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What would count as proof of God

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
How is that any more dumb than assuming our "physical laws" are laws, or that the universe has "always existed"? They have no access to any data that could possibly confirm the existence of anything outside the bowl; they'd think you were a complete blibbering idiot for suggesting there were living beings outside the bowl. Why is it necessary to posit magnificent but completely invisible alien beings who like to give us food, when everyone knows that the First Law of Food Materialization consistently explains the phenomenon they see better (and in much more sciencey-sounding language) than any mysticism could possibly hope to do? You might as well propose that the food comes from a pink fluffy invisible unicorn pooping into the bowl.
They have no access to data? They observe food appearing but have already concluded that there is nothing outside their bowl and don't have the sense to question their previous conclusion that there isn't anything outside their bowl? An observation is not data? Dumb!

So you want me to accept that Santa is real because a five year old's experiences tell him that Santa is real even though you know better? Really?

So this is apologia 2001.762.1, argument for Santa from a fishbowl. Got it. Jack and Rexella can make a show.
 

Politesse

Sapere aude
How is that any more dumb than assuming our "physical laws" are laws, or that the universe has "always existed"? They have no access to any data that could possibly confirm the existence of anything outside the bowl; they'd think you were a complete blibbering idiot for suggesting there were living beings outside the bowl. Why is it necessary to posit magnificent but completely invisible alien beings who like to give us food, when everyone knows that the First Law of Food Materialization consistently explains the phenomenon they see better (and in much more sciencey-sounding language) than any mysticism could possibly hope to do? You might as well propose that the food comes from a pink fluffy invisible unicorn pooping into the bowl.
They have no access to data? They observe food appearing but have already concluded that there is nothing outside their bowl and don't have the sense to question their previous conclusion that there isn't anything outside their bowl? An observation is not data? Dumb!

So you want me to accept that Santa is real because a five year old's experiences tell him that Santa is real even though you know better? Really?

So this is apologia 2001.762.1, argument for Santa from a fishbowl. Got it.
Not quite sure you're following. We are very like the fish. Or the toddler. We do not have access to the data necessary to speak authoritatively about that which, if anything, lies beyond the reach of the observed universe. We speak of "natural laws", but they aren't really laws, just systematic observations of how matter and energy within our known universe interact. There are plenty of scientists who take seriously the possibility of different universes with their own physical constants, but since they say it all sciencey-like, they aren't often accused of believing in Santa Claus.
 

abaddon

Veteran Member
Politesse,

Here's an analogy to consider. Another "teaching tale", haha.

Let's say that the scientist-fishes find no traces anywhere of there being an "outside the bowl". But a mystic fish uses his intuitive powers and has a vision of Beyond-the-Fishbowl. The other fishes are enchanted by his tale and some devout fishes start asserting the wishes of The Invisible Hand. "This is the command of The Invisible Hand!", they declare. "The Invisible Hand demands you vote republican!", and on and on in the manner of "intuitive" people.

It's a more or less secular bunch of fishes though, so the unbelieving fishes aren't killed. Instead the believer-fishes blow bubbles of disdain at them. "You proselytizing dogmatic unbeliever-fishes!" they bubble.

How's that for something you should keep your agnostic mind open to? After all it's no more presumptive of "how things might really be" than yours.
 

Politesse

Sapere aude
Here's an analogy to consider. Another "teaching tale", haha.

Let's say that the scientist-fishes find no traces anywhere of there being an "outside the bowl". But a mystic-fish has a vision of a Beyond. The other fishes are enchanted by this tale and live out their days busily asserting the wishes of this Really Big Fish in the imaginary Beyond. "This is the command of the Invisible Hand!", "the great Invisible Hand demand you vote republican!", and the rest.

It's a more or less secular bunch of fishes though so the remaining unbeliever-fishes aren't killed. The believer-fish just snootily blow bubbles of disdain at them. "You proselytizing dogmatic science-fishes!" they bubble.

How's that for something you should keep your agnostic mind open to? It's no more presumptive of "how things [might] really be" than yours.
Both groups of fish are equally wrong. I would gladly oppose the political regime of your fascist fishies, but them being bad fish has no real bearing on whether their epistemology is accurate.

Hence why I don't make presumptions about how the universe is constituted, personally speaking.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
Not quite sure you're following. We are very like the fish. Or the toddler. We do not have access to the data necessary to speak authoritatively about that which, if anything, lies beyond the reach of the observed universe. We speak of "natural laws", but they aren't really laws, just systematic observations of how matter and energy within our known universe interact. There are plenty of scientists who take seriously the possibility of different universes with their own physical constants, but since they say it all sciencey-like, they aren't often accused of believing in Santa Claus.
I think you are confusing observations with non-observations, aka woo. Of course we can only speculate where we are unable to observe, but if we can make an observation, measure it, quantify it, predict it, why would we conclude that such data is unable to change our conclusions? The fish are just ignorant and believe in ghosts. They're dogmatic to a fault if they come to conclusions that are not supported by observation. The analogy fails miserably. New knowledge is impossible in your fishbowl.
 

bilby

Fair dinkum thinkum
Either the universe is eternal, or it began to exist. We can't know which, but I lean towards the eternal, as this avoids the highly dodgy and un-evidenced assumption that the First Law of Thermodynamics hasn't always applied.

Positing an eternal creator god (or gods) achieves the counterproductive step of ensuring that the First Law of Thermodynamics is violated despite an eternal universe.

God stories get us further from, not closer to, an understanding of origins.
How is the assumption of eternity any more evidenced or less "highly dodgy"?
What's wrong with it? It is conversant with all of physics. There's no particular reason to assume that the mass-energy of the universe has ever varied. Why would we think it must have once been zero?
 

Stephen T-B

Stephen T-B
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.
If this were to happen, what difference would it make to anything?
A person might shrug his shoulders and think "So? There's something 'out there' able to do this. And now I'm going to finish breakfast then I'll rob a bank and, if I must, shoot a couple of tellers and perhaps hold as hostages (and traumatise) half a dozen customers."

Apart from showing all of humanity in a very convincing manner that it exists, there's nothing much else a god could do without resorting to violent demonstrations of its power.

If it attempted to convey its nature and what it requires of humankind without terrorising the world's population, only a tiny fraction of that population would accept it as the god they'd always believed in.
The vast majority would believe it to be a demonic entity, pretending to be God.
(Of course, resorting to terror would likely have the same result...)
 
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steve_bank

Contributor
Even if a face appeared in the sky with a booming voce, there is no way to tell if it is 'the' god or technology.
I'd go with a Penn and Teller trick before god.

Have an alleged god appear on their show Fool Us and see if he, she, or it can fool pro tricksters.

The rain god is punishing the state of Washington. The rain god hates progressive democrats. It is sending floods to wash away progressives as foretold in the Book Of Water.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
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.
If this were to happen, what difference would it make to anything?
A person might shrug his shoulders and think "So? There's something 'out there' able to do this. And now I'm going to finish breakfast then I'll rob a bank and, if I must, shoot a couple of tellers and perhaps hold as hostages (and traumatise) half a dozen customers."

Apart from showing all of humanity in a very convincing manner that it exists, there's nothing much else a god could do without resorting to violent demonstrations of its power.

If it attempted to convey its nature and what it requires of humankind without terrorising the world's population, only a tiny fraction of that population would accept it as the god they'd always believed in.
The vast majority would believe it to be a demonic entity, pretending to be God.
(Of course, resorting to terror would likely have the same result...)
I agree.

What if tomorrow every government on the planet began dismantling all of its WMDs and eliminating its armed forces? When questioned they responded that they were ordered to do so by a god.
 

steve_bank

Contributor
You can't prove what I say is untrue, therefore it may be true, therefore I believe it is it is true. A child's reasoning. Momee Dadee!! There is something under my bed!!! There is nothing there go to sleep. But I head it and saw it!!!

Imagination running wild spinning a belief.

The logical loophole that enables beliefs of all kinds form Bigfoot to ghosts.

There is visual and audio proof for the Cookie Monster and the Keebler Elves. The Great Pumpkin has yet to manifest. itself yet people do believe.
 

steve_bank

Contributor
This is about the varieties of human behavior of which religion and the supernatural is one aspect. As I have come to belive it is all manifestaions of the same human traits.

Bigfoot without proof or god without proof, both fill the same human need. The need to believe there is something else than our work a day reality.

For us who try to be objective science is about anything related to proofs of a god of any kind. For anyone who has spent time on the forum that would be axiomatic.
 
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?
Publication of testable evidence for the existence of a deity in peer reviewed articles published in scientific journals by members of the National Academy of Science and the equivalent organizations in Asia and Europe.

That has never happened and I believe that it never will.
 

Rhea

Cyborg with a Tiara
Staff member
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?
As my daughter pointed out, “That’s not a god, that’s a human wizard. Prove me wrong.”
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
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?
As my daughter pointed out, “That’s not a god, that’s a human wizard. Prove me wrong.”
Or it could be George Burns.
 

Copernicus

Industrial Grade Linguist
The real problem I have is not with the lack of evidence for God or gods. It is with the lack of evidence for the existence of disembodied spirits, of which deities are just a subcategory. So I would need evidence that contradicted a number of foundational beliefs that I have about the nature of reality. Materialism (or physicalism) supersedes and claims about the existence of specific categories of spiritual beings. When people ask me for evidence that God does not exist, the conversation starts out with the wrong question. It leads nowhere from there.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

Formerly Joedad
The real problem I have is not with the lack of evidence for God or gods. It is with the lack of evidence for the existence of disembodied spirits, of which deities are just a subcategory. So I would need evidence that contradicted a number of foundational beliefs that I have about the nature of reality. Materialism (or physicalism) supersedes and claims about the existence of specific categories of spiritual beings. When people ask me for evidence that God does not exist, the conversation starts out with the wrong question. It leads nowhere from there.
Right. The real question is about paranormalism. Gods are just another paranormal claim no different than ghosts in the basement. And even if we somehow were able to prove the paranormal it wouldn't follow that gods are real. But I cannot imagine how we would be able to prove paranormalism. If we did it would mean we just disproved normalism, reality as we experience it daily.
 

Learner

Veteran Member
Sorry, but I'm a little confused. I think that you are saying that you believe that the bible is correct because the bible emphasizes witnessing and testimony? Correct? If the Koran also emphasizes witnessing and testimony (I'll do some research on this); would you not also consider it to be true? If so, which book should we believe in?

Why are you confused? Well firstly... the bible was written well before the Koran. Witnesses (plural) are many in the bible. Witness singular, by Mohammed in the Koran has less weight. The old argument against the bible: that there were many writers etc.. strangely enough is actually better than one single witness, so to speak, just like lonesome Joseph Smith.


So are you agreeing with Harry’s effort to reflect your position?
That you believe whatever book is the oldest one with witnesses?

Just by pointing out that the bible IS the originator of the biblical prophets and Jesus, all mentioned by their names. Which suggests that the bible could NOT have copied or plagarised from the much later religions,, who as different religions, acknowledge those same biblical characters by name - who happen to be mentioned in their own religious books.


And I have a follow-up question; does this mean that you do not believve the parts of the bible that are written by people who are not witnesses? Like Paul’s stuff, and Revelations? And Genesis?

I don't follow that concept that Christians should not believe in any parts of the bible, which would be at odds with the faith. I suppose for arguments sake, that even if we are to say that certain particular things apply to a certain groups of people; this does not mean theists should not believe them, or for that matter, not preach them either.
 

Rhea

Cyborg with a Tiara
Staff member
It’s not that it is at odds with the faith, it is that it’s at odds with YOUR DEFINITION of a reliable source. You said the bible was more real than other stories because it was written earlier and by witnesses. Does your definition mean anything? If it means anything, why do you not apply it to your biible?

Or are you saying you believe any book that has parts of it that are old and written by witnesses, and you believe all of it because of adjacency?

I ask this because it is an interesting - a very interesting - thing to ponder, IMHO. The question of HOW people believe. Not what they believe, but how they believe it.

You seem to be suggesting some rules that you follow about whether to believe or not believe a religious or supernatural story. I’m always interested in how religionists believe one religion, but tell themselves they have a valid logical reason to disbelieve others.

My evidence-based mind asks, So you have a formula with criteria that, once a story meets it, then it is believable. Let’s test it out on other religions. Let’s see if you have a formula that makes yours true and all the others false. That would be a useful formula, would it not?

But here you are saying, I have a formula, and then I violate it, but I don’t care, I’m still right.

And if someone else uses your same formula and it points to another religion being true, you still say they are wrong. But that you are right because you used a formula.

So far you’ve suggested that the oldest story, with witnesses = Truth. But then you say, if part of your story is not the oldest, and does not included witnesses, it’s still Truth, because it is stapled ogether with one that did pass your test. The Associative Property of Religious texts, perhaps? To me it says you don’t have a formula at all. You just believe in whatever makes you feel good.
 

steve_bank

Contributor
There are contemporaneous independent accounts of Mohamed. Not so for any biblical accounts, like the Exodus. I don't think there are any Egyptian records of a Jewish enslavement.

The idea that large group of people wandered the desert between say Cairo and Jerusalem r for 40 yeras without leaving any trace or being noticed is laughable. It is only about 300 or 400 miles as the crow flies.

From an archoogy show the Exodus tale as written is probably a conflation of multiple events at different times.o
There are no contemporaneous accounts for Jesus, nothing in Roman records.

In my senior apartment biding rumors and gossip spread. Events end up being told quite differently by different people as time passes.

The ancient Jews were minor players in a world dominated by the likes of Egypt. amd Babolon. Myths of power and greatness grow over time. Myth crtion an justification by divine right grnated and backed by a god was the rue not the exception.

Christians in the USA have always believed the USA was ordained by god. Not biblical by a myth creted by a culture to create the image and feeling of power.

Henry 8th set himself up as the word of god.

Conservative Israelis like Netanyahu justify seizing land for modern Israel and the ongoing colonization of the West Bank via biblical divine right. Ine bible god gave it to Jews exclusively.

Because some historical events can be correlated to the bible does not serve as a proof of god.



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