Does God Exist?

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infernovia
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby infernovia » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:31 pm UTC

Why thank you for repeating my point exactly. Much obliged.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby bloatyspizzahog » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:00 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."


I think you said it better.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jumble » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

So, I agree that the question cannot be answered with scientific certainty, although there are many on both religious and atheist evangelical wings who would disagree. However it's still a valid debate. In all seriousness it's good that this is being debated and discussed here. I got involved in a similar conversation on this board a year or so back, and as I said at the time those who a sure they have made up their minds (either way), and in whom the fire of certain belief burns white hot, scare the crap out of me. On the other hand (sorry _hope: not trying to give you another kicking) I worry for those who have never found the time or bothered to think about the big questions. 

I'm sitting here in my temperate climate with it's mild, friendly weather patterns, on our planet sitting in the goldilocks zone around a stable main sequence star. The universe around me remains stable, understandable and anthropomorphic. I don't need to worry about obliteration by some far more technically advanced alien from another solar system because, as Fermi pointed out, ET remains notable by his absence. I don't need to look at the circumstantial evidence (love, beauty, etc) to agree with John Polkinghorn - the universe is a put up job and perhaps there is a design behind it? If there's a design, is there a designer?

However, as an astrophysicist I know there are other explanations (multi universe, etc). There is also counter evidence.  Our local vicar groans at the 'so why does He allow all the suffering' question but I've yet to hear a convincing response that explains millennia of pointless suffering, genocide, disease etc. I've watched a child die, slowly, over months. With my heritage and upbringing I can cover a small but significant sample of belief systems, and I can tell you, I used them all to ask for a miracle. When the cancer finally killed him just short of his 4th birthday I sat with the little boys body whilst his parents phoned an undertaker. I certainly didn't notice God knocking around anywhere making any of it any better. Perhaps he was busy that evening? I know he moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, but I can tell you they were fucking mysterious to me that night. (As an aside, not long after that someone told me that when they are late for a meeting they pray for a parking space, and claimed it works. I really disliked them a lot at that moment. Silly, really).

There are also different models that answer these points, just as there was for the counter argument. Maybe God established the rules, set the universe going and now cannot interact with it, just as in Dr Sagan's essay "the world that arrived in the mail". Perhaps he's just not very nice. None of them work for me.

So, the point of this ramble is that I don't know the answer, but I know we should all try to find an answer for ourselves. Even if you never get there (I suspect I won't). I want my children to have access to the arguments and then make up their own minds. But never, ever, belittle, condemn or persecute someone else for the conclusion they reach.

Sorry. I'll shut up now and let someone else have a go.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:16 am UTC

As many have said before me, the question is faulty and needs refinement.

My main reason is that the God described in the Bible is different to Allah in the Koran, and again different to the agnostic. Buddhist don't believe in a God at all, and then there are Hindus (among others) who beleive in gods, plural.

I believe in the God of the bible, a belief I'm happy to discuss, but at this stage the question seems little open and I'm not sure where to begin.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:34 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:I believe in the God of the bible, a belief I'm happy to discuss, but at this stage the question seems little open and I'm not sure where to begin.

The religion thread?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:47 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:I believe in the God of the bible, a belief I'm happy to discuss, but at this stage the question seems little open and I'm not sure where to begin.
The solution is simple - state the nature of the god in which you believe, and state the reasons why you feel that particular god exists, as opposed to all the other different concepts.

I mean, come on, this point has been brought up several times, and yet it doesn't really make any sense. It's like responding to the question, "has a person run the 100m in less than 10 seconds?" with, "well, there are so many different people with different skills, so it's too vague a question to answer."

The correct response is, yes, some people have run 100m in less than 10 seconds: Donovan Bailey, Maurice Green, Usain Bolt, to name a few.

The fact that there's no way to demonstrate whether all the different people in the world could or couldn't run that fast is irrelevent - you only need one particular example to answer the question. If you believe the question can be answered at all, this particular issue isn't really a sticking point.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:40 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:[color=#800080]The religion thread?


The topic there is even more open and conversation tangents wildly; last time i read it they were talking about critiquing movies. I preferred a more directed question to start off with.

uncivlengr wrote:I mean, come on, this point has been brought up several times, and yet it doesn't really make any sense. It's like responding to the question, "has a person run the 100m in less than 10 seconds?" with, "well, there are so many different people with different skills, so it's too vague a question to answer."


if the question were, "Does A God exist?" then yeah, I'd agree totally. At the moment its more like "has THIS person run the 100m...etc" to which one would reply, "Which person are you talking about?" I supposed my point is that God for me defines just one entity as opposed to a blanket term for everything religously/supernaturally miraculous (as defined by OP).

But I digress.

Short answer: yes.

Short reason for short answer: I believe in the God of the bible because its description if consistent with my observations, consistent with itself and also because I beleive the bible has the highest authority.

I will expand on any point that you want me to. I kinda feel I won't be able to fully explain every point in one post anyway..

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:46 pm UTC

I think you're going to have to expand a bit if you want to make any sort of point, but if you're putting forth a book as evidence, I wouldn't bother.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jumble » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:46 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:I believe in the God of the bible, a belief I'm happy to discuss, but at this stage the question seems little open and I'm not sure where to begin.
forgive me if I'm wrong (I'm not a theologian) but don't the abrahamic faiths share a common core and a common basis of their holy book? The three holy books are, I understand, aligned in their early history and differ in their interpretation of later events. The odd one out here appears to be christianity as it's not strictly monotheistic, introducing the concept of the trinity.

So, when you say you believe in 'the bible' which holy book are you talking about, and which human translation? I accept it would be petty to ask if you believe in the God of the king James or Good News translation, but aren't they all, to some extent variations on the theme of 'a (or possibly 3) supreme being?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:43 am UTC

uncivlengr wrote:... but if you're putting forth a book as evidence, I wouldn't bother.


A book about God shouldnt be considered as evidence? What did you have in mind?

Jumble wrote:So, when you say you believe in 'the bible' which holy book are you talking about, and which human translation? I accept it would be petty to ask if you believe in the God of the king James or Good News translation, but aren't they all, to some extent variations on the theme of 'a (or possibly 3) supreme being?


i'm answering this point first cos it helps me answer the other one, but I assume you are talking about the Bible (Christianity), the Qur'an (Islam) and the Tanakh (Jewish). I am referring to the Bible of christianity.

I suppose to some extent they are indeed variations on a theme of a supreme being, but its sorta like saying Twilight, Dracula and Count von Count from Sesame St are all variations on the theme of vampires - yes they have common traits, but they can't all be accurate portrayals of vampires (altho personally Count von Count gets my vote).

On a side note, the bible has various translations because its language is constantly updated to make it easier to read. Every effort is made to ensure the meaning remains the same - that includes using the original Hebrew and Greek translations as a go-to. So my point is, the different 'versions' of the bible are just the bible in different shades of English.

SO. onto...

Jumble wrote:forgive me if I'm wrong (I'm not a theologian) but don't the abrahamic faiths share a common core and a common basis of their holy book? The three holy books are, I understand, aligned in their early history and differ in their interpretation of later events. The odd one out here appears to be christianity as it's not strictly monotheistic, introducing the concept of the trinity.


The common parts of the Qur'an, Bible and Tanakh are the Torah (first five books of the bible), as well as the mentioning of various characters in Jewish history. So it depends what you mean by 'core' and 'basis'. Each script reveals an entirely different 'God', both in attributes as well as how this God relates to the world and to humanity. Sure, there are bits in it that are the same - but I wouldn't go as far as to say that they are similar in their core.

The reason I mention the bible is that as i mentioned earlier, it's a book about God. Many people have their own pre-conceptions and assumptions about who/what/(when?) God is, and when these expectations don't match up to their observations they just think, "Okay, God clearly doesn't exist/doesn't care/doesn't whatever," rather then find out what He reveals to be. It's impossible to come up with conclusions about God from other sources (well-known example, science, although I assume you guys have already visited this area?), although I don't deny that signs and supportive evidence could be found in such places. My point is, a book about God is a good place to look for God.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:35 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:A book about God shouldnt be considered as evidence? What did you have in mind?
Is the Iliad evidence of Apollo's existence?

This isn't about simply describing the nature of the god (the biblical one in your case), we're talking about demonstrating that the god exists. There's nothing in the bible that could possibly demonstrate the existence of god, even if it were consistent as you suggest.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jumble » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:53 am UTC

a_toddler wrote: My point is, a book about God is a good place to look for God.

I think uncivlengr is discussing empirical evidence, whilst you are talking about understanding. These are related but not interchangeable concepts.
a_toddler wrote:
...... but its sorta like saying Twilight, Dracula and Count von Count from Sesame St are all variations on the theme of vampires - yes they have common traits, but they can't all be accurate portrayals of vampires (altho personally Count von Count gets my vote)..

Well played, sir (or madam)! I just love the idea that Twilight is actually a really, really dodgy translation of Dracula from the original Transylvanian. Can we start this rumor?
a_toddler wrote:
Each script reveals an entirely different 'God', both in attributes as well as how this God relates to the world and to humanity. Sure, there are bits in it that are the same - but I wouldn't go as far as to say that they are similar in their core.

That doesn't concur with my understanding, but as I mentioned I'm an astrophysicist, not a theologian and I am now swimming out of my depth here. So I will have to give you this as my theology is not up to responding effectively. I will simply state that I am uncomfortable with the implication that one of the abrahamic faiths is 'right' and the other two are 'wrong'. ( I would love to get my father-in-law involved in this. He's an ordained minister and could debate this for hours, but I can't imagine him getting into the fora at this stage in life. He barely trusts email.) I hereby throw in the towel.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jumble » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:53 am UTC

a_toddler wrote: My point is, a book about God is a good place to look for God.

I think uncivlengr is discussing empirical evidence, whilst you are talking about understanding. These are related but not interchangeable concepts.
a_toddler wrote:
...... but its sorta like saying Twilight, Dracula and Count von Count from Sesame St are all variations on the theme of vampires - yes they have common traits, but they can't all be accurate portrayals of vampires (altho personally Count von Count gets my vote)..

Well played, sir (or madam)! I just love the idea that Twilight is actually a really, really dodgy translation of Dracula from the original Transylvanian. Can we start this rumor?
a_toddler wrote:
Each script reveals an entirely different 'God', both in attributes as well as how this God relates to the world and to humanity. Sure, there are bits in it that are the same - but I wouldn't go as far as to say that they are similar in their core.

That doesn't concur with my understanding, but as I mentioned I'm an astrophysicist, not a theologian and I am now swimming out of my depth here. So I will have to give you this as my theology is not up to responding effectively. I will simply state that I am uncomfortable with the implication that one of the abrahamic faiths is 'right' and the other two are 'wrong'. ( I would love to get my father-in-law involved in this. He's an ordained minister and could debate this for hours, but I can't imagine him getting into the fora at this stage in life. He barely trusts email.) I hereby throw in the towel.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:06 am UTC

Jumble wrote:Can we start this rumor?


Rumor? It's true! The similarities are endless! :P Edward is actually a Transylvanian name meaning "fairy"! *cough*

Meanwhile on topic, technically all 3 aforementioned religions contradict other at some point(s). It is necessary to say (however uncomfortably) that at most one of these religions is "right".

uncivlengr wrote:Is the Iliad evidence of Apollo's existence?


Technically yes - but whether it's claims and implications measure up to your observations will determine its validity as evidence.

There is and never will be scientific data supporting/refuting the existence of God, because science is the pursuit of knowledge and explanation without needing to resort to "God did it."

For example, when Newton observed an apple falling from a tree and wondered, "Why did that happen?" he didn't stop at "God made it happen."

Hence is the reason that I refer to the bible as evidence for God (and also the Iliad as evidence for Apollo). By no means do we end it at that. But we must pit claim (hypothesis) against reality (observation) and come to conclusions based upon that.

On a side note, the bible does refer to itself as "God's word", while to my knowledge the Iliad makes no such claim. Now before everyone starts throwing :evil: circular argument :evil: at me, I would like to point out that any sort of claim of absolute truth is going to be circular and a leap of faith.

For example, if one says, "I use logic as my absolute truth" it is only because it seems logical to do so. Likewise, you cannot prove scientifically that all truth must be scientifically proven before it can be considered true. This is why I search primarily for consistency when I find my answers.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:42 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:Is the Iliad evidence of Apollo's existence?


Technically yes - but whether it's claims and implications measure up to your observations will determine its validity as evidence.
No, you're still talking about a claim which describes of the nature of something as if it were evidence. It's whatever you use to determine its validity (observations, as you point out) that are the evidence for the claim. If it were evidence in itself you wouldn't need to back it up with observations.

a_toddler wrote:On a side note, the bible does refer to itself as "God's word", while to my knowledge the Iliad makes no such claim. Now before everyone starts throwing :evil: circular argument :evil: at me, I would like to point out that any sort of claim of absolute truth is going to be circular and a leap of faith.

For example, if one says, "I use logic as my absolute truth" it is only because it seems logical to do so. Likewise, you cannot prove scientifically that all truth must be scientifically proven before it can be considered true. This is why I search primarily for consistency when I find my answers.
Yes, using the bible as evidence of "god's word" is circular, but no, not everything needs to be circular.

Science (that is, objective observation) is the best means we have of obtaining reliable and consistent information about the world around us... that's not a leap of faith or circular reasoning, because science makes predictions, and predictions can be verified. When you make a claim in science, you need to be able to put forth the way in which it would be proven wrong, and then try to do that... if you can't prove it wrong, then your hypothesis stands.

Conversely, you seem to think that you can equally take any claim, and just look for "consistency", but that means of thinking leads to people thinking that they can read the future in chicken bones or cure diseases with crystals - you end up with a society of superstition, folklore, and old wives' tales which all seem very nice and "consistent" to believers, but aren't actually real when you examine them properly.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Cres » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:21 pm UTC

No (probably):
Reductio:
(1) God exists and is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good (core tenet of most traditional forms of theism).
(2) Gratuitous (i.e. not necessary for some higher order good) evil exists.
(3) An omnipotent being would have the power to eliminate all evil.
(4) An omniscient being would know about all evil.
(5) A wholly good being would eliminate gratuitous evil as far as possible.

Therefore, you must deny either the existence of gratuitous evil or that of an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good God. It seems probable (although it cannot be certain) that gratuitous evil exists - what higher good could e.g. the painful death of a fawn in a forest fire plausibly serve? - so it is improbable that God exists.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:18 am UTC

uncivlengr wrote:Science (that is, objective observation) is the best means we have of obtaining reliable and consistent information about the world around us... that's not a leap of faith or circular reasoning, because science makes predictions, and predictions can be verified.


That's because you haven't reached the stage where the leap of faith features in the scientific method.

uncivlengr wrote:When you make a claim in science, you need to be able to put forth the way in which it would be proven wrong, and then try to do that... if you can't prove it wrong, then your hypothesis stands.


This is semi-correct. Obviously if proven wrong, your hypothesis is proven wrong. However if you are not proven wrong, you are simply correct for that particular trial. The leap of faith in science is its reliability upon a repeatable and consistent universe. Just because it happened once, or twice or a hundred times does not necessarily mean that it will be true the next time you do it. In other words, you cannot say the future will be consistent, simply because in the past the future was consistent.

By the way, this does not in any way mean that I'm somehow against using the scientific method - of course it makes sense and is reliable, etc, etc. My point is that at some point in looking for some sort of absolute truth, there must be a leap somewhere.

Cres wrote:(1) God exists and is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good (core tenet of most traditional forms of theism).


I would add "patient". Which would also mean that:

Cres wrote:No (probably):
Therefore, you must deny either the existence of gratuitous evil or that of an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good God.


I could put forward the notion of "an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good God who is patient with evil" could exist.

Not refuting any of your other 4 points, they are consistent with my view. Although,

Cres wrote:what higher good could e.g. the painful death of a fawn in a forest fire plausibly serve?


I dunno. But just cos you and I can't find a reason doesn't mean there isn't one. After all, if one supposed God is omniscient, then he probably has a reason.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Xeio » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:28 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:
Cres wrote:what higher good could e.g. the painful death of a fawn in a forest fire plausibly serve?
I dunno. But just cos you and I can't find a reason doesn't mean there isn't one. After all, if one supposed God is omniscient, then he probably has a reason.
And thus we can have a "good" god who kills everyone on earth in the most painful way possible and sends them to hell. Because you're defining good as anything god does.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:39 am UTC

Xeio wrote:
a_toddler wrote:
Cres wrote:what higher good could e.g. the painful death of a fawn in a forest fire plausibly serve?
I dunno. But just cos you and I can't find a reason doesn't mean there isn't one. After all, if one supposed God is omniscient, then he probably has a reason.
And thus we can have a "good" god who kills everyone on earth in the most painful way possible and sends them to hell. Because you're defining good as anything god does.


I'm in a make references mood

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:29 am UTC

Xeio wrote:And thus we can have a "good" god who kills everyone on earth in the most painful way possible and sends them to hell. Because you're defining good as anything god does


If God is omniscient and good, the how exactly is that a problem?

mmmcannibalism wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma


A lot of the "reasons against" (the second horn) seem to assume God is a irrational child who is liable to change his mind and needs to be answerable to some higher authority, and who may not exist. As for the rest of them, I'll be honest - I'm not entirely sure what they were trying to say.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:32 am UTC

Spoiler:
a_toddler wrote:
Xeio wrote:And thus we can have a "good" god who kills everyone on earth in the most painful way possible and sends them to hell. Because you're defining good as anything god does


If God is omniscient and good, the how exactly is that a problem?

mmmcannibalism wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma


A lot of the "reasons against" (the second horn) seem to assume God is a irrational child who is liable to change his mind and needs to be answerable to some higher authority, and who may not exist. As for the rest of them, I'll be honest - I'm not entirely sure what they were trying to say.


Even if we assume some god, what makes his view of good and bad correct?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Xeio » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:44 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Even if we assume some god, what makes his view of good and bad correct?
And to add to that, if we assume that there is a god, and that the bible is his word, what makes you think he must have told the truth that he is "good"?
a_toddler wrote:If God is omniscient and good, the how exactly is that a problem?
Circular definitions. X is good because god does it. Which means good doesn't actually mean anything other than "god did it". Which is generally not the connotation we imply when we say "good". So, either good suddenly loses its normal meaning when we refer to god, or we should be using something more accurate like "arbitrary" or perhaps "christian godlike".

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby GenericPseudonym » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:47 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Spoiler:
a_toddler wrote:
Xeio wrote:And thus we can have a "good" god who kills everyone on earth in the most painful way possible and sends them to hell. Because you're defining good as anything god does


If God is omniscient and good, the how exactly is that a problem?

mmmcannibalism wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma


A lot of the "reasons against" (the second horn) seem to assume God is a irrational child who is liable to change his mind and needs to be answerable to some higher authority, and who may not exist. As for the rest of them, I'll be honest - I'm not entirely sure what they were trying to say.


Even if we assume some god, what makes his view of good and bad correct?

Well, seeing as your average religion defines him as omniscient, it'd be rather difficult for him not to be right... Also, a good number of people define good/bad as whatever god says they are, so from the perspective of those folks he'd be good by definition.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:20 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:When you make a claim in science, you need to be able to put forth the way in which it would be proven wrong, and then try to do that... if you can't prove it wrong, then your hypothesis stands.


This is semi-correct. Obviously if proven wrong, your hypothesis is proven wrong. However if you are not proven wrong, you are simply correct for that particular trial. The leap of faith in science is its reliability upon a repeatable and consistent universe. Just because it happened once, or twice or a hundred times does not necessarily mean that it will be true the next time you do it. In other words, you cannot say the future will be consistent, simply because in the past the future was consistent.
That's why science doesn't claim any absolute truths - instead, it puts forths models which describe a particular phenomenon.

Let's go back to my coffee cup example - I need to find a box to put the mug in, and instead of taking the box with me to the basement, I measure the diameter with a tape measure and find that it's about three inches in diameter. I can now look for a box that will be a little larger than this, and therefore know it will fit - my model, which "assumes" that the cup is a perfect cylinder with a uniform diameter, won't change over time, and doesn't use a very precise means of measurement, is nevertheless suitable for my purposes.

That doesn't mean that I blindly take these assumptions to be true - I'm well aware of the fact that the mug won't be perfectly uniform, that it will vary in size depending on things like temperature, and that my measurements are subject to many errors. If I later found out that I needed to machine a lid that created a vaccuum seal around the top edge, for example, then I wouldn't simply trust my original model out of "faith" in the fact that it worked before, because I know that these are new circumstances that didn't apply to the first model.

None of that requires any "leap of faith" on my part - I know the reliability of this model based on the experience that I have had in the past, and there's no reason to believe that the model won't work under the same conditions in the future. You might want to argue that I can't absolutely prove this, but I didn't claim to, and to say that anything less constitutes a "leap of faith" is foolish. What we have in science is a reliable system that works, and that's more than you can say about a system where you assume anything that pops into your head might be true unless you can prove it wrong.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:34 pm UTC

ThePragmatist: You're ejected from the thread.

Hipp: Take a 48 hour break.

Everyone else: Don't add to the feedback cycle.

I've decided to nuke everything after the Santa Claus quip, the tangent into how and why we should debate and, well everything else too. Sometimes the chaff isn't worth sorting through. Please remember what the topic at hand is.

Further posts that do not meet the quality standards expected in this section, nor behavior of posters unwilling to abide by it's rules with be deleted.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:09 am UTC

uncivlengr wrote:None of that requires any "leap of faith" on my part - I know the reliability of this model based on the experience that I have had in the past, and there's no reason to believe that the model won't work under the same conditions in the future.


okay and counter that with

a_toddler wrote:In other words, you cannot say the future will be consistent, simply because in the past the future was consistent.


that essentially is the leap of faith involved in science. Of course it doesn't feel like it, and everyone does it all the time. But my point is that science, following that assumption (or leap of faith), has proven to work consistently. I have been putting forward that to truly "know" anything, one must make a leap of faith regarding how that knowledge is founded.

Imagine for a moment that you took your box measuring 4x4 inches back down to the basement, only to find that the cup doesn't fit! You then discover that a box 5 x 5 inches will house your cup, but a 6 x 6 inch box will not. I think if this happened, your belief in science would be profoundly shaken.

Of course, this scenario is ridiculous. But I was bringing out the point that it's faith upon the assumption of repeatability that science works, and it's not like I could find an example irl where science DIDN'T work.

Now to stop Az bringing down the ban-hammer, I'm going to relate this back to the topic at hand.

Does God exist? If I assume that God wrote the Bible, and that whatever is within it is true, then yes. If I were to experience something that would be inconsistent with what the bible says (for example....let's say God appeared to everyone in a dream and said, "Okay, I've decided that Jesus wasn't necessary - I've gone ahead and abolished the concept of 'sin'.") then this belief in God would be profoundly shaken.


PS. Was away for a day, and was mildly taken aback that a huge chunk of convo was missing, hence the late reply.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby 44 stone lions » Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:00 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:
Does God exist? If I assume that God wrote the Bible, and that whatever is within it is true, then yes.


But God didn't write the bible, it was written by prophets (old testament) and apostles (new testament).

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby sje46 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:15 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:
Xeio wrote:And thus we can have a "good" god who kills everyone on earth in the most painful way possible and sends them to hell. Because you're defining good as anything god does


If God is omniscient and good, the how exactly is that a problem?
It makes the concept of morality meaningless. If you define good as anything God considers good, that's only like, his opinion, man. And sure I may burn in hell for all eternity for disagreeing with him, but so what? Maybe the bible isn't true, but God does exist. And God tells me that "Hey, the bible was a lie. You were actually supposed to cause as much pain and suffering as possible. Those who have caused sufficient suffering go to Heaven, those who haven't, Hell". Why should I listen to him?

Sure he may be omniscient, but I don't see what this has to do with anything, unless you've solved the is-ought fallacy. Unless you can somehow prove that morality is anything more than rules that we created for ourselves, I don't see why I should take God's interpretation of the rules for it. His basis of morality may be suffering, and all his omniscience will do is tell him which were the best ways to make people suffer. And me...my basis will be in preventing suffering, and no amount of logic will make me adopt God's definition of "good". So why should I?

If a crazy man pointed a gun to our heads and told us that he won't shoot us if if we did the good thing and torture kittens, I may comply because I don't want to be shot, but that doesn't mean that I agree with his definition of good.
a_toddler wrote:Does God exist? If I assume that God wrote the Bible, and that whatever is within it is true, then yes. If I were to experience something that would be inconsistent with what the bible says (for example....let's say God appeared to everyone in a dream and said, "Okay, I've decided that Jesus wasn't necessary - I've gone ahead and abolished the concept of 'sin'.") then this belief in God would be profoundly shaken.

Yes, of course if we accept the Bible is true, then God would have to be true. The problem is that there's no rational belief to believe in the Bible over any other book. Your argument that the Bible calls itself the Word of God is irrelevant...I could easily write a book which declares itself the Word of God, but that doesn't mean it's true.

Many things contradict the Bible. The Bible contradicts itself. But to give an example...evolution.

But why do you require someone else to disprove the Bible instead of yourself requiring proof to believe in God?
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a_toddler wrote:
Does God exist? If I assume that God wrote the Bible, and that whatever is within it is true, then yes.


But God didn't write the bible, it was written by prophets (old testament) and apostles (new testament).

You're taking his argument too literally. He's not talking about God sitting down with a quill pen and parchment and physically writing it. He's talking about God writing it through the prophets. I think you knew that, too.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:30 am UTC

sje46 wrote:If you define good as anything God considers good, that's only like, his opinion, man.


That's true. Although the opinion of the almighty creator of the universe probably carries some weight.

sje46 wrote:And sure I may burn in hell for all eternity for disagreeing with him, but so what?


Ask any Christian. Technically we all deserve to burn in hell. But we are here to discuss God's existance, not his plan on redeeming humanity, so I'll leave it at that.

sje46 wrote:Maybe the bible isn't true, but God does exist.


Maybe. But I believe that the bible IS true, and that God does exist. Because this regarding God:

sje46 wrote:And God tells me that "Hey, the bible was a lie. You were actually supposed to cause as much pain and suffering as possible. Those who have caused sufficient suffering go to Heaven, those who haven't, Hell"


I don't believe in either. So yay? Going to tackle your second point first because it would make more sense to.

sje46 wrote:The problem is that there's no rational belief to believe in the Bible over any other book.


This is an issue I touched on earlier. Anything that claims to be of the absolute authority must come from a leap of faith. Your statement here makes rationality/logic the absolute authority, so technically yes - there is no rational belief to choose the Bible over any other book, unless of course you have perused all books known to mankind and weighed each one. But if this is the case, why believe the bible at all? Couldn't we rationally come up with the reason for God? (The answer I believe btw, is no)

But as I mentioned earlier, why not put logic as the ultimate authority? Because it seems logical to do so? I know this makes me sound like I'm against logic :( (clearly I'm not, if I'm using my logic to argue my point, but it has to be said).

So basically your other point about; hypothetically, if God is inconcistent with the bible, why should I believe in God's goodness? The answer is "I don't see a reason to. If that hypothetical holds true."

sje46 wrote:The Bible contradicts itself. But to give an example...evolution.


Explain how. I'm going to assume you're going to attempt the second one. I'm also going to assume you mean macro-evolution, which is the more out-there theory which is yet to be completely verified?

EDIT: Wow, I sorta got distracted halfway through typing this, so if it's all over the place I apologise...

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jimmigee » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:45 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:that essentially is the leap of faith involved in science. Of course it doesn't feel like it, and everyone does it all the time. But my point is that science, following that assumption (or leap of faith), has proven to work consistently. I have been putting forward that to truly "know" anything, one must make a leap of faith regarding how that knowledge is founded.


I think you're really stretching the phrase "leap of faith" here. If I do the same thing a hundred times with the same result, it is not a leap of faith to expect it to happen again the next time. A "leap of faith" implies accepting something without evidence to back it up. There are some assumptions required to use science but they are not "leaps of faith".

a_toddler wrote:Does God exist? If I assume that God wrote the Bible, and that whatever is within it is true, then yes. If I were to experience something that would be inconsistent with what the bible says (for example....let's say God appeared to everyone in a dream and said, "Okay, I've decided that Jesus wasn't necessary - I've gone ahead and abolished the concept of 'sin'.") then this belief in God would be profoundly shaken.


So much here that I don't get:

"Does God exist? If I assume that God..." - Assumption that god exists right here!

"let's say God appeared to everyone... then this belief in God would be profoundly shaken" - The apearence of a god would shake your belief in it's existance?! It might shake your belief that it's the same god you thought it was, but hopefully not the belief in it's existence.

And finally "If I were to experience something that would be inconsistent with what the bible says" - Are you really telling me you believe the Bible to be entirely consistent with the world? sje46 doesn't need to pick a theory of evolution to contradict Genesis. If you don't mean that the bible is litterally true, then how inconsistent is enough for you?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:Does God exist? If I assume that God wrote the Bible, and that whatever is within it is true, then yes.

That's the worst circular argument I think I've ever seen.

Does the Easter Bunny exist? If I assume that the baskets the Easter Bunny brings to children are brought by the Easter Bunny...

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:28 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
sje46 wrote:If you define good as anything God considers good, that's only like, his opinion, man.


That's true. Although the opinion of the almighty creator of the universe probably carries some weight.

you're right, my opinion does carry some weight.....oh, wait, you probably don't believe that i'm god.

ok, well, what about that david koresh guy, he got a bunch of people to believe he was jesus, i bet that counts for something right?

how about that guy on the corner wearing 25 camo jackets and smells like crap. he was pretty adamant that he was god.

or, L. Ron Hubbard. that' guy has his people convinced that he was a spy for the US military and was wounded in battle (caused him to be blinded and paralyzed, but he cured himself because he's jesus). of course, there are ABSOLUTELY no records what so ever supporting this other than the ones "his" experts have (that are RIDICULOUSLY inconsistent).

or are these not the "real" god? hmmm....do you prefer the Norse one(s)? oooh i bet you'd like the mythraic one. Which god is the real god? who's opinion do you take as to the answer to that question? what about those people who believe in the wrong god? what happens to them?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Cres » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:47 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
Cres wrote:what higher good could e.g. the painful death of a fawn in a forest fire plausibly serve?


I dunno. But just cos you and I can't find a reason doesn't mean there isn't one. After all, if one supposed God is omniscient, then he probably has a reason.


Of course, if God exists, you're absolutely right: there must be a reason, as the argument shows. But the question is not "God exists, so does God exist?" but just "Does God exist?".

As I said in my original post, we can't rule out the possibility that the death of a fawn in a forest fire, or the Holocaust, or any other example of evil we might choose, is logically necessary for the existence of some other good in the same way that, for example, the evil of danger might be logically necessary for the existence of the good of bravery.

But given our observation of some evil X, we have no more reason to think that X is logically linked to a higher order good than we do to think that it is linked to a higher order evil. Without adding extra considerations, the 'expected goodness value', if you want to put it that way, of the observed evil and its linked higher order goods and evils is just the value of the observed good or evil. This is why I posed the evidential, rather than logical (i.e. 'disproof') version of the problem of evil.

The only way to answer the evidential problem of evil is to present a theodicy, that is, an argument which gives us reason to think that there is such a reason. The 'free will defence' is a prominent example. This is difficult to do (this is why the PoE represents the greatest threat to natural theology in the minds of most theist philosopers) but if you've got one you wan't to put forward, that would be interesting to talk about.

So as I see it there are three options:
1. provide a theodicy and/or provide logical or evidential arguments (cosmological, ontological, teleological, moral are going to be chief among the candidates here) for God's existence which outweight the negative evidence of the apparent existence of pointless evil;
2. abandon natural theology and take up a fideistic stance which sees no need to justify faith through reason;
3. abandon theism.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:19 pm UTC

Poe's Law, anyone?

a_toddler wrote:that essentially is the leap of faith involved in science. Of course it doesn't feel like it, and everyone does it all the time. But my point is that science, following that assumption (or leap of faith), has proven to work consistently. I have been putting forward that to truly "know" anything, one must make a leap of faith regarding how that knowledge is founded.
You're trying to set this up so faith in something of which there is absolutely no evidence is equivalent to any belief in anything, no matter how firmly grounded.

I can't even imagine how we should begin to have any conversation about anything if you're just going to assert that since nothing can be proven with absolute certainty that therefore any and all beliefs are equally justified. You claim to recognize the validity of scientific and logical examination of the world, but you can't possibly given the arguments you're putting forth.

a_toddler wrote:Imagine for a moment that you took your box measuring 4x4 inches back down to the basement, only to find that the cup doesn't fit! You then discover that a box 5 x 5 inches will house your cup, but a 6 x 6 inch box will not. I think if this happened, your belief in science would be profoundly shaken.
Imagine for a moment that god doesn't exist, and now imagine that he exists, and he lives in your right elbow! Now imagine Jesus is your mailman, and Muhammed is your sister!

Imagining things completely contrary to reality doesn't somehow disprove reality, or make our actual observations less valid... perplexingly, you seem to understand this as well:
it's not like I could find an example irl where science DIDN'T work.
Exactly, so what is the point of all this silliness? On the other hand, we have uncountable examples of people believing things that simply aren't true without substantial proof, just because they took it for granted from the start and didn't see any need to question it. Again, this is what leads to a world filled with superstition, old wives tales, and folklore.

a_toddler wrote:Does God exist? If I assume that God wrote the Bible, and that whatever is within it is true, then yes. If I were to experience something that would be inconsistent with what the bible says (for example....let's say God appeared to everyone in a dream and said, "Okay, I've decided that Jesus wasn't necessary - I've gone ahead and abolished the concept of 'sin'.") then this belief in God would be profoundly shaken.
Putting aside the absurdity of an argument for the existence of god starting with the assumption that god exists and writes books, believing something until you prove it wrong is precisely the wrong way to view things, and completely contrary to science. If I told you that I can fly, would you believe me simply because you can't prove me wrong? What makes religious claims in a book any more credible?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby sje46 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
sje46 wrote:If you define good as anything God considers good, that's only like, his opinion, man.


That's true. Although the opinion of the almighty creator of the universe probably carries some weight.
I fail to see why, though. Have you heard of the is-ought problem? That's basically the idea that no one has satisfactorily extracted the simplest, most common sense moral rule from hard facts about the universe.
sje46 wrote:And sure I may burn in hell for all eternity for disagreeing with him, but so what?


Ask any Christian. Technically we all deserve to burn in hell. But we are here to discuss God's existance, not his plan on redeeming humanity, so I'll leave it at that.
The point of my question was basically that I fail to see why I should listen to God's opinion about morality at all, and the only way he has to convince me is by threatening eternal damnation if I don't. Just because there's a negative consequence for not believing X doesn't make X any more right. So why should God be listened to?
sje46 wrote:Maybe the bible isn't true, but God does exist.


Maybe. But I believe that the bible IS true, and that God does exist. Because this regarding God:

sje46 wrote:And God tells me that "Hey, the bible was a lie. You were actually supposed to cause as much pain and suffering as possible. Those who have caused sufficient suffering go to Heaven, those who haven't, Hell"


I don't believe in either. So yay? Going to tackle your second point first because it would make more sense to.

It's a hypothetical situation. You can't just say "Well I don't believe in that" to get out of a hypothetical question. So I'll ask you again: if God exists, but the Bible is false, and God told you at the pearly gates that the correct morality is to cause as much suffering as possible, would you accept that as the correct morality?
sje46 wrote:The problem is that there's no rational belief to believe in the Bible over any other book.


This is an issue I touched on earlier. Anything that claims to be of the absolute authority must come from a leap of faith. Your statement here makes rationality/logic the absolute authority, so technically yes - there is no rational belief to choose the Bible over any other book, unless of course you have perused all books known to mankind and weighed each one. But if this is the case, why believe the bible at all? Couldn't we rationally come up with the reason for God? (The answer I believe btw, is no)

But as I mentioned earlier, why not put logic as the ultimate authority? Because it seems logical to do so? I know this makes me sound like I'm against logic :( (clearly I'm not, if I'm using my logic to argue my point, but it has to be said).
I'm failing to see the point here. Logic should be the ultimate authority.
So basically your other point about; hypothetically, if God is inconcistent with the bible, why should I believe in God's goodness? The answer is "I don't see a reason to. If that hypothetical holds true."

sje46 wrote:The Bible contradicts itself. But to give an example...evolution.


Explain how. I'm going to assume you're going to attempt the second one. I'm also going to assume you mean macro-evolution, which is the more out-there theory which is yet to be completely verified?
So...judging from this, you don't think there are any contradictions in the Bible at all. So all these scientists saying "macroevolution is true"...are all of them just fuckin' liars?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby 44 stone lions » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:08 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:that essentially is the leap of faith involved in science. Of course it doesn't feel like it, and everyone does it all the time. But my point is that science, following that assumption (or leap of faith), has proven to work consistently. I have been putting forward that to truly "know" anything, one must make a leap of faith regarding how that knowledge is founded.


The "leap of faith" you describe is not a leap of faith at all. You are right in saying it is an assumption, but it is not a leap of faith. Let me give you an example:

Say someone was trying to invent something, for example a lightbulb.

That person is must find a material that can be used for the filament, as well as finding the correct size to make that filament to give the best result.

What that person would do is, using their knowledge and some research, find what they thought to be the best material for the filament. Then they would make a prototype and test it to see if it works. If it does YAY! If it doesn't then it is back to the drawing board for them. And so the process continues.

At no point is a "leap of faith" involved.

"Faith" is believing something without proof. At no point in the example did this happen. What was made was an educated guess that was then rigorously tested, at no point before the testing proved that the prototype worked did the inventor believe it worked. He may have thought it would work, or hoped it would work, or had a hunch that it would work but he wouldn't believe that it worked until he had 100% proof. And since his believe is based upon evidence it is not faith.

An example of a leap of faith in the context of the above story would have been skipping the testing phase and putting the prototype into full production without knowing if it worked or not but "believing" that it would, you tell me which you think to be the wiser course of action.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:15 pm UTC

44 stone lions wrote:"Faith" is believing something without proof. At no point in the example did this happen. What was made was an educated guess that was then rigorously tested, at not point before the testing proofed the prototype work did the inventor believe it worked. He may have thought it would work, or hoped it would work, or had a hunch that it would work but he wouldn't believe that it worked until he had 100% proof. And since his believe is based upon evidence it is not faith.
a_toddlers' argument is essentially that you can't "absolutely" prove that the material you tested wouldn't cease to exist tomorrow, or turn into a bowl of grapes, so I'd be perfectly justified in believing either of those things, or anything else I could come up with.

It's back to this notion that even though there's no reason to believe it's true, if you can imagine something you can't disprove, that's as valid a belief as anything else. It's pretty easily demonstrated how this means of thinking is flawed, so it's puzzling to me how firmly people cling to it.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mapar » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:17 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:

Explain how. I'm going to assume you're going to attempt the second one. I'm also going to assume you mean macro-evolution, which is the more out-there theory which is yet to be completely verified?
So...judging from this, you don't think there are any contradictions in the Bible at all. So all these scientists saying "macroevolution is true"...are all of them just fuckin' liars?



Ooh, I love this one. The fake micro/macro distinction strawman. I'll keep my post short, since this thread is not about evolution (which is a fact better supported than Newtonian gravity), but here goes.

Macroevolution is essentially microevolution+lots of time. There is no "magic boundary" that somehow stops mutations from occurring after a while. So after some time, surviving "mutants" (selected for in a population) cannot interbreed with "mutants" from another population of the same initial species. We call this speciation, and it has been observed in dog breeding etc. Then the process continues.
We're talking about small genetic mutations over long periods of time.

(and I also feel the obligation to say that "goddidit" is pure crap as an explanation. This has been pointed out multiple times. It doesn't explain anything. Evolutionary theory does, it makes falsifiable predictions, none of which have failed the test so far.)
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Mahou » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:19 pm UTC

Toddler, you've provided me with something interesting. A new a new reason for belief! If I'm correct, and please correct me if I'm not, your stance is that yes, of course believing in god requires a leap of faith, but so does everything else. Science and logic also require leaps of faith, so a belief in god is no less credible than anything else.

However, the flaw here is that simply because there are multiple options doesn't mean both are equally likely. I defer to uncivlengr, who has already made the point that science's "leaps of faith" aren't unfounded at all. It's important to note that science never claims absolute certainty. A good example of this is the "theory" of evolution. The term theory here is very different from how the layman might think of it. A theory in science is something that has been demonstrated practically beyond doubt. Theory is the highest aspiration of any lowly hypothesis. This is the same as the theory of gravity, which no one seems to have a problem believing in.

So because we don't claim that things will remain consistent in the future, instead saying that because of past experience this prediction seems most likely to happen, your point about our "leaps of faith" is moot.

With this in mind, the evidence for your god, which requires tremendous leaps of faith, is of such an unbelievably low quality that it not only requires leaps of faith, but also suspension of logic in matters concerning god. Because of this, it seems to me to be illogical to believe in a deity until some more substantial evidence than ancient texts and hearsay is presented.

EDIT: Also, for the evolution thing, saying there can be microevolution but not macroevolution is like saying that snow can fall, but there's no way it can add up to something like a drift.

There's also the confusion with species, which is one of the more ill-defined terms in science due to so much gray area, and the creationists favorite word "kinds." I don't want to put words in your mouth though, since you never actually spoke out against evolution, so I'll not go into that.
Last edited by Mahou on Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:32 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Azrael
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

Mahou wrote:This is the same as the theory of gravity, which no one seems to have a problem believing in.

Not to needlessly complicate things, but gravity really isn't a theory. It's a natural phenomena and a fundamental interaction. People believe it on the micro scale (Earth) because it's a tested and repeatable fact.

Only when you go macro, and start explaining it with general relativity do you get to theory. And I'd suggest that most people do not understand the idea of general relativity, never mind believe it is true.


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