Does God Exist?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

I would be super excited if this did not devolve into personal attacks. Not that it has, but my Spidey sense is tingling.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:07 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:Why do you find it necessary to say "God doesn't exist" if the question is nonsense in the first place!
How many times do I have to explain that I'm not saying God doesn't exist? Would three more times work for you?

Rejecting a claim isn't the same thing as asserting a claim. To use morriswalter's mouse race analogy, my stating that it's nonsense to suggest Mouse A won the race isn't even implicity stating that Mouse B won the race.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Greyarcher » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

I'm puzzled. You guys often seem to blur the distinction between what Russell states explicitly and literally, and what you interpret his words to mean. From my reading, the Teapot analogy is part of an ongoing illustration that is used to ground this conclusion:
I cannot, therefore, think it presumptuous to doubt something which has long been held to be true, especially when this opinion has only prevailed in certain geographical regions
That aside, I can see perhaps one explicit "sub-conclusion" from the Teapot illustration:
It isn't presumptuous to doubt something which has been defined as unprovable ("if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense"). --presumably, he thinks there are legitimate reasons that we may doubt an assertion that cannot be disproved, and indeed it certainly seems like there are obvious reasons in the case of a Space China Teapot.

That's all.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Bean_Delphiki » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:02 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:
If I claim that an invisible teapot is floating in space, that claim should be rejected as nonsense.

You still aren't getting it.

It doesn't matter what answer you are rejecting. If the question is nonsensical, the answer will be nonsensical. So it doesn't matter if such and such exists or not if nobody can prove it or disprove it. Why do you find it necessary to say "God doesn't exist" if the question is nonsense in the first place!

Is that really so hard to understand?


I understand the logic of your position, and it is unassailable. But my question in response is: If it's such a nonsensical statement...why click on this discussion in the forum? There's lots of forums set up around discussing well designed questions.

*edited for grammar

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:44 pm UTC

Speaking for myself and not infernovia the point is this. The belief any idea is not in and of itself dangerous and harmful, it is what is done with it. The danger is in the outliers. The absolutists. Absolutists believe, and not being happy with that, they insist you believe. The tools used for that run from ridicule to crucifixion to burning.

From Wikipedia.
Argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or appeal to ignorance, is an informal logical fallacy. It asserts that a proposition is necessarily true because it has not been proven false (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is: there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to "prove" the proposition to be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four; with (3) being unknown between true or false; and (4) being unknowable (among the first three). And finally, any action taken, based upon such a pseudo "proof" is fallaciously valid, that is, it is being asserted to be valid based upon a fallacy.[1] In debates, appeals to ignorance are sometimes used to shift the burden of proof.

This is what Russell was arguing against, a Theist claim that it was the responsibility of the doubter to disprove God, however it cuts both ways, which is why Russell never made a claim. What he did instead was to argue that is was a fallacy to shift the burden of truth to the doubter. In the previous 3/4s of the argument Russell made a reasoned case why the beliefs of Theists were wrong. He makes no claims for his position. All he does is state is this.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby 44 stone lions » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:58 pm UTC

I think it is time to put the teapot idea to one side. To base the entirety of a discussion about gods existence around one idea put forth by one man is a bit silly in my opinion.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

On the other hand, the teapot semi-tangent might be useful in establishing a good metric for judging the objective value of an analogy.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Skohsl » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:30 pm UTC

Als Zarathustra aber allein war, sprach er also zu seinem Herzen: "Sollte es denn möglich sein! Dieser alte Heilige hat in seinem Walde noch Nichts davon gehört, dass _Gott_todt_ ist!" -

(When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: "Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that GOD IS DEAD!")

The idea of a God is long gone in Western philosophy. There is no evidence whatsoever to assume there is a God, nor can you prove that there is no God. The idea of God was put down by Kant and has since withered away until Nietzsche came along and officially declared him dead. Later Western philosophy is only a more tempered stance (as with Russell, you cannot disprove (but there is absolutely no reason why you should assume there is) a god).

The discussion ended long ago, you cannot know that a God exists, even if one should exist we, as humans, cannot know it. There is no point in discussing it. To the Western philosophy, God is dead (or rather never was in the first place). The only logical conclusion is that there is no God, however since you cannot disprove phantoms, you can only take up the position of Russell (i.e. there is absolutely no reason why you should believe in God, you cannot however disprove it, just as you cannot disprove ghosts, unicorns and UFO's (all of which we have absolutely no reason to believe in)). The only question you need to ask yourself is this: 'what would I say if someone feverishly defended the existence of unicorns, would I agree with him (since I cannot disprove), or would I think him mad for believing in something for which there is no evidence whatsoever?'

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:47 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:Dude, you aren't understanding it.

Does God exist? You can't say yes, therefore you can't say no. A question like that will be relegated to nonsense. A nonsensical question does not have a yes/no answer. And it also defeats it immediately because the question becomes irrelevant.

Well, no. The answer to "Does God exist?" can only be answered something along the Yes/No spectrum. "Yes, "Probably", "Maybe/I don't know", "Probably, not", or "No". For something to be any higher than 'No', 'Yes' has to be a possibility. If something cannot possibly be true, then it is false.

i.e.: Before we can debate the question "Does God exist?" we all have to agree about "Can a God exist?"
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:19 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:i.e.: Before we can debate the question "Does God exist?" we all have to agree about "Can a God exist?"

This is a great point. I think it shows the problem with this discussion in the first place that many would say no. It's such an unfathomably arrogant statement to me for somebody to deny all possibility of ANYTHING! We're too stupid to say something like that yet we should be plenty smart enough to realize as much.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby SpazzyMcGee » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:44 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Before we can debate the question "Does God exist?" we all have to agree about "Can a God exist?"

Before we can do even that we have to define God. :wink:

My motto for these sorts of threads is the same as my motto for dream heists... 8) We have to go deeper. BWWWWAAAAAHHHHH!

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:39 am UTC

mosc wrote:It's such an unfathomably arrogant statement to me for somebody to deny all possibility of ANYTHING! We're too stupid to say something like that yet we should be plenty smart enough to realize as much.

I disagree. There are plenty of things that we can easily deny. Among other categories of deniable concepts, we can deny things that are not internally self consistent. An invisible pink unicorn, for instance. Nothing can be invisible and have a color property all at the same time. And Spazzy is right, before we can answer 'Can God exist?' we have to define what we are talking about. That's where I get stuck. I can't conceive of a god that is internally self consistent and god-like.

Sure, I can think of aliens that came to earth and that older civilizations would have considered gods. But aliens aren't god.
Sure, I can conceive of an energy/force that permeates all the universes. But the CMBR is not god.
Sure, there is Yahweh/Jesus/Allah. But He is not self consistent.
Etc.

Essentially, any definition of god that is plausible is so far removed from any previous use of the word 'god' as to make assigning that entity the word god inaccurate.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:34 am UTC

mosc wrote:This is a great point. I think it shows the problem with this discussion in the first place that many would say no. It's such an unfathomably arrogant statement to me for somebody to deny all possibility of ANYTHING! We're too stupid to say something like that yet we should be plenty smart enough to realize as much.
How do you assert that we're too stupid to know something we don't know anything about? Seems like you've been making the same mistake you're describing.

Perhaps we do have the intellect required to fully understand the properties universe - maybe any intellect at all is enough, as once you finally stumble upon the answers, it's all painfully simple.

That's not to say that this is necessarily the case, but I think that if we're interested in making as few baseless assertions as possible, we shouldn't just speculate on the complexity of the universe or what it is that we might not know. What we should concern ourselves with is what we do know, and work on those frontiers of our understanding which seem to show room for growth.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:That's not to say that this is necessarily the case, but I think that if we're interested in making as few baseless assertions as possible, we shouldn't just speculate on the complexity of the universe or what it is that we might not know. What we should concern ourselves with is what we do know, and work on those frontiers of our understanding which seem to show room for growth.

What we speculate on and what we "concern ourselves with" are two different things. I'm not arguing for you to spend 15 minutes on your knees due to some unobservable presence or something. We are discussing the possibility of existence, not anything more than a theoretical discussion. If you make it have practical application on your life or your goals, then that's your problem.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Bean_Delphiki » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:58 pm UTC

mosc wrote:If you make it have practical application on your life or your goals, then that's your problem.


...that is my problem.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Unworthy Gentleman » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:33 am UTC

Argue God's existence all you want but none of what you say can be backed up by evidence. The bible, the Q'uran and other religious texts are as much evidence that God exists as my old Thomas the Tank Engine books are proof that a Train with a face on it is actually alive. On the scientific side, lack of evidence doesn't disprove an idea. Neither one can be right because we have no evidence that God does or doesn't exist. Because there is nothing to prove or disprove, there should be no argument.

It would be foolish to believe something that has no evidence other than simple stories actually exists. However, man has never been one for not acting the fool.

What you want to do is read into the teachings of each book and understand them. Understand also that some teachings are outdated in this day and age, we need to pick the ones that are actually relevant to our time and utilise them to make sure we live as generally good people.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Ideas sleep furiously. » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:48 am UTC

The Unworthy Gentleman wrote:Understand also that some teachings are outdated in this day and age, we need to pick the ones that are actually relevant to our time and utilise them to make sure we live as generally good people.


If they are outdated why hasn't God released a Bible or Quran 2.0?

They were meant to be taken litterally and in their fullness, not to be picked at, the bible and quran paint a very clear picture of what is right and wrong.

Besides, morality is relative, you could pick out the part about killing heretics, and doing that wouldn't nessecarily make you a good person (in fact, it would make you a bad person in my opinion). I could argue that it is relevant to our time, there are lots of people who would be classified as heretics.

Though, I agree with the rest of your post =D
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby workover » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:07 pm UTC

The discussion seems to no longer be about God existing but about how people should define their religion or religious laws. Unfortunately those aren't really up for a debate like public laws. You could say that some laws are outdated or don't make sense, but then that is an issue with tradition and culture when discussing it with believers. While talking about it to non-believers your discussion may be logical and practical, however believing and having faith is not about logic it is about tradition and personal truths. To believe in a religion, you have to take a lot of strange stories and facts and believe in them. Religion by design is not very appreciative of a logical review of their beliefs so the debate is pointless at best and deadly at it's worst.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Ideas sleep furiously. » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:16 pm UTC

workover wrote:the debate is pointless at best and deadly at it's worst.


That, my friend, is the beauty of the internet.
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Hope_ » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

Does God exist?

From my perspective: No. And I'm yet to care what other people's perspectives are on the issue.

... then you're in entirely the wrong thread, section, forum, and even communication medium. Feel free to return to the first two when you want to participate in a meaningful fashion.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Hope_ » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:30 pm UTC

Sorry, yes that was not at all constructive. I had that selfish 'I just want to put my view across' idea. I haven't thought about the issue much I admit, so I'll think about being an idiot and posting non-constructive, 'look at me, look at my opinion, I don't care about yours but you should care about mine' stuff next time.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

We don't post here to shout our opinions at each other. That's disrespectful. We post to discuss our opinions. Stating your own without comment or comparison to others in the middle of an 8 page long conversation is purely disruptive.

Beyond the nature of your earlier post though, I disagree with your opinions. I just cannot accept such black and white views on this type of issue. Do you mean "I don't think there's a god" or "there absolutely, positively, without a doubt, impossible for there to be a god by any definition".
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Wodashin » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:46 am UTC

I always thought that the argument that we could one day become gods over our own virtual and sentient universe was a good argument for a 'higher power'. If we can do it, and the virtual universe we create could eventually do it, who's to say we're the base universe? No one, that's who. It's a possibility that cannot be ruled out, just as much as a god is a possibility, just as much as no god is a possibility.

Personally though, I think agnostics have far superior logic to atheists. Atheism requires to have faith, and I know that's been said too many times and that many take offense to that, but it's true. 'Logic dictates there is no God'. Logic would dictate that the only logical answer is that there is no definite answer, in my opinion.

People are hardwired to religion. It's born into you, and it permeates all ancient cultures. Is this evolutionary trait a sign of some truth, or a sign that religion is literally bred into us just to keep the pre-historic mind stable? Has it just stuck overtime, like an appendix? There are always two sides to this argument, on every point.

This thread is an exercise in futility.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:58 am UTC

Wodashin wrote:Personally though, I think agnostics have far superior logic to atheists. Atheism requires to have faith, and I know that's been said too many times and that many take offense to that, but it's true. 'Logic dictates there is no God'. Logic would dictate that the only logical answer is that there is no definite answer, in my opinion.
Mayhaps they take offense to it because it's a gross misrepresentation of atheism? This is old, old ground--but we'll tread it out once more: No, atheism does not require faith. If an ancient culture (see: Animism) never even bothers to think up the idea of a God, would you describe this as 'faith' in God's nonexistence? Can you have 'faith' that a concept you have not even conceived of doesn't exist?

Anyway, the atheists we're usually talking about--the ones who think god is silly and prefer to put their faith in the scientific method--don't have 'faith' that God doesn't exist; they have 'faith' in scientific empiricism--that that which cannot be observed, tested, or measured holds no significance or importance, and may as well be described as non-existent. I don't have 'faith' that magical gnomes don't reside in my head controlling my every move--I have 'faith' in scientific empiricism, and scientific empiricism tells me that this idea is nonsense. Same with God.
Wodashin wrote:People are hardwired to religion. It's born into you, and it permeates all ancient cultures. Is this evolutionary trait a sign of some truth, or a sign that religion is literally bred into us just to keep the pre-historic mind stable? Has it just stuck overtime, like an appendix? There are always two sides to this argument, on every point.
I see it as far more likely that religion provides certain social benefits--cultures which embraced it were ones that showed curiosity and an interest in explaining the world around them, and thusly flourished. That's not biological evolution; it's cultural.

Edit: Of course, I think that humans are hardwired to be curious and want to explain the world around them; it's an immensely powerful survival tool. It seems more likely to me that religion, rather than being some hard-wired bit in our brain, is actually just a consequence of this feature.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Soralin » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:48 am UTC

Wodashin wrote:I always thought that the argument that we could one day become gods over our own virtual and sentient universe was a good argument for a 'higher power'. If we can do it, and the virtual universe we create could eventually do it, who's to say we're the base universe? No one, that's who. It's a possibility that cannot be ruled out, just as much as a god is a possibility, just as much as no god is a possibility.

So in other words:
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby krazykomrade » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:58 am UTC

that which cannot be observed, tested, or measured holds no significance or importance, and may as well be described as non-existent.

This right here is as ridiculous and misguided as anything religion has ever conjured up. Also, it is much closer to positivism than empiricism.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:04 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:This right here is as ridiculous and misguided as anything religion has ever conjured up. Also, it is much closer to positivism than empiricism.
Perhaps I'm miscommunicating? I shouldn't say 'no significance', as there are things that cannot be measured or tested that we place great value on; however, in terms of the scientific method, the only things that matter are the things that can be measured. Scientific empiricism is different than plain empiricism, by the way (I think you might be confusing the two).

The atheists we usually talk about in discussions like these (ex: Dawkins, Hitchins) are ones who are uninterested in most claims that can never be proven or validated; if you present the notion of God without some form of feasible test or experiment to prove it--one that can be accomplished either now or within the foreseeable future--it's a notion that these atheists will probably dismiss. Not because they have faith that God doesn't exist--but because they have faith in scientific empiricism as a means to understand the universe.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby krazykomrade » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:46 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
krazykomrade wrote:This right here is as ridiculous and misguided as anything religion has ever conjured up. Also, it is much closer to positivism than empiricism.
Perhaps I'm miscommunicating? I shouldn't say 'no significance', as there are things that cannot be measured or tested that we place great value on; however, in terms of the scientific method, the only things that matter are the things that can be measured. Scientific empiricism is different than plain empiricism, by the way (I think you might be confusing the two).


I would say that many of the things we value most, that are the most significant parts of our lives, are those than cannot be measured or tested.To say that in regards to the scientific method only certain things matter is a thing apart from saying that only certain things matter full stop. Science's domain may be limited to the empirical, but reality and rational investigation are not.

The Great Hippo wrote:The atheists we usually talk about in discussions like these (ex: Dawkins, Hitchins) are ones who are uninterested in most claims that can never be proven or validated; if you present the notion of God without some form of feasible test or experiment to prove it--one that can be accomplished either now or within the foreseeable future--it's a notion that these atheists will probably dismiss. Not because they have faith that God doesn't exist--but because they have faith in scientific empiricism as a means to understand the universe.

Again, what you are describing here is more akin to verificationism or, more generally, logical positivism than the empirical method as employed by science. "Scientific Empiricism" isn't really a common phrase or one with a clear meaning, and I think the way you are using it conflates several other notions.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby PeterCai » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:00 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:
I would say that many of the things we value most, that are the most significant parts of our lives, are those than cannot be measured or tested.To say that in regards to the scientific method only certain things matter is a thing apart from saying that only certain things matter full stop. Science's domain may be limited to the empirical, but reality and rational investigation are not.


explain with examples.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:14 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:I would say that many of the things we value most, that are the most significant parts of our lives, are those than cannot be measured or tested.To say that in regards to the scientific method only certain things matter is a thing apart from saying that only certain things matter full stop.
Thank you for repeating what I just said?

One addendum: Some people put greater weight on scientific evidence; their 'faith' lies with the scientific method and falsifiable claims, and both are clear on this point: God is as likely as undetectable unicorn vampires controlling the stock market and just about as falsifiable. That was my point; that an atheist does not necessarily have 'faith' that there is no God, but rather can have faith in the scientific method as a means to understand the universe--as a means of determining what does and does not exist.
krazykomrade wrote:Again, what you are describing here is more akin to verificationism or, more generally, logical positivism than the empirical method as employed by science.
I was under the notion that scientific empiricism was the application of the scientific method. Regardless, I'm describing a perspective wherein one puts their faith for determining the nature of the universe within the scientific method. If that's what logical positivism is, that's what logical positivism is.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Gelsamel » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:13 am UTC

krazykomrade, you seem to suggest that verificationism is "as ridiculous and misguided as anything religion has ever conjured up" presumably because, as you say, "To say that in regards to the scientific method only certain things matter is a thing apart from saying that only certain things matter full stop." however as Hippo points out, that is what he said.

And additionally, from Wikipedia:
Perhaps the view for which the logical positivists are best known is the verifiability criterion of meaning, or verificationism. In one of its earlier and stronger formulations, this is the doctrine that a proposition is "cognitively meaningful" only if there is a finite procedure for conclusively determining whether it is true or false. An intended consequence of this view, for most logical positivists, is that metaphysical, theological, and ethical statements fall short of this criterion, and so are not cognitively meaningful. They distinguished cognitive from other varieties of meaningfulness (e.g. emotive, expressive, figurative), and most authors concede that the non-cognitive statements of the history of philosophy possess some other kind of meaningfulness. The positive characterization of cognitive meaningfulness varies from author to author. It has been described as the property of having a truth value, corresponding to a possible state of affairs, naming a proposition, or being intelligible or understandable in the sense in which scientific statements are intelligible or understandable.
Emphasis mine.

So, even us logical positivists who subscribe to the verifiability criteon of meaning fully understand, admit, and even point out ourselves that there can be meanings of other forms that verificationism says nothing about, because they're not cognitive forms of meaning. The concept of God, heaven, hell, angels, demons, souls and the devil can all have emotional, expressive or figurative meaning. They do not, however, have cognitive meaning.

If you're claiming there are propositions which do not satisfy the verifiability criterion of meaning but are still cognitively meaningful then I'll have to disagree with you there.
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Wodashin
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Wodashin » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

:/

Many atheists believe in string theory, which is a theory based on 'The math works! We throw in 11 dimensions, add in tiny strings that make up the universe, and viola, string theory.' We can't actually prove that, but by your logic it would and should be ridiculed by the atheistic, scientific community. Why would religion be the only subject help to rigor?

Religion is as illogical as any other unprovable theory. If we were to live in an infinite multiverse then anything would be a possibility, except for the things you choose to not be possibilities? If we will have the technology to create sentient virtual universes, and they would as well, and their creations as well, why would we be the base universe?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:11 pm UTC

Wodashin wrote:Religion is as illogical as any other unprovable theory.
Except that not even adding in 11 dimensions can make the math work out. Plus, as this thread has earlier attempted to demonstrate, religion itself is not logically consistent.

The real kicker is that string theory is ... wait for it ... a theory. It's based on mathematics (queue debate regarding whether math is observable) and observable phenomena will shift, change or invalidate the theory. For what it's worth, I don't think many people actually understand string theory well enough to believe in it. It's an interesting set of hypothesis, sure. But comparing it to generic religious faith is ... duplicitous.

So ... no. Religion is not a theory. For about the 10 billionth time.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:51 pm UTC

Wodashin wrote:Many atheists believe in string theory, which is a theory based on 'The math works![...]
Do you see anybody claiming anything other than, "the math works"? The reason string theory is so controversial is precisely because there's no empirical evidence of it.

That aside, mathematical models are the tool used to explain observations, not the observations themselves; people don't go around proclaiming that quantum physics, for example, is the actual universe. Instead, we understand that quantum physics is a set of models that describe a particular aspect of the actual universe.

if I look at my coffee cup and say it's a little more than 3 inches in diameter, and then use a set of calipers and find that it's more precisely 79.34mm, the precision and accuracy of the mathematical model has improved, but that doesn't change anything about the reality of the situation. My "belief" in the model "d = about 3 inches" doesn't hinder me from accepting the fact that it's not necessarily a very good model, or that concepts like "diameter" are purely conceptual.

This post is getting further and further off topic, but its reminding me of that "How Long is a Piece of String" documentary with Alan Davies, which I have yet to watch in its entirety.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:03 pm UTC

Scientific Method does not give absolute answers to anything. I reject that as un-scientific. The Law of Gravity is a good example. It's not an absolute and is basically incorrect when applied in extreme conditions. Relativity is observable and god is not however science continues to evolve. The Law of Gravity was never 100%. Scientific Laws are never intended to be infallible. Science itself is an identification of the most LIKELY explanation, not the factually true explanation. Science is often later disproven by better science. As such, any scientific based extreme viewpoint is utter bullshit to take to the 100.0% extreme. Science doesn't say god can't exist. It says there is no supporting evidence. That's two ENTIRELY different statements. People's understanding of science on here sucks.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:15 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Science doesn't say god can't exist. It says there is no supporting evidence. That's two ENTIRELY different statements. People's understanding of science on here sucks.
Who in this thread has ever made the former statement? You keep going on about absolute statements of proof, and yet nobody is ever saying those things. As I recall, nobody has gotten any more "absolute" than the utter lack of evidence - it's you that seems to conflate the two notions.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:19 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Scientific Method does not give absolute answers to anything. I reject that as un-scientific. The Law of Gravity is a good example. It's not an absolute and is basically incorrect when applied in extreme conditions. Relativity is observable and god is not however science continues to evolve. The Law of Gravity was never 100%. Scientific Laws are never intended to be infallible. Science itself is an identification of the most LIKELY explanation, not the factually true explanation. Science is often later disproven by better science. As such, any scientific based extreme viewpoint is utter bullshit to take to the 100.0% extreme. Science doesn't say god can't exist. It says there is no supporting evidence. That's two ENTIRELY different statements. People's understanding of science on here sucks.

a complete and utter lack of evidence and not existing are scientifically equal states.

a complete and utter lack of evidence and existing are scientifically unequal states.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby infernovia » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:I understand the logic of your position, and it is unassailable. But my question in response is: If it's such a nonsensical statement...why click on this discussion in the forum? There's lots of forums set up around discussing well designed questions.

The understanding here is that in saying that it is a nonsensical question, it is the only logical response that can be said to the question. So me posting that the question is nonsensical is not pointless, but trying to wring a yes or a no out of it is.

Why did I feel like posting it? Well Bean, I don't understand why that is relevant to the discussion. Its not very difficult to understand anyway, I either misunderstood uncivlengr's posts or I felt like clarifying what a nonsensical question means. Like here:

nitePhyrre wrote:Well, no. The answer to "Does God exist?" can only be answered something along the Yes/No spectrum. "Yes, "Probably", "Maybe/I don't know", "Probably, not", or "No". For something to be any higher than 'No', 'Yes' has to be a possibility. If something cannot possibly be true, then it is false.

Why yes, those are responses to a sensible question. However, the question is right now nonsensical, it is unfalsifiable. So just because something isn't true doesn't mean it is false. The answer might be that it is impossible to answer and beyond the scope of the universe (that is, it is irrelevant to humans). Besides, there is no way to prove for certain that it does or doesn't exist, so "something cannot possibly true" doesn't hold. It might possibly be true, it just isn't relevant.

Like Wolfgang Pauli said: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:01 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Scientific Method does not give absolute answers to anything. I reject that as un-scientific. The Law of Gravity is a good example. It's not an absolute and is basically incorrect when applied in extreme conditions. Relativity is observable and god is not however science continues to evolve. The Law of Gravity was never 100%. Scientific Laws are never intended to be infallible. Science itself is an identification of the most LIKELY explanation, not the factually true explanation. Science is often later disproven by better science. As such, any scientific based extreme viewpoint is utter bullshit to take to the 100.0% extreme. Science doesn't say god can't exist. It says there is no supporting evidence. That's two ENTIRELY different statements. People's understanding of science on here sucks.


Well, I guess that depends. Certain definitions of "god" can, in principle, be ruled out by science--namely those where god is purported to interact with the Universe in ways that are testable and/or measurable, or the god itself is testable/measurable. Others can be disproven by logic--those gods who are defined in such a way that is logically impossible. A very generic (say, deist) god cannot be disproven, but there is also (sometimes by definition) no evidence for its existence. And, for existence claims, it is generally acceptable to reject such claims until evidence for such claims can be provided.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby bloatyspizzahog » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:04 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:
Bean_Delphiki wrote:I understand the logic of your position, and it is unassailable. But my question in response is: If it's such a nonsensical statement...why click on this discussion in the forum? There's lots of forums set up around discussing well designed questions.

The understanding here is that in saying that it is a nonsensical question, it is the only logical response that can be said to the question. So me posting that the question is nonsensical is not pointless, but trying to wring a yes or a no out of it is.

Why did I feel like posting it? Well Bean, I don't understand why that is relevant to the discussion. Its not very difficult to understand anyway, I either misunderstood uncivlengr's posts or I felt like clarifying what a nonsensical question means. Like here:

nitePhyrre wrote:Well, no. The answer to "Does God exist?" can only be answered something along the Yes/No spectrum. "Yes, "Probably", "Maybe/I don't know", "Probably, not", or "No". For something to be any higher than 'No', 'Yes' has to be a possibility. If something cannot possibly be true, then it is false.

Why yes, those are responses to a sensible question. However, the question is right now nonsensical, it is unfalsifiable. So just because something isn't true doesn't mean it is false. The answer might be that it is impossible to answer and beyond the scope of the universe (that is, it is irrelevant to humans). Besides, there is no way to prove for certain that it does or doesn't exist, so "something cannot possibly true" doesn't hold. It might possibly be true, it just isn't relevant.

Like Wolfgang Pauli said: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."



Yes, at some point it is a nonsensical question. Since because of the physical properties of God being that he can do anything and nothing and control physics and blah blah blah, then even if we could prove 100% without a shadow of a doubt there is no God then you could still argue well there is still a God cause he's God, be can not exist if he wants to.

I think what it really comes down to is that if there is a God and he has such powers then it wouldn't matter if he existed or not. It would only stand to reason then to go about life as if he just isn't there, since it wouldn't matter one way or another. (not counting of course your specific religious beliefs which can be proved/disproved)
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