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Author Topic:   Probability of the existence of God
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 736 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 151 of 219 (467759)
05-24-2008 1:14 AM
Reply to: Message 150 by Stile
05-23-2008 10:04 PM


Re: God's Existence has a 0% Chance
Stile writes:

Not only is there none, but it is a fact that throughout human history, an overwhelming abundance of people have consistently dedicated their lives to searching for this evidence. And we still have none.

You could also add that there are many different and contradictory Gods of many different religions, and that this is strong evidence of the tendency of our species to invent such things.

Certainly, if we put all the names of all the known Gods that are/were believed in into a hat, and drew one out at random, the chances of it being the "true" God would be negligible even if there were a true God.

Feed in your lack of evidence for any true God, and religious people, regardless of the religion, can be more than 99.99% sure that they're wrong on their beliefs in any specific God (or, more accurately, thinking people can be sure that the religious people are wrong :)).

The general idea of a teleological origin to the universe does better than this if the source of "intelligence" or "intent" remains completely undescribed. (e.g. one God is no more likely than 7 Goddesses or 1,475 wizards or beings in white coats in laboratories in another universe - if, and it's a big if, there is a teleological source to the universe).

Maybe we can make a law related to evidenceless propositions. The more vague and general the proposition, the more likely it is to be true.

So, an unspecified number of undescribed Gods existing is more likely than, for example, the existence of a specified number, like one. And one undescribed God is more likely than, for example, the existence of a racist creator who particularly favours one human tribe. Describe the tribe, then the chances get really negligible, and so on.

What it all boils down to is that having a religion is a complete waste of time, and believing in a well described religion is certainly delusional behaviour.

So, the religious might protest, I am describing the majority of the world's population as having religious delusions. Yes, I am, but so are the religious as, whichever "true" religion they believe in, a majority of the world doesn't share that belief.

Edited by bluegenes, : missing letter


This message is a reply to:
 Message 150 by Stile, posted 05-23-2008 10:04 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 152 by pelican, posted 05-24-2008 9:18 PM bluegenes has responded

  
pelican
Member (Idle past 3244 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007


Message 152 of 219 (467840)
05-24-2008 9:18 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by bluegenes
05-24-2008 1:14 AM


Re: God's Existence has a 0% Chance
What it all boils down to is that having a religion is a complete waste of time, and believing in a well described religion is certainly delusional behaviour.

Why would such a vast number of people participate in such a huge delusion? It seems incredible the human race can be so gullable.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by bluegenes, posted 05-24-2008 1:14 AM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 153 by Granny Magda, posted 05-24-2008 10:21 PM pelican has responded
 Message 154 by bluegenes, posted 05-24-2008 11:47 PM pelican has responded

  
Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 153 of 219 (467850)
05-24-2008 10:21 PM
Reply to: Message 152 by pelican
05-24-2008 9:18 PM


The Evolution of Delusion
Why would such a vast number of people participate in such a huge delusion? It seems incredible the human race can be so gullable.

Hi pelican,

The simple answer is that the human race grew up in a world full of frightening and inexplicable phenomena. They weren't able to get to the true explanations. They knew nothing abut meteorology, so, when they heard thunder, they ascribed it to the thunder god. Imagining that thunder was the anger of an intelligent agent seemed simple and believable to them. Humans are apt to anthropomorphise natural phenomena, especially puzzling ones, so this was an appealing idea, which allowed them to feel that they understood the world around them.

Later, as these superstitions developed, they became enmeshed with traditions and stories and were handed down the generations. They became more sophisticated and complex and gradual evolved from primitive animism to polytheism, to monotheism.

Of course, today we have a wealth of real explanations for natural phenomena, so it is tempting to conclude that the next steps in this process are agnosticism and, ultimately, atheism.

The probability of God's existence cannot be decided by an appeal to popularity. It doesn't matter how many people believe in an idea, it can still be wrong. In actual fact, there are many different varieties of theist around and they mostly disagree with each other, so an appeal to popularity is especially useless in this case.

Wiki writes:

When it came to power in 1933 the Nazi Party had over 2 million members. Once in power, it attracted many more members and by the time of its dissolution it had 8.5 million members.

No-one ever says "Well, 8.5 million Nazis can't be wrong, can they?". People don't say this for a reason. They can be wrong and they were wrong. The popularity of an idea is no guide to its veracity.


Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 152 by pelican, posted 05-24-2008 9:18 PM pelican has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 155 by pelican, posted 05-25-2008 2:00 AM Granny Magda has responded

    
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 736 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 154 of 219 (467854)
05-24-2008 11:47 PM
Reply to: Message 152 by pelican
05-24-2008 9:18 PM


Observation and Statistics
pelican writes:

Why would such a vast number of people participate in such a huge delusion? It seems incredible the human race can be so gullable.

That's a very good question (except that it's "delusions" not "delusion" as they believe in many different things), and probably one with a complex answer. Why do some people invent religions, and why do others so easily believe in those inventions?

But my point was one made from observation. As no one religion has a majority in the world, even if one of them were true, the majority of the religious people of the world must be following false religions, and that's statistically undeniable.

One of the obvious and provable reasons why so many can follow ridiculous beliefs is childhood indoctrination, and all successful religions seek to do this. The evidence that it is effective is easily pointed to. If a country had a predominant and well established religion 100 years ago, it will almost invariably have the same one today.

Look around. Brazil is predominately Catholic Christian, so what was it 120 years ago, when its population was a completely different set of people who are now all dead? Sure enough, Catholic Christian.

Iran was dominated by Shia Islam a century ago, and guess what now? Egypt by Sunnis 100 yrs ago, India by Hindus, and Thailand by Buddhists, etc.

So, clearly religions are cultural phenomena, and most religious people follow whatever their parents happened to believe in.

Pretty dumb, when you think about it. And, as you say, gullible.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 152 by pelican, posted 05-24-2008 9:18 PM pelican has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 156 by pelican, posted 05-25-2008 6:37 AM bluegenes has responded

  
pelican
Member (Idle past 3244 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007


Message 155 of 219 (467861)
05-25-2008 2:00 AM
Reply to: Message 153 by Granny Magda
05-24-2008 10:21 PM


Re: The Evolution of Delusion
yes, well I can see ignorance as playing a huge part in the delusions but what excuse is there today to hold on to such childish beliefs?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 153 by Granny Magda, posted 05-24-2008 10:21 PM Granny Magda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 157 by Granny Magda, posted 05-25-2008 12:48 PM pelican has responded

  
pelican
Member (Idle past 3244 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007


Message 156 of 219 (467873)
05-25-2008 6:37 AM
Reply to: Message 154 by bluegenes
05-24-2008 11:47 PM


Re: Observation and Statistics
But my point was one made from observation. As no one religion has a majority in the world, even if one of them were true, the majority of the religious people of the world must be following false religions, and that's statistically undeniable.

Great point but do they beieve in the same God?


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 Message 154 by bluegenes, posted 05-24-2008 11:47 PM bluegenes has responded

Replies to this message:
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Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 157 of 219 (467902)
05-25-2008 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 155 by pelican
05-25-2008 2:00 AM


Re: The Evolution of Delusion
No, none whatsoever.

Moreover, given events like 9/11, I would say that there are compelling reasons not to believe.


Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by pelican, posted 05-25-2008 2:00 AM pelican has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 158 by pelican, posted 05-26-2008 8:14 AM Granny Magda has responded

    
pelican
Member (Idle past 3244 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007


Message 158 of 219 (467997)
05-26-2008 8:14 AM
Reply to: Message 157 by Granny Magda
05-25-2008 12:48 PM


Re: The Evolution of Delusion
Moreover, given events like 9/11, I would say that there are compelling reasons not to believe.

I don't quite get your point here magda. Are you saying that events such as 9/11 prove there is no god or make it hard to believe there is one? What if the real god was punishing us?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 157 by Granny Magda, posted 05-25-2008 12:48 PM Granny Magda has responded

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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 736 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 159 of 219 (467999)
05-26-2008 8:23 AM
Reply to: Message 156 by pelican
05-25-2008 6:37 AM


pelican writes:

Great point but do they beieve in the same God?

It could be argued that there are as many different Gods believed in as there are theists.:)


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 Message 156 by pelican, posted 05-25-2008 6:37 AM pelican has not yet responded

  
Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 160 of 219 (469264)
06-04-2008 9:16 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by pelican
05-26-2008 8:14 AM


Re: The Evolution of Delusion
I don't quite get your point here magda. Are you saying that events such as 9/11 prove there is no god or make it hard to believe there is one? What if the real god was punishing us?

Firstly, sorry for the delay in relying, this one snuck under my radar...

I wasn't arguing that 9/11 disproves God , but I do think that such events make the dogmas of the various religions that claim to represent him a little hard to swallow.

My opinion is that 9/11 was a clear example of the terrible consequences of extreme and uncompromising dogmatic belief. Whilst it was not the only factor, religion was at the heart of the motivations behind the bombings, as well as many other recent terrorist atrocities. It must take some of the blame. I think that religion is responsible for encouraging the unquestioning and uncompromising mind-set that, in extreme cases, produces people willing to kill.

It is pretty hard to imagine that such organisations have any connection with a genuine benevolent god. This leaves their claims about God in doubt and since those claims form the basis of our understanding of what God or gods might be, it leaves us with no firm basis on which to believe.

What if the real god was punishing us?

Then he is not benevolent, so why worship him?


Mutate and Survive

This message is a reply to:
 Message 158 by pelican, posted 05-26-2008 8:14 AM pelican has not yet responded

    
iano
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 161 of 219 (483419)
09-22-2008 5:38 AM
Reply to: Message 144 by Stile
05-14-2008 10:54 AM


Re: Claims are not evidence
Stile writes:

You have not shown how non-empirical evidence can be considered evidence. So far, you have simply provided a non-empirical claim that your wife has had a great impact on your life. No one has a problem with the existence of non-empirical claims. I am only arguring that this claim isn't evidence.

It may help if we wind back to see what I said regarding my wife-to-be and the evidence regarding her. Msg 114:

iano writes:

I would have thought that a thought is an obvious example of non-empirical evidence. That I find my non-empirical thoughts frequently turning to my wife-to-be evidences the empirical and non-empirical impact she has come to have on my life.

The above is an example of the application of a simple dictionary definition of evidence: a thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment. There is no demand that the thing or things be empirical. (ps: I checked and 'thing' need not be empirical either )

You are right that the claim isn't evidence. The claim is the conclusion I've arrived at on account of the evidence. Non-empirical thoughts formed part of the evidence that had me conclude I should ask her to marry me. It appears her non-empirical thoughts brought her to a similar conclusion. Happily!

You might see now that:

Evidence supports something.
Evidence shows something.
Evidence demonstrates something.

... the above conditions are satisfied. In this case, supporting the notion that I should marry her. Whether or not you are convinced regarding me and her is neither here nor there. Certainly you are not dealing with the likes of this:

Like in a murder case. Evidence would be GSR (Gun Shot Residue). The GSR on someone's clothing would be evidence that they had shot a gun recently,

...but then again we're not talking about empirical evidence. Nor are we talking of something that is empirically demonstrable to all.

-

Perhaps you know of a way where we can definitively show that this non-empirical claim supports something. That's why I'm asking you to provide this. If you can, then your stalemate position comes within reach. If you cannot, then your stalemate position remains unattainable.

Definitively show? There is nothing definitive about circumstantial evidence - other than the definitive decision that it provides sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction. Evidence in the broader sense means;

quote:
a thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment.

-

Currently, your desired position of stalemate is not attainable with what you've provided. You have not provided any evidence. You have not provided 'non-empirical' evidence. You have provided information. You have provided a non-empirical claim.

What I hope to have done is point out to you that the word 'evidence' is not the possession of the strict empiricist. It's a wider notion than that.

I conclude God exists on the basis of non-empirical evidence. Given that non-empirically evidenced conclusions can be arrived at in principle, I would consider the argument stalemated.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 144 by Stile, posted 05-14-2008 10:54 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 164 by Stile, posted 09-22-2008 11:05 AM iano has responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 162 of 219 (483423)
09-22-2008 7:20 AM
Reply to: Message 145 by Straggler
05-14-2008 7:37 PM


Re: Iano's Folly - The Case Against Non-Empirical "Evidence"
Straggler writes:

Before continuing it is worth re-iterating the main conclusion of the discussion so far – Namely that a form of “evidence” that can be used to support claims for everything and anything is effectively evidence for nothing at all.

quote:
"Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me

I suspect much of your post will bark up the wrong tree. It might be helpful then, if I spell out where things are coming from and where they are going to - rather than try and steer you back on track.

1) I make the claim that I know God exists.

2) I state that I have concluded this based on non-empirical evidence leading me to that conclusion.

3) Clearly I cannot present non-empirical evidence - so my aim cannot be to 'prove' God in the empirical sense.

4) My point is, in fact, is to counter the claim that Christianity necessarily revolves around an expression of blind faith. 'Blind' in this case being intended to convey the notion "belief without evidence"

5) The form the counter takes, is to point out that there is such a thing as non-empirical evidence. If establishing this then Christianity can indeed be an evidenced-by-God faith and the charge of blind will henceforth become 'perhaps blind'. That is to say; my purpose is to stalemate the argument that faith is blind.

6) The example I choose to give cannot be God-evidence for the simple reason that such evidence is not available to everyone. Instead, I give the evidence of thoughts. Specifically, the fact that I found my thoughts turning unbidden towards my (soon to be) wife. That evidence (of my thoughts frequently turning in that direction - irrespective of their content)led me to conclude that she had become a significant influence on my life. That realisation would influence subsequent dealings with her (to put it clinically) leading me to conclude that I should ask her to marry me. Happliy, she was concluding the same thing.

-

quote:
evidence: a thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment.

Thought direction = non-empirical evidence helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment. I'm at a loss to understand the resistance to such a simple notion. I suspect a dogged adherence to defending a worldview beyond what is reasonable.

Your post is well framed Straggler and no doubt took time to compose. My apologies for not responding to it but it appears, by and large, to be rebutting an argument I'm not making. It is not the case that:

Iano would ask us to treat his claims for the existence of God as we would treat a child’s claims of seeing a cat in the street.

I'm not expecting anyones position on Gods existance to change one iota merely by me claiming he does. I'm merely pointing out that there is such a thing as non-empirical evidence and that conclusions can be drawn on the basis of it. And that I have concluded (not that you need believe it) that God exists based on that same class of evidence; the non-empirical kind.

Perhaps the evidence is a figment of my imagination. Perhaps it is truly God. Perhaps we're all brains in jars. No matter. For the point is to render your application of the phrase "blind faith" blind. Blind, that is, in the empirically evidentialess form.

Unless you've some non-empirical evidence you'd like to submit in support of your claim that is :)


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8860
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 163 of 219 (483442)
09-22-2008 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 162 by iano
09-22-2008 7:20 AM


Evidence Kinds
I have concluded this based on non-empirical evidence

Could you define "non-empirical evidence" please?

To start with can you give a definition of empirical evidence and then contrast the other with it?

My first reaction is that NEE is an oxymoron, I have to confess.


This message is a reply to:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 3846
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 164 of 219 (483445)
09-22-2008 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 161 by iano
09-22-2008 5:38 AM


Re: Claims are not evidence
iano writes:

You might see now that:

Stile writes:

Evidence supports something.
Evidence shows something.
Evidence demonstrates something.

... the above conditions are satisfied. In this case, supporting the notion that I should marry her. Whether or not you are convinced regarding me and her is neither here nor there.

But, the above conditions are not satisfied.

Your statment that "Whether or not you are convinced regarding me and her is neither here nor there", is the entire point, this is what makes something evidence. If your information is unable to convince all rational people, then your information is not evidence.

Like GSR, GSR found on a hand means that hand was in close proximity to a gun being fired. It means that to me, it means that to you, it means that to every rational being.

You are missing the main points of what constitutes evidence. Evidence shows something, or demonstrates something. If your information does not convince other people, then it does not show or deomonstrate anything, and therefore is not evidence.

...but then again we're not talking about empirical evidence. Nor are we talking of something that is empirically demonstrable to all.

We most certainly are talking of something that is demonstrable to all. If you can do so un-empirically... more power to you, but no one's been able to do that yet, so good luck.

If it is not "demonstrable to all", then it is not evidence! It is simply a claim.

Definitively show? There is nothing definitive about circumstantial evidence - other than the definitive decision that it provides sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction.

Yes, definitively show. GSR is not evidence because it warrants a conviction (in fact, it does not do so). GSR is evidence because it definitively shows that the person with the GSR was within close proximity to a gun being fired, to everyone.

What I hope to have done is point out to you that the word 'evidence' is not the possession of the strict empiricist. It's a wider notion than that.

You have not done this. You have showed that you call your claims "evidence". This is an incorrect usage of the word if you're intending that your claims should be enough to convince other people.

Evidence is enough to convince other people.
Your claims are not enough to convince other people.

I conclude God exists on the basis of non-empirical evidence. Given that non-empirically evidenced conclusions can be arrived at in principle, I would consider the argument stalemated.

You conclude God exists on the basis of your claims. The arguement is not stalemated, you are unable to convince all rational people. Such claims are certainly not evidence.

ALL rational people accept that GSR on clothes means that those clothes were in close proximity to a gun being fired. GSR on an object is evidence that an object was in close proximity to a gun being fired. It is impossible to come up with a rational reason why GSR would not indicate being in close proximity to a gun being fired.

ALL rational people accept that if you drop a ball in a vacuum on this planet, it will fall down. Dropping a ball in a vacuum on this planet, and it falling down is evidence of gravity. It is impossible to come up with a rational reason why the ball would not fall down in such a situation.

SOME rational people accept your claims that your wife loves you.
SOME rational people do not accept your claims that your wife loves you. She could be tricking you, she may not love you but perhaps is with you because you're such a happy person and you don't beat her, she could be possessed by God to do His good works and not actually be "her". It is NOT impossible to find a rational reason why your wife is with you other than being "in love".

Since not ALL rational people are convinced by your claims... they remain simply claims.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 161 by iano, posted 09-22-2008 5:38 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 165 by iano, posted 09-22-2008 12:34 PM Stile has responded

    
iano
Member (Idle past 199 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 165 of 219 (483452)
09-22-2008 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 164 by Stile
09-22-2008 11:05 AM


Re: Claims are not evidence
With respect, this last post of yours merely repeats a philosophy regarding evidence which demands, unsurprisingly, that it be empirical in nature. Rather than have me simply state the contrary, could you deal with this specific point

iano writes:

You are right that the claim isn't evidence. The claim is the conclusion I've arrived at on account of the evidence. Non-empirical thoughts formed part of the evidence that had me conclude I should ask her to marry me.

Something (the fact that I observed my thoughts turning to her at all times of the day - not the content of those thoughts) led me to conclude that this perhaps, was no run of the mill relationship. I concluded that this might turn out to be the woman for me - based partily on that fact.

If not evidence could you tell me what else this something is which led me to a conclusion?

Evidence supports something.
Evidence shows something.
Evidence demonstrates something.

..to me. That is doesn't to others means it's not empirical evidence.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 164 by Stile, posted 09-22-2008 11:05 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 166 by Stile, posted 09-22-2008 1:18 PM iano has responded
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