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Harry Kewell
A challenge
Molimo
The default state for any concept is "not existing."

There is no proof that God exists.

Therefore, God does not exist.

-------

This logic is good enough to disprove invisible flying unicorns and it's good enough to disprove God.
Harry Kewell
Incorrect.
libvertaruan
Go on?
Molimo
QUOTE(Harry Kewell @ Jul 25 2005, 02:27 AM)


If you're going to debate or something, now would be a good time to start. If not, please tell me so I can stop wasting my time.
libvertaruan
If there no proof for or against the existence of God, does that not mean that the burden of proof is on both sides? Lack of proof does not mean evidence against, or else that constant in Einstein's theory of Relativity would have been kicked out once we discovered that the universe is not static. However, it is still generally made to equal zero.
zaragosa
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 25 2005, 10:30 AM)
Lack of proof does not mean evidence against


Well, empirically, it does. You can't prove the non-existance of things (except absolutes, which God may well be), so unless you can prove they exist, you assume they don't. Or are you undecided about the invisible baby elephant in your bedroom?
It's just another form of Occam's Razor: Don't assume more things exist than are necessary to explain the world.
JLord
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 25 2005, 02:30 AM)
Lack of proof does not mean evidence against,



That is only true if there is some evidence in both directions. When there is no reason to believe in something, it would be ridiculous to require evidence in order to disprove that belief. Otherwise you could just make up anything you want.

If this is truly the way you think, then you must be equally unsure about unicorns, pink elephants, bigfoot, etc.
Llywelyn
Did neutrons exist in the 11th century?

Yes.

Was there any way for them to know it?

No.

Llywelyn
QUOTE(JLord @ Jul 25 2005, 10:00 AM)
That is only true if there is some evidence in both directions.  When there is no reason to believe in something, it would be ridiculous to require evidence in order to disprove that belief.  Otherwise you could just make up anything you want.

If this is truly the way you think, then you must be equally unsure about unicorns, pink elephants, bigfoot, etc.



Bigfoot I will assign a low probability to--I do not actively disbelieve in it.

Pink elephants I assign a very low probability to in the wild, but given the range and nature of genetics I don't see why one couldn't exist. After all, there are white alligators that are not albinos.

Physical unicorns? Same boat. If you tell me that you've seen one running around your neighborhood I won't say "no you haven't" instead I will say "can you show me any evidence." If you can't, I still won't actively disbelieve in it--I simply won't accept your evidence as such.

For these I do not actively disbelieve in them and won't argue against their existence. Instead I will deal with the evidence presented---for and against--on a case-by-case basis. It is the difference between being agnostic and being an atheist--the former says "I see no evidence" the latter says "they cannot exist."
Molimo
QUOTE(Llywelyn @ Jul 25 2005, 01:45 PM)
Did neutrons exist in the 11th century?

Yes.

Was there any way for them to know it?

No.



Therefore people in the 11th century didn't believe in neutrons and that's why I don't believe in God.

As soon as the people in the 11th century learned about modern science and experiments that prove the existence of neutrons they started to believe in neutrons, and as soon as I learn about FUTURE science and experiments that prove the existence of God I will start to believe in God.

QUOTE(Llywelyn @ Jul 25 2005, 01:51 PM)
Bigfoot I will assign a low probability to--I do not actively disbelieve in it.

Pink elephants I assign a very low probability to in the wild, but given the range and nature of genetics I don't see why one couldn't exist.  After all, there are white alligators that are not albinos.

Physical unicorns? Same boat.  If you tell me that you've seen one running around your neighborhood I won't say "no you haven't" instead I will say "can you show me any evidence."  If you can't, I still won't actively disbelieve in it--I simply won't accept your evidence as such.

For these I do not actively disbelieve in them and won't argue against their existence. Instead I will deal with the evidence presented---for and against--on a case-by-case basis.  It is the difference between being agnostic and being an atheist--the former says "I see no evidence" the latter says "they cannot exist."



It's all about your definitions. Only "strong" atheists say "God cannot exist" and they are few and far between. The vast majority of atheists are "weak" atheists and they hold the position you ascribe to agnostics: that there is no evidenced for God's existence.

About the "burden of proof:" It rests on the people who are making the positive assertion, that God exists. Only once they have provided evidence for their assertion is it up to the atheists to provide counter-evidence or a refutation.
JLord
I'm sure there are people who think they have proven that God doesn't exist. I take a position of scepticism towards claims. If all you have is a claim with no evidence it is reasonable to not believe the claim. Of course I don't take that to mean that the claim cannot possibly be true. So if someone said they have seen unicorns, I would assume they were mistaken until I saw some evidence. Same goes with God. I don't believe he exists, but I don't actively disbelieve. My default position however, remains to assume non-existence until given some reason to think otherwise. I don't know what this makes me, athiest, agnostic, etc. but I think a lot of people share this belief.
zaragosa
QUOTE(Llywelyn @ Jul 25 2005, 08:51 PM)
For these I do not actively disbelieve in them and won't argue against their existence.


What about the invisible elephant in your room?
Mind you, it's not just invisible, but intangible, inaudible and odourless as well. In fact, if you were to try and find out if it exists, you would find no proof of that whatsoever. And yet, I assert that it exists to you.


Molimo,

For many definitions of God (basically those that say it is humanly impossible to understand God, or that God is in some way beyond the Universe or omnipotent), I consider myself a strong atheist.
Telum
http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Dragon.htm
Sephiroth
Answer me this: Are Christians and Pagans stubid for having a believe in a higher power? All of this talk seems to point to yes. Anyway, I'm just sticking to this believe because of the power it brings to me and the assurance that I won't be ostracized for having this belief.
Llywelyn
QUOTE(zaragosa @ Jul 25 2005, 01:19 PM)
What about the invisible elephant in your room?
Mind you, it's not just invisible, but intangible, inaudible and odourless as well. In fact, if you were to try and find out if it exists, you would find no proof of that whatsoever. And yet, I assert that it exists to you.




You can feel free to assert it, I do not actively disbelieve it. Since you seem to lack any evidence or experience with it beyond your assertion (you haven't claimed to meet it, you are just asserting its existence), let me postulate that you are simply making it up as you go along.

Ever seen the Stargate SG1 episode when the creatures that exist just out of phase with our reality can be seen? For all I know that could be true and there really could be an invisible, intangible, soundless elephant in my room.

That doesn't mean I believe it, I may invest a very low degree of belief in it, but I do not actively disbelieve it and I will let you assert its existence all day long.


QUOTE
Therefore people in the 11th century didn't believe in neutrons and that's why I don't believe in God.


People in the 11th century would have been wrong. Their lack of justification aside, they would have been fundamentally incorrect about the universe.

You can not believe in a Deity all you like, that is your choice, I do because of personal experience with Deity. I don't expect you to accept that experience or to believe in a Deity because of it, but then, but I will get mildly annoyed if the sole thing that I hear is that "it can't be true, G-d doesn't exist!" with nothing further.


Molimo
QUOTE(Llywelyn @ Jul 25 2005, 08:47 PM)
People in the 11th century would have been wrong.  Their lack of justification aside, they would have been fundamentally incorrect about the universe.


In an alternate reality, they were right and neutrons didn't exist (let's ignore the massive physics problems this would create, since neutrons have a very different role in maintaining our atoms than God does).

Guess what? Our own universe and that alternate reality are indistinguishable. In both of them there are no signs of neutrons. It was the logical thing not to believe in neutrons, since there was no way of knowing that neutrons should be believed in.

Back in the 11th century, they didn't believe in tiny pink unicorsn that push things down and make gravity, and it turns out that they were right about that.

QUOTE
You can not believe in a Deity all you like, that is your choice, I do because of personal experience with Deity.  I don't expect you to accept that experience or to believe in a Deity because of it, but then, but I will get mildly annoyed if the sole thing that I hear is that "it can't be true, G-d doesn't exist!"  with nothing further.



Of course, but I'm not saying that. I'm saying "It's not true, and I'm going to keep believinng that until I find some evidence to the contrary."
Llywelyn
QUOTE(Molimo @ Jul 25 2005, 09:09 PM)
In an alternate reality, they were right and neutrons didn't exist (let's ignore the massive physics problems this would create, since neutrons have a very different role in maintaining our atoms than God does).

Guess what? Our own universe and that alternate reality are indistinguishable. In both of them there are no signs of neutrons. It was the logical thing not to believe in neutrons, since there was no way of knowing that neutrons should be believed in.

Back in the 11th century, they didn't believe in tiny pink unicorsn that push things down and make gravity, and it turns out that they were right about that.


Sure, but that is why it is illogical to actively disbelieve in the absence of direct evidence.

Don't believe things if you like--put very low weight in them. Approach them with skepticism if you like. But to actively disbelieve something without evidence takes as much faith as to actively believe it.

QUOTE
Of course, but I'm not saying that. I'm saying "It's not true, and I'm going to keep believinng that until I find some evidence to the contrary."




Hard to find evidence if you aren't willing to look for it and dismiss the possibility of it out of hand. It does not inspire confidence in your ability to objectively weigh that evidence.
Benevolent
For the purposes of this thread, I will be arguing the athiest position; and will be following, primarily, Paul Draper's formulation of the Evidential Argument from Evil. Before I begin, a few notes -

We might also call this problem `The Problem of Suffering,` as much of the argument rests on observations regarding pain and pleasure; and further, that by 'evil' there are two distinct kinds. The first, Moral Evil, is an act of evil caused by an agent; the second, Natural Evil, is that which is present in the world as a result of things such as disasters, diesease, and natural processes. Accidents would fall under here as well.

By God I mean the God of classical theism, who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent; and that, for the sake of rational discussion, by Omnipotence I meant the Thomistic conception, whereby God can do anything possible in the broadly logical sense.

As a final assumption: this argument requires the assumption of pleasure as intrinsically good, and pain as intrinsically bad.

-----------------

Having said all of that, the case to be made against the existence of God is to be made from our observations of pain and pleasure, and in its relation to its role of biological usefullness. As a result, following Draper, we will divide our observations into three groups:

O1: moral agents experiencing pain or pleasure we know to be biologically useful
O2: sentient beings that are not moral agents experiencing pain or pleasure that we know to be biologically useful
O3: sentient beings experiencing pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful

Let's consider a case of O1 - pain to warn of danger, an unpleasant sensation if there ever was one. This has, clearly, a usefull purpose, in some cases. For example, I reach my hand out to a hot plate, and draw it back in pain. But surely, God could have come up with a far more efficient means of altering us to damage than something as unpleasant as pain.

God could, without contradiction, have made it such that we are instantly aware, for example, of a broken arm without intense pain. Or that I touch a hot plate, my brain says, "Hmm, that's warm," without a painfull experience.

On the other hand, this is exactly what we would expect if O1 arose out of naturalism (for that matter, much of the biologically usefull pain and pleasure of O2 follows a similar path). We might need some non-natural mechanism for detecting pain, which it is clearly within God's power to create, but not in the power of natural processes to create; and also that, while pain and pleasure are biologically usefull to alarm our system to danger, these usually develop to the point of being "good enough," and in certain conditions can render a person unable to even act on correcting the danger that their system is alerted to.

To be fair, God may have reasons regarding empathy for moral agents who experience pain and pleasure. For instance, if I see a child burn himself, and recoil in pain, this provides for me the ability to act as a moral agent. At best, then, O1 is just as likely on theism as naturalism.

----------------

Now we move on to O2 - observations of sentient beings who are NOT moral agents, but of biologically usefull pain and pleasure.

A dog is running across the fields, and bites at a wasp. The wasp replies by stinging the dog, and the dog yelps in pain. Now, there is much the same biological usefullness as mentioned above. But there is another wrinkle: why should a sentient being who is not a moral agent be subjected to this, particularly when large numbers of these non-moral agents will never come into contact with a moral agent?

We don't just need to consider dogs; a bird living in a rainforest will suffice. Or a wolf or a deer in the forest. The moral argument must be set aside, as it allows no moral agent the opportunity to act as a moral agent; and, while it is biologically usefull, the exact same objections as above again apply: surely God could have created a better means to use?

Once again, a minimum, the two probabilities are, at best, equally likeley.

It is in number three that the case is to be made.

------------------------------

O3 is the most difficult set of all to explain. Some of it might be pain or pleasure which is biologically gratuitous; some we just don't know about. The experience of prolonged and intense pain which is gratuitous, or more than necessary to alert us to say an organ not functioning properly, is far more likely on naturalism than theism.

Even if God set out to use naturalistic processes, God would want to minimise pain (suffering being intrisically bad). So while we might have O1 and O2 on theism, we would not expect to have O3; however, naturalism is not perfect. Naturalistic evolutionary processes would not expect us to lack O3, and might even predict it to some extent.

-------------------------------

Conclusion: By Bayes' Theorum, then, the probability that God does not exist is higher on Naturalism than Theism.
Molimo
QUOTE(Llywelyn @ Jul 25 2005, 11:53 PM)
Sure, but that is why it is illogical to actively disbelieve in the absence of direct evidence.


What do you mean by "active disbelief?"

QUOTE
Hard to find evidence if you aren't willing to look for it and dismiss the possibility of it out of hand.  It does not inspire confidence in your ability to objectively weigh that evidence.



I was looking for evidence for many years of my life. I didn't find any. How long do I have to be actively trying to find evidence of God's existence before I can say, "there isn't any out there to be found?"
zaragosa
QUOTE(Molimo @ Jul 26 2005, 04:52 PM)
What do you mean by "active disbelief?"


Strong atheism. Weak atheism is the mere lack of belief in a God, but a strong atheist actively believes God does not exist. I also believe there is, in fact, no invisible, intangible elephant* in my bedroom. For common definitions of invisible, intangible elephant.
Molimo
QUOTE(zaragosa @ Jul 26 2005, 06:45 PM)
Strong atheism. Weak atheism is the mere lack of belief in a God, but a strong atheist actively believes God does not exist.



Ah, ok. I see we have to be careful how we word things around here.

I do not believe in God but I do not actively disbelieve either. I'm still an atheist, but not a strong atheist, and won't be becoming a strong atheist until I get a better grasp of the difference between 'not believing' and 'actively disbelieving' something wink.gif
libvertaruan
Adam: Why do you say suffering is intrinsically evil? At the very least it is a learning experience.

Molimo:

QUOTE
I was looking for evidence for many years of my life. I didn't find any.


Pfffff, many years of your life. LOL!
Stimulant
Lib, did you bother reading the entire post?
Molimo
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 26 2005, 08:25 PM)
Molimo:
Pfffff, many years of your life.  LOL!



It's hard to mark the point where I stopped believing blindly in God because my mother told me too and where I started wondering "hey, why do I believe this stuff anyway?" So yeah, "many" is about as good as I can do on short notice.
libvertaruan
QUOTE(Stimulant @ Jul 26 2005, 10:28 PM)
Lib, did you bother reading the entire post?



I did, and I comprehended it. He talked about pain, not suffering--am I the only one who sees a difference between them? Pain strikes me as more physical and suffering strikes me as more emotional.
zaragosa
QUOTE(Molimo @ Jul 27 2005, 01:57 AM)
Ah, ok. I see we have to be careful how we word things around here.

I do not believe in God but I do not actively disbelieve either. I'm still an atheist, but not a strong atheist, and won't be becoming a strong atheist until I get a better grasp of the difference between 'not believing' and 'actively disbelieving' something wink.gif


The difference isn't so hard to get. Plants are weak atheists smile.gif
Benevolent
Lib -

Hey, I'm just following Draper. I wondered the same thing myself, about pain being intrisically bad, and pleasure intrinsically good.
Molimo
QUOTE(zaragosa @ Jul 27 2005, 05:40 AM)
The difference isn't so hard to get. Plants are weak atheists smile.gif



A more accurate statement would be that most people are weak atheists about invisible dragons in garages that can't be detected in any way smile.gif
JLord
QUOTE(Molimo @ Jul 27 2005, 10:57 AM)
A more accurate statement would be that most people are weak atheists about invisible dragons in garages that can't be detected in any way smile.gif



I'd say most would be strong atheists when it comes to that...

So where am I? I don't believe in God because all signes point to him not existing. But I also don't believe anyone could ever prove that God does not exist. (except in a situation like Adam described where God has certain defined characteristics)
zaragosa
If something does not have defined characteristics, it cannot be discussed.
JLord
God has different defined characteristics to each person. That is why it impossible in my mind to prove God doesn't exist. As soon as a theist is confronted with something that would disprove their version of God (like the problem of evil) they can easily use the fact that God has no known characteristics as their defence.

For example say someone said that God is omnipotent and that he seeks to minimize pain and suffering in the world because he is a loving God. This could easily be proven wrong by pointing to examples of needless suffering in the world. The easy answer is "we can't understand the ways of God" or something like that. And someone else could just as easily come along and say "that's not what God is like, God doesn't seek to minimize suffering." Or someone could say "God is not all powerful and is bound by the rules of logic." Or someone could make up just about any characteristic to describe God at any time and it would be equally valid.
libvertaruan
QUOTE(JLord @ Jul 27 2005, 01:30 PM)
I'd say most would be strong atheists when it comes to that...

So where am I?  I don't believe in God because all signes point to him not existing.  But I also don't believe anyone could ever prove that God does not exist.  (except in a situation like Adam described where God has certain defined characteristics)



What are these signs that point to His (or really, any God's) nonexistence?

Adam: the suggestion that pleasure is intrinsically good brings to my mind the joke about the magic dildo.
JLord
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 28 2005, 03:00 AM)
What are these signs that point to His (or really, any God's) nonexistence?




The fact that nobody has ever seen God
God has never had any measurable intervention in the world
The whole idea of God is consistent with it being a made up story
Llywelyn
QUOTE(JLord @ Jul 28 2005, 08:14 AM)
The fact that nobody has ever seen God
God has never had any measurable intervention in the world
The whole idea of God is consistent with it being a made up story



I have (or at least experienced a tangible equivalent) and I've seen such intervention. You do not have to accept that I've seen such, but declaring "nobody has ever seen G-d" without checking those who have claimed to actually seen such seems a bit disingenuous.

Adam:

I have no basic criticisms of your analysis other than that I consider the assumptions faulty (why is pleasure inherently good? The Talmud seems to say otherwise, so this isn't something that comes from all religions. Why is suffering inherently evil? Why would deity necessarily be "omnibenevolent" and what exactly does that mean? etc)
Telum
You know, you can make most, if not all contradictions and problems with gods existance go away simply by saying he is only very powerful and very knowing.

"You shall have no other gods before me" implies the existance of other gods.
JLord
People have seen things that they attribute to God, I don't doubt that. I just mean that nobody living today has any evidence that they've seen God.
libvertaruan
QUOTE(JLord @ Jul 28 2005, 11:14 AM)
The fact that nobody has ever seen God
God has never had any measurable intervention in the world
The whole idea of God is consistent with it being a made up story



1. For one, it states very clearly in the Bible that if you see him, you die. Moses says, "will you let me see your face?" God says, "No, for you will die." Not in those exact words, at all.

2. Well, for one you have its creation. However, what do you say to a Christian who says s/he communes with God all the time? People who get answers in their prayers (this virtually ALWAYS happens, its happened to me before a few times but I don't actually pray very often).

3. The whole idea of any place is consistent with a made up story. I couldn't be sure St Petersburg existed until I went there, I can't be sure that Lenin really existed and instead was a lie perpetrated upon me by trying to confuse a wax sculpture with him. Do you have honest proof that you are not the only thinking thing, and that the rest of humanity are not just automatons? If you are going to doubt, doubt everything, and that includes the existence of your own body. Your senses can and do decieve you sometimes; close one eye and your brain makes you to think that you are seeing three dimensions, even if you are really only getting two dimensions of information. The Truman Show made me paranoid when I first watched it in seventh grade; how do I really know whether or not this is all for me, and me alone? The answer is, I don't "know," nor can I actually figure it out. I have nothing to go on but faith alone that everyone around me is a real person just like me, made different only through genetics and upbringing.
Molimo
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 28 2005, 03:09 PM)
2.  Well, for one you have its creation.  However, what do you say to a Christian who says s/he communes with God all the time?  People who get answers in their prayers (this virtually ALWAYS happens, its happened to me before a few times but I don't actually pray very often).



Didn't some scientists find that a certain part of the brain was responsible for religious/spiritual experiences?
libvertaruan
I believe it was instead found in genetics.
JLord
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 28 2005, 02:09 PM)
3.  The whole idea of any place is consistent with a made up story. 



Not really. Take a made up place like Atlantis. If someone said "Atlantis exists today" it would be different from saying Moscow exists. of course nothing can be proven, I agree with that. We can only know what are senses tell us and even then, we could still be wrong. The fact is that nobody I know has been to atlantis, there are no pictures of it, it's not on any map, etc. When it comes to Moscow, I am fairly certain it exists due to the amount of credible people that have been there, the fact that they have no reason to lie about it, the fact that there is no reason to think their senses were decieving them, and that there are pictures of places in Moscow. While none of this proves anything, it is more consistent with Moscow being real and Atlantis not. (I know some people really do think Atlantis existed at one time, I don't know, but I'm talking about today's world)

EDIT: so basically I realize you can't prove anything to exist, so I go by what is more likely. If something is very likely, at a certain point I take it to be fact even though technically it cannot be proven 100%.
libvertaruan
You have faith that other things and places and people exist. But you cannot be so sure that there is not a mass conspiracy to tell you such a place as Moscow exists; by faith you assume it is a real place.

And what is a "credible person"?
Sephiroth
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 28 2005, 06:17 PM)
And what is a "credible person"?



Probably an athiest.
JLord
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 28 2005, 04:17 PM)
You have faith that other things and places and people exist.  But you cannot be so sure that there is not a mass conspiracy to tell you such a place as Moscow exists; by faith you assume it is a real place.




Yes, as I explained several times.


QUOTE
And what is a "credible person"?


A person who I believe.
libvertaruan
A person you have faith in.

OHH!
acow
QUOTE
2. Well, for one you have its creation. However, what do you say to a Christian who says s/he communes with God all the time? People who get answers in their prayers (this virtually ALWAYS happens, its happened to me before a few times but I don't actually pray very often).


I'd say, "can you show me it working or demonstrate it?".

Approx 80-90% of people drop out at this stage, and will often employ fallacies, old wives tales, internet emails, ignorance, etc in their explanations.

There is often the caveat, that the things one prays for must be of the nature that they cannot be empirically verified, or that they are associated with ammounts of experimental time approaching infinity, or they involve "god-willed" diversions from the original desired prayer allowing for tautologies that anything that happens shows a prayer to be answered.

We also find that the objects of these prayers are often of the type of actions that are shrowded in a "veil of ignorance". Something, so tenuously distant from the knowlege of the individual, that they do not have the information available to know if a prayer influenced such an action at all (ie. i pray that i will get a job).

This is very convinient for "prayer power", but doesn't really say much for god. For there is the eerie condition, that if you pray for the red apple in front of me to turn green, it is basically with a 100% accuracy that i can state that it will not happen. Apparently, i have the power to stop god's miracles either by knowing about it in advance, or merely being present.

I have not, for instance, been presented with any evidence that god has answered a prayer in the breaking of certain natural givens or laws, for instance, a shattered femur healing overnight, a leg growing back after it is amputated, etc.

We thus face another interesting correlation with prayer. That it, eerily, only seems to concern itself within a very strict window of man's power, knowlege and reach.

Perhaps the biggest problem for prayer is not when it delves into the realms of ignorance, but the reverse negative correlation towards the lack of prayer intervetion in those activities in which we have increased certainty.

After the initial 80-90%+, there is often another smaller group, 20-10% whom has, at least to some degree, what might be considered possible evidence.
Experiments in parapsychology, observed paranormal phenomenon cases.

First of all, barring the philosophical, the parapsychological effect is often extremely minute, and the paranormal, if one accepts it happens, has absolutely no explanatory value, and has occured at such minute frequency as to effectively negate any investigation or provable hypothesis as to what actually happened by any humans.

Now....beyond this, we get, maybe, the final few people left over.

To these, there is the question "Can you tell me how it works or do you have any theory behind it?"

I have, personally to date, recieved only five kinds of answers at this stage.

The first kind: God is just an informal name for "ignorance" in my philosophy.

The second kind: God = that which i do know, but can't explain or show you. These are the liars (either to themselves or to me, or which carry the assumption that I, as an indivdual, am seperate from god, and so can never find him. Meh, i cannot find that which i cannot find, either way, for me god doesn't exist).

The third kind: God is instead some abstract conception, given generally to the phenomenon or happenings which i have invented to explain external causations which revolve around my own identity or psyche.

Now some people there don't appeal to god, and instead evolve a theory of something very personal or somehow revolving around their own conscious experience or being or will or somesuch. I'm more happy with these than i am with the first two, because they don't add in the fault of explaining things by adding in things which do not offer any explanatory information.

The fourth kind: I do know, but my theories are not consistent with my actual notions of god (ie. there is evil in the world because god gave us free will and can't interfere.....and prayer works.)

The fifth kind: I admit i do not know, but am interested in finding out. (though i don't know any i consider christian ever having given this response)

To date, i have not met any individuals who, even if i admit that paranormal events happen, or that god exists, have presented any consistent picture or theory as to this god which can be successfully compared with empirical fact, nor have i met anyone who can show me anyway that this god can have any real, predictable, or useful effect in the domain of humans.
acow
QUOTE
I couldn't be sure St Petersburg existed until I went there


Ah, but someone else can at least tell me how to find St Petersburg which is consistent with my experience of the world.

I have not met a man who can tell me how to get to God which does not involve some active denial of the reality which i observe, or the groundings which are required for knowlege in the first place, or by which he admits he does not know himself.

Now while it is true that one can profess massive skeptcism, it is also true that, if we are to believe anything, we must possess some measure of basis upon things of which we possess faith, or at least, those things which we must accept as true "a priori".

I am not convinced that i have ever been presented with a philosophical arguement that neccesarily includes a belief in the existance of god in these sets of assumptions without first including other precepts which are sufficient on their own.
JLord
QUOTE(libvertaruan @ Jul 28 2005, 11:38 PM)
A person you have faith in.




That's pretty much the only way to describe what anyone would consider a reliable person. Everyone would have different criteria that they weigh differently when determining whether they believe a person or not. Clearly there is no other way to define such a person as there are probably hundreds of different factors involved.
Benevolent
QUOTE(Telum @ Jul 28 2005, 02:29 PM)
You know, you can make most, if not all contradictions and problems with gods existance go away simply by saying he is only very powerful and very knowing.

"You shall have no other gods before me" implies the existance of other gods.



That actually conceeds victory to the athiest, though. At least when they argue against the All-PKG form of God that most people mean nowadays.
gnuneo
a truly amusing spectacle of the existence of god would be a number of current scientists (as Llyw pointed out, its likely *future* science will have different paradigms, and different tools. We shall not speak of them) standing around arguing its existence - naturally first they will attempt to 'define' God.

...

and there it will end.

of course, they may get around this by specifying smaller and smaller group definitions, ie perhaps first they go for the 'christian' definition - but really, that can cover *everything*. Then they go for smaller, say protestant. Still lots of disagreement. Then down to say Quakers - and even at *this* level, less than 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of beleivers in christianity, even here there will still be disagreement on the nature and definition of god.

so what do the scientists do next? realising that the religious perspective is simply NOT going to issue up a unified and codified definition of god so the scientists can cut it up and point out it doesnt exist, the scientists decide to create a definition themselves - "god is an imaginary being sitting on a cloud". Funnily enough using this definition most people then can be led to understand that 'god does not exist'.

yet even more funnily, many truly spiritual people, along with vastly more religiously minded people, argue that this definition simply doesnt cut it - yet they agree that god is probably not an imaginary guy sitting on a cloud.

where are we now? science has produced a definition (and thus 'god' can now be discussed, legally, by scientists. Before such a definition was created it was presumably illegal for scientists to even use the word 'god', which does make one wonder exactly how they managed to create a definition for someting they couldnt discuss scientifically... still, it keeps the well trained mediocrities busy, and gives them a warm feeling of being better than everyone else) that everyone agrees that *if* god was that, then he probably doesnt exist.

unfortunately... not many people agree with the definition either, but what the fuck - science scored a goal.

hurrah.




thankfully htere are a few people within the scientific tradition (Llyw being one) who are able to see through this self-congratulatory back-slapping, and recognise there is some path to tread yet.

it is quite simply impossible to declare the non-existence of god, because it is quite simply impossible to *define* god - beyond makeshift definitions that more reflect the wishes and desires of the definer, than the defined.

add onto that that modern science and sanity requires us to put *everything* onto a scale of possibility, and really it becomes quite simple - anyone declaring categorically that god does not exist is arguing from a devoutly religious perspective, no matter if the sign above their personal church reads 'Church of Science'.
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