• Welcome to the new Internet Infidels Discussion Board, formerly Talk Freethought.

What would count as proof of God

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
27,313
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
But I wasn't engaging in either kind of fallacy, because my words were used consistently
You may have been unaware that you were using the word "wrong" in two different ways, but you were doing so nonetheless, as I detailed above.

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.
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
27,313
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
Models are only as good as they fit with the facts, and one can never be absolutely certain of their accuracy.

There has never been a model as rigorously tested, nor as accurate, as the Standard Model.

Doubting the accuracy of the Standard Model's predictions at human scales is many many orders of magnitude less sensible than doubting NASA's descriptions of the Moon on the grounds that they don't mention cheese as a substantial component of the lunar regolith.


Holding forth as a real possibility that there could be an unknown force that influences the lives of individual humans is as reasonable and sane as not only claiming that the Moon is made of Stilton, but also that you have it under your bed.

Proof? Well, there's another word with shades of meaning. Purists will claim that proof is only for mathematicians and alcoholics. But the everyday definition of the word is more than met. If intervention in human lives by an unknown force is possible, then literally everything you can imagine, and a fair bit that you cannot imagine, is also possible.

Rocks falling sideways are a vastly more plausible way in which physics could be wrong, than unknown forces acting at human scales.

People who have no problem accepting as hard fact that dropped rocks don't fall sideways nevertheless get all mealy-mouthed and pathetic with their claims about what constitutes a fact whenever religion gets involved. I suspect it's the consequence a deeply buried instinct not to paint dangerous lunatics into a corner to avoid their becoming violent.

We can say with absolute confidence and certainty that the Moon landings weren't faked; But say the same about the non-existence of gods, and suddenly everyone is "you can't prove a negative". Yeah, you can. And we have. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't even expected or predicted. But it's happened, and the options now are only acceptance or ignorance.

That most people choose ignorance is hardly out of character for H. Sapiens.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,781
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
But I wasn't engaging in either kind of fallacy, because my words were used consistently
You may have been unaware that you were using the word "wrong" in two different ways, but you were doing so nonetheless, as I detailed above.

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.
If the model predicts the wrong orbit for Mercury, then the model is wrong. In one case, the adjective is used as the modifier of a head noun. In the other, it is used as a predicate adjective. Other than that, it seems to have exactly the same meaning. Perhaps there is a nuanced distinction that you wish to make in defining its usage in one construction but not the other. I don't see it as a significant one.

I think that we are in violent agreement about how science works, and I don't think that anything I have said about epistemology or plausibility resonates with you. We both have arrived at the same conclusion that science rules out the existence of gods but have different ways of characterizing the epistemological significance of that conclusion. So maybe we should just let it rest at that. It's not worth spending our few remaining heartbeats in trying to resolve the dispute. I agree with you that belief in gods is incompatible with science but not that science disproves the existence of gods.
 

Jimmy Higgins

Contributor
Joined
Feb 1, 2001
Messages
36,317
Basic Beliefs
Calvinistic Atheist

I think that we are in violent agreement about how science works, and I don't think that anything I have said about epistemology or plausibility resonates with you. We both have arrived at the same conclusion that science rules out the existence of gods but have different ways of characterizing the epistemological significance of that conclusion.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "science rules out that gods are necessary"? Science can't rule out whatever is past the universe, if such a thing exists.

Science to this point has managed to explain a lot without god ever entering the conversation. What remains is not understood... and not defaulted to god. Much to the point that god(s) existence appears to be irrelevant for our widescale observations of the universe, hence, gods are not necessary.

Learner wants to suggest a test to look for intervention. We have explained a boatload of processes that have no intervention. As for our "souls", I think brain trauma (where as people become different people after massive head injuries) is quite possibly the easiest way to debunk the soul. But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside. If we can't disprove a soul... there can be a soul. Which is a desperate plea, as it requires failure to disprove instead of act to prove in order to propagate it.

Whether we can disprove the soul isn't relevant. It is just a minor pigeonhole trap created by an ever evaporating dogma of religion that attempted to explain science. The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:
  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder
 

Tharmas

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2001
Messages
1,526
Location
Texas
Basic Beliefs
Pantheist
The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:

  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder

I don’t particularly want to get involved in the current discussion on the question of how we know what we know, but reading through the thread reminded me of something. Years ago (like thirty plus) I found myself in a situation where I needed to contemplate the nature of god-hood, if any. I hit upon the following:

Given that any omnipotent god would be transcendent by definition, then any entity that can be defined cannot be god.

That satisfied me for a while, almost, although in the end it seemed a bit vacuous to pass muster, to say the least. Recalling that pronouncement just now made me smile to myself a little ruefully.
 

Elixir

Made in America
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
20,427
Location
Mountains
Basic Beliefs
English is complicated
But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside
I say let him have it if it comforts him.
Personally I have no use for constructs that have no power of explanation or prediction, but YMMV.
If learner can detect souls in a manner that is both explanatory and predictive, I’ll be all ears and filled with admiration. If he only “detects” souls to his own satisfaction, I see little harm in that. (As long as he isn’t trying to sell his vaporware to innocent others).
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
27,313
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
(As long as he isn’t trying to sell his vaporware to innocent others).
I would say that you are too kind.

It's not sufficient to merely avoid harming others with abject nonsense (and I seriously doubt whether any theist genuinely manages to clear even that very low bar).

Abject nonsense must be actively opposed. The only thing necessary for stupid to triumph is that smart people do nothing.

The existence of a theist who isn't being challenged for their nonsense is a threat to the reason of every naïve person they encounter.
 

Elixir

Made in America
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
20,427
Location
Mountains
Basic Beliefs
English is complicated
Abject nonsense must be actively opposed.
I would say exposed … prolly the same thing, but it sounds nicer.

Anyhow, if it’s something that amuses, comforts or helps stabilize some individual I don’t see any ethical way to forcibly abridge their beliefs if they evidence no harm. If you expose the nonsense and the holder of that nonsense doesn’t “get” the exposure for whatever reason, what steps should one take in opposition?
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
27,313
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist
Abject nonsense must be actively opposed.
I would say exposed … prolly the same thing, but it sounds nicer.
When you are dealing with a memetic disease that has been enndemic for millennia and has killed millions, many of them in the most agonising ways, I am not sure that it's appropriate to be 'nicer'.

That many of the locally dominant strains of this infection have recently evolved to be both rather less dangerous and rather less infectious is not a sufficient reason to tolerate them, as there's no particular reason to expect that they will remain that way if allowed to fester.
 

Elixir

Made in America
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
20,427
Location
Mountains
Basic Beliefs
English is complicated
When you are dealing with a memetic disease that has been enndemic for millennia and has killed millions, many of them in the most agonising ways, I am not sure that it's appropriate to be 'nicer'.

Heh. That’s exactly how religions seem to view each other.

The obvious Darwinian solution (tying nicely into the overpopulation non-problem) is a vast global ongoing cage match. Sorry, no nukes allowed. Let the cults and sects face off and do their best to cleanse the species of those who are preventing or depriving them of an earthly utopia or a cushy afterlife.
Oh, wait. That’s what’s already going on!
🤗
 

Jimmy Higgins

Contributor
Joined
Feb 1, 2001
Messages
36,317
Basic Beliefs
Calvinistic Atheist
But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside
I say let him have it if it comforts him.
Personally I have no use for constructs that have no power of explanation or prediction, but YMMV.
If learner can detect souls in a manner that is both explanatory and predictive, I’ll be all ears and filled with admiration. If he only “detects” souls to his own satisfaction, I see little harm in that. (As long as he isn’t trying to sell his vaporware to innocent others).
Learner is free to have as much faith as they want. What I balk at is that his trap is just putting the dust under the rug, and the consideration should not be considered remotely persuasive.
 

Elixir

Made in America
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
20,427
Location
Mountains
Basic Beliefs
English is complicated
But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside
I say let him have it if it comforts him.
Personally I have no use for constructs that have no power of explanation or prediction, but YMMV.
If learner can detect souls in a manner that is both explanatory and predictive, I’ll be all ears and filled with admiration. If he only “detects” souls to his own satisfaction, I see little harm in that. (As long as he isn’t trying to sell his vaporware to innocent others).
Learner is free to have as much faith as they want. What I balk at is that his trap is just putting the dust under the rug, and the consideration should not be considered remotely persuasive.

I struggle to imagine the pitiable one who considers anything Learner has posted to be “persuasive”. Rather than argue, it would probably be best to have life support standing by in case of such an event.
 

Jimmy Higgins

Contributor
Joined
Feb 1, 2001
Messages
36,317
Basic Beliefs
Calvinistic Atheist
But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside
I say let him have it if it comforts him.
Personally I have no use for constructs that have no power of explanation or prediction, but YMMV.
If learner can detect souls in a manner that is both explanatory and predictive, I’ll be all ears and filled with admiration. If he only “detects” souls to his own satisfaction, I see little harm in that. (As long as he isn’t trying to sell his vaporware to innocent others).
Learner is free to have as much faith as they want. What I balk at is that his trap is just putting the dust under the rug, and the consideration should not be considered remotely persuasive.

I struggle to imagine the pitiable one who considers anything Learner has posted to be “persuasive”. Rather than argue, it would probably be best to have life support standing by in case of such an event.
It occurred to me the irony of Learner attempting to use doubt to support faith.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Traditional Atheist
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
8,898
Location
PA USA
Basic Beliefs
egalitarian
I agree with you that belief in gods is incompatible with science but not that science disproves the existence of gods.
It seems that either science is real or non-science, aka woo in all its facets including gods, is real. They cannot both be real. Science is about what can be observed. If something cannot be observed it is not real. Seems simple enough. Therefore gods and magic aren't real because by definition these things cannot be observed. If something isn't real to science it is not real, period.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,830
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside
I say let him have it if it comforts him.
Personally I have no use for constructs that have no power of explanation or prediction, but YMMV.
If learner can detect souls in a manner that is both explanatory and predictive, I’ll be all ears and filled with admiration. If he only “detects” souls to his own satisfaction, I see little harm in that. (As long as he isn’t trying to sell his vaporware to innocent others).
Learner is free to have as much faith as they want. What I balk at is that his trap is just putting the dust under the rug, and the consideration should not be considered remotely persuasive.
The biggest problem is that there are actually concepts of soul that are coherent and predictive.

Learner's garbage just muddies the waters on the subject insofar as it adds noise that makes the truth impossible to fish out of the morass of bad information.

I've discussed this before: circuit diagram is to circuit as soul is to human. A circuit physically diagrams itself just as a human physically embodies it's soul.

It has no weight, no mass, no particle. It is merely the sum of property descriptions of the thing.

It does not go anywhere, because it's not a thing tied to a place, it's really just an idea and image, and without something to translate that image into material form, with no machine to implement the soul, it's really just an imaginary thing, a "mere image" and not a "soul" at all.

Of course, earlier humans didn't have axioms of math and even modern humans don't have a good grasp or understanding on them, so while they correctly inferred that things had some nebulous "thing" that is somehow "the very idea of them", they inferred a lot of incorrect things about it too.
 

atrib

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
2,017
Location
Columbia, SC
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
But I wasn't engaging in either kind of fallacy, because my words were used consistently
You may have been unaware that you were using the word "wrong" in two different ways, but you were doing so nonetheless, as I detailed above.

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.
If the model predicts the wrong orbit for Mercury, then the model is wrong. In one case, the adjective is used as the modifier of a head noun. In the other, it is used as a predicate adjective. Other than that, it seems to have exactly the same meaning. Perhaps there is a nuanced distinction that you wish to make in defining its usage in one construction but not the other. I don't see it as a significant one.
Most models used in science are approximate solutions fitted to observed data, since the differential equations describing most natural phenomena, if they can even be written out explicitly, are too complex to be solved in closed form, i.e. to provide exact solutions. Newtonian gravity is one such approximation; it provides predictions which are very close to observed reality for most phenomena we encounter on Earth. For example, if Newtonian physics is used to model the oscillation of a pendulum, the theory provides an exact solution as long as the amplitude of oscillation is limited to arbitrarily small values (less than about 3 degrees in practice). The predictions for Mercury's orbit made using Newtonian physics are approximately correct, and it would take an educated astronomer with a series of rigorous observations to detect anomalies between the predictions and reality. So it is inappropriate to describe the model as "wrong". The model is a tool, and the accuracy of the predictions it makes are acceptable for the types of problems it is typically applied to. General relativity vastly improves the quality of the prediction for the orbit of Mercury, but again, the solution involves numerical methods that approximate reality and uses simplifying assumptions, so that too is not exact.


 

Elixir

Made in America
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
20,427
Location
Mountains
Basic Beliefs
English is complicated
Oddly, Jarhyn, that seems to have been the mainstream Christian view of “soul” before science began boxing gods into gaps.
Iirc, the very word has its origins in another word that referred to breath.
Somehow, the fearsome spectacle of an incredibly quickly shrinking god forced a new version of “soul” that placed it outside the realm where science could fuck with it.
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Messages
7,197
Location
Searching for reality along the long and winding r
Basic Beliefs
Everything we know is wrong (to some degree)
But I wasn't engaging in either kind of fallacy, because my words were used consistently
You may have been unaware that you were using the word "wrong" in two different ways, but you were doing so nonetheless, as I detailed above.

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.
If the model predicts the wrong orbit for Mercury, then the model is wrong. In one case, the adjective is used as the modifier of a head noun. In the other, it is used as a predicate adjective. Other than that, it seems to have exactly the same meaning. Perhaps there is a nuanced distinction that you wish to make in defining its usage in one construction but not the other. I don't see it as a significant one.
Most models used in science are approximate solutions fitted to observed data, since the differential equations describing most natural phenomena, if they can even be written out explicitly, are too complex to be solved in closed form, i.e. to provide exact solutions. Newtonian gravity is one such approximation; it provides predictions which are very close to observed reality for most phenomena we encounter on Earth. For example, if Newtonian physics is used to model the oscillation of a pendulum, the theory provides an exact solution as long as the amplitude of oscillation is limited to small values (less than about 2 degrees). The predictions for Mercury's orbit made using Newtonian physics are approximately correct, and it would take an educated astronomer with a series of rigorous observations to detect anomalies between the predictions and reality. So it is inappropriate to describe the model as "wrong". The model is a tool, and the accuracy of the predictions it makes are acceptable for the types of problems it is typically applied to. General relativity vastly improves the quality of the prediction for the orbit of Mercury, but again, the solution involves numerical methods that approximate reality and uses simplifying assumptions, so that too is not exact.


Indeed. Saying that Newton is wrong is similar to saying that a ruler is wrong because it doesn't give as precise measurements as a micrometer.

Between Newton and Einstein, the decision of which model to use depends on how many decimal places are required to satisfactorily solve the problem.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,781
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
...
Most models used in science are approximate solutions fitted to observed data, since the differential equations describing most natural phenomena, if they can even be written out explicitly, are too complex to be solved in closed form, i.e. to provide exact solutions. Newtonian gravity is one such approximation; it provides predictions which are very close to observed reality for most phenomena we encounter on Earth. For example, if Newtonian physics is used to model the oscillation of a pendulum, the theory provides an exact solution as long as the amplitude of oscillation is limited to arbitrarily small values (less than about 3 degrees in practice). The predictions for Mercury's orbit made using Newtonian physics are approximately correct, and it would take an educated astronomer with a series of rigorous observations to detect anomalies between the predictions and reality. So it is inappropriate to describe the model as "wrong". The model is a tool, and the accuracy of the predictions it makes are acceptable for the types of problems it is typically applied to. General relativity vastly improves the quality of the prediction for the orbit of Mercury, but again, the solution involves numerical methods that approximate reality and uses simplifying assumptions, so that too is not exact.

All true. How does this contradict anything I've said? Can you cite anything I've said that you think is inconsistent with what you've said here?
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,781
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
Indeed. Saying that Newton is wrong is similar to saying that a ruler is wrong because it doesn't give as precise measurements as a micrometer.

Between Newton and Einstein, the decision of which model to use depends on how many decimal places are required to satisfactorily solve the problem.
Exactly! The Newtonian model fails to account for all the data that we observe. Once you are in need of those decimal places, the Newtonian model is wrong. It's true that you don't need Einstein to solve artillery trajectories, but you do need it to explain the observed location of Mercury from Earth. You can also reliably say that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, even though that isn't really what Copernican astronomy tells us. Again, why do you think I've been saying anything different?
 

atrib

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
2,017
Location
Columbia, SC
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
...
Most models used in science are approximate solutions fitted to observed data, since the differential equations describing most natural phenomena, if they can even be written out explicitly, are too complex to be solved in closed form, i.e. to provide exact solutions. Newtonian gravity is one such approximation; it provides predictions which are very close to observed reality for most phenomena we encounter on Earth. For example, if Newtonian physics is used to model the oscillation of a pendulum, the theory provides an exact solution as long as the amplitude of oscillation is limited to arbitrarily small values (less than about 3 degrees in practice). The predictions for Mercury's orbit made using Newtonian physics are approximately correct, and it would take an educated astronomer with a series of rigorous observations to detect anomalies between the predictions and reality. So it is inappropriate to describe the model as "wrong". The model is a tool, and the accuracy of the predictions it makes are acceptable for the types of problems it is typically applied to. General relativity vastly improves the quality of the prediction for the orbit of Mercury, but again, the solution involves numerical methods that approximate reality and uses simplifying assumptions, so that too is not exact.

All true. How does this contradict anything I've said? Can you cite anything I've said that you think is inconsistent with what you've said here?

I was adding context to your statement:

If the model predicts the wrong orbit for Mercury, then the model is wrong.

Its not black and white. We have no way to ascertain "the right orbit for Mercury" since we don't have a telescope that is perfectly accurate. Nor do we have a closed form solution for the universal wave function that provides an exact description of said orbit. If the difference between the prediction of a model and our (imperfect) observations of Mercury's orbit exceeds some specified tolerance, then the model is likely inappropriate for use in that specific application, but I wouldn't necessarily categorize the model as being wrong.
 

blastula

Contributor
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
8,017
Gender
Late for dinner
Basic Beliefs
Gnostic atheist
Rocks falling sideways are a vastly more plausible way in which physics could be wrong, than unknown forces acting at human scales.

Rocks fall downward everywhere but Australia because of intelligent falling.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
3,781
Location
Bellevue, WA
Basic Beliefs
Atheist humanist
...
Most models used in science are approximate solutions fitted to observed data, since the differential equations describing most natural phenomena, if they can even be written out explicitly, are too complex to be solved in closed form, i.e. to provide exact solutions. Newtonian gravity is one such approximation; it provides predictions which are very close to observed reality for most phenomena we encounter on Earth. For example, if Newtonian physics is used to model the oscillation of a pendulum, the theory provides an exact solution as long as the amplitude of oscillation is limited to arbitrarily small values (less than about 3 degrees in practice). The predictions for Mercury's orbit made using Newtonian physics are approximately correct, and it would take an educated astronomer with a series of rigorous observations to detect anomalies between the predictions and reality. So it is inappropriate to describe the model as "wrong". The model is a tool, and the accuracy of the predictions it makes are acceptable for the types of problems it is typically applied to. General relativity vastly improves the quality of the prediction for the orbit of Mercury, but again, the solution involves numerical methods that approximate reality and uses simplifying assumptions, so that too is not exact.

All true. How does this contradict anything I've said? Can you cite anything I've said that you think is inconsistent with what you've said here?

I was adding context to your statement:

If the model predicts the wrong orbit for Mercury, then the model is wrong.

Its not black and white. We have no way to ascertain "the right orbit for Mercury" since we don't have a telescope that is perfectly accurate. Nor do we have a closed form solution for the universal wave function that provides an exact description of said orbit. If the difference between the prediction of a model and our (imperfect) observations of Mercury's orbit exceeds some specified tolerance, then the model is likely inappropriate for use in that specific application, but I wouldn't necessarily categorize the model as being wrong.

The point is that "right" and "wrong" are scalar concepts. They don't mean anything independently of an explicit or implicit scale. Bilby had claimed that I was equivocating on the meaning of the word, but I wasn't. There is no ambiguity in my usage, but different contexts can imply different scales. So the same model can be right or wrong, depending on context. Anyway, all of this is beside the point. I had a minor disagreement with Bilby over whether science can be used to disprove the existence of God/gods. I can agree that science and theism are incompatible on philosophical grounds--physicalism vs spiritualism--but it strikes me as wrong to claim that science can disprove the existential claim. If he and others disagree with my reasoning, I'm ok with that. I've tried to explain my reasoning as best I could.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
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?
Lacking an alternate explanation is not proof of anything. If you look back at history, you will find many things for which people lacked an alternate explanation and assumed God, such as volcanoes. We now know that there is a better explanation.

'Evidence of God' consists of a number of steps. One must define what God is. We cannot search, logically or scientifically, if we do not know what we are searching for because we cannot demonstrate that it has been found. A search requires search criteria. And, based on the various schisms and denominations, we know that there is no clear consensus for what is God. If we assumed we could select one of the many versions of The Bible for criteria, it's HUGE. And, if any of it remains unproven, we could then argue we did not find God, or that even though something sort of like the Biblical God exists, it's not the god of the bible. So, that search would be doomed to failure because it's unlikely we could reach 100% certainty of every detail of the Bible - particularly since a rational person knows it's not a rational story - immaculate conception, two of every gazillion species loaded onto a boat, the pillar of salt, etc and so it would be impossible for these things to be proven. It's exactly why Christians call them miracles, and insist that in order to believe them one must have 'faith'.

Even if we reduced our search to some primary characteristics, each would require its own 'proof'. The Creator. The Omniscient. The Omnipotent. The Source of Morality. The Geography (Heaven, Hell, Purgatory). Let's start with The Creator. If you proved some entity created man, you still haven't proved that entity is a god, unless your definition of god is that all creators of man are god. Then you must stop to consider whether that makes every childbearing woman a god, and the complexities of whether sperm donation counts as 'creation'. You must also ask yourself if, when man clones a human being, does that make that man a god.

Then, we might move on to The Omnipotent. In order to prove omnipotence, you need to have some demonstration of it. It's unlikely that we will achieve that. The only way to move forward is sophistry, trying to argue that various random events around us are demonstrations of 'omnipotence' without any proof. But - omnipotence implies a god is worshipped not because it is worthy, but because we have no choice. It has the power to make us worship it. And, since some people don't worship it, then it must only choose certain people to worship it, and they are given no choice. It also suggests that it occasionally decides to release some people. This brings up the issue of predetermination. And, that's the end of the argument. We are going to believe what the omnipotent god forces us to believe, and do what the omnipotent god forces us to do. Or - we move on to deciding that the god has the power of omnipotence but doesn't choose to use it on us. In which case, how is omnipotence relevant, and how are you going to prove such power exists in the first place?

And, so it goes. Every one of of the major characteristics is going to lead us down a rabbit hole, and when we are done, we still have nothing to tell us what relevance any of those characteristics has to the supposed God, whether he must have only one of them, or all of them.

Assuming that you could define what it is that you are searching for, and that you can actually find that entity and prove it exists, there remains one more issue. If you present this entity to a person, that person must accept an entity as a god, choose to deify that entity and choose to accept a general deity as his own personal god. There are a great many posited deities, and people do choose different ones. Egyptians worshipped cats as gods. Once you find a cat, and prove the cat exists, you still just have a cat. You don't have a god. You didn't prove god exists to everyone in the world by finding a cat. In order for that cat to be any person's god, the person must agree to deify the cat, and classify it as 'a' god, and then as 'his own' god. These are choices. You cannot prove a choice. The idea of 'proving God' is the idea that one can come up with some argument that is so overwhelming that people are forced, that they have no choice, but to deify that entity and then accept it as their personal god. Let's get real. You can't even get every person on and off the planet to even admit that they, themselves, exist! People always have a choice and some of us are contrarian by nature. So, the only way to prove god is to eliminate free will and simply make them all agree on one conclusion at one time. If you have the power to give them visions and insert choices in their heads, you likely have the power to just control the choice. Why all the theatrics? If The Omnipotent God existed, then he, alone, could force every person in existence to simultaneously believe he existed, believe he was a deity and accept him as their personal deity. Why hasn't he done that? Even if he did, then you would have a zombie army of God worshippers who were not convinced but rather forced to accept The Omnipotent God as their own personal God. That entity could be Hitler, a cat, or whatever, but I'm not sure that counts as 'evidence'. There are no rational steps involved, just 'God' (or Hitler or a cat) waving a hand and making it so. And, the fact he can compel you does not mean he is the Moral God, only the omnipotent god. So, you are just a zombie under the control of god which may or may not be moral. It's not clear why you went to all the effort to prove God and how this understanding that you are a zombie whose fate is ruled by the arbitrary decisions of The Omnipotent God is going to in any way improve your life.

You cannot prove God definitively while Free Will exists.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
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.
You would have to have a universal concept of morality - which does not exist. Christians, for instance, vary in terms of some being pro-life and some pro-choice, or some are accepting of LGBT. Due to a lack of universal standard of morality, the proposed scenario would not be persuasive evidence because the infectious events would not sort themselves neatly into an 'immoral' category. Some scenarios would appear 'moral' to some people.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
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.

View attachment 21360

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.
The God of Gaps both shrinks and expands every time we learn something new. While we may explain one phenomenon that God was previously getting credit for, we open up another universe. When we discover another atomic level, the God particle - or that instead of just being candles in the sky that that there is an entire universe of unexplored stars out there - the God of Gaps expands yet again. The more we learn, the longer our list of unanswered questions.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
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.

If I walk into a room and say my car won't start and someone comes and jumps it off, is he indistinguishable from a god? The fact that an entity responds to a need or an appeal does not indicate godhood. So, we are left with the fact that we 'prayed' and that an alien intercepted and understood this 'communication', suggesting that the only distinguishing characteristic of a god is that he hears and answers prayers. If this is the case, we can dispense with the whole 'creation' argument, morality (not all prayers are moral) and other proposed aspects of 'god'.

However, if we were being surveiled by aliens, their response might not be to the 'prayer' but rather to what they observed by surveilling us. Another possible explanation is what we call 'ESP' which might act through quantum entanglement. Either way, the alien might still be distinguishable from god, except that we have no defined way to distinguish god. We don't have a clear definition or a standardized test to assess godhood. (...or we would not be having this conversation).
 

Keith&Co.

Contributor
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Messages
22,444
Location
Far Western Mass
Gender
Here.
Basic Beliefs
I'm here...
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.
You would have to have a universal concept of morality - which does not exist.

But this is in the context of proof for a god. One absolute arbiter of morality....somewhere.
Like the bumper stickers say, "God said it, That settles it."
Whether we agree with it or not. And not subject to translation or transcription errors, a repeatable observation


I mean, really, if AIDS did behave this was, that would certainly establish the valued morality. If evidence accrued thst married couples did not transmit AIDS in the missionary position, but did thru blowjobs, that would be a definite clue no matter how many people like blowjobs.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
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.
You would have to have a universal concept of morality - which does not exist.

But this is in the context of proof for a god. One absolute arbiter of morality....somewhere.
Like the bumper stickers say, "God said it, That settles it."
Whether we agree with it or not. And not subject to translation or transcription errors, a repeatable observation


I mean, really, if AIDS did behave this was, that would certainly establish the valued morality. If evidence accrued thst married couples did not transmit AIDS in the missionary position, but did thru blowjobs, that would be a definite clue no matter how many people like blowjobs.
This is a circular argument.

We cannot conclude on observing a pattern of infection, that this pattern proves both God and a universal standard for morality.

Only after we have confirmed God, can we define morality based on what God says it is. But - that only holds true if a person recognizes the entity as God and as the universal standard for morality. If a person does not confer upon God the right to define his morality, then there is only a pattern of infection that strikes some and skips others.

If a serial killer chooses only to kill pedophiles, and not other people, that does make the serial killer God. And, whether his actions are moral could be hotly debated.

In this example, a likely scientific conclusion might be that AIDS is more readily transferred via saliva than semen. And, it would not be possible from a scientific standpoint to introduce a supernatural explanation, so science would not be able to confirm your hypothesis regarding a moral cause of AIDS under any circumstances.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,830
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
One absolute arbiter of morality ethics....somewhere.
So this is a very interesting definition for God, and I'm not so sure you're right in assuming there is not an absolute mechanism which bounds the stochastic range of "morality" in some general way.

I fairly well expect that there is some pathway from the axioms to "don't be a dick".

It's a long and convoluted pathway that I don't think humans could have figured out much earlier than now.

But that just means that the arbiter of ethics is the fact we live in a material universe describable by math, to the extent that it is so describable.

That doesn't entitle it to worship. I don't worship the fact that the radius of a circle is 2πR, either.

I will not deny such as the radius of a circle is 2πR, either. I just kind of accept it and continue doing what I do, modified so as to obey this understanding of necessary fact.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
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.
You would have to have a universal concept of morality - which does not exist.

But this is in the context of proof for a god. One absolute arbiter of morality....somewhere.
Like the bumper stickers say, "God said it, That settles it."
Whether we agree with it or not. And not subject to translation or transcription errors, a repeatable observation


I mean, really, if AIDS did behave this was, that would certainly establish the valued morality. If evidence accrued thst married couples did not transmit AIDS in the missionary position, but did thru blowjobs, that would be a definite clue no matter how many people like blowjobs.
This is a circular argument.

We cannot conclude on observing a pattern of infection, that this pattern proves both God and a universal standard for morality.

Only after we have confirmed God, can we define morality based on what God says it is. But - that only holds true if a person recognizes the entity as God and as the universal standard for morality. If a person does not confer upon God the right to define his morality, then there is only a pattern of infection that strikes some and skips others.

If a serial killer chooses only to kill pedophiles, and not other people, that does make the serial killer God. And, whether his actions are moral could be hotly debated.

In this example, a likely scientific conclusion might be that AIDS is more readily transferred via saliva than semen. And, it would not be possible from a scientific standpoint to introduce a supernatural explanation, so science would not be able to confirm your hypothesis regarding a moral cause of AIDS under any circumstances.
Another question is whether humans are even capable of accepting an external definition of morality. If an entity struck people dead for having blowjobs, and spared people who had Missionary style sex, that is my definition of a deranged psychotic serial killer - and many would share that view.

If humans cannot except an external definition of morality, and if humans' internal definitions of morality differ (as they demonstrably do) - then that would throw the theory of a universal standard for morality right out the window. In my view, a universal standard of morality is toast. Not happening, not unless The Omnipotent God starts the Zombie Worshipper Apocalypse....


...we're still waiting.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
One absolute arbiter of morality ethics....somewhere.
So this is a very interesting definition for God, and I'm not so sure you're right in assuming there is not an absolute mechanism which bounds the stochastic range of "morality" in some general way.

I fairly well expect that there is some pathway from the axioms to "don't be a dick".

It's a long and convoluted pathway that I don't think humans could have figured out much earlier than now.

But that just means that the arbiter of ethics is the fact we live in a material universe describable by math, to the extent that it is so describable.

That doesn't entitle it to worship. I don't worship the fact that the radius of a circle is 2πR, either.

I will not deny such as the radius of a circle is 2πR, either. I just kind of accept it and continue doing what I do, modified so as to obey this understanding of necessary fact.
I had one person tell me that worship is not a necessary characteristic of a god (may be right, may be wrong). So, this also goes back to the eternal question, that we can't prove a god until we can define one.

I have concluded that a deity is an entity that I personally choose to classify as a deity, and is my God only if I choose for it to be my God. If you can define an entity, you can prove it exists (you cannot, however, prove it does not exist with absolute certainty, only with reasonable certainty). This ability to choose one's god is demonstrated by the fact that many people do, in fact, choose many different gods. Therefore, there can never be a proof for my personal god, only evidence of the choice I've made (testimony, affidavit, etc). I have made the choice, and because that choice is grounded in my personal morality (the meaning of the word that is NOT religious based), I can be quite certain that I will not change that decision. This is demonstrated in the fact that the decision has remained rock solid for more than half a century.

Many entities have been discovered in my lifetime, various new species, and I have not chosen to deify any of them. I have no reasonable expectation that I would deify the next entity that comes along, either.

And, as a rock solid rule.... I don't deify. Ever.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist

I think that we are in violent agreement about how science works, and I don't think that anything I have said about epistemology or plausibility resonates with you. We both have arrived at the same conclusion that science rules out the existence of gods but have different ways of characterizing the epistemological significance of that conclusion.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "science rules out that gods are necessary"? Science can't rule out whatever is past the universe, if such a thing exists.

Science to this point has managed to explain a lot without god ever entering the conversation. What remains is not understood... and not defaulted to god. Much to the point that god(s) existence appears to be irrelevant for our widescale observations of the universe, hence, gods are not necessary.

Learner wants to suggest a test to look for intervention. We have explained a boatload of processes that have no intervention. As for our "souls", I think brain trauma (where as people become different people after massive head injuries) is quite possibly the easiest way to debunk the soul. But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside. If we can't disprove a soul... there can be a soul. Which is a desperate plea, as it requires failure to disprove instead of act to prove in order to propagate it.

Whether we can disprove the soul isn't relevant. It is just a minor pigeonhole trap created by an ever evaporating dogma of religion that attempted to explain science. The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:
  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder
But I wasn't engaging in either kind of fallacy, because my words were used consistently
You may have been unaware that you were using the word "wrong" in two different ways, but you were doing so nonetheless, as I detailed above.

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.
If the model predicts the wrong orbit for Mercury, then the model is wrong. In one case, the adjective is used as the modifier of a head noun. In the other, it is used as a predicate adjective. Other than that, it seems to have exactly the same meaning. Perhaps there is a nuanced distinction that you wish to make in defining its usage in one construction but not the other. I don't see it as a significant one.

I think that we are in violent agreement about how science works, and I don't think that anything I have said about epistemology or plausibility resonates with you. We both have arrived at the same conclusion that science rules out the existence of gods but have different ways of characterizing the epistemological significance of that conclusion. So maybe we should just let it rest at that. It's not worth spending our few remaining heartbeats in trying to resolve the dispute. I agree with you that belief in gods is incompatible with science but not that science disproves the existence of gods.

One absolute arbiter of morality ethics....somewhere.
So this is a very interesting definition for God, and I'm not so sure you're right in assuming there is not an absolute mechanism which bounds the stochastic range of "morality" in some general way.

I fairly well expect that there is some pathway from the axioms to "don't be a dick".

It's a long and convoluted pathway that I don't think humans could have figured out much earlier than now.

But that just means that the arbiter of ethics is the fact we live in a material universe describable by math, to the extent that it is so describable.

That doesn't entitle it to worship. I don't worship the fact that the radius of a circle is 2πR, either.

I will not deny such as the radius of a circle is 2πR, either. I just kind of accept it and continue doing what I do, modified so as to obey this understanding of necessary fact.
The stochastic range of 'morality' might be defined by the human tolerance to empathic response in which the brain observes a situation and tries to mimic the experience, and the ability of humans to be aware of and predict the suffering of others through this mechanism. It would vary from individual to individual (as it clearly does), and would be similar in concept to the range of human visual or auditory capabilities. Our logical brain then tries to develop generalizations based on painful empathic experiences, just as we try to draw generalizations from sensory touch experience like - 'Don't stick your hand into any fire, anywhere. That hurts.'

Morality fails in situations where one human's brain cannot 'see' the other creature's experience. One example would be what we call an 'invisible illness'. Another might be an empathic human observing the behavior of a psychopath (or vice versa). The differences in brains make them unable to mimic one another. Or, we may encounter situations we have not experienced before, so our brain wasn't able to predict the painful experience and model it for us until it experienced it for the first time. In a similar vein, a person might still burn his hand on a hot surface that he does not recognize as 'fire', like a steam pipe - until the brain learns to recognize the steam pipe as a source of painful heat. And, so, as we discover these new sources of real and empathic pain that we were not previously aware of, we continually update our models resulting in evolving moral understanding and... axioms that lead to a conclusion of 'Don't be a Dick'. But our moral understanding remains limited within the bounds of what humans can or have experienced, what we can perceive and what we can thus predict.

C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner series explores the linkage between morality and physiology. I thought she made a compelling case. Her conclusion was that a different physiology must naturally lead to a different morality.

None of this requires a God, though I'm sure a Creationist would argue that God built the empathic response into the brain. In all likelihood, though, empathy exists because being able to recognize another's pain helped us to predict our own pain, avoid painful experiences and increase our chances of survival and that of other members of our social unit. And morality is just a logical construct that we've built based on our empathic response, utilizing our natural intelligence to increase the effectiveness of a more basic reflex - like studying kinesiology so we can throw a baseball faster or more accurately.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:

  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder

I don’t particularly want to get involved in the current discussion on the question of how we know what we know, but reading through the thread reminded me of something. Years ago (like thirty plus) I found myself in a situation where I needed to contemplate the nature of god-hood, if any. I hit upon the following:

Given that any omnipotent god would be transcendent by definition, then any entity that can be defined cannot be god.

That satisfied me for a while, almost, although in the end it seemed a bit vacuous to pass muster, to say the least. Recalling that pronouncement just now made me smile to myself a little ruefully.
My take on an omnipotent god is that the god either utilizes his omnipotence on humans in current times, or he does not.

If god does not use his omnipotence on humans in current times, then omnipotence is irrelevant. Stop. It doesn't matter if it exists or not, in general. If there is no manifestation of it for us to detect then we will never detect it.

If god does use omnipotence on humans in current times, then Free Will evaporates and omnipotence leads directly to predestination, which makes musings on an omnipotent god irrelevant. God decided you will muse on omnipotent gods and god will decide what you think about god, what you do, what you say next, and whether you will understand or not understand God. Whatever God makes you perceive, you perceive and reality itself is irrelevant because you will only perceive it if God so allows. So... what's the point in pursuing philosophy? God will tell you what to think.

But, if you look at human experience, it's impossible for the human mind to comprehend why any omnipotent God would choose to create an irrational mess like this! So, if an omnipotent God does exist, he's either completely incomprehensible to the human mind - or he's insane. Either way, from a human's perspective, he's useless as a 'god'.

(update) This last touches on the experience of Holocaust victims. If an omnipotent god exists and his 'morality' allowed for him to let The Holocaust happen and for him not to intervene on behalf of the victims - then either the posited god does not actually exist, or he is not worthy of deification. He's just a powerful entity, and an oblivious, disinterested, or cruel and immoral one at that. Note the assumption that morality is even an issue with an omnipotent god. Maybe he is just ominpotent. This touches on the lack of a clear definition of god in the first place.
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:

  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder

I don’t particularly want to get involved in the current discussion on the question of how we know what we know, but reading through the thread reminded me of something. Years ago (like thirty plus) I found myself in a situation where I needed to contemplate the nature of god-hood, if any. I hit upon the following:

Given that any omnipotent god would be transcendent by definition, then any entity that can be defined cannot be god.

That satisfied me for a while, almost, although in the end it seemed a bit vacuous to pass muster, to say the least. Recalling that pronouncement just now made me smile to myself a little ruefully.
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.
You would have to have a universal concept of morality - which does not exist.

But this is in the context of proof for a god. One absolute arbiter of morality....somewhere.
Like the bumper stickers say, "God said it, That settles it."
Whether we agree with it or not. And not subject to translation or transcription errors, a repeatable observation


I mean, really, if AIDS did behave this was, that would certainly establish the valued morality. If evidence accrued thst married couples did not transmit AIDS in the missionary position, but did thru blowjobs, that would be a definite clue no matter how many people like blowjobs.
If you don't know what morality is, then you don't know it when you see it.

People wouldn't notice that all the cases were 'immoral' because they don't yet know what moral is....
... because God hasn't told them what the universal standard of moral is
... because God had not yet introduced himself
... because God was going to introduce himself by showing us that a bunch of immoral people got sick and moral people didn't
... but... (go back to the beginning)

People would be evaluating the viral cases based on their own perceptions of morality which differ from other people, and necessarily differ from any one universal God Standard. So, it would just be a bunch of random sick people.

Also - no one would know when exactly when they caught AIDs how they they caught it, what they were doing when they caught it. They wouldn't even know from whom they caught it without a whole lot of tracking and tracing and genetic sequencing of AIDs virus - which would never happen..
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside
I say let him have it if it comforts him.
Personally I have no use for constructs that have no power of explanation or prediction, but YMMV.
If learner can detect souls in a manner that is both explanatory and predictive, I’ll be all ears and filled with admiration. If he only “detects” souls to his own satisfaction, I see little harm in that. (As long as he isn’t trying to sell his vaporware to innocent others).
Even if a soul existed, that does not mean there is any connection to God. It would just be an avenue of research for scientists to determine whether they can download the soul into some sort of alternative containment device when the mortal body dies -- sort of like the famous heads in jars in Futurama. 'Heaven' might be a jar on a shelf.
 

Keith&Co.

Contributor
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Messages
22,444
Location
Far Western Mass
Gender
Here.
Basic Beliefs
I'm here...
But that still makes humans the arbiter of human ethics.

I'd certainly like to think the arguments against dicktitude are more compelling, and long-run profitable than dickish behavior.

But if we're talking about looking for a reason to think there's a god, why would it take this long?
If there is a god, and a religion with even a slight grasp on its desires, i'd expect to have seen trends develop by now, at the very least.

Certain faith's churches thst never, ever get bombed during war. That cannot be set on fire by heretics. That never run out of money, maybe, or a roof that never leaks even with holes poked in it.

Acts that ALWAYS get punished. No appeals to an afterlife justice for criminals that never got identified, if you break the Church of Zog's 4th Commandment, you WILL be caught. Zoggian or not.

Hell, if i were god, anyone deciding to commit rape would find themselves with a four-foot dick, two feet around. Then everyone would know what they tried to do. "Ah. So, what, you got her drunk or what?" Ghislane Maxwell would have a tough time accessorizing that....
 

Keith&Co.

Contributor
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Messages
22,444
Location
Far Western Mass
Gender
Here.
Basic Beliefs
I'm here...
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.
You would have to have a universal concept of morality - which does not exist.

But this is in the context of proof for a god. One absolute arbiter of morality....somewhere.
Like the bumper stickers say, "God said it, That settles it."
Whether we agree with it or not. And not subject to translation or transcription errors, a repeatable observation


I mean, really, if AIDS did behave this was, that would certainly establish the valued morality. If evidence accrued thst married couples did not transmit AIDS in the missionary position, but did thru blowjobs, that would be a definite clue no matter how many people like blowjobs.
This is a circular argument.

We cannot conclude on observing a pattern of infection, that this pattern proves both God and a universal standard for morality.
You're still trying yo apply this god to the universe you live in.
I am saying if there were a god who cared about our behavior, our history would have been drastically different.

 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,830
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
But that still makes humans the arbiter of human ethics.

I'd certainly like to think the arguments against dicktitude are more compelling, and long-run profitable than dickish behavior.

But if we're talking about looking for a reason to think there's a god, why would it take this long?
If there is a god, and a religion with even a slight grasp on its desires, i'd expect to have seen trends develop by now, at the very least.

Certain faith's churches thst never, ever get bombed during war. That cannot be set on fire by heretics. That never run out of money, maybe, or a roof that never leaks even with holes poked in it.

Acts that ALWAYS get punished. No appeals to an afterlife justice for criminals that never got identified, if you break the Church of Zog's 4th Commandment, you WILL be caught. Zoggian or not.

Hell, if i were god, anyone deciding to commit rape would find themselves with a four-foot dick, two feet around. Then everyone would know what they tried to do. "Ah. So, what, you got her drunk or what?" Ghislane Maxwell would have a tough time accessorizing that....
No, the things of game theory that come together to form these ethical requirements don't require humans. They are much more, and function equally among chimpanzees or robots or aliens.

As I have said, I don't call this thing a "god" any more than "2πR" is a god. It's just a fact of any flat, regular topology.

Similarly, there is a "best general strategy for open-goaled game theory". It just has to revolve around a general, rather than specific goal. It is not a god, but it is most certainly true that it may be derived.

Humans don't get to arbitrate what is the product of game theory. Strange, I know, but we don't. Game theory is a set of relationships demanded of systems which conform to certain constructions of math.

If the system conforms to the construction, it is valid anywhere, not just in this universe but any universe that hosts that form of construction of set relationships.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic

I think that we are in violent agreement about how science works, and I don't think that anything I have said about epistemology or plausibility resonates with you. We both have arrived at the same conclusion that science rules out the existence of gods but have different ways of characterizing the epistemological significance of that conclusion.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "science rules out that gods are necessary"? Science can't rule out whatever is past the universe, if such a thing exists.

Science to this point has managed to explain a lot without god ever entering the conversation. What remains is not understood... and not defaulted to god. Much to the point that god(s) existence appears to be irrelevant for our widescale observations of the universe, hence, gods are not necessary.

Learner wants to suggest a test to look for intervention. We have explained a boatload of processes that have no intervention. As for our "souls", I think brain trauma (where as people become different people after massive head injuries) is quite possibly the easiest way to debunk the soul. But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside. If we can't disprove a soul... there can be a soul. Which is a desperate plea, as it requires failure to disprove instead of act to prove in order to propagate it.

Whether we can disprove the soul isn't relevant. It is just a minor pigeonhole trap created by an ever evaporating dogma of religion that attempted to explain science. The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:
  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder
That is generally my view. Some people at times say 'science says..' as a generality much as theists say 'the bible says..'.

Science can dispute specific claims such as Young Earth Creationism and subjective evidence offered as a proof of god, but I know of no scientifc theory that says or infers a god can not exist.
 

Jimmy Higgins

Contributor
Joined
Feb 1, 2001
Messages
36,317
Basic Beliefs
Calvinistic Atheist
But that still makes humans the arbiter of human ethics.

I'd certainly like to think the arguments against dicktitude are more compelling, and long-run profitable than dickish behavior.

But if we're talking about looking for a reason to think there's a god, why would it take this long?
If there is a god, and a religion with even a slight grasp on its desires, i'd expect to have seen trends develop by now, at the very least.

Certain faith's churches thst never, ever get bombed during war. That cannot be set on fire by heretics. That never run out of money, maybe, or a roof that never leaks even with holes poked in it.

Acts that ALWAYS get punished. No appeals to an afterlife justice for criminals that never got identified, if you break the Church of Zog's 4th Commandment, you WILL be caught. Zoggian or not.

Hell, if i were god, anyone deciding to commit rape would find themselves with a four-foot dick, two feet around. Then everyone would know what they tried to do. "Ah. So, what, you got her drunk or what?" Ghislane Maxwell would have a tough time accessorizing that....
Of course, on the other hand, we might have all been asses during our actual lifetime and we are actually in hell. ;)
 

TheItinerantAtheist

New member
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Messages
26
Gender
F
Basic Beliefs
Born and lived an atheist
But that still makes humans the arbiter of human ethics.

Yes, it does. Because humans are the arbiter of human ethics. And wolves are the arbiter of wolf ethics - which are the different from human ethics because they are based on wolf physiology.
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
27,313
Location
The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
Gender
He/Him
Basic Beliefs
Strong Atheist

I think that we are in violent agreement about how science works, and I don't think that anything I have said about epistemology or plausibility resonates with you. We both have arrived at the same conclusion that science rules out the existence of gods but have different ways of characterizing the epistemological significance of that conclusion.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "science rules out that gods are necessary"? Science can't rule out whatever is past the universe, if such a thing exists.

Science to this point has managed to explain a lot without god ever entering the conversation. What remains is not understood... and not defaulted to god. Much to the point that god(s) existence appears to be irrelevant for our widescale observations of the universe, hence, gods are not necessary.

Learner wants to suggest a test to look for intervention. We have explained a boatload of processes that have no intervention. As for our "souls", I think brain trauma (where as people become different people after massive head injuries) is quite possibly the easiest way to debunk the soul. But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside. If we can't disprove a soul... there can be a soul. Which is a desperate plea, as it requires failure to disprove instead of act to prove in order to propagate it.

Whether we can disprove the soul isn't relevant. It is just a minor pigeonhole trap created by an ever evaporating dogma of religion that attempted to explain science. The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:
  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder
That is generally my view. Some people at times say 'science says..' as a generality much as theists say 'the bible says..'.

Science can dispute specific claims such as Young Earth Creationism and subjective evidence offered as a proof of god, but I know of no scientifc theory that says or infers a god can not exist.
Yes, you do. You just don't understand that theory, and despite attempts here to explain to you that it really does say that gods cannot exist, you haven't taken steps to learn the theory so you can see for yourself.

You are choosing to remain ignorant, and then claiming that your personal ignorance must be shared by all; Your claim here is "I don't know, therefore nobody knows" - which is nonsensical.

Quantum Field Theory, as demonstrated experimentally, cannot be sufficiently wrong as to allow for any god that intervened in human affairs to exist. It's less reasonable to reserve judgment on this fact than it is to reserve judgment on the claim that the Moon is not made of Stilton.

Your ignorance isn't an argument for anything.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,830
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
But that still makes humans the arbiter of human ethics.

Yes, it does. Because humans are the arbiter of human ethics. And wolves are the arbiter of wolf ethics - which are the different from human ethics because they are based on wolf physiology.
I disagree. Ethics are ethics no matter what entity you are looking at.

I would say the MORALITY of both are vastly different, however.

I think that we are in violent agreement about how science works, and I don't think that anything I have said about epistemology or plausibility resonates with you. We both have arrived at the same conclusion that science rules out the existence of gods but have different ways of characterizing the epistemological significance of that conclusion.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "science rules out that gods are necessary"? Science can't rule out whatever is past the universe, if such a thing exists.

Science to this point has managed to explain a lot without god ever entering the conversation. What remains is not understood... and not defaulted to god. Much to the point that god(s) existence appears to be irrelevant for our widescale observations of the universe, hence, gods are not necessary.

Learner wants to suggest a test to look for intervention. We have explained a boatload of processes that have no intervention. As for our "souls", I think brain trauma (where as people become different people after massive head injuries) is quite possibly the easiest way to debunk the soul. But Learner wants to test for the soul, because it creates a gap to stuff faith inside. If we can't disprove a soul... there can be a soul. Which is a desperate plea, as it requires failure to disprove instead of act to prove in order to propagate it.

Whether we can disprove the soul isn't relevant. It is just a minor pigeonhole trap created by an ever evaporating dogma of religion that attempted to explain science. The dogma went from an expansive encyclopedia set that explained god did everything, to a single book explaining god was the cause of the big stuff, and now remains as a pamphlet with a just a few bullet points:
  • Origin of Universe
  • Soul
  • Order from disorder
That is generally my view. Some people at times say 'science says..' as a generality much as theists say 'the bible says..'.

Science can dispute specific claims such as Young Earth Creationism and subjective evidence offered as a proof of god, but I know of no scientifc theory that says or infers a god can not exist.
Yes, you do. You just don't understand that theory, and despite attempts here to explain to you that it really does say that gods cannot exist, you haven't taken steps to learn the theory so you can see for yourself.

You are choosing to remain ignorant, and then claiming that your personal ignorance must be shared by all; Your claim here is "I don't know, therefore nobody knows" - which is nonsensical.

Quantum Field Theory, as demonstrated experimentally, cannot be sufficiently wrong as to allow for any god that intervened in human affairs to exist. It's less reasonable to reserve judgment on this fact than it is to reserve judgment on the claim that the Moon is not made of Stilton.

Your ignorance isn't an argument for anything.
QFT says no such thing. QFT only demands that there can be no such god composed of the stuff of our universe. But similarly to the fact that I cannot possibly exist "within" the universes I create, and while it is impossible for the stuff of that universe to interact in such a way to do the things that I cause to happen there on its own, I can nonetheless just instantaneous change the configuration of a field in that universe willy-nilly.

Does it obey the observable laws of physics in the universe I'm modifying? NOPE!

Does it have to obey such laws for it to work? NOPE!

QFT does not rule such malarkey and touches out, it just says that WE cannot so touch.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,830
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Does it have to obey such laws for it to work?
Yep.

It takes two to tango. Not only must a hypothetical unknown influence be able to affect particles; Particles also need to ba able to be affected by unknown influences. And we now know they cannot be.
Except it really doesn't.

I can crack open any universal simulation and just go about changing numbers on the fields.

No "internal physics" necessary there.

The laws of the physics only control things bound by the physical process. Not bound within the physics? Then you can do "whatever", which is only bound by host physics not client physics.
 

steve_bank

Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
9,801
Location
seattle
Basic Beliefs
secular-skeptic
Some theists conflate theology with science to serve their view point. Some atheists conflate science with science fiction to serve a view. Both interpretations, uising the word loosely, are based in ignorance.

I watched part of a Christian show on how science actually proves theology.

Going back to Popper science objectively is an experiment. As interpretations expand around experiment it becomes progressively subjective. For something to be objective science it must be testable.

In the end objective science is an equation and quantifiable measurable variables. Plug in numbers and yiu get outputs wih the bounds f the theory. Anything beyond that is interpretation and leads into philosophy.

QM has spawned books and followers of a mysticism on what it 'means;'. In practice to me it means equations to design transistors and lasers.

If a scientific proof of god either way was reducible to testable science we would either all be atheists or all theists depending on the outcome of a repeatable experiment.

In the 70s-90s there were many controlled experiments on ESP. None yielded results better than statistical averages. It can not be said it does not exist or is precluded by any theory, it can be said there is no demonstrable evidence to support the claims.
 

skepticalbip

Contributor
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Messages
7,197
Location
Searching for reality along the long and winding r
Basic Beliefs
Everything we know is wrong (to some degree)
Does it have to obey such laws for it to work?
Yep.

It takes two to tango. Not only must a hypothetical unknown influence be able to affect particles; Particles also need to ba able to be affected by unknown influences. And we now know they cannot be.
Except it really doesn't.

I can crack open any universal simulation and just go about changing numbers on the fields.
If you have access to the simulation you could but it would no longer be a representation of the universe so no longer useful.
 

Jarhyn

Wizard
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
9,830
Gender
No pls.
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
Does it have to obey such laws for it to work?
Yep.

It takes two to tango. Not only must a hypothetical unknown influence be able to affect particles; Particles also need to ba able to be affected by unknown influences. And we now know they cannot be.
Except it really doesn't.

I can crack open any universal simulation and just go about changing numbers on the fields.
If you have access to the simulation you could but it would no longer be a representation of the universe so no longer useful.
The simulation is "a universe", here. Not "a representation of" but "a genuine article".

I have a game. I change the memory outside the rules of the process (flip the bits), now Urist's strength is "100" when it used to be "10".

Nothing physically happened to Urist that he became so strong. He just is now, courtesy of a memory hack.

Something impossible and incomprehensible within the laws by which Urist's reality is formed allows for this, mostly on account of the fact that while "client" physics disallow such malarkey host physics is more permissive.

Nothing in our physics prevents this.
 
Top Bottom