How do you scientifically refute a philosophical belief?

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Discussion by: frontierteg
I am not a creationist.
I believe the world is 14 billion years old and that man evolved in the last 500 million years along with the tuna fish.

It has come to my attention that people who call themselves scientists are saying that it is a fact that God does not exist.  I am puzzled by this.

Scientifically speaking, the universe is finite and expanding, eventually expanding faster than the speed of light and leaving our tiny galaxy all alone in the night sky.

Philosophically speaking, there may be more than just our universe.  Unfortunately, at the present time, we have not come up with a way to travel to the edge of our universe and measure what is beyond it.  If we can’t measure it, observe it, or predict it, it is certainly not scientific to think anything exists beyond our universe, even though our universe is expanding into something.  However, the philosophical argument that something may exist beyond our universe is logical.

My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God.

In the book Flatland, a sphere passed through a plane.  A square on that plane saw a point appear from nowhere, it grew into a circle, shrunk down to a point, then disappeared.  The square did not take irrefutable measurements of the occurrence while it was happening.  After the occurrence, the square no longer had the ability to measure the sphere, because the sphere left the square’s plane/universe.

How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?

Better yet, how can a triangle on the same plane as the square prove the square is nuts and there is no such a thing as a sphere?

This is a simple thought experiment, not to change your beliefs, but to emphasize the difference between philosophical belief and scientific fact and how philosophy might drive science to expand its thinking.

70 COMMENTS

  1. It has come to my attention that people who call themselves scientists are saying that it is a fact that God does not exist. I am puzzled by this.

    I’m quite puzzled too, but because I’ve never met such scientists. Plenty who think God doesn’t exist, sure. And no self-respecting scientist should work on the assumption that God exists, even if he’s personally is convinced of it’s existence.

    But that is all because the existence of a god (any god!) is improbable, implausible and definitively not proved. Not because it is disproved. For the sake of argument though, let’s say there are such scientists making the claim in their capacity as scientists that God doesn’t exist:

    If we can’t measure it, observe it, or predict it, it is certainly not scientific to think anything exists beyond our universe, even though our universe is expanding into something. However, the philosophical argument that something may exist beyond our universe is logical.

    I’m not a scientist, let alone qualified to go into the details of theories like the multiverse, but it is my understanding as a layperson that we are in fact making progress in theorising (based on mathematics, physics, etc.) about whether and how something exists ‘beyond’ (a term which is actually quite meaningless when you exit our bubble of spacetime, it’s like asking what existed ‘before time’) the universe. But that’s all besides the point….

    The argument that something may exist beyond our universe is for all intents and purposes irrefutable, yes. But that doesn’t in any way strengthen the case for the existence of a god any more than it does for a jar of supradimensional and delicious jam floating right ‘outside’ the borders of our universe (FYI, the Church of the Eternal Raspberry Jam, praised be it’s rosy stains on our shirts, is still hiring). Just because something may exist, doesn’t make it more likely that it exists.

    And this is the crux of the matter. As science continues to explain away the (versions of) god being put forth by believers, two things can happen: a) the scientists get killed, overshouted or plainly ignored. Or b) through a process not unlike natural selection, remaining and new hypotheses about the existence of gods are formulated in such a way that they cannot be proved or disproved.

    You have done the same thing. You have placed (presumably) your god outside nature/the universe, and subsequently, out of reach of science, and now ask scientists to disprove it!

    My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God.

    What’s with the quotation marks? Anyway, challenge not accepted, for reasons mentioned above.

  2. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Let’s assume for a monent you are right. By the same explanation there could be seven gods, or nine facets of three deities, unknown lifeforms, a supercomputer or all kinds of other things “beyond”. It could be anything. There is no reason whatsoever that favors a human-like creator being.

    This false dichotomy (either no god, or God) is created to make biblical beliefs seem more likely. William Lane Craig does a similar sleigh of hand. He first argues for some first cause, or first mover, and then sneaks in the biblical god. But even if we knew for fact that there was a first cause, it does not follow that any of the stories of any religions are true. Since the Bible (or any other story) is actually a thing of our world, it can be studied, and looks exactly like how men would write it in that day and age. There is absolutely nothing in it, that suggests otherworldly influences.

  3. A scientist claiming there is no god is bad at logic, thus probably bad at other sciences. One can not prove something does not exist. One can only prove that something exists. If a suggested pattern works for predicting, then it most probably is a fact.

  4. I said challenge not accepted, but I’m still going to have a crack at it.

    How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?

    -If the sphere did just the one fly-by, for just the one spectator, then he simply can’t.

    -If the sphere did something, like influence the square’s world, the square could show through deduction and elimination that these effects were most likely caused by a sphere flying by. But only if there were no explanations that require less assumptions, and less alterations/violations of understanding of the universe by the square and it’s mates.

    -If the square’s mates were present during the event as well, but didn’t see the sphere, then according to the caveat mentioned above, the sphere most likely only existed inside the poor square’s head. And how do you prove a hallucination or delusion to be real? You don’t.

    Better yet, how can a triangle on the same plane as the square prove the square is nuts and there is no such a thing as a sphere?

    Definitively proving it is impossible, but again, the triangle can make the very plausible case that the sphere doesn’t exist by demonstrating how everything attributed to the sphere can either not be caused by the sphere, or can be explained without adding the unnecessary complexity of a sphere (Occam’s Razor) and pointing out that after this process there is nothing left except the original claim to deduce the existence of the sphere itself!

    The mere existence of the sphere can thus not be disproved, but it can be made * highly implausible*.

    ..to emphasize the difference between philosophical belief and scientific fact and how philosophy might drive science to expand its thinking.

    Good grief, are you serious? To ask science/scientists to seriously entertain any notion that cannot be directly disproved or to take hypotheses for fact until disproved is to change the very nature of science. It will not be science any more, but a cacophony of ideas undifferentiated by their individual validities. It would quite literally become like submitting one million randomly generated papers to your professor/teacher and hoping he picks the one than meets the criteria he set for your homework.

  5. I’m guessing you’re beginning a philosophy course or possibly you are a theologian in waiting. This is because I don’t see a well formed question anywhere in what you’ve written. It would have assisted me if you’d troubled to define your terms & if you are going to set a challenge to a scientist [or to a philosopher] I do think you should aim for clarity, stick to your area of expertise [which isn’t science or scientists] and also point out which scientists claim “it is a fact that God does not exist”. I know none!

    You will have to define god. Many scientists and all wise people laugh at the notion of the existence of an Abrahamic God because no being can fulfil the contradictory requirements of such a God. So Richard Dawkins is not a 7.0 on his own scale, but I’m certain he regards it as 0% chance that the biblical god exists in heaven with Peter guarding the gate.

    QUOTE: My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God

    See above! & less of the snark with the quote marks

    QUOTE: “Scientifically speaking, the universe is finite and expanding, eventually expanding faster than the speed of light and leaving our tiny galaxy all alone in the night sky”

    Your “scientifically speaking” section isn’t right. Depending on definition there is always somewhere moving away from us faster than the speed of light ~ we don’t need to wait to a future epoch to have a “universe” expanding faster than light because that is how it is anyway when one takes account of spacetime inflation & comoving distances. You haven’t defined what YOU mean by universe. The OBSERVABLE universe has a radius of 47 billion light years & that is certainly only a ridiculously tiny fraction of the whole shebang. The whole shebang may well be infinite in space & in time. In many models of inflation, the inflationary phase of the universe’s expansion lasts forever in at least some regions of the universe. Due to inflation & redshift we do expect our local galaxy cluster to become the only objects observable by our galaxy descendants, but to link it to “eventually expanding faster than light” is just a wrong statement.

    QUOTE: Philosophically speaking, there may be more than just our universe. Unfortunately, at the present time, we have not come up with a way to travel to the edge of our universe and measure what is beyond it

    This is just as bad I’m afraid.

    Waste of time. You should have composed your challenge much more carefully.

  6. It has come to my attention that people who call themselves scientists are saying that it is a fact that God does not exist.

    Give an example or admit you’re lying. Dawkins, for example, says there probably isn’t one; is that what you’re talking about? He gives his argument for that in TGD, so go read it. Every scientist admits any logically possible entity has a nonzero probability of existing.

    Scientifically speaking, the universe is finite

    Care to prove that?

    If we can’t measure it, observe it, or predict it, it is certainly not scientific to think anything exists beyond our universe, even though our universe is expanding into something.

    Firstly, the universe is NOT expanding into something; that’s not how cosmological expansion works. Space is being created in between galaxies. You’ve just proven you don’t know what you’re talking about and are only pretending you do, and you are yet again dishonest. Secondly, you can scientifically say something is true even if you can’t empirically confirm it; anything which follows from theories whose testable predictions are empirically well-supported has to be taken seriously on pain of contradiction because the theories themselves are.

    How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?

    Why are you using the difficulty of proving something DOES exist to undermine the scientific plausibility of proving something probably does NOT exist? That can’t be a good analogy.

    Better yet, how can a triangle on the same plane as the square prove the square is nuts and there is no such a thing as a sphere?

    The burden of proof is on the square who claims it happened. That’s not to say everyone who can’t meet their burden of proof is wrong, but it is to say “How can the guy who doesn’t have the burden of proof prove the thing he doesn’t have a burden to prove?” is a dumb question. Can you prove there’s no Loch Ness Monster? No, but so what? You can prove there probably isn’t one with a few basic biological facts – the food chain alone will do it.

    This is a simple thought experiment, not to change your beliefs, but to emphasize the difference between philosophical belief and scientific fact and how philosophy might drive science to expand its thinking.

    Firstly, the “philosophy” you’re talking about amounts to, “Well, a thing you can’t detect might exist anyway!” which, by definition, cannot be a beneficial mode of thinking in science. Science doesn’t improve by remembering this trivial technicality. Secondly, you don’t even know enough philosophy to understand the burden of proof, so don’t you dare pretend you know how, if at all, philosophy can help out science (which, as I mentioned above, you also don’t understand very well).

  7. My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God.

    Who says so? I want names. Because even Dawkins and Hitchens are not that categorical. ‘In all probability’ doesn’t mean ‘I know’. A Universe that doesn’t need a creator doesn’t mean ‘I know’. “Science has no need for that hypothesis”. And that’s a quote, look it up.

    How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?

    It cannot. Simple as that. Eye witness means nothing at all for science, or as a ‘proof’. That’s what faith is. Believing despite the lack of evidence, or even against it.

    Better yet, how can a triangle on the same plane as the square prove the square is nuts and there is no such a thing as a sphere?

    He doesn’t have to. It is the job of square to prove that circles exist, not the other way around.

    How many times has these points been discussed? This is nothing new.

    Unfortunately, at the present time, we have not come up with a way to travel to the edge of our universe and measure what is beyond it.

    There is no edge of the universe. We are 2D flatlanders on a 3D earth, and 3D flatlanders in a 4D universe. What we see is only an horizon, a small portion of the physical universe. So, good luck with that.

    Philosophically speaking, there may be more than just our universe.

    Yes, and scientifically, there is such an hypothesis called Multiverse. There are all sorts of wacky theories about that, derived from inferences from string theory and other mathematical constructs. ‘It’s made of cheese’ would actually be pretty close to one (Swiss cheese, with bubbles).

    Philosophy is not simply ‘make stuff up’.

  8. Trying to keep my comment short, so here are just two points:

    1. I don’t think any scientist or scientifically minded person truly claims that “it is a fact that God does not exist”. They might say something like that, but its just out of practical reasons. If a scientist is asked what his thoughts are on the existence of a god, it’s easier to give a short answer: “god does not exist”. But in reality all these scientist who say this know about things like burden of proof, probabilities, margin of error, etc. Therefore they also know that they cannot be absolutely sure that a god does not exist, but since the likelihood for one is so low, it practically means that one does not exist. As Michael Fisher already pointed out in his comment, Dawkins does not claim to be a 7.0 on his scale, nor do I think any self-respecting scientist claims to be that either. If someone asks me if god exists, I simply say “no”, without delving into the more complex and time-consuming explanation of why I and anyone else cannot be absolutely sure. But I also know that logically I cannot deny the existence of one with 100% confidence.

    2. “How do you scientifically refute a philosophical belief?” Here’s my take on this question: While philosophy is useful in many ways, the question of gods existence is not a philosophical one. It’s a scientific one. Either god exists as part of this natural world or it doesn’t, and this should be possible – at least theoretically – to prove using evidence. You cannot conjure god into existence using philosophical word games. I think it’s been establishes a long time ago that one cannot prove the existence of a god using logics, without the need of empirical evidence. There are people who base their belief in a god on philosophical grounds, but that doesn’t make the god real. While philosophy has an important role in developing thinking tools and keeping scientific thought rational, philosophy in itself cannot show that god exists.

  9. Trying to keep my comment short, so here are just two points:

    1. I don’t think any scientist or scientifically minded person truly claims that “it is a fact that God does not exist”. They might say something like that, but its just out of practical reasons. If a scientist is asked what his thoughts are on the existence of a god, it’s easier to give a short answer: “god does not exist”. But in reality all these scientist who say this know about things like burden of proof, probabilities, margin of error, etc. Therefore they also know that they cannot be absolutely sure that a god does not exist, but since the likelihood for one is so low, it practically means that one does not exist. As Michael Fisher already pointed out in his comment, Dawkins does not claim to be a 7.0 on his scale, nor do I think any self-respecting scientist claims to be that either. If someone asks me if god exists, I simply say “no”, without delving into the more complex and time-consuming explanation of why I and anyone else cannot be absolutely sure. But I also know that logically I cannot deny the existence of one with 100% confidence.

    2. “How do you scientifically refute a philosophical belief?” Here’s my take on this question: While philosophy is useful in many ways, the question of gods existence is not a philosophical one. It’s a scientific one. Either god exists as part of this natural world or it doesn’t, and this should be possible – at least theoretically – to prove using evidence. You cannot conjure god into existence using philosophical word games. I think it’s been establishes a long time ago that one cannot prove the existence of a god using logics, without the need of empirical evidence. There are people who base their belief in a god on philosophical grounds, but that doesn’t make the god real. While philosophy has an important role in developing thinking tools and keeping scientific thought rational, philosophy in itself cannot show that god exists.

    • In reply to #10 by Aztek:

      Trying to keep my comment short, so here are just two points:

      I don’t think any scientist or scientifically minded person truly claims that “it is a fact that God does not exist”. They might say something like that, but its just out of practical reasons. If a scientist is asked what his thoughts a…

      I must agree. Oh, in my youth I wasted a lot of hours trying to do it. I guess I did learn something from it (at the very least i learned it was a waste of time). But I learned more by reading more science, doing more research, listening to the people who know, and keeping an open mind when I do.

      I never doubted science; I just had some weird philosophical ideas back then. Maybe, in some ways, I still do have some “fringe” ideas, but they have toned down considerably.

  10. It has come to my attention that people who call themselves scientists are saying that it is a fact that God does not exist. I am puzzled by this.

    My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God.

    This is merely a vague, undefined distraction from the absence of evidence to support various theist or deist claims. Some god-claims are too vague to test or falsify, other more specific ones are easily refuted.

    Scientifically speaking, the universe is finite and expanding, eventually expanding faster than the speed of light and leaving our tiny galaxy all alone in the night sky.

    I think you would need scientific evidence – at present lacking – to support that claim.

    You do not seem to understand the local different effects in the local galactic cluster, from those of the general universal expansion.

    BTW: The Milkyway is one of the larger galaxies.

    Philosophically speaking, there may be more than just our universe. Unfortunately, at the present time, we have not come up with a way to travel to the edge of our universe and measure what is beyond it.

    I think you mean SPECULATIVELY SPEAKING! There is no evidence at present that it has “an edge”.
    Maybe this? maybe that.. .. ?. … !

    If we can’t measure it, observe it, or predict it, it is certainly not scientific to think anything exists beyond our universe, even though our universe is expanding into something.

    There is no evidence of “expanding into something” ether.

    However, the philosophical argument that something may exist beyond our universe is logical.

    Philosophers have been making wild speculations ever since philosophers existed. The unknown is the unknown! Logic without an evidenced starting base, is just the construction of hypothetical castles in the air.

    My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God.

    There is no evidence of the unknown, so the onus of proof (and the requirement to do research to produce evidence) would be on those making assertions.

    It is not up to everyone else to refute every Tom, Dick or Harry’s wild speculations, or to seek-out and refute thousands of gods. wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deities

    The multitude of contradictory god-claims, indicates there is no coherent basis for them, other than in terms of human psychology.

    I am not aware of scientists saying there is no extremely remote possibility of some god, alien laboratory experiment, starship explosion, etc. – producing our universe. There certainly are scientists who can refute specific religious claims which contradict proven science.
    Science can also explain many religious claims in terms of neurology and the psychology of the claimants.

    Vague extreme possibilities are a long way from evidence for a particular claim.

    Regarding most specific theist claims regarding situations on Earth:- absence of evidence is evidence of absence. -

    huffingtonpost.com/victor-stenger/the-evidence
    The key question is whether evidence should exist but does not.

    Elephants have never been seen roaming Yellowstone National Park.

    If they were, they would not have escaped notice.

    No matter how secretive, the presence of such huge animals would have been marked by ample physical signs — droppings, crushed vegetation, bones of dead elephants.

    • So we can safely conclude from the absence of evidence that elephants are absent from the park.
  11. I believe the world is 14 billion years old…

    The Earth is about 4-5 billion years old, the observable universe accounts for 14 billion years.

    Scientifically speaking, the universe is finite

    False, that is not resolved.

    Unfortunately, at the present time, we have not come up with a way to travel to the edge of our universe and measure what is beyond it.

    That is a nonsense sentence. It is self contradictory. The 14 billion figure for the age of the universe accounts for what is observable in all directions. It appears as though we are at the center of the universe, with everything expanding away from us, but it also looks like that if you were to travel to the edge of what we can observe. No matter where you are, it looks like you are at the center, with 14 billion light years surrounding you in all directions. We don’t know why this is, or what its implications are for a finite or infinite universe.

    However, the philosophical argument that something may exist beyond our universe is logical.

    False. Again, self-contradiction. The universe is everything that exists.

    The god premise is not refuted by science, just as science can not refute the existence of Santa Clause. Logic and philosophy refute the existence of god. It is a fact there is no Santa, no ghosts, no flying spaghetti monster, etc. What is meant by the scientific dismissal of god is two things:

    1) God is unfalsifiable, therefor an invalid claim. Everywhere you are not looking, there are purple monkeys laughing at you. You will never be able to see them because they, by definition, elude detection. See the problem? This is explored in Bertrand Russel’s thought experiment The Celestial Teapot. There’s a teapot orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars. You can’t disprove that. Is there any reason to entertain the notion of its reality?

    2) There is no evidence of God, and its existence would be a violation of the Conservation of Information and causality. If God could move even a puff of air, there would be forensic evidence, otherwise it would mean a loss of information, phenomenon with no antecedent, no causal connection to the rest of the universe. The implication would be science is a futile effort and the universe is unknowable. This was a debate for a while, but it was resolved and Stephen Hawking lost the bet.

    Philosophically, god is a logical impossibility, a self-contradiction (except for alien super-beings that evolved on another planet, like in Mormonism, but that’s not what you’re talking about). It’s like saying a triangle with four corners. The traits attributed to god are self-contradictions. For instance (borrowing from Spinoza), is there anything which is not God? If so, it ceases to be God as it is limited. If not, and everything is god, both cause and effect, then it can have no personal attributes and is nothing like the Christian god, or any god that is believed in. It can not have the attribute of creator as it is the creation. Again, if there is nothing which is not god, then it ceases to be the god that anyone believes in. This is known as Naturalism, Spinozan Pantheism, or Monism.

    How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?

    Maths, deduction, logic, metaphysics, science. That’s how scientists prove many things which we cannot perceive due to our dimensional limitations. In fact, given causality and information conservation, the only way we can know these things is a consistent, knowable, causal universe. If there was a god that intervened and could not be accounted for, there would be no hope of knowing anything. Just as we model other dimensions, so too could a Flatlander.

    Buddhism teaches a creator god is a logical impossibility by pointing out it must be created (dependent origination). This has been explored for over two thousand years, and the Buddha got the idea from a Vedic school that had already been in existence for centuries. No one has ever refuted this logical assertion.

    There is no valid argument for the existence of god, just sophistry and arrogant, wishful, or sloppy thinking. If there is a valid argument for god, as a rationalist I will then believe in god. I need no further evidence. If there is an argument allowing for god to possibly exist, I will become an agnostic. As it is, I know with absolute certainty that god is a logical impossibility, just as I know 2+2=4

    “Whatever man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: ‘Great God, grant that twice two be not four.'” -Ivan Tugenev

    By the way, your argument is invalid. Appeal To Ignorance is a fallacy.

    …to emphasize the difference between philosophical belief and scientific fact and how philosophy might drive science to expand its thinking.

    Phylogenetically speaking, science is the descendent of philosophy. It is a methodology which imbues nature with logic and is pure of metaphysical assumptions. It’s the child of logic, epistemology, and skepticism. It’s highly functional, like a diamond tip at the end of a tool. The love of knowledge (aka ‘philosophy’) is informed by science and it is deeply mistaken to do it backwards. Science is the newest fruit on the Tree of Knowledge, and what you suggest spoils both. If we did what you suggest, we would run into problems and wind up needing to reinvent science.

  12. After the occurrence, the square no longer had the ability to measure the sphere, because the sphere left the square’s plane/universe.

    How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?

    Obviously the sphere is God or another dimension. Be honest. This really isn’t what is claimed about God. God is claimed to be all-knowing, present in human life, etc. etc. If he intervenes, the effects could be studied.

  13. No atheist i have had contact with would categorically state that “there is absolutely no god”. However, follow my LOGIC here. There is absolutely no evidence for god. If you are asserting that there is a god, the burden of proof falls upon you to provide some reason, one iota of verifiable proof that god exists.

    There could be a god and I’d be the first to acknowledge god’s existence if it was verifiable. Let’s do a thought exercise. I assert that pickles exist. You assert that god exists. I hold up a pickle. You stand there with empty hands. I lead you through the production process of the pickle, the botany of the cucumber, a genealogy of the cucumber, relatives of the cucumber, biochemistry of the cucumber….etc….
    You stand there empty handed.

    One of the things that many of the people here have in common (you will NOT find this trait among your believers) is a willingness to be wrong and to change an opinion when updated information comes among. Your Flatland example is cute, but if the entity you are asserting exists and has bearing on the physical world, then it is measurable and verifiable. And if god does not or cannot effect change in our world; then it is superfluous.

    Now ask yourself, why hasn’t this single most important thing been verified in the history of the universe?

  14. My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God.

    Ooops, I’m not a scientist or “scientist” actually I used philosophy, rational thinking, and psychology to conclude no God. Science had nothing to do with me becoming an atheist. You are correct that you cannot absolutely prove that there is no God, but a certain point in time you need to take a close look at that “circle” experience and acknowledge your biases and logical fallacies.

  15. How do you scientifically refute a philosophical (god) belief?

    First you get its proposer to define its properties.

    Until it has properties, there is nothing to refute.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    Then if some coherent defined properties are produced, you then ask the proposer to produce evidence.

    In the absence of evidence where evidence should be found (See 11 below),

    .. .. . . . . or if the alleged “evidence” is pure assertion, simple whimsy, meaningless (“perfect”, “infinite”, “omnipotent”, “immaterial”) semantic obfuscation, or contradicts science, – it is unevidenced, self-refuting, or unintelligible word-salad.

  16. By frontierteg

    Well, I join the party late after your simplisitic hypothesis has been intellectually castrated. But I want to put the response a little differently:

    “How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?”

    You seem to be assuming that the square has a memory. It remembers, or thinks it remembers, a sphere passing through itself. It has no evidence to show for that event. I assume you are correlating the magic sphere with your god. So, assuming, hypothetically, that some such sphere existed which could defy the laws of nature and leave no evidence of its existence, what the hell good would it be? As CS wrote, it would be superfluous. Having no effect on anything, it could hardly be called a god.

    And I really don’t like the uses of scare quotes around the word scientist. It marks you as a Republican Christian who fears science and chooses to disregard it where you can (and even where you can’t when it conflicts with your beliefs).

  17. Hmm, No response yet…

    OP said: How can the square, who is the only witness to the event, scientifically prove the existence of the sphere?

    SW correctly said: You have done the same thing. You have placed (presumably) your god outside nature/the universe, and subsequently, out of reach of science, and now ask scientists to disprove it!

    Yes, Can you see the contradiction? God is placed outside the universe and out of reach, yet claims are made that God intervenes.(hops in and out like a sphere) If God intervenes then he is within reach and should be able to be studied. Yet no evidence exists just a convenient explanation to fit the contradiction – “God is present everywhere.”

    If I were a square with limited perception, how would I make the jump to think that a sphere actually exists? If I were to see radiating concentric circles that expand and then contract, I might assume that it was an odd water droplet or just a concentric circles expanding and contracting. The scenario is loaded because it demands that we acknowledge the existence of a sphere. (God) Do we simply accept the premise that a sphere would exist in this Flatland story just because one really exists in our world? A concrete object which can be measured, studied, perceived, identified etc. was brought into the thought experiment, but God doesn’t really equal a sphere. The story also equates an an invisible realm, not proven to exist, and is made equivalent to three or four dimensions. It give the imaginary story qualities that we understand clearly and have shown to exist. Why pretend they are equal? It’s like taking an elusive, far fetched story of God and giving it a tangible form of a man to make it easy to relate.

  18. You have come across one of the weaknesses of the scientific method in that it doesn’t address well phenomena that are rarely observed. Plenty of people have ghostly encounters, but once the meters come out, evidence scatters like an uncovered roach nest. Between logistics problems and war, it took years to prove Einstein’s general relativity via gravitic lensing of starlight around the eclipsed sun. Only in recent years with orbital and space-based telescopes have we been able to see the effect in full glory.

    And it’s because of this that many effects such as ball lightning haven’t been entirely explained. So the likelihood of a bona fide miracle being scientifically verified is highly remote. Of course part of the problem is that humans make lousy witnesses, and so far most investigations into miracles have yielded very plausible explanations that do not require supernatural influence.

    In the meantime, while a non-intervening god may be outside of the realm of observation, and thus outside the purview of scientific inquiry, a god that has effects in our universe would. So far we’ve found no indication that one exists, or consistency in those few incidents in which we couldn’t entirely rule out a supernatural effect. If there was a god who did influence the universe with some frequency, we’d be able to start ascertaining its properties and attitudes.

    And very likely those properties that we discovered would contrast to those reflected in popular holy scriptures. But I speculate.

  19. Let me be the first to claim that God does definitely NOT exist.

    Keep in mind thought, that “God” with a Capital G refers to the Christian, biblical god that created the heavens and earth 6000 years ago. Since heaven and earth were definitely NOT created 6000 years ago, there exists no god that created it then.

    There may be some OTHER god though, that created the big bang 14 billion years ago, or yet another god that has a completely different set of accomplishments.
    Since none such god has come forth to tell me who to sleep with, when to rest and how much to pray, I live under the assumption that there’s no god that I should keep happy, and if there was, I’d have no clue how to suck up to him/her/it. That leaves me pretty much free to follow my own ethics.

  20. Since what these scientists are saying is not being peer reviewed in some journal somewhere then they can say anything they want as people..

    Refuting philosophical beliefs? Shooting fish in a barrel. What one, not having any truck with magic man, has to do with the other, epistemological beliefs, escapes me.

  21. I am not a scientist but however do consider myself reasonably well educated nonetheless. So as an educated person I am quite happy to say that there is “absolutely no god” even though I understand the reason why a scientist speaking in a professional capacity can’t say that.
    Thinking comes to a point when it is stupid not to reach the obvious conclusion.

  22. Over the past thousands of years people have conceived of tens of thousands of deities (that we know about). Each of these has a set of attributes that you can show are either not self-consistent or not consistent with observable facts, or both (the usual case). As an example, Zeus has the attribute of throwing lightning bolts. That was easier to believe before the natural electrical properties of lightning were known. If you consider the attribute as requiring Zeus to throw all lightning, then this is not consistent and you can conclude that Zeus is only fictional (people have quite the talent for fiction). However, if you narrow the attribute such that Zeus only throws some of the lighting, at his rare choice, then you have given him a loophole from elimination based on that one attribute.

    You can do the above as you go through the list of deities and show that any with attributes that make a demonstrable difference, can’t be real, and all the rest get put in with Russell’s Teapot. This includes the thousands of variations on YHWH and deified Jesus.

  23. #20 by Nibla Keep in mind thought, that “God” with a Capital G refers to the Christian, biblical god that created the heavens and earth 6000

    This is most certainly not always the case. God can (and granted, most often does) refer to the biblical god, but the Abrahamic narrative hardly has monopoly on the proper term. Indeed, look at the Aristotelian view of God as an example that predates mass acceptance of Christianity or monotheism (in contrast to monolatrism that was typical of the Judaic faith prior to Constantine).

    Philosophers talk about God as a generic supreme being all the time, and much of the debate is about what properties God has, and how the universe would be shaped by that property. E.g. If God liked prayer, would a business that had a pew pool do better than one that didn’t? Could prayer be weaponized? Medicinalized? Commercialized?…and so on.

  24. Ah its the game of Whack-A-Mole again and another appearance of a frequently encountered straw-man.

    “It has come to my attention that people who call themselves scientists are saying that it is a fact that God does not exist. I am puzzled by this.”

    Don’t be. You can be utterly certain that IF the universe had a creator, that being is not the “god” described by any religion practised on Earth. Current scientific EVIDENCE neither implies or denies any such a being, therefore refer to Occam’s Razor:

    “Philosophically speaking, there MAY be more than just our universe.” (emphasis added)

    Yes, “Philosophically speaking”, and until some evidence exists that’s all it is.

    “However, the philosophical argument that something may exist beyond our universe is logical.”

    Why is that logical? Refer to Russell’s Teapot.

    “Unfortunately, at the present time, we have not come up with a way to travel to the edge of our universe and measure what is beyond it. If we can’t measure it, observe it, or predict it, it is certainly not scientific to think anything exists beyond our universe, even though our universe is expanding into something.”

    You have assumed here that (1) the universe is finite, (2) it is expanding into a pre-existing infinite space, but this is wrong. Before the universe began there were no dimensions, and distance and time are dimensions, so even “before” becomes difficult to define. I’m sure you have seen the example of a balloon with dots on it to represent galaxies, being blown up. The balloon represents the entire universe and is “all that is” and is therefore infinite (and there is nothing “beyond” it), but it is still possible that the balloon can continue to expand. Infinity is a strange thing and I suggest you read about the “Infinite Hotel” to help you imagine it.

    Philosophy can make any statements it wishes (and Russell’s Teapot is a very useful thought experiment which demonstrates this), but the burden of proof rests upon those proposing something to provide evidence for that proposition. Statements for the existence of gods fall into this category, and do not amount even to the definition of a scientific conjecture, and are unworthy of a scientist’s attention until they do

  25. Well, as a matter of fact, the square can prove mathematically that there is such a concept as a sphere, just as we can deal with n-dimensional objects mathematically. What he would have a harder time proving is that he’d seen one passing.

    It is almost impossible to disprove the existence of a creator. however, on a one by one basis, we can disprove the existence of different gods. For example, if a given religion were to claim that all those who do sin x (do not confuse with sine) will be killed in a specific way, and that does not happen, we can conclude that the god does not exist. (correct me if I’m wrong- a conditional cannot be true if the premise is true and the conclusion is false?) I’m actually working on this with a Rabbi. I’ve set him to task to develop a consistent theory of god so that I could try to disprove it. I think I’ve got high chances of success.

    Anyway, a sphere intersecting a two-dimensional universe would have gravitational effects and other detectable features, so a scientist would be able to either confirm or disprove the square’s hypothesis.

  26. “It has come to my attention that people who call themselves scientists are saying that it is a fact that God does not exist.”

    You can state that something doesn’t exist if it would be a contradiction. For example a ball that weighs less than itself doesn’t exist.

    A common ground for ‘god’ is omnipotent and omniscient, these are logical self-contradictions.

    The main religions of course give their gods more properties, like making humans out of clay 6000 years ago etc. These claims can be shown to be false. It is no use saying it might exist in another universe because the god is supposed to have done these things in our universe.

  27. It is also not a fact that we don’t live inside a cell within the body of another biological being. Like it is also not a fact that Unicorns don’t exist elsewhere in the universe, and Santa Claus does not take over bodies of parents to buy Christmas presents for their children. Does this mean I should place blind faith in the irrefutable simply because I want to believe, and it makes me feel good?

    You could make up anything, believe it to be true, and because you can’t disprove it, assert it to be a viable and reasonable conclusion.

  28. One must think in terms of the ontology and epistemology thereto!
    It’s a question I often pose to people of faith.
    I have not yet found anybody who understands the question.
    When I’m asked what I mean I tell them to read the God Delusion.

  29. I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at. I have never heard a scientist, or anyone, claim there is absolutely, 100%, no God. Strictly speaking we cannot prove or disprove anything, except maybe in mathematics. How does the square know he’s not been in a coma his whole life and all his experiences, not just the one involving the Sphere, are all in his head? It may be true that there are things whose existence can be deduced logically from self-evident truths, but the only axiom I know outside mathematics is “I think, therefore I am” and I have no idea what else can be derived from that. There are philosophical arguments for God’s existence, but I have never known one to be compelling.

    However, the philosophical argument that something may exist beyond our universe is logical.

    This isn’t an argument, it is simply a statement of what might be fact. If you are serious about this hypothesis, you must find empirical evidence to support it.

  30. “My challenge to all “scientists” who say there is absolutely no God.”
    This is a ‘tree falling in the woods’ question, and the issue hinges on there bring more than one meaning of God.
    1) Creator of the universe
    2) Fictional characters from human religions
    Scientists can’t rationally speak about the first, since ‘before’ the big bang is a contradition in terms to our current knowledge of the universe. But saying ‘God’ in the second meaning doesn’t make sense is perfectly justified. We can prove that the religious books are not historically accurate documents. We can prove that specific myths like the virgin birth arose from typos and mistranslations. What ever the intentions of the authors, we can prove these books are works of fiction, and that the characters inside thus do not exist.

    In that sense scientists can easily say that ‘God’ is not real.

  31. I’ll have to admit I have not read all the replies, so my apologies if I’m merely repeating what someone else has already said.
    Leaving the question of what any particular scientist has or has not said aside, the way I see it, you can say, as a scientist, that it is a fact that there is no god. However, only for certain definitions of “fact” and “god”, and even then it’s a shorthand statement of the kind used in popular media, not in scientific papers. By certain definitions, I mean that it is a “fact” that there is no “god” in the same way it is a fact that there are no invisible pink unicorns, or even regular unicorns, if you will.(regular unicorns are logically possible, invisible pink ones are not). It is not a “fact” as in philosophically certain, which pretty much nothing is(cogito ergo sum), but it seems to me to be as much fact that no god of the christian(or any other religion I’m familiar with) type exist as any scientific body of knowledge is a “fact”. Scientific theories are not philosophically certain either, but once they have made it into textbooks, they are pretty as certain as you get, and if the word “fact” is to have much use at all, that would be it. In the same way we can use the scientific method and examine the god hypothesis, and we find that it fails and is easily rejected. Thus, thought of course you cannot philosophically prove a negative, the scientific answer, the best one we can give, is that there is no god, or in other words, it is a fact that there is no god.

    tl:dr: The non-existence of a theistic god is as much fact as most other things we call fact, even if it is not a philosophical certainty.

  32. In reply to #27 by astrophysics:

    Well, as a matter of fact, the square can prove mathematically that there is such a concept as a sphere, just as we can deal with n-dimensional objects mathematically. What he would have a harder time proving is that he’d seen one passing.

    Anyway, a sphere intersecting a two-dimensional universe would have gravitational effects and other detectable features, so a scientist would be able to either confirm or disprove the square’s hypothesis.

    Hmm, not sure about the existence of gravity if life were to exist in an etch- a- sketch. There would not be dimensional form, no planets revolving around a sun, etc. Other worlds would likely be flat pages in a book. This STORY, as I mentioned in a previous post, attempts to trick people into applying/projecting what they know about reality of this world onto this STORY. We absolutely know a sphere and gravity exist, but not in Flatland. The only way that square could project the idea of expanding and contracting circles onto the experience is if someone TOLD HIM spheres exist. The story teller states that it was a sphere, but cannot be. If you were sitting at your kitchen table and dragon suddenly appeared above you and let out a blast of fire and then disappeared, how would you convince everyone that what you saw was a real dragon?Keep in mind that all the storybook characters from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are in another realm knowing that dragons really do exist. Do dragons really exist? By the way, where is the response from frontierteg? Did he run away?

    Note to mods: I’m sure you’re aware that this site is a complete mess for the last two days. I could have created on my old 1980’s electric typewriter.

  33. Victor Stringer, does argue that God is a failed hypothesis. He argues well but like all science this means just what is says failed hypothesis this does not mean if any evidence comes to light that you don’t change the belief that it is very unlikely he doesn’t exist.

    Of course challenging scientists to prove there is no god is as meaningless and you proving there is no Santa clause, both are equally as difficult to dis-prove. So my question to you is do you believe that santa exists? If not prove it.

  34. …and another thing I realized…where are the eyes on this square? They cannot be on the inside looking ahead or behind because that would imply a Z dimension /form. Eyes on the inside would make the shape blind to any shapes that they are beside. If the eyes are on the side, then they could only see straight ahead along one x or y axis. Multiple eyes would see either one dot expanding into a line, a dot, etc. in the direction that they are looking. Squares would appear as a line, circles would appear as a dot that expands outward in both directions until it becomes the diameter as it moves or a shaded line (if there is light), triangles would start as a dot and then expand in one direction turning into line Spheres would appear the same as circles not concentric circles expanding and contracting ( I realize now that I bought that too.) To be able to see a circle on a flat plane, the square would need to be able to see depth by taking a step back from the plane. The shapes would need to actually be forms, in order to see it in anyway other than a line or dot. We as observers, outside Flatland, can determine what is circle and what would be a sphere by seeing the x and y axis simultaneously from a z point of view. A flatlander would be unable to detect any difference, thus the square cannot view the sphere as a circle as described in the story. (I know, I know, stop shaking your head. Add a weak eye on the inside of the shape…and you get ESP. Now you need to prove or disprove ESP or that invisible weak eye.)

  35. If something can happen without the need for a God to design and make that thing happen, then it is more logical to assume that it happened by itself due to the natural forces implicit in the system. The evidence shows that life arose without the absolute need for Creator God.Science has identified a lot of the detailed mechanisms that form the mechanism of life and evolution.

    Now, if I can logically work out what is a good way of living that is harmonious with nature and generates health, happiness and longevity, than it is similarly safe to assume that no God is telling me the correct way of living to achieve these objectives. But the religious reason is that these are not the objectives laid down for us by the evidence-less God who dictates to us. He tells Christians and Muslims and Hindus to live to other objectives that are in conflict with each other. So which is more logical? Believing in one’s own determination of the correct way of living or living to some Holy Book that promises an after-life that we have no evidence of and which above all is arrived at through different paths for different sections of humanity? The logical answer is one should not believe that there is a Personal God who can serve as a guide to how we live. Our biology tells us how we should live as a population of human beings who mate with each other so we need to live with each other as a community and humanity.

    We then come on to the question of who or what created the universe: this is not so easy to dismiss because we cannot see the totality of the universe through our eyes and scientific instrumentation. We do not know what caused the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe. But we know that expansion will lead to the death of our Solar System one day so that we will come to an end in less than a billion years? Who would want to create a universe like that out of Free Will? It could be a Creator or some other force. Not a good one however who has made something that will self-destruct. But it could be: we may never know. Science will not be able to give us a categorical answer of whether the universe arose from itself. There will always be a case for another force beyond it.

    So it dampens our analysis and makes me a weak atheist in the sense that we should be in command of our own future because there is nothing to fear of the presence of a God or something to praise because of the wonders of the universe, but some Power may or may not have set the universe on its way that science cannot determine.

  36. The world is about 4.5 billion years old not 14 billion your mixing that up with the age of the universe,nobody can prove that god dose not exist but knowing what we know there is a better than average chance he dose not exist.

  37. frontierteg You are the author of this post.

    You have 39 comments here

    Many more have read your post & those comments

    Think of all the time & energy that represents!

    The last comment before this one was nineteen hours ago

    The time has come for you to respond

    It is only good manners & your duty…

    to drag out that keyboard &

    tell all of us where you stand now &

    to answer some of the very good points that have been raised

    Thank you

  38. Seems like this troll has been served 39 snacks already, so I may as well make it 40. On the balance of probability there are no Gods, let alone the jealous, genocidal, misogynistic, homophobic, racist sky fairy of the Abrahamic axis. A god who was interfering on an almost daily basis from about 1,500 BCE to about 650CE and then didn’t bother his arse with anything until he decided to get Joseph Smith killed almost 1,200 years later. No philosophy can explain how a loving, just and all powerful sky fairy can allow the innocent to suffer and the guilty to go unpunished. All known life forms can be explained by the scientific method, to claim life requires a creator is unnecessary and begs the question “Who created the creator?” which can be regressed as many generations as one wishes until one comes to the realisation that possibly ones calls (read prayers) are being handled by the disgruntled, uninterested, underpaid, overworked temp at the call centre in New Dehli rather than the managing director in London who is too busy snorting cocaine from his boardroom table while being felated by a transsexual dwarf who happens to look like his mother. Please allow me apply the story of the square and the sphere around a little. Suppose the square witnessed the sphere murder a hexagon, how can the triangle ever believe the square if there is no evidence to back this up, no blood, no mutilated hexagon, nothing? How could the cube be expected to judge such a case or even waste its time considering such a case without evidence on the word of a single witness?

  39. Lots of people attacking, quite angrily, this discussion point. There is a lot of picking holes in the way the point has been illustrated. The analogies could have been better.

    I think the general point I would like to make first, is that there is a surprisingly low level of thinking out of the box by many commenting – and thinking out of the box is certainly the name of the game when it comes to subjects like this. There is an arrogant assumption that their minute and tiny, tiny knowledge of the way the universe[s], dimensions, time, other laws of physics, all work, is somehow enough to justify statements like “It is highly improbable that God exists” and even ” As it is, I know with absolute certainty that god is a logical impossibility, just as I know 2+2=4″! I would be interested to know what these “improbable” odds are based on? Another human’s statement about something based on their perception of empirical data in this universe, with one set of physical laws and an unbelievably tiny fraction of knowledge?

    2+2=4? Say 1,2,3,4,5,6, had been denoted as 4,7,2,6,1,9, by us. What you once knew to be correct is now not correct, 2+2 now =9. They are merely symbols to denote something for us. The point I am making is that how arrogant and how foolish for us to throw around a few scientific statements, think we are so smart and then make claims we know the bare minimum about?

    Has anyone considered there is an existence where ANYTHING is possible. Not in some fantasy way, but in a real way. In fact I challenge anyone to suggest ONE thing that would be impossible. Some people have given examples of things as a comparison for something which is “obviously” ludicrous:

    1. Teapot orbitting the sun: Human’s are aware of this statement. Year 2055, a space station ejects space debris which included a teapot on purpose to be “Ironic”. Is there any reason to entertain the notion of its reality…now?
    2. Unicorns? No evidence so definately not there [sound familiar?] Future Genetic engineering project creates “Unicorn”. So argument reduced to “Well they didn`t exist!” – except they do exist in a warp of time.
    3. Omnipresent – discover how to be outside of the 4th Dimension and you can go to all places at the same point of time.
    4. A four cornered triangle: Culture has numbers going 1,2,4,3,5…

    Think out of the box. Atheists have to take the uncomfortable stalemate of knowing the only correct answer they can possibly give to does “God” [in the purest sense] exist, is:

    “I don’t believe so, but I don’t know”.
    NOT “No”.

  40. In reply to #42 by dmd1:

    Lots of people attacking, quite angrily, this discussion point. There is a lot of picking holes in the way the point has been illustrated. The analogies could have been better.

    The OP is indeed a poorly written piece, with undefined terms, and a general lack of understanding of science and logic.

    I think the general point I would like to make first, is that there is a surprisingly low level of thinking out of the box by many commenting – and thinking out of the box is certainly the name of the game when it comes to subjects like this.

    Oh dear! That tiny shiny little magic box, which contains theist thinking and reflects their own ideas back as an image of the universe ! The “low-level of thinking” is in missing the points clearly explained in the comments.

    There is an arrogant assumption that their minute and tiny, tiny knowledge of the way the universe[s], dimensions, time, other laws of physics, all work, is somehow enough to justify statements like “It is highly improbable that God exists”

    Perhaps you should have actually read and understood the earlier comments on this discussion. My comments at 11 and 16 explained this very clearly. Until a god has properties, there is nothing to refute.

    and even ” As it is, I know with absolute certainty that god is a logical impossibility, just as I know 2+2=4″! I would be interested to know what these “improbable” odds are based on?

    It was explained that the probability varies according to the specified god ; – some are too vague to refute, some are clearly nonsense and easily refuted. This type of strawman claim was also in the OP and dealt with in previous comments.

    Another human’s statement about something based on their perception of empirical data in this universe, with one set of physical laws and an unbelievably tiny fraction of knowledge?

    You are making the elementary mistake of claiming that because science does not know everything, it knows nothing. The scientific laws are vastly more probable than ” god claims”. Unlike “god-claims”, Scientific claims are cross checked and repeatedly tested by independent scientists.

    2+2=4? Say 1,2,3,4,5,6, had been denoted as 4,7,2,6,1,9, by us. What you once knew to be correct is now not correct, 2+2 now =9. They are merely symbols to denote something for us.

    Of course they are, which is why that argument is purely meaningless semantic gymnastics.

    The point I am making is that how arrogant and how foolish for us to throw around a few scientific statements, think we are so smart and then make claims we know the bare minimum about?

    Perhaps you should work a bit harder at learning science, its laws, its theories and its probabilities, instead of bandying around words like “arrogant”. It looks like you are in no position to quantify “a bare minimum” or any other assessment of the extent scientific knowledge. – To the ignorant, all knowledge is “arrogant”!

    Has anyone considered there is an existence where ANYTHING is possible.

    Yes ! This is known as fantasy!

    Not in some fantasy way, but in a real way.

    That is still fantasy! “Anything”, is not possible in the real material world (or Universe)

    In fact I challenge anyone to suggest ONE thing that would be impossible.

    It is impossible for the sea-level on Earth to rise by 50 miles tomorrow! There is not enough water anywhere near it!

    Some people have given examples of things as a comparison for something which is “obviously” ludicrous:

    You seem to have made up a few of them below!

    Teapot orbitting the sun: Human’s are aware of this statement. Year 2055, a space station ejects space debris which included a teapot on purpose to be “Ironic”. Is there any reason to entertain the notion of its reality…now?
    Unicorns? No evidence so definately not there [sound familiar?] Future Genetic engineering project creates “Unicorn”. So argument reduced to “Well they didn`t exist!” – except they do exist in a warp of time.
    Omnipresent – discover how to be outside of the 4th Dimension and you can go to all places at the same point of time.
    A four cornered triangle: Culture has numbers going 1,2,4,3,5…

    That would be in a similar category to a triangular, square circle! – Semantic nonsense!

    Think out of the box.

    Ah! that tiny intellectual box with god-did-it-by-magic as the only answer to everything, and its reflective inner surfaces projecting god-delusion reflections going off to the horizons, – when there is a huge fascinating universe which works on laws of science operating out side it! Unfortunately the believers can only see their god-reflections inside their own little box, but thinking backwards projects this on to others.

    Atheists have to take the uncomfortable stalemate of knowing the only correct answer they can possibly give to does “God” [in the purest sense] exist, is: “I don’t believe so, but I don’t know”.

    Did you have one from the thousands of gods in mind? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deities They can’t ALL exist!

    “God” [in the purest sense]

    Ah! That forever undefined supernatural “purest” deist form, which has no material properties to refute – but which suddenly transforms into a god who does this, that, and the other, miracle on Earth! A TRRRrroooo believer sees no inconsistency in this thinking!

    The supernatural is a paradox!

    If ANYTHING interacts with the material world it is natural, works by the laws of science, and is detectable by measuring in the natural laws of science.

    If it does not interact with the natural world, it is non-existent or irrelevant.

    As I explained clearly at 11 – absence of evidence is evidence of absence

    “I don’t believe so, but I don’t know”.

    For inconsistent and self contradictory and ludicrous biblical claims of an Abrahamic god – we clearly do know, – to a level of probability which is near certainty, that such a being does not exist anywhere near Earth.

    Of course if you have some other previously unknown evidence, for the defined properties of a particular god – you can present it! (Until it has properties, there is nothing to refute.) See comment 16.

  41. Thanks Alan4discussion for the reply! Always like a good debate…

    I have looked through your replies to the specific points. I was waiting for a good counter. Nothing countered any of the points at all. We need to get your “out of the box” thinking up to speed. Einstein famously said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Let’s get that muscle warmed up.

    Before then just a few quick points:

    Magic: Didn’t say magic. Never mentioned magic. I like the quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Our “magic” is someone else’s technology.

    Fully understand your comments at 11 and 16. They are just so basic. “Define it’s properties”. Let me ask you, how would you describe the properties of, let`s call it a “Z field” on the other side of a black hole where our known physical laws change? Your scientific vocabulary is not only insufficient, it has not been invented yet.

    “probability” [of God] “varies according to the specified god”. Oh good we are running a book are we? Again you fail to see I am talking about one God, not man made branches of various religions born from perhaps an initial instinct to question is there something more than ourselves [which is what we are both doing now].

    “You are making the elementary mistake of claiming that because science does not know everything, it knows nothing.”
    Sorry, that is quite funny. Do you really think I am saying science knows “nothing”, and that is my fundamental flaw?! The thing is, if you think I think that science knows “nothing” and that I said it knows nothing, you clearly are just not seeing the points I am making. Have another quick look and point it out.

    “Scientific claims are cross checked and repeatedly tested by independent scientists.” That’s one set of physical laws [which still have time to be seriously tweaked] in one Universe where already we have discovered areas where they break down. Unless you are talking about a test where if the litmus paper turns orange then God exists?

    [2+2=4] “…argument is purely meaningless semantic gymnastics.” I was pointing out that another contributor said “…I know with absolute certainty that god is a logical impossibility, just as I know 2+2=4″ I mean, that statement is dying to be shot down. Sounds like it has a bitter edge to me.

    “absence of evidence is evidence of absence” Please tell me if there are planets at the other side of a black hole. Wait, I can do that…there is no evidence so No! That was easy.
    Let’s look at just one comment your friend Victor Stenger makes after a brief read…”In all of these examples, evidence for God should have been found, but was not” and what primitive dissecting tool did you use to determine the existence of God’s trail of “evidence” and would it be recognised as evidence if found? Just nothing new there at all.

    The “Arrogant” paragraph: Please let me know what my level of scientific knowledge is. You obviously know this. In the same way you know there is no God perhaps?

    Other comments… you could have just said “here are some more quotes from the above contributor” for the relevance they had.

    Anyway, now that you are fuming mad at my “Arrogance”, I will say that tomorrow is the 6th February 2013 [or you can choose the 5th Feb]. Your “impossible” task is easily done at any point in the future by any appropriate method and travelling back in time to complete the said task on the appropriate day.
    Please don’t reply saying “What sort of appropriate method”…use your imagination rather than mine.

    So, please someone, admit I have a point. Atheists simply cannot say that God does not exist. They also cannot say “No evidence therefore No existy]. It’s uncomfortable for you I know. Religious people are happy to say “I believe” so why can’t you guys say “I believe not” instead of, No!

    I will end on the words of Jumped up Chimpanzee who contributed “First, define what you mean by “God”. Otherwise any serious discussion about whether or not it exists is impossible.” [I would have said “difficult” though]. Problem is there would be no discussion, because God would be defined as “something which does not exist. Definately definately not.”
    Sorry guys, you have taken the michael out of so many people, you should get some stick yourselves for being so adamant that you are in fact correct. When you are not.

    Have you ever self analysed and thought it is an illogical view to have? What would Spock say, or a supercomputer? Well probably the correct answer of uncertainty, but one of them would say “Insufficient data, Captain”. Which one do you think…

    Look forwards to the bombs coming back!!

  42. In reply to #44 by dmd1:

    Thanks Alan4discussion for the reply! Always like a good debate…

    Have you ever self analysed and thought it is an illogical view to have? What would Spock say, or a supercomputer? Well probably the correct answer of uncertainty, but one of them would say “Insufficient data, Captain”. Which one do you think…

    Gazoing!!!! Shortage of data v no data at all – and a comical fallacy! Science has limited (but some pretty conclusive data – You have presented no data or evidence at all, – and have then illogically claimed that the absence of a refutation of your non-case, in some way supports it! If you were somehow able to refute all of science, you have still made NO CASE for “god-did-it”!

    I have looked through your replies to the specific points. I was waiting for a good counter. Nothing countered any of the points at all.

    What? You missed ALL of them!

    We need to get your “out of the box” thinking up to speed.

    This is just posturing semantic waffle, with a bit of psychological projection thrown in.! What you mean is you want to get my wide spectrum thinking INTO your little mental god-did-it box.

    Although it is well established that all behaviors and experiences, spiritual or otherwise, must originate in the brain, true empirical exploration of the neural underpinnings of spirituality has been challenging. However, recent advances in neuroscience have started to make the complex mental processes associated with religion and spirituality more accessible.

    Einstein famously said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Let’s get that muscle warmed up.

    More vacuous posturing? Thinking is clearer done with the brain than with “muscles”. Speculative imagination is very important, but the second phase of critically testing to see if it fits the real world scientific laws, is just as important if we are to avoid filling our heads with mountains of dysfunctional nonsense!

    Before then just a few quick points:

    Magic: Didn’t say magic. Never mentioned magic. I like the quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Our “magic” is someone else’s technology.

    It would be possible to mistake advanced technology for magic, but “supernatural” is all magic, trickery and no substance. There are plenty of proven charlatans.

    Fully understand your comments at 11 and 16. They are just so basic.

    I think the term you are looking for is fundamental reasoning!

    “Define it’s properties”.

    That’s right – to have a meaningful discussion, words and concepts need to be defined. The religions of the world have descriptions of the the features and claimed actions of their gods. You have produced nothing!

    You have presented no description, no claimed actions (apart from some inferred “technology”) and no evidence of any interaction with planet Earth.

    Let me ask you, how would you describe the properties of, let`s call it a “Z field” on the other side of a black hole where our known physical laws change? Your scientific vocabulary is not only insufficient, it has not been invented yet.

    Any science fiction writers have no problem making up this sort of stuff. Your claim that “Anything is (even remotely) possible is no evidence of anything – it is just wishful thinking.

    It is quite comical that “my scientific vocabulary is insufficient”, in the view of some one who confuses “the other side of a black hole” – (where a large section of our galaxy is found), with an “event horizon”!

    “probability” [of God] “varies according to the specified god”. Oh good we are running a book are we?

    That is what is meant by “probability” – Still evasive with no answers to the questions of substance?? Yes the credibility of god-claims vary with the descriptions of the individual gods (see Wiki links) Yours still has NO properties, so is a non-claim!

    Again you fail to see I am talking about one God, not man made branches of various religions

    I spotted that you had made the unevidenced assumption of one undefined god, – straight away. All gods are man-made delusions inside the heads of believers as neuroscientists have shown.
    You have produced no evidence that they are anything else.

    born from perhaps an initial instinct to question is there something more than ourselves [which is what we are both doing now].

    There is a whole universe more than ourselves. The anthropomorphic, simplistic, personification, of its laws and functioning is in the mind of deists and theists who have no concept of the complexity of implications of their claim. – Not to mention an infinite regression of creators.

    “You are making the elementary mistake of claiming that because science does not know everything, it knows nothing.”

    Sorry, that is quite funny. Do you really think I am saying science knows “nothing”, and that is my fundamental flaw?!

    That is the essence of your argument – you claim science cannot explain the alleged “supernatural” and cannot refute an undefined “god” .

    Your fundamental flaw is trying to debate without using definitions, reason or evidence.

    Nobody can refute an undefined anything – that is basic logic! The onus of proof is on those making claims. It is not the job of everyone else to refute every whimsical notion anyone can produce. That is how evidenced, reasoned debate works. – Anything else just churns semantic nonsense.

    The thing is, if you think I think that science knows “nothing” and that I said it knows nothing, you clearly are just not seeing the points I am making. Have another quick look and point it out.

    This is clearly your view if you dismiss the laws of science as relevant to refuting the vague “god-claims” you are trying to side-step. You have already dodged the gods of “man made branches of various religions”, so your (non)evidence so far supports no god-claims at all.

    It is just a suggestion that some some vague unspecified whimsical notion might have a slight chance of being true – It is pure word-salad of no substance!

    “Scientific claims are cross checked and repeatedly tested by independent scientists.”

    That’s one set of physical laws [which still have time to be seriously tweaked] in one Universe where already we have discovered areas where they break down.

    There is no evidence that “scientific laws break-down”. There are conditions and places where they change with the states of the matter and energy involved.

    This is a god-of-gaps argument. Where science has little or no data, “god-claims” have none at all. They only consist of the personal incredulity and a lack of understanding by believers, that god-interventions are necessarily MORE COMPLEX than the simple running of natural laws.

    Unless you are talking about a test where if the litmus paper turns orange then God exists?

    More side stepping the real issues! Your imagination is running wild again!

    “absence of evidence is evidence of absence”

    Please tell me if there are planets at the other side of a black hole.

    Half our galaxy is at the other side of its central black hole!

    Wait, I can do that…there is no evidence so No! That was easy.

    It really is easy to make a fool of your self, making ridiculous claims like this one, if you have not studied the science!

    Let’s look at just one comment your friend Victor Stenger makes after a brief read…

    “In all of these examples, evidence for God should have been found, but was not”

    and what primitive dissecting tool did you use to determine the existence of God’s trail of “evidence” and would it be recognised as evidence if found?

    Err! Evidence for all the monotheist claimed interventions, should be around, with changes in energy detactable ???

    Just nothing new there at all.

    Nothing that a personal ignorance of scientific measuring techniques cannot miss – with a bit of help from deist-blinkers!

    The “Arrogant” paragraph: Please let me know what my level of scientific knowledge is. You obviously know this. In the same way you know there is no God perhaps?

    See my comment (above) on your perception of “the other side of a black hole”! – Pure ignorance!

    Other comments… you could have just said “here are some more quotes from the above contributor” for the relevance they had.

    So you entirely missed (or evaded) the point – and have NO answers!

    Anyway, now that you are fuming mad at my “Arrogance”,

    You are projecting again! I am rationally analysing your (non)claim.

    I will say that tomorrow is the 6th February 2013 [or you can choose the 5th Feb]. Your “impossible” task is easily done at any point in the future by any appropriate method and travelling back in time to complete the said task on the appropriate day.
    Please don’t reply saying “What sort of appropriate method”..

    Ducking the issues as usual! You have made up backwards time-travel and offered no explanation of how your ridiculous claim would work, and can only say, “Don’t challenge my deluded whimsical notions”!

    You clearly cannot explain the impossible transportation of several times the volume of all Earth’s ocean water, from nowhere within one day, so are just making up ridiculous nonsense as a response to me refuting your challenge!

    use your imagination rather than mine.

    It is critically examined scientific evidence which you need, not undisciplined imagination.

    So, please someone, admit I have a point. Atheists simply cannot say that God does not exist.

    As was pointed out much earlier, The refutation of the existence of a particular god, depends on the details of the claim made by its followers, who in a rational discussion, have a responsibility to to define their claim and produce evidence to support it.

    They also cannot say “No evidence therefore No existy]. It’s uncomfortable for you I know. Religious people are happy to say “I believe” so why can’t you guys say “I believe not” instead of, No!

    Scientists say NO to any flawed reasoning or refuted claims. Pretending to make a claim which you have not done, so as to avoid having points refuted, and then hiding behind the vagueness of the claim, is not having a rational discussion. It is just bandying words.

    I will end on the words of Jumped up Chimpanzee who contributed

    “First, define what you mean by “God”. Otherwise any serious discussion about whether or not it exists is impossible.”

    [I would have said “difficult” though]. Problem is there would be no discussion, because God would be defined as “something which does not exist. Definately definately not.”

    Another wrong assumption. Negative definitions are meaningless. You cannot define objects by defining what they are NOT! (although this can slightly reduce the range of possibilities) [“Water is not iron” is NOT a definition of “water”.]

    Dismissing a claim for lack of evidence (or a definition) is the default in any reasoned debate.

    Sorry guys, you have taken the michael out of so many people, you should get some stick yourselves for being so adamant that you are in fact correct.

    Perhaps you should develop some reasoning and debating skills as well as some understanding of science. When so much verbosity, has no evidence or reasoned content, mockery is the only option left in dealing with comically incompetent assertive claims lacking ANY substance!

    When you are not. – Look forwards to the bombs coming back!!

    You would need evidence and a definition of what you are talking about, for that assertion!

    GOT EVIDENCE?????

  43. Hi Alan4discussion,

    As I read your point I shake my head and think this discussion is a waste of time. You have no idea whatsoever of what I am talking about. You miss the point time and time and time again. You have already assumed that I am a religious believer and sometimes your replies are so wrong it doesn’t make sense as I am crediting you with a certain level of intelligence.

    Have you actually understood a word I have said??

    Looking again I see that you are not recognising when a sarcastic tone comes in and you are obviously taking some of these point literally. Also you cannot recognise when I am quoting what you would say, thinking it is what I have said and then you criticise it literally!
    I mean, I just read that and think, this guy just isn’t up to it. The questions you continue to ask reveal you have no understanding as to what I am explaining.

    So where do we go from here? Well there is a condition for the site to avoid “banging on about the same thing”. I will try to point out a few areas which you may now see to be a little silly from yourself [sorry, I will see as silly, you will defend them]

    “Nothing that a personal ignorance of scientific measuring techniques cannot miss – with a bit of help from deist-blinkers!”

    You assume I have a particular perspective to the nature of God when all my statements have NEVER indicated this.
    You assume I know nothing about scientific measuring techniques – WRONG.
    You still arrogantly assume scientific measuring techniques are sufficient to detect evidence of a God.

    “Perhaps you should develop some reasoning and debating skills as well as some understanding of science. When so much verbosity, has no evidence or reasoned content, mockery is the only option left in dealing with comically incompetent assertive claims lacking ANY substance!”
    Ok, so you just don’t say anything here…

    I am trying to analyse why it is you just don’t get any of the points:

    1. I think you cannot get your head around the different angle that this argument is coming from. You are so used to arguing against traditional religious people and thinking they are pathetic because you have read an article or two and watched a few evolution documentaries on the TV. How hard it is to argue against a belief that thinks things were made in 7 days, 6000 years ago. I presume you won that argument?

    2. Sometimes I am taking the michael out of you and you think I am making a literal statement.
      “Please tell me if there are planets at the other side of a black hole?” Did you think I was asking you this as a real question? Please, tell me you are joking?? I then said “Wait, I can do that…there is no evidence so No! That was easy.” You do realise that is impersonating what you would say? Obviously not because you reply with “Half our galaxy is at the other side of its central black hole!” and also you later justify your thoughts on my apparent lack of scientific knowledge by quoting this!
      My oh my, your dissecting tool needs a little sharpening unfortunately. I will give you a clue…When does a house stop becoming a house? or a planet stop becoming a planet? Are you getting it yet?

    Ok, Ok I will explain your impossible task for you…There would obviously have to be a pretty good reason firstly why anyone would want to drown the earth but, in the same way we suggest water came to the earth in the first place, bombarded by monstrous ice carrying bodies such as comets from space colliding with the Earth. The discerning party, having discovered how to move through time could stop our progress through that dimension, re-direct thousands and thousands more of these to Earth and then set us on our way again moving forwards through time in a world with instant 50 mile high oceans.

    You said: “There is no evidence that “scientific laws break-down” [WRONG]. “There are conditions and places where they change with the states of the matter and energy involved.”

    I actually listened to an interesting scientist on a lecture about black holes who used the very words “In and around black holes are areas where many of our current laws of physics simply break down”
    Again you speak utter rubbish.
    In fact let me hammer this one home with another example…

    I presume you are familiar with Hooke’s law for the force exerted by a spring?? F=kx where k is the tension of the spring and x is the distance it is stretched? Think back, now write the equation as k=F/x. Written this way it would seem that if you compare the tension between any two points on the spring, it grows and grows the closer together the two points are. In fact, two points spaced infinitesimally apart seem to have an infinite tension. It’s just a manifestation of the 1/x limit.

    But of course that’s not true. If you really want to know what’s happening at small distance scales you can’t use the classical physics behind Hooke’s law. At some point x drops below the spacing between molecules in the spring’s metal. Now Hooke’s law no longer applies and you have to use atomic physics to explain the spring’s properties. So in the large-scale theory – Hooke’s law, there was no fundamental distance scale: x could be as small as you want. But at some point this law breaks down. In the small-scale theory (quantum mechanics and atomic physics) there is a fundamental distance scale: the atomic spacing. We would say that the singularity has been “resolved.”
    So, are 2 examples of how current physical laws break down enough for you? Would you like to discuss the weak attempts of quantum gravity to explain things?

    You said: “Negative definitions are meaningless”. PLEEEAASE!!! How did we discover the afore mentioned black holes if it wasn’t through the use of defining areas of sky by what must be there by process of elimination! By what things stars CAN’T be doing. By what things are NOT, to better understand what they are.

    You are clearly just not up to this… Well I answered your poor attempt at an impossible scenario, you answer me this:
    When exactly would you say quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other? As someone who claims so many things incorrectly and bases everything on his desperate clinging to empirical data, what is your answer? The question will depend on an opinion so your weak attempt to Google terms will be obvious.

    An easy one…A black hole cannot be “seen” due to light not escaping it blah blah, but it influences things around it – stars,by gravity etc etc. So has the existence of “God” influenced things on earth? Why is that not a good enough piece of evidence? We are discussing God now. People act in certain ways because of that influence in their brain. A conversation about “God” and someone “behaves” differently. Now remember, try to think not that God has a beard on a cloud. In fact I know exactly how you will answer. You will say a conversation about God does not mean God exists and miss the point again.

    To conclude, you are an atheist because of environmental factors affecting you as an individual to wrongly decide there is no possibility of a God rather than be open minded to the huge possibilities of other states of existence and the potential influence one existence could have on multiple others. You are what I would describe as having a Flatlander’s mentality and unfortunately it appears you will remain in that prison. When you say “…see if it fits the real world scientific laws, is just as important if we are to avoid filling our heads with mountains of dysfunctional nonsense!” That sort of gives you away. Anything you don’t understand or can’t imagine is “dysfunctional nonsense” to you. Destined to have both feet on the ground until you realise it is mostly empty space.

    Maybe one day you will free your mind from the confines of your current empirical data and join with Einstein’s imagination and Carl Sagan’s Personal Voyage.
    Note: before you say “Err, Carl Sagan was a scientist” I was referring to his journeys of the imagination to search for possible solutions.

    Remember, you are a believer…you believe God does not exist but you don’t know. You just keep looking to disprove a man with a beard on a cloud or detect God with a Geiger counter.

    I will keep count this time how many points you miss…

  44. Actually this is my anticipated answer to your answer.

    Same again, you are an atheist because you cannot look further than the mental walls of your prison and are anchored by a bitterness of what you think life has for you.
    When the atoms of your body are wandering around space in a few billion years, along with all the other atoms of people who have ever existed, maybe if they perceive a consciousness, they will realise this.

  45. In reply to #46 by dmd1:

    Hi Alan4discussion,
    dmd1
    47

    Actually this is my anticipated answer to your answer.

    That’s the thing about scientists, the answers match the facts not the sociopath’s tale – telling the audience what they like to hear. So if you ask simple science questions to two experts, it should be no surprise that you have the same answer.

    Ask theist or deists about gods and you will have thousands of different answers or evasive compartmentalised mental contortions. Each makes up his/her own- with a bit of co-ordination from holy books and preachers.

    Same again, you are an atheist because you cannot look further than the mental walls of your prison and are anchored by a bitterness of what you think life has for you.

    You can usually tell the dedicated believer with fixed ideas, which are not subject up-dating with learning – They trot out the same old stereotype-strawmen which are passed around by people who have no idea of any philosophy beyond their own.

    Like many who cling to their comfort-blanket and crutch of religion, you have the mistaken view that those who live without such props, must be “bitter” or “mentally trapped”. Nothing could be further from the truth – it is your own (and possibly shared) psychological projection.

    When the atoms of your body are wandering around space in a few billion years, along with all the other atoms of people who have ever existed, maybe if they perceive a consciousness, they will realise this.

    You have been listening to ignorant preachers on the physics of the universe, and learning your science from science fiction/fantasy writers. ( Yes I know some of them do real science as well) You really, really, really want to believe in an afterlife, and have probably wasted a large part of your life working towards this. I have no such expectations, and good reasons to believe it is a manipulate myth! You are protecting your illusions from refutation, by refusing to define them.

    As I read your point I shake my head and think this discussion is a waste of time. You have no idea whatsoever of what I am talking about. You miss the point time and time and time again. You have already assumed that I am a religious believer and sometimes your replies are so wrong it doesn’t make sense as I am crediting you with a certain level of intelligence.

    You sat in denial and have not followed up the points I raised about the diversity of gods and believers, and show no understanding of the science.

    Have you actually understood a word I have said??

    Yes! Much more deeply than you show any sign of understanding.

    Looking again I see that you are not recognising when a sarcastic tone comes in and you are obviously taking some of these point literally. Also you cannot recognise when I am quoting what you would say, thinking it is what I have said and then you criticise it literally!

    Parody can be difficult to separate from obfuscation, evasion and ignorance at times. Sarcastic evasion usually indicates an unwillingness or inability to give a proper answer.
    You could try giving straightforward answers to questions you have so far evaded:-

    What is the definition of the god you are talking about & what are you claiming it can do?

    Does it have a name?

    What evidence do you have to support your claims of “souls and an after-life”.

    When, in the evolution of humans, did humans acquire these”souls?

    Do all animals including single cells have these “souls”?

    I mean, I just read that and think, this guy just isn’t up to it. The questions you continue to ask reveal you have no understanding as to what I am explaining.

    I am trying to explain the source of your god-delusion. It is in your own brain! We all have these egotistical primordial features, but in theists they dominate the mind, and pretend to be hidden in distant places where there are gaps in knowledge. I also understand your reverse projection of ability levels, on the understanding of science and reasoning. –
    Dunning-Kruger

    So where do we go from here? Well there is a condition for the site to avoid “banging on about the same thing”. I will try to point out a few areas which you may now see to be a little silly from yourself [sorry, I will see as silly, you will defend them]

    Preaching is not allowed, so evidenced, reasoned, discussion is expected. – So far you have only presented personal opinions; no evidence, and the “reasoning” ( after masses of verbosity), has not yet produced the starting definitions of the words/concepts your are presenting.

    “Nothing that a personal ignorance of scientific measuring techniques cannot miss – with a bit of help from deist-blinkers!”

    You assume I have a particular perspective to the nature of God when all my statements have NEVER indicated this.

    I am well aware that you have strenuously evaded clarifying this issue in your statements, but have pointlessly tried to discuss undefined terms.

    I am also well aware of the tactic of asking other people to refute undefined shifting concepts, to produce the illusion of “winning” an argument.

    You assume I know nothing about scientific measuring techniques – WRONG.

    You have shown no understanding of the science I have presented, but have simply denied evaded, or ignored it!
    If I am wrong about your understanding, – demonstrate that with some understanding by discussing the subject rather than making ignorant posturing denials like the following one:

    You still arrogantly assume scientific measuring techniques are sufficient to detect evidence of a God.

    You have it backwards again. Science can easily refute many of the thousands of gods with differing levels of probability/certainty, according to their specification and claimed activities.

    You have dismissed the gods of various religions of the world in an earlier post, so then ASSUME that this leaves your chosen one – rather than leaving NONE!

    “Perhaps you should develop some reasoning and debating skills as well as some understanding of science. When so much verbosity, has no evidence or reasoned content, mockery is the only option left in dealing with comically incompetent assertive claims lacking ANY substance!”

    Ok, so you just don’t say anything here…

    Wrong again!

    I say your claim can be dismissed for a lack of a defined claim and a lack of evidence or substance.

    Again you don’t seem to understand the basics of reasoning.

    I am trying to analyse why it is you just don’t get any of the points:

    I can see you are struggling because of a lack of understanding scientific methods of investigation and the methods of peer-review and confirmation of results. You have made no POINTS! It is just vague waffle!

    I think you cannot get your head around the different angle that this argument is coming from.

    As I pointed out above, I know exactly where it is coming from. It is coming from subconscious parts of your brain which hide themselves from your conscious thinking by externalised projection.

    You are so used to arguing against traditional religious people and thinking they are pathetic because you have read an article or two and watched a few evolution documentaries on the TV.

    Actually, I am a biologist and space scientist who is used to debating with rational scientists who follow the evidence and laws of nature, until we reach conclusions which work in the real world.

    How hard it is to argue against a belief that thinks things were made in 7 days, 6000 years ago. I presume you won that argument?

    YECs are indeed an easy target, but they troll on with the same assertive, unevidenced, dogmatic determination, which you are displaying.

    Sometimes I am taking the michael out of you and you think I am making a literal statement.

    Every theist to his own methods of side-tracking and evasion!

    “Please tell me if there are planets at the other side of a black hole?” Did you think I was asking you this as a real question? Please, tell me you are joking?? I then said “Wait, I can do that…there is no evidence so No! That was easy.” You do realise that is impersonating what you would say? Obviously not because you reply with “Half our galaxy is at the other side of its central black hole!” and also you later justify your thoughts on my apparent lack of scientific knowledge by quoting this!
    My oh my, your dissecting tool needs a little sharpening unfortunately. I will give you a clue…When does a house stop becoming a house? or a planet stop becoming a planet? Are you getting it yet?

    Yep! More evasive babble with no content and responding to (I won’t say answering) a question with a diversionary question. – with the added occasional demonstration of a lack of understanding of the science, – which is probably a reason for the evasion.

    You continue to have a desperate need to want me to believe in your vague god – probably to prop up your own belief. I got that early on, along with the usual theist fallacy of pretence of speaking with the “authority” of their hidden god.

    I will give you a clue…When does a house stop becoming a house? or a planet stop becoming a planet? Are you getting it yet?

    BTW A planet stops being a planet when it is ripped apart falling into a black hole.

    Ok, Ok I will explain your impossible task for you…There would obviously have to be a pretty good reason firstly why anyone would want to drown the earth but, in the same way we suggest water came to the earth in the first place, bombarded by monstrous ice carrying bodies such as comets from space colliding with the Earth. The discerning party, having discovered how to move through time could stop our progress through that dimension, re-direct thousands and thousands more of these to Earth and then set us on our way again moving forwards through time in a world with instant 50 mile high oceans.

    Well! You have shown you can make up simplistic fantasy, or have learned your science from Star Trek and The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    You said: “There is no evidence that “scientific laws break-down” [WRONG]. “There are conditions and places where they change with the states of the matter and energy involved.”

    I actually listened to an interesting scientist on a lecture about black holes who used the very words “In and around black holes are areas where many of our current laws of physics simply break down”

    As I explained, that is only a figure of speech, to concisely explain the change in matter and energy at different scales and densities. This has nothing to do with magic god-claims on Earth!

    You said:

    “Negative definitions are meaningless”.

    PLEEEAASE!!! How did we discover the afore mentioned black holes if it wasn’t through the use of defining areas of sky by what must be there by process of elimination!

    Black holes were discovered by their eclipsing of stars behind them, the bending of starlight by their gravity, and the movements orbiting stars around them. ALL POSITIVE identifiers.

    By what things stars CAN’T be doing. By what things are NOT, to better understand what they are.

    You really don’t get the basics of evidenced scientific reasoning. Negatives only eliminate very limited areas of the possible range and SUGGEST POSSIBILITIES. Positives identify specific features.

    To conclude, you are an atheist because of environmental factors affecting you as an individual to wrongly decide there is no possibility of a God rather than be open minded to the huge possibilities of other states of existence and the potential influence one existence could have on multiple others.

    I have never said that I 100% eliminate the remote possibility of a distant deist god , or aliens, or that new technologies COULD exist. They are irrelevant and have nothing to do with life on Earth or alleged after-lives.

    It is strange that you are atheistic to numerous other people’s gods, yet ASSUME others should accept your unspecified hidden one!

    I have asked you to define your terms and you have failed to do so, – or build a case on any rational or evidenced foundation. All you have done is make the ludicrous claim that “anything is possible” (as it is exclusively in the imaginations of those who use unevidenced “faith-thinking” or suspend disbelief.)

    If you walk on air out of a tenth-floor window, (without technological support), – Newton, with or without Einstein, will remind you of material reality with a bump – regardless of whether you BELIEVE in “new physics” or not!

    I asked for evidence (not rhetoric or conjecture), so without any, your claim can simply be dismissed!

    When you say

    “…see if it fits the real world scientific laws, is just as important if we are to avoid filling our heads with mountains of dysfunctional nonsense!”

    That sort of gives you away. Anything you don’t understand or can’t imagine is “dysfunctional nonsense” to you.

    Once again you entirely missed the point about filtering out nonsensical claims by using scientific methods and reasoning. You are clearly unable to separate refuted claims from the unknown frontiers. – But seem to strenuously avoid actually addressing the issues I have raised regarding you producing EVIDENCE!

    Destined to have both feet on the ground until you realise it is mostly empty space.

    Another vacuous cheap shot! The proportion of “space” in the universe or atoms, is not science news – even if it looks promising to gapologists.

    Maybe one day you will free your mind from the confines of your current empirical data and join with Einstein’s imagination and Carl Sagan’s Personal Voyage.
    Note: before you say “Err, Carl Sagan was a scientist” I was referring to his journeys of the imagination to search for possible solutions.

    Gazzoinggg!!

    Both Einstein and Carl Sagan, knew the difference between speculative fiction, areas of theoretical investigations, and empirical data. You apparently do not.

    Remember, you are a believer…you believe God does not exist but you don’t know. You just keep looking to disprove a man with a beard on a cloud or detect God with a Geiger counter.

    Ha! ha! ha! Still projecting, strawmanning, and getting it backwards!

    If you won’t produce definitions and evidence for your claims, they can simply be dismissed!

    One “God” with a capital “G”, from the thousands on my Wiki-link ??

    What can be asserted without evidence , can be dismissed without evidence.

    GOT EVIDENCE??

  46. **Moderator’s message

    Please try not to let the exchange become over-heated and bad-tempered. Try to avoid making personal remarks about those who disagree, and focus on the issues. Thank you!

    The mods **

  47. My goodness dmd1. Alan’s asked you to define your “God” several times and you’ve ignored that request.

    Until you do, you could be talking about anything at all or nothing at all.

    What do you mean by “God”? What properties does it have?

    Defining terms is basic in any discussion.

  48. What a strange thread this has been. First, frontierteg wrote a strange blurb about it coming to his attention that “people who call themselves scientists” (are they imposters? That might explain it.) “are saying that it is a fact that there is no God”. He makes some questionable scientific assertions (the universe is finite, for instance) and does some weak philosophy and never shows up to respond.

    The responses from commenters were thorough, thoughtful and in many cases very informed.

    Along comes dmd1 who in his opening paragraph claims that lots of people are “attacking, quite angrily” , accuses commenters of arrogance and in further posts, other unsavoury things including being bitter and trapped behind prison walls.

    In the process, he accuses Alan of not being up to the discussion and attempts to lecture him about science. I must say it’s painfully obvious dmd 1, which one of you understands science.

    And please. If I hear another lecture about Einstein’s imagination from one more person who quotes it in order to make anything up they feel like making up, I will lose my mind.

    Einstein understood the physics before he applied his imagination. He knew what the problems were that he was trying to solve because he’d done a lot of hard work and then he had to do a LOT more hard work to demonstrate to himself and others that he’d got it right.

    You are not Einstein.

  49. Many thanks Moderator. This discussion should end here.

    Here are my replies:

    1. Hi Susanlatimer. Several comments in response to Frontierteg were indeed aggressive. Some examples are below:

    a. Good grief, are you serious?

    b. I’m guessing you’re beginning a philosophy course or possibly you are a theologian in waiting. This is because I don’t see a well formed question anywhere in what you’ve written.

    c. less of the snark with the quote marks

    d. Waste of time. You should have composed your challenge much more carefully.

    e. Give an example or admit you’re lying.

    f. You’ve just proven you don’t know what you’re talking about and are only pretending you do, and you are yet again dishonest.

    g. Secondly, you don’t even know enough philosophy to understand the burden of proof, so don’t you dare pretend you know how, if at all, philosophy can help out science (which, as I mentioned above, you also don’t understand very well).

    h. I think you mean SPECULATIVELY SPEAKING! There is no evidence at present that it has “an edge”.
    Maybe this? maybe that.. .. ?. … !

    The aggressive nature was one of the first things I noticed.

    Alan4discussion did not seem to grasp the main point I was making and has hit back aggressively also. Thankfully I got it out of him this time. He has assumed me to be a religious believer as I am criticising the “100% sure” policy of atheists and making the point that that can never exist when one opens one’s mind to interpretation [scientific/scientific possibility – which is practically endless] rather than a child like view [God on a cloud]. This latter view of God obviously doesn’t stand up to today’s science, but today’s atheists should not argue against old religions’ portrayal of God from thousands of years ago, but consider a far more advanced new opponent [not different necessarily], involving science as yet undiscovered and illustrating that things that seem impossible to humans at one level of development are simply technology at another. My claim that it is highly likely that nothing is impossible was treated as nonsense which first gave me the clue that the commenter had a degree of knowledge, but not the imagination to think beyond the immediate future.

    Having brought this thought to the table, I am demanded to present evidence of this “New God” and how dare I withhold information.

    You [susanlatimer] say it is painfully obvious I have no scientific understanding. I did give one attempt to discuss a couple of points scientifically which were completely ignored and showed how Alan4discussion’s statement that our current physical laws do not break down, was incorrect. I gave an example using Hooke’s law, however it appears he is a biologist. He has just said that his statement that the laws of physics do not break down was a “figure of speech”. I think it was a misinformed statement for you to make perhaps about my level of scientific understanding?

    Can you point out where I lectured about Einstein? There was a quote I believe?

    Alan4duiscussion:

    You have asked for evidence a few times now and the fact that you do is an illustration of why you are missing the point. I have given several examples which show that no evidence is no indication that something does not exist. The statement “absence of evidence is evidence of absence” is wrong because any experiment may simply fail to detect a phenomenon for other reasons.

    You reference to Start Trek and The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy reveals much. This is because you speak of them as if the things they portray are fantasy nonsense. Yet “The Guide” in that latter example is spoken of often when discussing modern tablets. Warp speed and “Beam” transporters are discussed and researched regularly for possibilities in advanced science. Cold hard cash is now going into research for these very things. This is very important. It is the crux of our difference. You see possible advanced futures as nonsense. It is all magic and hocus pocus to you. This thought process carries over to “God”. I don’t believe you can separate an advanced notion of “God” from hocus pocus. You just keep saying where is the evidence?

    You say I am atheist to other people’s Gods. If I have portrayed one thing, it is I am not an atheist. I do not say God does not exist. The way other people’s God’s are portrayed are old school not advanced school.

    You mention “Claims”. I do not make claims and never have. I merely say that you cannot say “No” just “You don’t believe so” and you have finally accepted that:

    “I have never said that I 100% eliminate the remote possibility of a distant deist god…” Thank you. Some other contributors insist they ARE 100% sure. I hope they read your words.

    You do make the comment “They are irrelevant and have nothing to do with life on Earth …” Has ever, since our perception of the dawn of time, anything been irrelevant and unrelated to us?

    • In reply to #52 by dmd1:

      Many thanks Moderator. This discussion should end here.

      Here are my replies:

      Hi Susanlatimer. Several comments in response to Frontierteg were indeed aggressive. Some examples are below:

      a. Good grief, are you serious?

      b. I’m guessing you’re beginning a philosophy course or possibly you are…

      You make the claim “Warp speed and “Beam” transporters are discussed and researched regularly for possibilities in advanced science. Cold hard cash is now going into research for these very things.” Where is there serious discussion of these things, who’s putting how much money into the research….and where does one line up for it?

  50. Many thanks Moderator. This discussion should end here.

    I’ll assume you mean your interaction will end here. But that’s just another way of saying you’re going to have the last word after showing up here to accuse people of all kinds of ulterior motives without producing even a definition, let alone evidence or any reasoned interpretation of that evidence.

    The thing about “thinking outside the box” is that it requires demonstrating that you even know what the box is. Or else you’re just thinking outside a boxy thing that lives in your imagination.

    About the “angry” comments:

    a. Good grief, are you serious?

    I understand that you just showed up here. The new format is new for me. But it would be helpful if you’d list the comment numbers so that I could do a quick reference. I already reread the entire thread to see if I could find an “angry” comment that I missed the first time. Which number comment is this? If you’re going to claim comments are angry, you should really address the entire comment in context or it just seems like you’re looking for phrases that sound “angry” no matter what they are reasonably stating.

    b. I’m guessing you’re beginning a philosophy course or possibly you are a theologian in waiting. This is because I don’t see a well formed question anywhere in what you’ve written.

    Theology has been given more consideration than it gives back. It has a record of making a priori assumptions and responding to strawmen which doesn’t get it very far in the convincing argument department. Perhaps you can demonstrate an idea in theology that doesn’t fall into that groove without accusing me of being angry or being trapped behind prison walls if I find it logically or evidentially weak.

    c. less of the snark with the quote marks

    They were very snarky quote marks. All implication and no substance. “People who claim to be scientists” and “scientists”. Who even uses the first phrase unless they are talking about homeopathy or anti-vaxxers and then, it would be explained in detail why those people are not doing science. How are we supposed to know what those quote marks mean? Is he/she addressing actual scientists (people who do science) or people who require quote marks? Good philosophical and scientific discussions aren’t allowed to sneak in that sort of baggage. And the OP claimed to care about philosophy and science.

    d. Waste of time. You should have composed your challenge much more carefully.

    That’s true. The reasons for that were addressed explicitly in the rest of that comment and throughout this thread. You’ve failed to respond to the reasoning behind that. Worse, you called it angry. There is no anger. Just disagreement. An unwillingness to succumb to malformed questions and an insufficient understanding of the evidence. Not anger.

    e. Give an example or admit you’re lying.

    Well, he made a claim and failed to support it. In real philosophical or scientific discussions, you don’t get away with that sort of thing. Rhetoric is a cheap ploy and will be called out. Did you read the rest of the post?

    I’ll skip f,g and h for now as they fall into the same categories. You view reasonable responses to a weak challenge as “anger” but you haven’t demonstrated that anger exists in or undermines any of the responses. Anger is irrelevant. Even if they screamed it (which they didn’t), you’ve done nothing to respond to even the most basic response to a very weak argument.

    In the mean time, these are the most basic elements of any claim: Define your terms, present evidence and provide reasons that your interpretation of the evidence is worth considering.

    We’ll start with the first part. What do you mean by “God” among the thousands of gods? Is it Yahweh? (I’m just guessing. If I’m wrong, here’s your chance to fix me up.) What are “God”‘s properties? I’d prefer you respond to that question and I’d suggest you respond to it if you insist on talking about “God”.

    Can you point out where I lectured about Einstein? There was a quote I believe?

    Yes. It was in comment 44 in your first response to Alan. It’s an often abused quote, a Hail Mary for people who think they can just make anything up and pretend that they are following in the footsteps of Einstein. Einstein did not just “imagine” stuff. He studied demonstrable facts about how the universe behaves and recognized real problems and came up with answers that are applicable to this day. He showed his work.

  51. In reply to #50 by susanlatimer:

    My goodness dmd1. Alan’s asked you to define your “God” several times and you’ve ignored that request.

    Until you do, you could be talking about anything at all or nothing at all.

    What do you mean by “God”? What properties does it have?

    Defining terms is basic in any discussion.

    Hi Susan!

    I think the later parts of this discussion have illustrated why my earlier comment 16 showed the necessary procedure.

    Alan4discussion
    16

    How do you scientifically refute a philosophical (god) belief?

    First you get its proposer to define its properties.

    Until it has properties, there is nothing to refute.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    Then if some coherent defined properties are produced, you then ask the proposer to produce evidence.

    In the absence of evidence where evidence should be found (See 11 below), …. .. … .

    Without the basic starting points of evidenced rational debate (at 16), there is only the churning of incoherent semantics, vacuous assertions, fallacies and the of dodging of issues, in which every vague whimsicality is deemed “possible”!

    As you know, in the thinking of “god-did-it”, the remotest of vague possibilities, trump well evidenced scientific observations laws and theories (allegedly), with denial or contradictions = “refutation” !!!!

  52. Hi Alan! :-)

    Yes. Comment 16 covered it nicely.

    Define, provide evidence, inference to the best explanation.

    When they start accusing you of being trapped behind prison walls and being unable to think outside the box without even defining what the heck it is we’re talking about, chances are ( with a lot of 9s involved) that they are just making stuff up.

    I started out with those elements since I was very young but with little access to knowledge and a lot of indoctrination to sort through, but I never let go of those principles.

    I’d like to thank you for the knowledge you’ve provided for the peanut gallery through links and discussion over the years. It’s not wasted.

    You’re giving many people a great education that they couldn’t otherwise afford.

    It’s all about the lurkers. :-)

  53. In reply to #52 by dmd1:

    Many thanks Moderator. This discussion should end here.

    **No need to thank us. Our message was addressed to you as well as to others, and you have ignored it in your further response.

    If you or anyone else wish to continue to participate in discussions on this site, please take another look at our Terms & Conditions at the foot of each page and pay particular attention to the atmosphere we are trying to create here. Arguments should focus on the issues and avoid making personal remarks about other users.

    The mods**

  54. In reply to #52 by dmd1:

    Many thanks Moderator. This discussion should end here.

    Funny how some never think it means them!

    susanlatimer – g. Secondly, you don’t even know enough philosophy to understand the burden of proof, so don’t you dare pretend you know how, if at all, philosophy can help out science (which, as I mentioned above, you also don’t understand very well).

    h. I think you mean SPECULATIVELY SPEAKING! There is no evidence at present that it has “an edge”.
    Maybe this? maybe that.. .. ?. … !

    The aggressive nature was one of the first things I noticed.

    No answers! Just ad-homs projecting and seeing aggression in requests and challenges to nonsensical and (later denied) claims.

    God on a cloud]. This latter view of God obviously doesn’t stand up to today’s science, but today’s atheists should not argue against old religions’ portrayal of God from thousands of years ago, but consider a far more advanced new opponent [not different necessarily], involving science as yet undiscovered and illustrating that things that seem impossible to humans at one level of development are simply technology at another.

    Gapology 1.01

    My claim that it is highly likely that nothing is impossible was treated as nonsense

    All the established scientific laws show this claim is nonsense – but it is only those who understand their levels of probability who know this!

    which first gave me the clue that the commenter had a degree of knowledge, but not the imagination to think beyond the immediate future.

    Strawman delusions rule this thinking!

    Having brought this thought to the table, I am demanded to present evidence of this “New God” and how dare I withhold information.

    Evidenced scientific debating – onus of proof 1,01 for beginners!

    Alan4duiscussion:
    dmd1 – You have asked for evidence a few times now and the fact that you do is an illustration of why you are missing the point. I have given several examples which show that no evidence is no indication that something does not exist. The statement “absence of evidence is evidence of absence” is wrong because any experiment may simply fail to detect a phenomenon for other reasons.

    There is no point in claiming wild speculations without evidence in a rational discussion.

    Evidenced debating -onus of proof 1,01 for beginners! – Lack of a disproof is evidence FOR nothing!

    Oh dear dmd1! – Still unable to understand the basics of evidenced debate and explanation of why the use of negatives as “proof” does not work. It went right past you without connecting to any thinking!

    You reference to Start Trek and The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy reveals much. This is because you speak of them as if the things they portray are fantasy nonsense. Yet “The Guide” in that latter example is spoken of often when discussing modern tablets. Warp speed and “Beam” transporters are discussed and researched regularly for possibilities in advanced science.

    I know! I read the scientific reports, and understand the figures on the energy required, which make then highly unlikely as practical applications.

    You see possible advanced futures as nonsense. It is all magic and hocus pocus to you.
    This thought process carries over to “God”. I don’t believe you can separate an advanced notion of “God” from hocus pocus. You just keep saying where is the evidence?

    Psychological projection again! I have written extensively on feasible real future and speculative technologies – quite a lot previously on this site! You are just attacking your own strawman fantasy images, as a diversion from the real issues raised.

    Look at what you are saying! Do you see the projection?

    I don’t believe you can separate an advanced notion of “God” from hocus pocus. – It is all magic and hocus pocus to you.

    You say I am atheist to other people’s Gods. If I have portrayed one thing, it is I am not an atheist. I do not say God does not exist. The way other people’s God’s are portrayed are old school not advanced school.

    You apparently do not understand English! You dismissed “other people’s gods” earlier.

    An atheist is someone who understands the lack of evidence for gods, and concludes they are very unlikely to exist. You seem to be fixed on some strawman atheist concept of not believing in YOUR pet god, which you won’t define.

    He has assumed me to be a religious believer as

    As your posts and claims clearly show – This looks disingenuous!

    I am criticising the “100% sure” policy of atheists and making the point that that can never exist when one opens one’s mind to interpretation [scientific/scientific possibility – which is practically endless] rather than a child like view

    The projection and backwards thinking is strong! That fact that rational people understand and base their views on high levels of probability and nobody knows anything with 100% certainty, does not support beliefs in whimsical speculations or child-like personification of natural phenomena.

    Spot the the use of negatives for obfuscation and denial!

    You mention “Claims”. I do not make claims and never have.

    My claim that it is highly likely that nothing is impossible was treated as nonsense

    (I don’t believe you can separate an advanced notion of “God” from hocus pocus.)

    No claims???? – Well apart from the long list of claims with some quoted above! – More denial and evasion???

    I merely say that you cannot say “No” just “You don’t believe so” and you have finally accepted that:

    Alan4discussion did not seem to grasp the main point I was making and has hit back aggressively also. Thankfully I got it out of him this time.

    This is quite comical after I earlier pointed out the unanswered issue of the PROBABILTY of differing god-claims.

    When evading questions that you can’t answer – claim the challenge is aggressive and troll on!

    I have accepted that tiny remote possibilities exist, – but can be dismissed as too improbable, many times on this site!

    I know there is tiny, tiny, remote possibility that there may be some Ferengi worshipping deified Klingons in some remote remote galaxy, or that someone may have renamed “Uranium” as “God”. – But like I said, Occam makes the little scientifically identified, psychological god-spots in the believer’s brain generating illusions, so much more likely. The refusal to provide a definition is no argument for anything!

    dmd1 You do make the comment

    “They are irrelevant and have nothing to do with life on Earth …”

    Has ever, since our perception of the dawn of time, anything been irrelevant and unrelated to us?

    Most of the universe has been too distant to be relevant to us for billions of years. – Long before humans evolved, Anyone with a basic understanding of astronomy/cosmology knows that we cannot even see the light from it!

    The evasions and contortions of “Gapology” never cease to amaze!

  55. Hi Moderator,
    I was fully aware your comments referred to myself as well. Not sure how the thanks was misinterpreted but yes, responses on both sides edged over the line a little. Apologies.
    To be fair, Alan4discussion was making comments a little aggressively before I turned up.

    I don’t feel anything further has been added by Alan4discussion now, so good luck and thanks to yourself and Alan4discussion for the exchange.

    All the best.

  56. susanlatimer
    55

    Hi Alan! :-)

    Yes. Comment 16 covered it nicely.

    Define, provide evidence, inference to the best explanation.

    I think we have encountered an extreme form of the common “philosophical” problem of gapologist “refutation avoidance”, by way of vagueness or non-definition. (Sometimes buried in verbosity.)

    How do you refute “vacuum-trolling”?

    Of course the absence of substance and potential “deity-shape-shifting”, means there is nothing to refute, so it can only be dismissed.

    What can be asserted without evidence (or without substance), can be dismissed without evidence!

  57. I don’t feel anything further has been added by Alan4discussion now, so good luck and thanks to yourself and Alan4discussion for the exchange

    So, what am I? Chopped liver? :-)

    Seriously though, is it Yahweh?

    I’m just curious.

  58. In reply to #60 by susanlatimer:

    I don’t feel anything further has been added by Alan4discussion now, so good luck and thanks to yourself (Moderator) and Alan4discussion for the exchange

    So, what am I? Chopped liver? :-)

    I don’t think anything relating to material reality, has interacted with the god-delusion at all! Nothing said by you, me or the moderator.

    You have to give dmd1 credit for this “gem”! – subject to interpretation!!!

    dmd1 – I don’t believe you can separate an advanced notion of “God” from hocus pocus. – It is all magic and hocus pocus to you.

    Hmmmmm! – Hocus pocus – minus defining words = advanced notion of “God” = zero !

    susanlatimer – Seriously though, is it Yahweh?

    I’m just curious.

    Be careful what you ask for Susan. You could get a reply written in “Hitch-Hiker new-science” Vogon poetry !!

    dmd1 – Your reference to Star Trek and The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy reveals much. This is because you speak of them as if the things they portray are fantasy nonsense.

  59. It’s a question of probabilities; maybe there is a god, maybe there is a santa clause and a tooth fairy. I cant prove that any of them do not exist. And the existence of multiple possibilities does not mean that all are equally probably.

    Indeed, given the evidence, the probability that there is a god / santa / tooth fairy is sufficiently small that I choose to discount it. So I dont say ‘i am not certain that god does not exists’ in the same way that I do not say “I am not certain that santa clause does not exist”

    And to extend the point, when i make arrangements with my friends I dont say ” I will meet you at 8pm, provided my car does not change into a unicorn”. I cant be sure that my car wont change into a unicorn, but I dont qualify that my arrival is contingent on that not happening

  60. I think you can. Historically, philosophical arguments have been either supported by science (Hume’s scepticism on miracles etc) and refuted (Plato’s theory of forms, Aristotle’s earth centered universe). I did philosophy at university and lecturers were bringing in science to support their philosophical positions all the time.

  61. Anything that exists on a plane would only be aware of two dimensions. A circle is a two-dimensional shape seen from a point of view that is off the plane on which the circle lies. Thus, in the above problem a square would not see a “circle”, but would see a dot that suddenly appears, expands into a line and then contracts into a dot before disappearing (assuming of course that sphere passes through the plane, outside the square, at a point sufficiently distant the distant from the square such that the square and sphere do not touch).

    Regarding your question, I woudn’t attempt to refute the existence of an omnipotent being. It either exists or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t matter what people believe. If it does exist, it would not be wise to upset it.

  62. To all that responded, thank you.
    Interestingly, the mass majority of responses had nothing to do with answering the questions I asked.

    To all of those that argued that “the burden of proof lies on the person making the claim”, I ask you this.
    If a box is sitting on a table and there is no way for you to open the box or see into the box, what belief is more valid? A belief that there is something in the box, or a belief that there is nothing in the box? Both are positive beliefs and both are based on the same amount of evidence, absolutely zero evidence either way. To say “I don’t know if there’s anything in the box” is the only scientifically valid thing to say.

    To all those that argue Richard Dawkin’s simply says “he doesn’t know”, you are wrong.
    If Richard said “I don’t know” and walked away I would respect him, or perhaps even said “mathematically and scientifically, it is astronomically implausible”, I would respect him.
    However, he goes further to compare a belief in God with a belief in leprechauns and fairies, which we all know are absolutely fictitious creations of fairy tale writers. If, in the box example above, someone said “I believe there is something in the box, but I can’t prove it”, Richard Dawkins would say “I don’t know what’s in the box, but I put a belief of something in the box in the same category as a belief in leprechauns and fairies”, it might follow that Richard is saying all beliefs that lack rock solid evidence is in the same class as fairies.

    At that point we need to reflect on our concepts of justice, fairness, goodness, badness, all of those concepts that can’t be proven, and yet society is built upon, and apparently need to be put in the same category as leprechauns and fairies.

    Richard has directly said “I don’t know”, then has indirectly said “I do know and God does not exists”, which is a positive belief, just like saying God does exist. Both assertions are based on the same amount of evidence, zero evidence. By going the extra mile to compare God to Fairies, he has tipped his hand to what he truly believes and he is being agitating and mean spirited toward those who don’t agree with him.

    For those who asked me to define the concept of God.
    God: creator of the rules of the known and unknown universe.
    Not to be confused with the religious text concept of a powerful entity on a mountain, in the clouds, in the ocean, etc…. Those are simply images that humans created. Please do not try to disprove the existence of God by pointing to a book that a man made.

    P.S. to Michael Fisher – I’m about 30 years beyond taking college classes. The point I was trying to make was apparently well communicated, as evidenced by the responses.
    I described my concern. I proposed a thought experiment. I asked questions specifically related to the experiment. Hardly anyone answered the questions.

    [Slightly edited by moderator to remove personal remarks and bring within Terms of Use.]

    • It would have been clearer if you’d said “creator of the rules of the known universe and unknown universe” instead of “God”. “God” is rarely limited to that single definition and I don’t understand the need to call it “God”.

      Please do not try to disprove the existence of God by pointing to a book that a man made.

      As most references to “God” I have encountered in my life have everything to do with books that men made, I hope you’ll appreciate the misunderstanding.

      So, to make sure I understand you this time, your “God” is a character who created the rules of the known and the unknown universe. Even that confuses me because I can’t help but think that sort of character would have to dwell in a meta-universe and then who or what created that? The whole thing is very blurry.

      It’s not as if the Flatland concept is unfamiliar to most people here but I’m unable to see how it connects to your original discussion topic without further clarification.

      As far as Richard Dawkins is concerned, he is perfectly reasonable in comparing a theist “God” to leprechauns and has often done so. The deist “God” he approaches differently.

      The word “God” (especially with a capital G) never seems to help these discussions and only seems to get us further away from understanding one another.

      • @frontierteg

        Also, it’s not good form to start a discussion with very vague terms, sit back with your arms folded, make no effort to participate even when called to by commenters and then show up when the discussion’s been dead for a while and say, “See? Hardly anyone’s answered my questions!” and issue us all D minuses.

        You had plenty of time to clarify your points and made no effort to do it. It’s not too late to fix things, teg. Now would be a good time.

  63. yes there may be a god but which one

    and how we say that the god of every religion on earth who is the real god thoug the scientific facts on all of their dedicated holy books are wrong ..all to some degree
    and if we say that the scientific facts in all religions say the creation stories and so on are not inspired .so may be the whole book are so .. how do we know where are the original words which inspired by god and which are not.. moreover why do god let something wrong he didnt inspired to be included in his holy book and finally looks as it was just one book of many and all of them are wrong so that god abandoned his only relative advantage provided that the only indication he allow for the world is his book and despite that he didnt care about it
    moreover god is always silent …he must reply and respond to every case about his existence and creation not just give the world unbelivable ,untrustworthy ignorant book and threatening people with hell
    how that god give us brains and logic and give us evidence for his inexistence and when we are obliged to the obligatory conclusion which is he more likely do not exist he condemn us as if we choose that conclusion and in fact he the one responsible for that final conclusion not us

    excuse me for my bad English

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