belief in gods, one has to work on the foundation of beliefs that support it. People who end up rejecting religious beliefs are those for whom the foundations have eroded and crumbled away.
 

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Convincing evidence, reasoning, and proof are human things. If there was a god and he wanted everyone to know him and his nature then he would just magically make it so. According to Christians, god communicates through revelations so if everyone in the world woke 'knowing the truth' there could be no questioning, only sure and absolute recognition.
 

ronburgundy

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So, none of the responses provide any kind of explanation. And note that this isn't really one event but 7 billion events happening simultaneously (every person on the planet seeing and hearing the same entity and acquiring new information about another random person on the planet). And it isn't merely a "weird" event, but very specifically a personified entity imparting knowledge unobtainable via the senses. And while one such event to one person is explicable, it happening to everyone regardless of their prior beliefs and current context and situation make some form of internally generated hallucination impossible. The entity being real would be the most parsimonious explanation, even if that entity was some sort of physical alien being with the power to access all human minds at once that would still make it god-like. The other parsimonious alternative would be some form of psychic mind meld of all humans at once which would still require mental activity transcending the physical brain.

Also, this is not a "God of the gaps" scenario. God of the gaps is when something that has no direct relevance to a God is unexplained, so God is inserted into that gap in knowledge. This would be direct observation by every human of an entity that would meet the basic parameters of the God concept.

You can say that it if this entity was observed so universally that would then be "natural" but that is a cop out. If God was observed, then God would be natural too. To claim that there are no observations that would lead to the conclusion that something akin to God exists is to reject empiricism itself.
 

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

Physical constants of the universe have a definitive mathematical message built into them. It would have to be built into the structure of the universe in such a way that any observer would get the same value.

Something like the FST, which is the same no matter what units we use for G, kg, mass, energy, time, etc. would have to have a message encoded into it, that anyone could see indicated intelligence.

So... that's about it. If the FST, or related constants, have no meaning hidden in them? Well... then... I don't know.
 

remez

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Your thread title had me all ready to go. But then you went here……….
So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

Two issues. One bad and one good.

1. You narrowed it to the skeptics only
But
2. you did replace “proof” with “evidence” and that was important b/c they are not synonymous.

I’m not a skeptic when it comes to God’s existence, so I can’t address what it would take. I was at one time a skeptic and it took evidence, philosophy (reasoning, arguments, etc) and theology for me to trust in God’s existence. Recorded miracles were not even plausible to me until God became plausible. Think about it. IF God exists and he created this universe then of course miracles are possible.

But I’m a skeptic of many other beliefs like your assumed existence of mass hallucinations.

So really the issue is what and how do we reason a premise or argument to be rational? Ground floor epistemology. That’s how I can assert that there are rational arguments for God’s existence and you purport the opposite. We operate from and different ground floor.

You simply reason that theists have no reason for God’s existence, b/c faith is blind. And lazily dismiss the existence of arguments that do attempt to provide reason for God’s existence. These arguments are all irrational b/c faith means without reason. There is nowhere to begin.

You also reason that science is on your side, yet my theism has no conflict with scientific evidence. I embrace it. I by contrast reason that your methodological naturalism limits your ability to follow the evidence where it leads. You mentioned latter in another post that you seemed to embrace empiricism. I strongly embrace empirical evidence and would show you quickly that your empiricism is self-refuting. Thus empiricism is an improper epistemological foundation from which to assert that God does not exist.

If you can open your mind to the fact that I do have reasons for my trust in God’s existence then address these theistically neutral questions to open our epistemological exploration….

1. What is the purpose of an argument to begin with?
2. What would make a premises or an argument rational?
And crucially……….
3. Must the premises be absolutely certain to be considered rational or is the premise considered rational to believe if it is more plausible than its alternatives?

The answers are fairly short but critical for us in exploring our different epistemologies. Upon your response I’ll reply in kind.
 

remez

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Convincing evidence, reasoning, and proof are human things. If there was a god and he wanted everyone to know him and his nature then he would just magically make it so. According to Christians, god communicates through revelations so if everyone in the world woke 'knowing the truth' there could be no questioning, only sure and absolute recognition.

parsed below....................

Convincing evidence, reasoning, and proof are human things.
Forgive me for being direct, but to me that can only infer that human reasoning can lead to no good end and therefore should be rejected. But then you journey on to reason………..

If there was a god and he wanted everyone to know him and his nature then he would just magically make it so. According to Christians, god communicates through revelations so if everyone in the world woke 'knowing the truth' there could be no questioning, only sure and absolute recognition.
So assuming you’re human we should reject your reasoning.
 

skepticalbip

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parsed below....................


Forgive me for being direct, but to me that can only infer that human reasoning can lead to no good end and therefore should be rejected. But then you journey on to reason………..

If there was a god and he wanted everyone to know him and his nature then he would just magically make it so. According to Christians, god communicates through revelations so if everyone in the world woke 'knowing the truth' there could be no questioning, only sure and absolute recognition.
So assuming you’re human we should reject your reasoning.

You really need to work on your reading comprehension skills.
 

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I hold that nothing unnatural exists. Think about that for a second. So if the event you describe happens it is certainly something natural. Gods are not natural things so if they exist they can only be something natural in need of an explanation. Like you said, maybe they're advanced life forms, but they're not gods.

Gods are ontological constructs and if my ontology doesn't allow for gods then there will never be any gods for me. If you show me a god and say it's god I'll want to figure it out, knowing all the while it isn't a god.

How would I know the event you describe wasn't caused by a Leprechaun? Aren't leprechauns, fairies, ghosts and other such critters alleged to have supernatural powers? What prevents them from pulling off such an event? Look how many homes Santa gets to in just one night for millions of people who believe in the Santa.

Maybe if the god turned me into a god and I could experience being a god I might be convinced. Right now, however, the concept is nonsensical except as fictional/emotional/cultural entertainment.
 

skepticalbip

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

Physical constants of the universe have a definitive mathematical message built into them. It would have to be built into the structure of the universe in such a way that any observer would get the same value.

Something like the FST, which is the same no matter what units we use for G, kg, mass, energy, time, etc. would have to have a message encoded into it, that anyone could see indicated intelligence.
Interesting assumption but you didn't explain why "there would have to have a message encoded into it".
So... that's about it. If the FST, or related constants, have no meaning hidden in them? Well... then... I don't know.
That is a quite old argument for a god... "I don't know, therefore god". However it evokes an extremely limited and ever-shrinking kind of god.
 
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Kharakov

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

Physical constants of the universe have a definitive mathematical message built into them. It would have to be built into the structure of the universe in such a way that any observer would get the same value.

Something like the FST, which is the same no matter what units we use for G, kg, mass, energy, time, etc. would have to have a message encoded into it, that anyone could see indicated intelligence.

Interesting assumption but you didn't explain why "there would have to have a message encoded into it".
There doesn't have to be- if the universe arises naturally, why would there be a message encoded in the FSC or something like quark mass ratios? They would be simple consequences of natural law- they couldn't be anything other than what they are.

However, if there is an intelligent creator, that knows that it can't micromanage every event, but can refine natural interactions to the point that it can put a message in some of these ratios that will be the same to all observers, it can reveal itself to intelligent life by setting up messages in these ratios. Maybe even encode certain ways of behaving into those ratios that allow intelligent life to perfect itself, and its interaction with God.

If physicists and mathematicians find certain messages in these unalterable ratios? Messages which show how things should be? I'd think they'd believe. They'd act. And they'd make life right. At least for them. I'd still be screwed. Fucked over. On the bottom. Suffering, but every once in a while feeling good. Escaping from the hell of my life with some drugs that let me escape life... and enjoy my brain.

No message? We're alone. We still have to do what we can. We're still screwed. I can still hope, despite knowledge of the corrupt, that I can get a gun and a bullet to get out of this life of service to the corrupt.


So... that's about it. If the FST, or related constants, have no meaning hidden in them? Well... then... I don't know.
That is a quite old argument for a god... "I don't know, therefore god". However it evokes an extremely limited and ever-shrinking kind of god.

It wasn't an argument for God. It was me saying I don't know how else a God would prove itself to skeptics who believe in scientific results.
 

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I do not know evidence would be sufficient to warrant belief in an omnipotent and omniscient being. No hypothetical scenario that we could hypothesize seems to justify such an idea.

Regardless, if such an all-knowing and all-powerful did exist, it would know what it would take to convince me, and it has so far withheld itself from undergoing that task of convincing me. So what is stopping god? It cannot be because it would violate free will. Plenty of religious believers have been convinced of god through (what they perceive to be) direct communication with god. God apparently communicates regularly with people without violating their free will. Why wouldn't god do the same with everyone?
 

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I do not know evidence would be sufficient to warrant belief in an omnipotent and omniscient being.
Ah, the frank admission. I like it.
It happens more often with skeptics than with believers. ;)

Let me propose a scenario:

Q (from Star Trek) shows up and claims to be the god that all our myths are based on. He (it) obviously has most of the powers attributed to most gods. What is the functional difference?

Let's say he wants to be worshipped, would the believers fall in line? What about the skeptics?
 

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If God is omniscient and omnipotent, he can prove his divinity to me in a way I find convincing, and knows how to do it.

Since I am not god, I don't have to say what method he should use, because I don't know it.

But the fact I can't think of anything is no barrier to God's omnipotence. Any being who can't convince me is, by definition, not omnipotent, and therefore not god.

It would be quite easy for a being to convince me that it has god-like powers, simply by doing things.
 

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If, in the middle of a Trump rally, a giant hand (which would be translucent but fully articulated) would suddenly appear as our President was calling someone "low IQ" or "son of a bitch" or "little shit" or some other Presidential phrase, and close around Trump's bulky midsection, pick him up, swing him back and forth over the audience, then flip him upside down, hold him by the ankles, and shake him until his orange weave and clothes fluttered off, then gently lower him to the stage clad in socks and shoes (causing the Secret Service extra commotion because none of the agents could offer him a piece of clothing that would fit, forcing them to grab an overweight female Trumpie and confiscate her house dress)......THEN I'd probably believe. (BTW, Trump would start screaming about 'Cheatin' God' being on a witch hunt.)
All that, or a message in ten or twelve languages to be engraved on the surface of the moon. God has the moon as a perfect screen for any message. Let him use the moon. But I'd still like him to shake the bejesus out of Trump, because at least that would bolster the Christian message about ultimate justice in the cosmos. Trump wouldn't care much, because he wouldn't lose more than a half percent of his base.
 

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Since I am not god, I don't have to say what method he should use, because I don't know it.
Well, it also depends on which god, right? some gods offer immortality, some are more concerned with a 'balance of nature' and wouldn't bend it so far as immortality.
A volcano god might offer to prove his divinity by destroying something, while a creator god might whip out an entirely new form of life. A sapient plant or a talking virus...
 

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My God, yes. Think of what bounty the Cinnabon God could provide. I suggest (humbly)... the 6-pack of Cinnabon Classic for $2 (money to go to the Cinnabon priesthood or charities.)
 

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I do not know evidence would be sufficient to warrant belief in an omnipotent and omniscient being.
Ah, the frank admission. I like it.
It happens more often with skeptics than with believers. ;)

Let me propose a scenario:

Q (from Star Trek) shows up and claims to be the god that all our myths are based on. He (it) obviously has most of the powers attributed to most gods. What is the functional difference?

Let's say he wants to be worshipped, would the believers fall in line? What about the skeptics?

I imagine most would. Humans are practical-minded and survival-oriented, and Q would simply erase the exceptions. While the TV Q was a fan of the sciences, I suspect a real one wouldn't give hald a crap about Picard's lofty speeches, and would see religious and skeptical objections to his rule in a similar light. When empires invade with clear superiority of numbers and biotoxins, do they care whether indigenous resistance is fueled by spiritual or rational arguments?
 

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If God is omniscient and omnipotent, he can prove his divinity to me in a way I find convincing, and knows how to do it.

Since I am not god, I don't have to say what method he should use, because I don't know it.

But the fact I can't think of anything is no barrier to God's omnipotence. Any being who can't convince me is, by definition, not omnipotent, and therefore not god.

It would be quite easy for a being to convince me that it has god-like powers, simply by doing things.

He might. But let me warn you, it may do nothing to convince your friends and neighbors if he does.
 

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It's a good thing I'm not pushy about my beliefs, isn't it?
 

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At the risk of sounding snide, convincing evidence would be something that convinces me. I have absolutely no idea what kind of activity I'd classify as divine as opposed to classifying it as either a mental aberration or mistake on my part or something done by an alien instead of a god.

However an omniscient being would know exactly what would convince me and an omnipotent being would be able to provide that evidence. Therefore, if God exists and he was interested in providing me with proof of his existence, he would succeed, despite the fact that I am personally unsure of what exact method he would use in order to succeed. It may be something simple and banal that just kind of clicks with me or it may be something extraordinarily complex which I couldn't find a way to attribute to anything else. If he's real, he knows what it is and the ball's in his court.
 

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If God is omniscient and omnipotent, he can prove his divinity to me in a way I find convincing, and knows how to do it.

Since I am not god, I don't have to say what method he should use, because I don't know it.

But the fact I can't think of anything is no barrier to God's omnipotence. Any being who can't convince me is, by definition, not omnipotent, and therefore not god.

It would be quite easy for a being to convince me that it has god-like powers, simply by doing things.

Yes, demonstrating that, if there is a god, he doesn't really give a shit whether or not we know it.
 

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The problem isn't with the form the evidence takes. The problem is the "one day" part.

A one-off event isn't good enough evidence for any extraordinary claim. The more extraordinary a claim is, the more important it becomes that the evidence backing that claim is repeatable.

And "There's just no way (he/she/I) could possibly have known that, other than (god/psychic powers/supernatural means)", is always false, and is the hallmark of a scam.

Even if it's very unlikely that someone else could know something you believe to be known only to you, it's still less unlikely than gods. And actually it's very rare for someone to be the only person who knows some secret. Information is more pervasive and leaky than most people realise - a LOT more.

If someone tells you something that you believed you were the only person who knew, that's very persuasive indeed as an argument for some supernatural phenomenon. That's why stage psychics and astrologers are so successful. It shouldn't be persuasive - but it is, because it plugs straight into our innate desire to be special, important, and interesting.
 

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Such a god would simply have to implant the knowledge of its existence in our brains such that we could not ever believe other. This is, of course, just one of the many many fatal flaws in any cult that posits such a being in the first place.

Cult member: God wrote the bible so that you would know his word!
Sane person: Why go to such bother? Why didn't he just implant that knowledge?
Cult member: Because...umm....he wants you to...learn how to read....and, you know, no robots....?
 

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There is no such thing as 'proof of god'. The trouble is, there is no way for us to make a distinction between a super powerful alien individual or race and a god.
 

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The problem isn't with the form the evidence takes. The problem is the "one day" part.

A one-off event isn't good enough evidence for any extraordinary claim. The more extraordinary a claim is, the more important it becomes that the evidence backing that claim is repeatable.

And "There's just no way (he/she/I) could possibly have known that, other than (god/psychic powers/supernatural means)", is always false, and is the hallmark of a scam.

Even if it's very unlikely that someone else could know something you believe to be known only to you, it's still less unlikely than gods. And actually it's very rare for someone to be the only person who knows some secret. Information is more pervasive and leaky than most people realise - a LOT more.

If someone tells you something that you believed you were the only person who knew, that's very persuasive indeed as an argument for some supernatural phenomenon. That's why stage psychics and astrologers are so successful. It shouldn't be persuasive - but it is, because it plugs straight into our innate desire to be special, important, and interesting.

Lots of people have "proven" that Bigfoot is real because they have encountered the beast, provided kooky accounts, grainy videos and pictures, etc. Proof that there's a god isn't much different than proof that there's a bigfoot or a leprechaun.

Like Sagan said, you can't prove there's a dragon by the burn on your hand from its fiery breath. You have to have the dragon. Events don't prove there's a god, you gotta have the god to prove the god.
 

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So the main problem seems to be the strawman tri-omni God.


What about the God (perhaps it's a group of beings that presents itself as one being every time it interacts with you, for continuity of experience for you) that learns to control its self, in such a way that it can create other consciousnesses, and respond to them?

Maybe it sets up the natural system.

Maybe the natural system is a byproduct of it acting in the best interests of a consciousness it deliberately creates.

Maybe the natural system is how it reacts to and interacts with the beings it creates- maybe it does not know another way, or this is the best way.


If it is this type of God- not the bullshit tri-omni God of the ignorant: If it only knows how to create in this (natural) manner, or believes that it is best to start out in this way.


How would it reveal itself to you in such a way that you wouldn't think it was other intelligent beings fucking with you? Should it?

What if it isn't a God, but rather we are created by the actions of many intelligent beings that arose from quantum chaos? How would they reveal themselves to you?

What if there is one God, but it acts for all beings, so there are conflicts that the beings have to work out themselves. It cares, it works for you, but it cannot resolve conflicts between you and other beings because it attempts to satisfy them as well. So blessed are the peacemakers.

How does this last God reveal itself to you? Politics? Putting someone entirely unpalatable to everyone on top so that everyone learns to be good to one another? Sigh. anyway. If there is a God, it better be smarter than me.
 

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So the main problem seems to be the strawman tri-omni God.

.
I see a much more basic problem. I see no more reason to accept as real any imaginary critter whether it be a god with limited or unlimited magical powers, King Kong, Godzilla, the Sand Man, Superman, Puff the Magic Dragon, or the Silver Surfer. Just because someone can imagine such a critter and tells others about it doesn't make it real even though some others may say, "yeah, I can buy that."
 

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So the main problem seems to be the strawman tri-omni God.

.
I see a much more basic problem. I see no more reason to accept as real any imaginary critter whether it be a god with limited or unlimited magical powers, King Kong, Godzilla, the Sand Man, Superman, Puff the Magic Dragon, or the Silver Surfer. Just because someone can imagine such a critter and tells others about it doesn't make it real even though some others may say, "yeah, I can buy that."

Yeah, the main problem is the persistent lack of evidence for any gods of any kind.

When something is indistinguishable from a fictional construct, and one is surrounded by people with a penchant for imaginative fiction, it's foolish to assume that anything is non-fiction until actual evidence for it is presented.

And the more extraordinary the claims, the more evidence is required.

I have yet to see an argument for any gods that would not be equally applicable to a number of superheroes.

I am not about to accept that either are real world phenomena, and find it laughable that others do.

Being tri-omni isn't a big deal; It's certainly not a requirement for me in order to reject a god claim. Any more than it's a sticking point for the existence of a superhero that he can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I don't believe that there really is a man who can leap tall buildings in a single bound. But that doesn't make a man who can do whatever a spider can, one iota less implausible.
 

Kharakov

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So the main problem seems to be the strawman tri-omni God.

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I see a much more basic problem. I see no more reason to accept as real any imaginary critter whether it be a god with limited or unlimited magical powers, King Kong, Godzilla, the Sand Man, Superman, Puff the Magic Dragon, or the Silver Surfer. Just because someone can imagine such a critter and tells others about it doesn't make it real even though some others may say, "yeah, I can buy that."

Yeah, the main problem is the persistent lack of evidence for any gods of any kind.
Or persistent lack of mathematical and physical knowhow that would allow one to discern that the physical constants in the universe were set in one of the ways I mentioned, which would provide direct evidence that the universe (at least our portion) was created (if it was). It would simply be a lack of scientific and mathematical accumen, on the part of atheists, that led to their disbelief. Of course, learning the truth will just be another step in the right direction: but would they trust scientists who say there is a message in the physical constants of the universe, or not?

If it costs them nothing, then maybe. Maybe they would still be suspicious. Maybe they would be curious (I'd be curious. And annoyed.).


Of course, it could just be other beings playing a long con- beings who desire to make fun of presumptuous, uneducated atheists.


So no claims here. Basically, if there is a hidden message, it's evidence the universe was created. Depending on what the message is (like "fuck you guys, I'm making another universe full of nice people"- think SMBC Jesus "He stops by all the time. When he came the first time, we gave him a box of chocolates. What did you guys give him?" ). But that assumes a lot.
 

Rhea

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If we woke up in the morning and every religionist on the planet agreed on what a god was and every aspect of its nature and desires.

Or, yeah, if it’s a god, it makes it happen. Ipso facto, right? It’s a god. It’s not smaller than me, it knows what to do.
 

bilby

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Essentially, there are lots of things that would count as proof of gods.

But none of them are actually going to occur, because gods don't exist.

You might as well ask what would count as proof that the Earth is flat.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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If the ability to bring a universe into existence makes something a god, then what is a person who plants a seed in the proper conditions and brings forth an apple tree and apples? If I had the knowledge and means to bring forth a universe does that make me a god? How does that make me a god, or is that just the definition of a god?

Gods seem to be nothing more than creatures of emotion.
 

Keith&Co.

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AIDS, might.
I mean, if the virus really did have a sexual-preference preference like Uncle Howard insists.

If AIDS could not be transmitted at all through moral behavior, but was 100% contagious across immoral lines. Like, you could contract the disease from sharing drug needles, but a surgeon who cut himself during surgery just never ever ever ever caught HIV from a patient. An AIDS patient who caught it from a gay prostitute could never pass it to their spouse. Blood donations never threaten ER patients, though blood-play in a BDSM session would be a suicide pact.

Something behaving that much like a cartoon villain as the faithful insist, that might be compelling. But then, we'd have to be living in the cartoon world of the evangelical, and this conversation would be moot.
 

DrZoidberg

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So it's been asked here and within philosophy generally, what would qualify as convincing evidence of God to a skeptic not ideologically inclined to believe?

I thought of something that would be rather compelling. Suppose one day every person on the planet simultaneously saw the face and heard the voice of God in the sky. That voice simultaneously declared to every human some personal fact unknown to anyone but that person, then also told them some personal fact unknown to anyone about a total stranger they never met along with that person's contact information so they could verify it. It wouldn't be surprising to for those who already believe to claim both facts they were told are accurate. But this would mean that every non-believing human would also verify their unique facts, which means many millions of people worldwide. While mass hallucinations can occur, they do so b/c all the people are within a particular shared context and frame of mind. That would be impossible for everyone on the planet at the same moment. I can't think of any possible explanation that wouldn't entail some form of supernatural, either God or at least some moment of unified psychic type consciousness.

Would you find this convincing? If not, what alternative explanation could you give?

Nothing. It's a stupid concept. If God would appear and do something, we'd just add that to science and our understanding of how the world works.

And if God actually exists what do you think the chances are that anybody managed to nail it? I'm sure everybody is wrong. That's usually how science progresses.
 

abaddon

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Even theists know tides are the push and pull of gravity... but THAT is the mystery of God. Where'd "the laws" come from?

Theists like mysteries with "a mind did it" as the answer. And that mind is, to them, more wonderful than the wonders of nature. Anything, ANYTHING, so long as they don't have to attribute the wonder of nature to where it belongs: nature itself. That'd be so disappointing.

Why? Cuz ultimately, deity is humans projected out onto nature thereby giving it a familiar face. Theists say they like the wonder of mystery... But mostly they don't want a mindless, uncaring nature squishing them. So long as it's "manned" by somebody who can pick some favorites from among us, then they might not get randomly squished by "random" nature.
 

bilby

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Essentially, there are lots of things that would count as proof of gods.
Such as...?

Such as actual gods being seen doing godly things as a matter of routine.

Basically the same things that make people confident in the existence of real things in the real world. I know my dining table exists, because my spaghetti doesn't land in my lap.

I know gods don't exist, because theists have to eat off their knees.
 

Copernicus

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Even theists know tides are the push and pull of gravity... but THAT is the mystery of God. Where'd "the laws" come from?

Theists like mysteries with "a mind did it" as the answer. And that mind is, to them, more wonderful than the wonders of nature. Anything, ANYTHING, so long as they don't have to attribute the wonder of nature to where it belongs: nature itself. That'd be so disappointing.

Why? Cuz ultimately, deity is humans projected out onto nature thereby giving it a familiar face. Theists say they like the wonder of mystery... But mostly they don't want a mindless, uncaring nature squishing them. So long as it's "manned" by somebody who can pick some favorites from among us, then they might not get randomly squished by "random" nature.

Right, but I think that the reason for the projection is grounded in the way human cognition develops in a growing child. The brain interprets incoming sensations by creating experience-based models of reality. Our most powerful first experiences are bodily experiences in which we control sensations by willing body parts to move (arms, legs, eyes, mouth, tongue). That's why babies are constantly moving, grasping, touching, smelling, tasting, etc. Volition causes body parts to move. So the easiest way to understand the behavior of things not under our own control is to imagine them as under the conscious control of other beings like us. That represents a good initial explanatory model of things that happen in our surroundings.

Animism is perhaps the first, most widespread form of religious belief. It is a model of reality in which souls (volitional entities) exist in animals, plants, physical objects, and natural phenomena. So their behavior can be interpreted in terms of volitional causation. Gods are clearly idealized human entities, and pantheons tend to be structured in terms of family structure--the earliest social experience that children have. God can be a "father" or "mother" to whom obedience is owed. To a young child, parents can do anything. They are omnipotent and omniscient. So it seems likely that religion is a natural outcome of the process by which cognition develops in a human mind. As we age, our models become more complex and sophisticated. Projecting human attributes on natural phenomena is a legacy of childhood, and that explains, IMO, why most people find it difficult to give up belief in the existence of gods, especially the monotheistic God. It takes a lot of experience and critical thinking for us to come to realize how impersonal the universe really is.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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Essentially, there are lots of things that would count as proof of gods.
Such as...?

Such as actual gods being seen doing godly things as a matter of routine.

Basically the same things that make people confident in the existence of real things in the real world. I know my dining table exists, because my spaghetti doesn't land in my lap.

I know gods don't exist, because theists have to eat off their knees.
But what would be godly verses just highly advanced?
 

bilby

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Such as actual gods being seen doing godly things as a matter of routine.

Basically the same things that make people confident in the existence of real things in the real world. I know my dining table exists, because my spaghetti doesn't land in my lap.

I know gods don't exist, because theists have to eat off their knees.
But what would be godly verses just highly advanced?

I'm not sure it would be possible to tell the difference, but as neither is in evidence, I don't really care :)
 

Jimmy Higgins

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Such as actual gods being seen doing godly things as a matter of routine.

Basically the same things that make people confident in the existence of real things in the real world. I know my dining table exists, because my spaghetti doesn't land in my lap.

I know gods don't exist, because theists have to eat off their knees.
But what would be godly verses just highly advanced?

I'm not sure it would be possible to tell the difference, but as neither is in evidence, I don't really care :)
Well, seeing that the OP is asking, I do think it is relevant. We are incapable of telling if something is incredibly advanced or whether it is a deity.
 

bilby

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I'm not sure it would be possible to tell the difference, but as neither is in evidence, I don't really care :)
Well, seeing that the OP is asking, I do think it is relevant. We are incapable of telling if something is incredibly advanced or whether it is a deity.

But the question doesn't arise; We see neither, so needn't care.

If Q turns up, we can ask him. Though we may not want to take his word for it either way.

But until he turns up, the question is unimportant.

Except perhaps in the observation that we DON'T have a Q to ask - so his absence is strong evidence of the absence of both gods and advanced aliens, at least on our planet. Which squashes most theistic worldviews.

If people pray, and an advanced alien detects and acts on their prayers, then that alien is indistinguishable from a god.

But if people pray, they actually get the same response we would anticipate in the absence of either gods or aliens - so we can conclude that neither exists.
 

AdamWho

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No amount of evidence can justify a causal link to the supernatural.

It is a meaningless question from the beginning.
 

skepticalbip

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I'm not sure it would be possible to tell the difference, but as neither is in evidence, I don't really care :)
Well, seeing that the OP is asking, I do think it is relevant. We are incapable of telling if something is incredibly advanced or whether it is a deity.

But the question in the OP is just a 'god of the gaps' argument or an argument from ignorance- something happens that 'we can not currently explain therefore god'. Some inexplicable event is not proof of god any more than it is proof of magic turnips. An inexplicable event simply means we can't yet explain it.
 
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