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What would count as proof of God

Learner

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Thank you, so no device or monitoring apparatus exists at all, lovely, just what I needed to hear!
You have no idea what people are talking about, do you?
He alternates his persona from Babe in the Woods to a Snippy Mr. Knows Enough quite often.
Hey, it’s all of no consequence.
So many words, so little meaning. But it’s an entertainment medium, and Learner seems to be amusing himself
OTOH I am still wondering about his “education”. Seems to have been heavily indoctrinated in the free thinker “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge” school of philosophy.

Interesting two different perceptions of one entity quoted above and below.
I’m betting he has more formal education than I do, and it has taught him to pigeonhole me as a hopeless academician.
What are you saying?

The previous post about the two academics. One, the analytical thinker (context also meaning open minded), and the other, that who is unable to compute in his mind, the things outside that may exist which isn't text book. When you aks me which one were you, I said it could be determined by how you ( plural) would post.

I didn't pigeonhole you in that catagory btw - I was just replying, with what seemed to me, back in a similar tone.
 

Elixir

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Let me pigeonhole you, and see if I’m correct at all.
I think you went to good grade and high schools, got into a State college or Uni, and dropped out in year 1or2.
Close?
 

Learner

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Let me pigeonhole you, and see if I’m correct at all.
I think you went to good grade and high schools, got into a State college or Uni, and dropped out in year 1or2.
Close?

You know what? After so many posts about being uneducated, this is a compliment.

You didn't believe me when I said I was from a working class background, (and I was one of the few that loved school dinners), not that you couldn't get into good schools from that background. Not close.
 

Elixir

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Not even high school?
That might help explain your inability to assess the extent of your own knowledge and insight regarding physical sciences. Not to even begin to mention cosmology, quantum physics or BB theory.
 

bilby

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Let me pigeonhole you, and see if I’m correct at all.
I think you went to good grade and high schools, got into a State college or Uni, and dropped out in year 1or2.
Close?
Pretty much spot-on, although I did all of that in the UK, so the names of those various institutions were rather different.

Or wasn't this addressed to me? ;)
 

Elixir

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Let me pigeonhole you, and see if I’m correct at all.
I think you went to good grade and high schools, got into a State college or Uni, and dropped out in year 1or2.
Close?
Pretty much spot-on, although I did all of that in the UK, so the names of those various institutions were rather different.

Or wasn't this addressed to me? ;)
I would have pegged you for a last year dropout, or perhaps a grad school dropout.
You obviously have a very active curiosity that you have nurtured and fed well over the years, with little regard for prior biases you may have held. I admire your retention ability, which is a bugaboo for those whose education was acquired without structure and format. (Ask me how I know.)
I think Learner has, on the other hand, taken all that curiosity, rolled it up and given it to Jesus to sort out. And Jesus has rewarded the prayer with heaping helpings of hopeless confusion, not only about the sciences, but also about what Jesus can and cannot help him with.
But I thought that since trying to convince him that the omniscience of God isn't going to help him play science authority is futile, maybe this thread would lighten up some if he can talk about himself. And I'm genuinely interested in that. At least more than in trying to convince him of the delusional nature of his "scientific insights".
 

Learner

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Not even high school?
That might help explain your inability to assess the extent of your own knowledge and insight regarding physical sciences. Not to even begin to mention cosmology, quantum physics or BB theory.

Lol, I like the line of debating. I have already taken the status of uneducated, in a previous post. Now, all I'm doing, or I'm going to do, is ask questions, so I can learn (yes I do want to), like I wanted earlier to know how "no gods are possible" for example, where my limited ability can't understand the reasoning.
 

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I honestly just pity learner, because I pity myself. I've tried on so many lives, and while it's pretty obvious that I like this one the best so far because I continue to live in it, there were some epic embarrassments of my youth that I'm not keen on revisiting.

There is a cost, a price paid in uncomfortability to look on that, in admitting that this was who I used to be, and I cannot ever claim now that I wasn't and thus may never be again without the hindsight whose cost was living with much ignorance!

Still, no real magic comes without cost. The cost of Creation is staring into the void. The cost of Divination is learning many different kinds of jargon and learning all the places one may ask questions.

But learning this? The cost is accepting and learning to love the fact that you yourself, the thinker thinking, is wrong, and the only one pulling ideas out of the void on how to fix that is you.

Not even high school?
That might help explain your inability to assess the extent of your own knowledge and insight regarding physical sciences. Not to even begin to mention cosmology, quantum physics or BB theory.

Lol, I like the line of debating. I have already taken the status of uneducated, in a previous post. Now, all I'm doing or I'm going to do, is ask questions, so I can learn (yes I do want to), like I wanted earlier to know how "no gods are possible" for example, where my limited ability can't understand.
I have explained in a couple of posts that "no gods are possible" is heavily dependent on what is a god, and in fact expounded on the fact that "there are zero or more gods" and "no gods are in evidence".

The bolded part of your post cannot happen from you asking questions here. Or more, it simply won't. It costs a few tens of thousands of dollars worth in effort to even supply an undergraduate degree, and you don't seem to be ponying up.

None of us even have the credentials to teach you. You have to do the work.
 

Learner

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I think I can anwser that later in Bilby's post regarding "all one" of the physicists so far mentioned
One is sufficient to refute the claim of "none".

I guess so, but, my simplistic basic logic keeps nagging me. Wouldn't it be wiser to go with the large majority and just say "We don't know" or "we have no way to tell at the moment?" At least until other scientists come on board?

At least some of our forum friends are with you on this one. You're not alone eh Atrib, Elixir, Jarhyn? :hallo:

Moving the goalposts is not a good way to impress people with your intellectual honesty.

And reality isn't a democracy. It's not necessary for an idea to be popular in order for it to be correct. All that is necessary is for it not to be contradicted by observed reality.

Reality is the only authority.

I prefer the goal posts to stay where they are.
 

atrib

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IF I know only 2 % knowledge of the subject, even if it's not adequate enough, I would disagree with your statement.
First, I sincerely doubt that you actually understand 0.02% of quantum theory, and second, I would bet my life that you can’t do the math to bear out any of the conclusions you wishfully draw from it. You may have memorized 98% of what is available about it in public media, and what I say is still true.
Yeah, it’s fun to conjecture.
Have fun, dude, it’s important to have fun, even if you don’t contribute to the human knowledge base.

Thank you Elixir for that, which reminds me of something when you said memorizing 98%.

You reminded me of the analogy, of the two types of educated. Both have accumulated knowledge throughout there time n academia. But there is a difference between the two. When putting both of these fellows out of there environment, an environment where their knowledge is not any use, the difference between these fellows starts to show. Both are very knowledgeable but only one of them is able to adapt to the new environment The other is lost and confusued because , what he was taught he has engraved as the only guidance he goes by in the environment he's accustomed to. He can't get outside that mode, i.e. outsid the box, quite stubborn, has no burden, only repeating and repeating whilst professing to be wise.

The other is course is the analytical thinker, who thinks outside the box. He has imagination.
You are no analytical thinker. In order to think outside the box, one has to know where the box is, what it looks like, and what is inside the box. Which you don't. You don't even understand what people are talking about most of the time.


Anyone can be an analytical thinker. And you don't have tto be highly educated to be so?
It depends. You need to learn the following foundational items before you can think analytically about the Big Bang Model, for example:

1. Newtonian physics
2. Mathematics
3. Numerical modeling and analysis
4. Foundational cosmology (physics of macro objects)
5. Relativistic physics (general and special relativity and 3D geometry)
6. Astronomy

You also need to know about the vast body of observations that has been collected by scientists over the past two to four hundred years that the Big Bang Theory is based on.

But you don't know any of these things. So when you say things like this:

Really? You can tell all that, just by that sentence in bold? Extremely advanced, psychological profiling?
Its not a comment on your psychological profile, its a comment about your foundational education in physics and math. And my opinion is not based solely on one sentence, it is based on your history of posting on these forums over many years. You clearly don't have a high school level education in physics and math. Am I wrong?


Yes it does depend - it's purely a philisophical point of view, I was getting at.
To have a philosophical discussion on the merits of the Big Bang model and contrast it to other models, one must first have an understanding of the scientific underpinnings of the model and the observational data it is based on. I have a PhD in engineering with a strong background in applied math, and I don't understand a lot of the math that goes into solving general relativity problems, especially the way the geometry problem is handled. Are you saying that you do understand these details? If so, it certainly doesn't come through in your posts.




You'll be surprised to hear that I'm not a proponent of the Big Bang as it may seem to you. Meaning a "beginning" doesn't neccessarilly come from an explosion as conventionally understood - although I do take the side of the BB discussing the universe being estimated to be 14 + billion years old ; having a beginning (the theory) to work with, so to speak.

You look really foolish, because you don't have the education needed to form a valid opinion on the subject of the Big Bang model, much less think analytically about the subject. Heck, you don't even have a layman's understanding of the Big Bang Theory, based on what you wrote.

Well there's a little more to it than what you quoted. When I was an enthusiastic about learning these things plus other interests, I also came across alternative ideas back then. WHICH MEANS there were a few issues highlighted from other scientists, which seemed valid, regarding the BB theory. Now that does NOT mean I refuted the BB theory at all, back then. It just meant I couldn't be sure who got it right!! ( This was all before I became Christian, seven years now)
You don't even understand what the Big Bang model states, even on a conceptual level, and you clearly have no interest in learning. How the fuck could you possibly be qualified to discuss the shortcomings of the BB model and contrast it with other models? What other models are there to describe the expansion of the universe?

These are the questions I had asked you when you posted that you were not a proponent of the Big Bang. You never responded.. Would you care to take a stab at it now, or are you going to avoid it again?

The Big Bang Theory is a mathematical model that was developed to fit the observations we have collected over the past 90 years, observations which show
1. that the universe is expanding, and
2. that the rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating

Are you questioning the data or the model that was built to fit the data? What specifically are you questioning?
1. Are you suggesting the observations are flawed? If so, how so? Please be specific. Do you even know how astronomers measure distances to other stars and galaxies?
2. Are you questioning the Big Bang Model that was developed using the observations? If yes, what methodology or construct or assumption are you questioning? Please be specific. Do you even know what the Big Bang Model is, what it predicts, and how its predictions match the data?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Yes well it would be nice if you highlighted the section(s) where he doesn't recognize his own contradictions.
Is your comprehension off today? Just watch the video.

No worries if you can't highlight it. I just wanted to know
It's so pervasive that it goes unrecognized. He's not unique. Can you give me a single instance of "non-materialism" where the claimant does not take his cues from things material?
 

atrib

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Not even high school?
That might help explain your inability to assess the extent of your own knowledge and insight regarding physical sciences. Not to even begin to mention cosmology, quantum physics or BB theory.

Lol, I like the line of debating. I have already taken the status of uneducated, in a previous post. Now, all I'm doing, or I'm going to do, is ask questions, so I can learn (yes I do want to),
You haven't learned a damned thing in the years you have been posting here. When people take the time to answer your questions, you simply ignore them, like you did when I tried to explain logical fallacies to you in another thread. I don't believe you when you say you are willing to learn because all the evidence says you aren't.

like I wanted earlier to know how "no gods are possible" for example, where my limited ability can't understand the reasoning.
This question has been discussed extensively in this thread. Go back and read it again, and if you still can't find the specific posts, I will post links.
 

atrib

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Yes well it would be nice if you highlighted the section(s) where he doesn't recognize his own contradictions.
Is your comprehension off today? Just watch the video.

No worries if you can't highlight it. I just wanted to know
I have asked you multiple times in this thread to point out the timestamp where the video discusses the evidence for minds that are not based on a material substrate, and you have never bothered to respond. I have asked you to explain what evidence for immaterial minds is provided in the video, and again, you never bothered to respond. All you did was post a link to the video without any notes on what we are supposed to find in the video. And now you want other people to point out the problems with the content of the video? Amazing! Truly fucking amazing!
 

Learner

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Thank you, so no device or monitoring apparatus exists at all, lovely, just what I needed to hear!
I have no doubt that that's what you wanted to hear, but it's not what anyone has said.

I did, because now I would like to see again how those soul catching monitoring methods, without any specific sensitive device, so to speak were done again.
By application of the scientific method, in a bewildering array of different ways by thousands of people over centuries of effort.

Well yes sure, as you say, thousands of people and bewildering ways, over centuries has got us where we are today. So merely asking the question, because I want to learn the reasoning (yes I do Atrib) with experiments like for example "soul spotting", or OOBE etc., where nothing was found. Do you think merely wiring people up to electrical monitors or brain scanners was sufficient enough to test whether souls could exist or not?

I saw one experiment where the best way to know was to ask the person who supposedly could come out of the body and read a card high on a shelf. Imagine that, after thousands of people over centuries of effort, this was the best experiment, with electrical wires. Funny enough the test passed but I really couldn't say if the result was genuine. They didn't have any ultra sensitive instruments, or device, but mind you this was in the mid 90s. So I just wondered and by asking questions, if by now we have such a thing?

You persist in the false assumption that this is simple.

On the contrrary, I am saying your claim at least, should be imo simple, easy to demonstrate, hence why I asked if there was a device, specific for that test because of your bold claim, "no gods exist." So no, I don't think its simple - I am saying I am not convinced we have that capabilty yet, if at all possible.


The conclusions are simple. Arriving at them, with the ability to demonstrate complete confidence in every aspect of them, is not.
Yep
 
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T.G.G. Moogly

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I saw one experiment where the best way to know was to ask the person who supposedly could come out of the body and read a card high on a shelf. Imagine that, after thousands of people over centuries of effort, this was the best experiment, with electrical wires. Funny enough the test passed but I really couldn't say if the result was genuine.
Psychics and woo artists are easily debunked and there are plenty of examples around if you care to do your homework. Same goes for urban legends. Don't take your cues from your emotions and you'll be fine. Emotionally we're all on the same ignoramus level. The rational differences across humans are what separates us.
 

Learner

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I saw one experiment where the best way to know was to ask the person who supposedly could come out of the body and read a card high on a shelf. Imagine that, after thousands of people over centuries of effort, this was the best experiment, with electrical wires. Funny enough the test passed but I really couldn't say if the result was genuine.
Psychics and woo artists are easily debunked and there are plenty of examples around if you care to do your homework. Same goes for urban legends.

I sort of said the same thing.
 

Elixir

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Lol, I like the line of debating.
This isn’t debating. Just relating my observations.
I have already taken the status of uneducated, in a previous post. Now, all I'm doing, or I'm going to do, is ask questions, so I can learn (yes I do want to), like I wanted earlier to know how "no gods are possible" for example, where my limited ability can't understand the reasoning.
As a high school dropout, I take issue with the implication that being uneducated is an unavoidable sentence to ignorance, or an open door to nonsensical questions like “how are no gods possible” under the guise/excuse of “thinking outside the box”.

First, afaics, you are the only one asserting the impossibility of gods.

Second, I can form a counter example to such an assertion simply by defining something that exists as a god. Since all gods are products of human definitions, whatever I choose to elevate to god status is as godlike as anything else.

I think your “uneducated” status is nothing more than your very own personal license to laziness.

When you “became a Christian” did anyone tell you that intellectual sloth was a sin?
 

bilby

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On the contrrary, I am saying your claim at least, should be imo simple, easy to demonstrate, hence why I asked if there was a device, specific for that test because of your bold claim, "no gods exist."
Your opinion is wrong, and ill advised.

Why do you think that my claim should be simple or easy to demonstrate? It's only very recently become possible to demonstrate it, despite the question having occupied the minds of some of the smartest people in history for thousands of years. To expect it to be simple is absurd.
So no, I don't think its simple - I am saying I am not convinced we have that capabilty yet, if at all possible.
But in your previous sentence you said that it was, in your opinion, simple. You are contradicting yourself.

And frankly, you're completely unqualified to have any opinion on what we are or are not capable of. Why should anyone care about your uninformed opinions, even if they didn't change from one sentence to the next?
 

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On the contrrary, I am saying your claim at least, should be imo simple, easy to demonstrate, hence why I asked if there was a device, specific for that test because of your bold claim, "no gods exist."
Your opinion is wrong, and ill advised.

Why do you think that my claim should be simple or easy to demonstrate? It's only very recently become possible to demonstrate it, despite the question having occupied the minds of some of the smartest people in history for thousands of years. To expect it to be simple is absurd.
So no, I don't think its simple - I am saying I am not convinced we have that capabilty yet, if at all possible.
But in your previous paragraph you said that it was, in your opinion, simple. You are contradicting yourself.

And frankly, you're completely unqualified to have any opinion on what we are or are not capable of. Why should anyone care about your uninformed opinions, even if they didn't change from one paragraph to the next?
I mean shit, I've been working for all my life trying to derive ethics to the point where I am at "mutually compatible self-actualization". It would take a mountain of text to derive it all the way down to first principles and rejections of the solipsistic paradigm!

The deliverable of such attempts to generalize principles and create simplification of ideas DOES seem simple!

Until you realize that to prove it, you need to have drilled through math to understand at the game and systems theory levels!

It's going to take the rest of my entire life teaching even one person why "mutually compatible self-actualization" is the most powerful basis of strategy in nonspecifically goaled game theory.

And this guy wants something just as hellishly complicated, namely physics, made to seem simple.
 

Learner

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Lol, I like the line of debating.
This isn’t debating. Just relating my observations.

I'm sorry, my mistake, it seemed that this was the crux of all your posts.
I have already taken the status of uneducated, in a previous post. Now, all I'm doing, or I'm going to do, is ask questions, so I can learn (yes I do want to), like I wanted earlier to know how "no gods are possible" for example, where my limited ability can't understand the reasoning.
As a high school dropout, I take issue with the implication that being uneducated is an unavoidable sentence to ignorance, or an open door to nonsensical questions like “how are no gods possible” under the guise/excuse of “thinking outside the box”.

My schooling DID stop abruptly as a teenager at 16, at high school. The reason, was, it was thought better for me to move abroad to the otherside of the world, (from my working class home) to live an work for my mother's brother, straight away on his farm, with plenty of time to catch up.
First, afaics, you are the only one asserting the impossibility of gods.

Second, I can form a counter example to such an assertion simply by defining something that exists as a god. Since all gods are products of human definitions, whatever I choose to elevate to god status is as godlike as anything else.

Would love to see your demonstration, genuine curiosity.

I think your “uneducated” status is nothing more than your very own personal license to laziness.

When you “became a Christian” did anyone tell you that intellectual sloth was a sin?

I see, well you'll have no laziness from me. I really like to explore further, and you can judge the merit of my intention as we go along.
 
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Learner

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On the contrrary, I am saying your claim at least, should be imo simple, easy to demonstrate, hence why I asked if there was a device, specific for that test because of your bold claim, "no gods exist."
Your opinion is wrong, and ill advised.

Why do you think that my claim should be simple or easy to demonstrate? It's only very recently become possible to demonstrate it, despite the question having occupied the minds of some of the smartest people in history for thousands of years. To expect it to be simple is absurd.

I know you mentioned what processes may be involved but the actual demonstration, the experiment?


One is sufficient to refute the claim of "none".

I guess so, but, my simplistic basic logic keeps nagging me. Wouldn't it be wiser to go with the large majority and just say "We don't know" or "we have no way to tell at the moment?" At least until other scientists come on board?

At least some of our forum friends are with you on this one. You're not alone eh Atrib, Elixir, Jarhyn?

I think I understand now. It only recently became possible to demonstrate. Return to above line.
So no, I don't think its simple - I am saying I am not convinced we have that capabilty yet, if at all possible.
But in your previous sentence you said that it was, in your opinion, simple. You are contradicting yourself.

The previous, was just a thought, an assertion I suppose for a bold claim.

And frankly, you're completely unqualified to have any opinion on what we are or are not capable of. Why should anyone care about your uninformed opinions, even if they didn't change from one sentence to the next?

No worries, I'll ask someone else who has the patience, still referencing what you post, if you don't mind..
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Referencing the Engor video again, how is it that a neurosurgeon goes about performing surgery on the brain, something obviously material, to correct problems in the organism yet thinks that non-materialism is the rule? How could he miss the glaring contradiction in his behavior?

I noticed that he also had videos associated with the Discovery Institute. That place is founded on peddling the same quackery so it isn't a surprise.
 

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Sorry about the delay,

During the earlier time discussion, if I recall without going back to the original pages, the first mentioning and post I made of Dr. Egnor and the video title, which implies as it reads, 'the case against materialism.' As I previously stated, I did not say Egnor said anything about souls....
:rolleyes:

Really? Is it because its hard to detect , therefore you can't tell what it's actually doing, and yet ... it is believed dark matter does have some affect to the its mirror opposite, apparently?

Check out the link The evidence against materialism. A good method we currently have at the moment.

How about you summarize what you think is so compelling there, rather than expect anyone to watch a 30 minute video from a known creationist hack.

Fair enough.. I'll make a few transcritptions too, for the sake of the discussion. Bear with me.

Still have no idea what was supposed to be so great about that video.
 

atrib

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Sorry about the delay,

During the earlier time discussion, if I recall without going back to the original pages, the first mentioning and post I made of Dr. Egnor and the video title, which implies as it reads, 'the case against materialism.' As I previously stated, I did not say Egnor said anything about souls....
:rolleyes:

Really? Is it because its hard to detect , therefore you can't tell what it's actually doing, and yet ... it is believed dark matter does have some affect to the its mirror opposite, apparently?

Check out the link The evidence against materialism. A good method we currently have at the moment.

How about you summarize what you think is so compelling there, rather than expect anyone to watch a 30 minute video from a known creationist hack.

Fair enough.. I'll make a few transcritptions too, for the sake of the discussion. Bear with me.

Still have no idea what was supposed to be so great about that video.
Don't hold your breath.
 

Elixir

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it is believed dark matter does have some affect to the its mirror opposite

This word salad brought to you by the proudly uneducated, on behalf of “out of the box thinkers” everywhere.
Would you like fries with that?
 

Jimmy Higgins

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You persist in the false assumption that this is simple.

On the contrrary, I am saying your claim at least, should be imo simple, easy to demonstrate, hence why I asked if there was a device, specific for that test because of your bold claim, "no gods exist." So no, I don't think its simple - I am saying I am not convinced we have that capabilty yet, if at all possible.
So your response is theist presumptive. We can't yet test for it yet, therefore, it can exist. Of course, we could try testing for it, and every time it fails, you can just say, "It wasn't the right test, we don't have the ability to test for it yet." And eventually, it'll become "We simply can't test for it, but it exists."
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Bible god is a rationalization, just like Fortuna and Tyche. You might as well worship dice.
 

Copernicus

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You persist in the false assumption that this is simple.

On the contrrary, I am saying your claim at least, should be imo simple, easy to demonstrate, hence why I asked if there was a device, specific for that test because of your bold claim, "no gods exist." So no, I don't think its simple - I am saying I am not convinced we have that capabilty yet, if at all possible.
So your response is theist presumptive. We can't yet test for it yet, therefore, it can exist. Of course, we could try testing for it, and every time it fails, you can just say, "It wasn't the right test, we don't have the ability to test for it yet." And eventually, it'll become "We simply can't test for it, but it exists."
I think that Learner's position is even worse than that. It is that the only question of interest here is whether or not God exists, not whether the belief that God exists is a plausible belief. IOW, he requires logical proof that God does not exist. We can't even provide logical proof that elves don't exist. We can, however, provide plenty of evidence to prove that belief in the existence of elves is an implausible belief. Similarly, we can provide proof that belief in the existence of God/gods is an implausible belief.
 

bilby

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You persist in the false assumption that this is simple.

On the contrrary, I am saying your claim at least, should be imo simple, easy to demonstrate, hence why I asked if there was a device, specific for that test because of your bold claim, "no gods exist." So no, I don't think its simple - I am saying I am not convinced we have that capabilty yet, if at all possible.
So your response is theist presumptive. We can't yet test for it yet, therefore, it can exist. Of course, we could try testing for it, and every time it fails, you can just say, "It wasn't the right test, we don't have the ability to test for it yet." And eventually, it'll become "We simply can't test for it, but it exists."
I think that Learner's position is even worse than that. It is that the only question of interest here is whether or not God exists, not whether the belief that God exists is a plausible belief. IOW, he requires logical proof that God does not exist. We can't even provide logical proof that elves don't exist. We can, however, provide plenty of evidence to prove that belief in the existence of elves is an implausible belief. Similarly, we can provide proof that belief in the existence of God/gods is an implausible belief.
We CAN prove that elves don't exist, though - IF we have a definition of elves that includes their ability to do things that are demonstrably impossible, then they cannot and hence do not exist.

That's how my proof that God doesn't exist works. It of course depends upon the specific definition of "God"; But it's a perfectly good disproof of all but a handful of fringe definitions, and is completely applicable to all of the gods of all of the major religions in human history.

The Deist god that started up the cosmos and then buggered off never to intervene again is still a possibility, but that's not the god Learner believes to exist, so it's out of scope of our current discussions.

If I ever meet a deist outside of a history book, I shall need to employ other arguments to show that his beliefs are nonsensical. But for people who think there are gods that mediate in any way the continued life of humans after the destruction of their physical bodies; Or who intervene in human events in any way, my proof is watertight.

Gods are a physical impossibility, in the exact same way that perpetual motion machines are. Anyone who accepts the possibility of the existence of either as a premise is demonstrating a fundamental lack of education in modern physics.

Equivocation on the meaning of the word "god" is beyond pathetic. "You can't disprove a god nothing like mine, therefore mine has not been disproven" is as nonsensical as anything else attempted by theists to rescue their nonsense from disproof.
 

Copernicus

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We CAN prove that elves don't exist, though - IF we have a definition of elves that includes their ability to do things that are demonstrably impossible, then they cannot and hence do not exist.

That's how my proof that God doesn't exist works. It of course depends upon the specific definition of "God"; But it's a perfectly good disproof of all but a handful of fringe definitions, and is completely applicable to all of the gods of all of the major religions in human history...

All good points, but there are two weaknesses to your argument. One is that a theist would likely quibble over your definition, since the argument requires that your definition be the basis of the proof. The other is that it is still a plausibility argument being made to someone who isn't arguing plausibility. You cannot demonstrate that what elves can do is impossible, because you can't produce elves to actually show them working their magic. And there are always going to be believers who can come up with ways that the impossible can be achieved. So, again, I think that you have to get an agreement that the issue is plausibility, not possibility. Otherwise, any crazy idea can be endlessly defended by always appealing to logical loopholes.
 

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The other is that it is still a plausibility argument being made to someone who isn't arguing plausibility. You cannot demonstrate that what elves can do is impossible, because you can't produce elves to actually show them working their magic. And there are always going to be believers who can come up with ways that the impossible can be achieved. So, again, I think that you have to get an agreement that the issue is plausibility, not possibility. Otherwise, any crazy idea can be endlessly defended by always appealing to logical loopholes.
It goes without saying that the discussion is about scientific plausibility.

In a recent discussion with someone about the Mothman legend I was advised to "open up my mind." My position was there is no supercreature, no Mothman, and I arrive at this conclusion scientifically. Without science we really aren't anywhere, just floating, thinking up possibilities, not plausible explanations.

I think it's revealing that even the most scientifically grounded skeptic can be entertained by fiction, can still dial up a movie and enjoy the movie even though it is fantasy. That says a lot about the way our brains work and I think best explains beliefs in gods and Mothmen.
 

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Apologies if a proposal for establishing evidence a god's existence along the following lines has already been made and dealt with, but I am not going to read 1035 posts to check.

Around eight years ago I thought of a scenario that might work, at least for an interventionist, personal one. A lot of Christians (and not only Christians, come to think of it) believe in the power and efficacy of prayer. Well, it should be possible to empirically test for the existence of their God. Gather, say, 4,000 people suffering from trachoma and divide them into four groups. One will be treated by doctors, one will be prayed for, one will be prayed for and treated by doctors and one will be utterly ignored. None of the patients will know which group they are in.

The result will be pretty convincing if the prayed for groups fare best by a statistically significant margin. If it doesn't, of course, it proves nothing. Perhaps God was busy having a shit at the time, or maybe he just hates some sinners and gave them trachoma as punishment. Or he might have played his favourite trick: he was testing his followers' faith.

Still, if experiments of the kind I just sketched can be repeated with similarly favourable results for the prayed for groups, it could be said that evidence for a personal, interventionist God has been provided.
 

Keith&Co.

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Apologies if a proposal for establishing evidence a god's existence along the following lines has already been made and dealt with, but I am not going to read 1035 posts to check.

Around eight years ago I thought of a scenario that might work, at least for an interventionist, personal one. A lot of Christians (and not only Christians, come to think of it) believe in the power and efficacy of prayer. Well, it should be possible to empirically test for the existence of their God. Gather, say, 4,000 people suffering from trachoma and divide them into four groups. One will be treated by doctors, one will be prayed for, one will be prayed for and treated by doctors and one will be utterly ignored. None of the patients will know which group they are in.

The result will be pretty convincing if the prayed for groups fare best by a statistically significant margin. If it doesn't, of course, it proves nothing. Perhaps God was busy having a shit at the time, or maybe he just hates some sinners and gave them trachoma as punishment. Or he might have played his favourite trick: he was testing his followers' faith.

Still, if experiments of the kind I just sketched can be repeated with similarly favourable results for the prayed for groups, it could be said that evidence for a personal, interventionist God has been provided.
Military chaplains pray very carefully. It's educational.

Thry do not pray that all deployed units return from battle without harm, because there's little chance they'll beat the spread on that one.
They pray that the men return, if that's God's will, but if it's His choice that a life ends on contested soil, they ask that the fallen serviceman be taken up to Heaven, 'saved' by God.
So there's no way anyone can sit thru the benediction, then get mad at the funeral for a failed prayer.

I think either similar caveats will be added to the experiments' prayers or whining that skeptics wrote the prayers, not believers.
 

bilby

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You cannot demonstrate that what elves can do is impossible, because you can't produce elves to actually show them working their magic.
But you don't need an elf, if you want to determine whether they can influence human beings.

If you can show that the only things that can ever possibly influence human beings is one of a small set of forces; And you can show that those forces are not in play when the putative elf influences are occurring, no elf is needed to do the test.

That's where we are with physics. It's counterintuitive but demonstrably true that there cannot be any unknown forces that act on human scales. So any elf, god, or superhero can ONLY act on humans via those forces that we do know about.

This is a surprising but unassailable consequence of Einstein's famous mass-energy equivalance, combined with our having completed an exploration of all of the components of the Standard Model at energies up to and beyond that of the Higgs boson.

Elves cannot influence humans in unknown ways, because that would be contrary to the known and demonstrated properties of humans. It's irrelevant what properties or powers elves might have; If their powers are not a part of the known set of things that influence humans, then those powers cannot influence humans.

When considering what it is possible for an elf to do to a human, we only need an example of both elves AND humans to test IF the list of 'things that might have effects on humans' is not known to be complete.

Once that list is complete, we can make definitive statements about how elves might influence humans by reference only to the human half of the equation.

And that list is now complete. Any influence in physical reality that we don't yet know about occurs either at scales that cannot distinguish between individual solar systems, much less individual inhabitants of such systems; or at energies incompatible with the continued corporeal structure of the individual person. Any unknown force MUST either be incapable of affecting one human without also having the same effect on them all; OR must entail a concentration of energy that would atomise the affected individual who would detonate like a fucking atomic bomb.

This must be true, unless our best models of reality are wildly and very obviously wrong. (They're not; We checked).
 
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Copernicus

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You cannot demonstrate that what elves can do is impossible, because you can't produce elves to actually show them working their magic.
But you don't need an elf, if you want to determine whether they can influence human beings.

If you can show that the only things that can ever possibly influence human beings is one of a small set of forces; And you can show that those forces are not in play when the putative elf influences are occurring, no elf is needed to do the test.

Your argument depends too heavily on proving a negative, which is quite impossible. Our current set of known forces includes four, but some scientists suspect the existence of a  Fifth force. Perhaps the elves can command it. We'll just have to wait until we manage to capture an elf. :) I'm joking of course. I don't believe in the occult, but you'll never prove to the satisfaction of those who do that there are no occult forces. The best you can hope for is to convince some of them that there is no credible evidence of them and that alternative explanations of proposed evidence for them are more plausible.

That's where we are with physics. It's counterintuitive but demonstrably true that there cannot be any unknown forces that act on human scales. So any elf, god, or superhero can ONLY act on humans via those forces that we do know about...

Science cannot prove metaphysical physicalism--the thesis that everything is physical. That is its foundation, i.e. the assumption that it is based on. To undermine that assumption, one needs to show that there are physical phenomena that cannot be explained by any known physical force. Theists are overwhelmingly spiritualists who adopt the assumption that physicalism is wrong. That is why religion and science tend to be seen as incompatible. So I would not say that one can disprove the existence of god scientifically. Rather, one can make an argument that spiritualism (metaphysical dualism) lacks any evidence to make it a reasonable assumption. And we also need at least an attempt to explain phenomena such as the Big Bang and the existence of order rather than randomness in the physical universe. I do think that science accomplishes that, so I am with you in spirit, but I struggle with positions that suggest science can definitively rule out the existence of gods. All it can do is render gods an unnecessary explanation for what we can observe.
 

bilby

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You cannot demonstrate that what elves can do is impossible, because you can't produce elves to actually show them working their magic.
But you don't need an elf, if you want to determine whether they can influence human beings.

If you can show that the only things that can ever possibly influence human beings is one of a small set of forces; And you can show that those forces are not in play when the putative elf influences are occurring, no elf is needed to do the test.

Your argument depends too heavily on proving a negative, which is quite impossible.
I don't know why this claim is so popular. It's not true.

It's correct to say that you cannot always prove a negative; But there are certainly negative claims that are easy to prove.
Our current set of known forces includes four, but some scientists suspect the existence of a  Fifth force.
That applies to cosmological scale objects, and cannot influence individual humans. So it's completely irrelevant to my point, and was explicitly and deliberately excluded from being relevant in my argument, precisely because people always drag it up as though it undermines my point.

There's a LOT we don't know about how physical systems work at very large scales and very high energies. None of these unknowns can possibly change what is known to be true at human scales.
Perhaps the elves can command it. We'll just have to wait until we manage to capture an elf. :)
If they could, they still couldn't use it to influence individual humans. Any more than you could manipulate gravity to affect me, but not the person standing next to me. It's a wide area phenomenon, and cannot be targeted at "small" objects like individual solar systems.
I'm joking of course. I don't believe in the occult, but you'll never prove to the satisfaction of those who do that there are no occult forces.
You can't prove anything at all to the satisfaction of those who refuse to employ reason.
The best you can hope for is to convince some of them that there is no credible evidence of them and that alternative explanations of proposed evidence for them are more plausible.
Nope. You can't do anything of the kind. People who choose belief over reason are completely out-of-scope for ANY attempt to dissuade them from their idiocy.
That's where we are with physics. It's counterintuitive but demonstrably true that there cannot be any unknown forces that act on human scales. So any elf, god, or superhero can ONLY act on humans via those forces that we do know about...

Science cannot prove metaphysical physicalism--the thesis that everything is physical. That is its foundation, i.e. the assumption that it is based on. To undermine that assumption, one needs to show that there are physical phenomena that cannot be explained by any known physical force.
Not only are there no such phenomena, there cannot be any such phenomena unless our models of reality are wildly and very obviously wrong.

They're not. We checked.
Theists are overwhelmingly spiritualists who adopt the assumption that physicalism is wrong. That is why religion and science tend to be seen as incompatible.
They are incompatible. But it's far more extreme than you seem to grasp.

Humans are (at least in part) physical objects. We have demonstrated that physical objects cannot be influenced by any means other than those described by physics. Therefore spiritual influence on physical objects is physically impossible.
So I would not say that one can disprove the existence of god scientifically.
Then you would be mistaken.

There's nothing in epistemology that says that it should be possible to disprove gods scientifically. And indeed, until recently, it seemed plausible that such proof would never be achievable.

But then we achieved it, as a surprising byproduct of our completely secular efforts to understand physical objects.
Rather, one can make an argument that spiritualism (metaphysical dualism) lacks any evidence to make it a reasonable assumption.
Oh, you can certainly make that argument; And it's a very good one. But now it's also possible to make a far stronger argument, and to say with certainty that metaphysical dualism is simply wrong.
And we also need at least an attempt to explain phenomena such as the Big Bang and the existence of order rather than randomness in the physical universe.
No, we don't. Not in the context of discussing whether individual humans can or cannot be influenced in unknown ways. This question is ONLY related to the origins of the cosmos by the very fairytales under dispute; There's exactly zero reason to imagine any connection whatsoever between a hypothetical god that influences humans, and an equally hypothetical god that creates universes.
I do think that science accomplishes that, so I am with you in spirit, but I struggle with positions that suggest science can definitively rule out the existence of gods.
Why?

Is this just because you've convinced yourself that the false claim "It's impossible to prove a negative", is true?
All it can do is render gods an unnecessary explanation for what we can observe.
Not at all. We are fortunate to be living at the first point in history when scientific approaches have enabled us to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that gods aren't a possible explanation. Obviously they have been known not to be a necessary explanation for several centuries.
 

Jarhyn

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Apologies if a proposal for establishing evidence a god's existence along the following lines has already been made and dealt with, but I am not going to read 1035 posts to check.

Around eight years ago I thought of a scenario that might work, at least for an interventionist, personal one. A lot of Christians (and not only Christians, come to think of it) believe in the power and efficacy of prayer. Well, it should be possible to empirically test for the existence of their God. Gather, say, 4,000 people suffering from trachoma and divide them into four groups. One will be treated by doctors, one will be prayed for, one will be prayed for and treated by doctors and one will be utterly ignored. None of the patients will know which group they are in.

The result will be pretty convincing if the prayed for groups fare best by a statistically significant margin. If it doesn't, of course, it proves nothing. Perhaps God was busy having a shit at the time, or maybe he just hates some sinners and gave them trachoma as punishment. Or he might have played his favourite trick: he was testing his followers' faith.

Still, if experiments of the kind I just sketched can be repeated with similarly favourable results for the prayed for groups, it could be said that evidence for a personal, interventionist God has been provided.
Military chaplains pray very carefully. It's educational.

Thry do not pray that all deployed units return from battle without harm, because there's little chance they'll beat the spread on that one.
They pray that the men return, if that's God's will, but if it's His choice that a life ends on contested soil, they ask that the fallen serviceman be taken up to Heaven, 'saved' by God.
So there's no way anyone can sit thru the benediction, then get mad at the funeral for a failed prayer.

I think either similar caveats will be added to the experiments' prayers or whining that skeptics wrote the prayers, not believers.
Yeah, when you pray to "let what happens happen" some shit happens and then it's happened and that's what you prayed for, huzzah".

It's a self fulfilling prophecy, of the most masturbatory kind.

I may be a wizard, but I always ascribe all results to medical science.

I know as a fact that the ritual aligns the self to the intention, and aligning intention properly is the key to successful execution.

Or in plain English, the ritual aspects, when applied right, merely act to mnemonically reinforce maintaining treatment properly, and they only work when the person participating understands this. You remember the silly thing you did frequently following doing it, and the why you did that silly thing, and then do the less silly thing that you would have otherwise forgotten about.

Thus healing magic is possible, it's just not what usually happens, because people are fucking idiots and every time someone like me explains it, the worst of the muggles hear "magic healey thing make effect workey, I no need work".

The magic is the cue to do the fucking work.
 

Hermit

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Apologies if a proposal for establishing evidence a god's existence along the following lines has already been made and dealt with, but I am not going to read 1035 posts to check.

Around eight years ago I thought of a scenario that might work, at least for an interventionist, personal one. A lot of Christians (and not only Christians, come to think of it) believe in the power and efficacy of prayer. Well, it should be possible to empirically test for the existence of their God. Gather, say, 4,000 people suffering from trachoma and divide them into four groups. One will be treated by doctors, one will be prayed for, one will be prayed for and treated by doctors and one will be utterly ignored. None of the patients will know which group they are in.

The result will be pretty convincing if the prayed for groups fare best by a statistically significant margin. If it doesn't, of course, it proves nothing. Perhaps God was busy having a shit at the time, or maybe he just hates some sinners and gave them trachoma as punishment. Or he might have played his favourite trick: he was testing his followers' faith.

Still, if experiments of the kind I just sketched can be repeated with similarly favourable results for the prayed for groups, it could be said that evidence for a personal, interventionist God has been provided.
Military chaplains pray very carefully. It's educational.

Thry do not pray that all deployed units return from battle without harm, because there's little chance they'll beat the spread on that one.
They pray that the men return, if that's God's will, but if it's His choice that a life ends on contested soil, they ask that the fallen serviceman be taken up to Heaven, 'saved' by God.
So there's no way anyone can sit thru the benediction, then get mad at the funeral for a failed prayer.

I think either similar caveats will be added to the experiments' prayers or whining that skeptics wrote the prayers, not believers.
Yes, you are right; Believers will try to defend their position. Their problem is that their god is said to answer prayers. There are dozens of verses in the Bible asserting that. I quoted a number of them here and proposed a blind, reproducible study with control groups to test that.

As designed, it will never happen, of course. Too expensive, and no ethics committee would allow two groups - 1,000 people with trachoma to undergo no treatment at all, and another 1,000 to be "treated" with prayer alone.
 

Keith&Co.

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The magic is the cue to do the fucking work.
Every sailor i knew had a ritual they went thru before or during patrols. Some said 'for luck' some said, habit, or tradition. Or "my sea-dad used to do tjis, so i honor his memory."
Or the guy that smoked one cigar, only on the Maneuvering Watch, only on the way out, lit at THE moment we cast off lines, tossed overboard to port when we offloaded the pilot to starboard, "Well, my wife doesn't lrt me smoke, it's my only chance."

Either way, we did these rituals and we came back from patrol.
We also drilled the holy gummy bears out of the crew for Damage Control. We practiced certain maintenance developed from an analysis of the Thresher's sinking. We briefed every evolution with thd plan and the recovery plan if shit went south. We did everything we could to keep ship, crew, mission safe.
But it was those little rituals that kept us afloat, dammit.
 

Jarhyn

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The magic is the cue to do the fucking work.
Every sailor i knew had a ritual they went thru before or during patrols. Some said 'for luck' some said, habit, or tradition. Or "my sea-dad used to do tjis, so i honor his memory."
Or the guy that smoked one cigar, only on the Maneuvering Watch, only on the way out, lit at THE moment we cast off lines, tossed overboard to port when we offloaded the pilot to starboard, "Well, my wife doesn't lrt me smoke, it's my only chance."

Either way, we did these rituals and we came back from patrol.
We also drilled the holy gummy bears out of the crew for Damage Control. We practiced certain maintenance developed from an analysis of the Thresher's sinking. We briefed every evolution with thd plan and the recovery plan if shit went south. We did everything we could to keep ship, crew, mission safe.
But it was those little rituals that kept us afloat, dammit.
The drills to me are the most important and significant rituals.

Because they are the things that make "do the fucking work" happen when the triggering context arrives rather than "run around like a brokedick".

I will say insofar as some of those little patrol ritual's reminded them of the reasons and the things outside the structure of their regimented life that the regimented life was built up and around to protect. There is a certain magic there, too, but more subtle.
 

Copernicus

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Your argument depends too heavily on proving a negative, which is quite impossible.
I don't know why this claim is so popular. It's not true.

It's correct to say that you cannot always prove a negative; But there are certainly negative claims that are easy to prove.

Fair enough. In the case of the existence of elves and gods, I think that it is true. And don't pretend that you can dictate the definition of either. That is determined by general usage patterns that are outside the control of individuals trying to win an argument.

Science cannot prove metaphysical physicalism--the thesis that everything is physical. That is its foundation, i.e. the assumption that it is based on. To undermine that assumption, one needs to show that there are physical phenomena that cannot be explained by any known physical force.
Not only are there no such phenomena, there cannot be any such phenomena unless our models of reality are wildly and very obviously wrong.

They're not. We checked.

That is not an argument against my point that science is powerless to prove its principle assumption--metaphysical physicalism. Logically, any such attempt would just be circular reasoning. Moreover, you cannot guarantee that we have actually checked. For example, we cannot check what we have not observed, and we have not observed every phenomenon in the universe. We don't even know for certain that  Uniformitarianism is true. Our models of physical reality have been wrong before, and the chances are very good that they will be proven wrong again. But we can never be certain that physicalism is true. That must always remain an assumption that undergirds scientific methodology. Science operates on the basis of methodological physicalism.

Rather, one can make an argument that spiritualism (metaphysical dualism) lacks any evidence to make it a reasonable assumption.
Oh, you can certainly make that argument; And it's a very good one. But now it's also possible to make a far stronger argument, and to say with certainty that metaphysical dualism is simply wrong.

I believe that it is certainly wrong, but it is a belief based solely on my limited experience of reality.

And we also need at least an attempt to explain phenomena such as the Big Bang and the existence of order rather than randomness in the physical universe.
No, we don't. Not in the context of discussing whether individual humans can or cannot be influenced in unknown ways. This question is ONLY related to the origins of the cosmos by the very fairytales under dispute; There's exactly zero reason to imagine any connection whatsoever between a hypothetical god that influences humans, and an equally hypothetical god that creates universes.

I agree with you. I have no reason to believe that you are wrong about this. However, I do not have absolute certainty that I am right, and I hope that you don't either. That certainly is not the way scientists approach their subject matter. Just because I cannot imagine an alternative explanation, that does not mean that one is impossible in principle.

I do think that science accomplishes that, so I am with you in spirit, but I struggle with positions that suggest science can definitively rule out the existence of gods.
Why?

Is this just because you've convinced yourself that the false claim "It's impossible to prove a negative", is true?

No. It's because I believe that physicalism is empirically unproveable. It can only be an assumption. And I also believe that we cannot know what we have yet to observe in the future. So I don't accept the claim that gods can be ruled out with absolute certainty, although I feel confident that they don't. I have no reason to abandon the assumption of physicalism.
 

bilby

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Our models of physical reality have been wrong before, and the chances are very good that they will be proven wrong again.
That's a very popular claim.

It's an equivocation fallacy though, so it's not one I subscribe to.

There's a big difference between the "wrong" of saying that Newtonian gravity predicts the wrong orbit for Mercury, and saying that Newtonian gravity is wrong, therefore it's possible that a dropped rock will fall sideways.

Our models of physical reality haven't been wrong before. Not in the sense that things previously experimentally demonstrated to be true turned out to be false.

They have been wrong in the sense that predictions derived from the model have been inaccurate when tested in more extreme conditions; But that kind of "wrong" isn't a problem for my argument, which (I repeat) explicitly refers to things occurring at human scales.

Our lack of knowledge of what happens in extreme conditions, or at vast scales, isn't a loophole into which a claim of incomplete knowledge at human scales can be inserted.
 

Copernicus

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Our models of physical reality haven't been wrong before. Not in the sense that things previously experimentally demonstrated to be true turned out to be false.

They have been wrong in the sense that predictions derived from the model have been inaccurate when tested in more extreme conditions; But that kind of "wrong" isn't a problem for my argument, which (I repeat) explicitly refers to things occurring at human scales.
I would say that it is a problem for your argument when a model of the physics makes a wrong prediction, because there may be no way to tweak the model or scale it up to make an accurate prediction. Sometimes a paradigm shift is needed. You may still be able to use the old model for many practical purposes, but it still represents the wrong model for others. A worse problem that I see for your argument is that you are making a philosophical argument, not an empirical one, and you need to go beyond science to support it. For example, you take a uniformitarian position on the laws of physics, but that is only an assumption that is methodologically convenient.
 

Keith&Co.

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Our models of physical reality have been wrong before, and the chances are very good that they will be proven wrong again.
That's a very popular claim.

It's an equivocation fallacy though, so it's not one I subscribe to.
Was it Isaac Asimov who said something like, "Some people think that the world is flat. Some think it's a sphere. It's an oblate spheroid, so both of them are actually wrong.
But thinking that they're equally wrong is the most wrong position."
 

bilby

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I would say that it is a problem for your argument when a model of the physics makes a wrong prediction
You would be mistaken. A model that never makes a wrong prediction at a relevant scale is right at the relevant scale.

That it might be wrong at irrelevant scales is of zero importance.
 

Copernicus

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I would say that it is a problem for your argument when a model of the physics makes a wrong prediction
You would be mistaken. A model that never makes a wrong prediction at a relevant scale is right at the relevant scale.

That it might be wrong at irrelevant scales is of zero importance.
But not irrelevant vis-a-vis your rigid position on scientific proof. Models are only as good as they fit with the facts, and one can never be absolutely certain of their accuracy.

When you said that my argument was an "equivocation fallacy" I was puzzled, because it wasn't. You may have meant "equivalence fallacy", which is how Keith&Co may have taken it. But I wasn't engaging in either kind of fallacy, because my words were used consistently, and I wasn't arguing that the arguments in favor of God's existence were in any way equivalent to those against it. Quite the contrary. I am a "stone cold atheist", just like you. I simply take a slightly different epistemological stance, especially when it comes to science. I still maintain that it is all about plausibility, not possibility.
 
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