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Author Topic:   Pseudoskepticism and logic
mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4721
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 211 of 562 (526505)
09-28-2009 7:22 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
09-19-2009 4:22 PM


[qs]
If we ASSUME that "the model works" is Rrhainian obfustication for "strong atheism works" then you have made a claim that is not neutral to the issue of god/s but asserts a negative claim.

That's quite correct, logically speaking. People usually think that a negative claim is much better than a positive one. But look at the moon conspiracy. They claim we didn't go to the moon.

Your opening message seems completely sound as it's easily provable.

The problem is that most people, UNLIKE you, don't study logic to any meaningful "standard", because they are more interested in their ideology, and biases.

People have no trouble addressing this issue when creationists try to claim that evolution is not a true science etc etc - to provide evidence that disproves evolution, and the same should hold for any philosophical or logical position.

Good point.

One point of interest is that a similar example of a kind of counter intuitive position, is again the moon claim.

Although it is more "likely", by most standards, that we didn't go to a foreign planet, rather than simply the easy option of faking it, the negative claims of the conspiracy theorists are still false nevertheless.

I ran across this today, and for some reason it reminds me of a certain person (or two) here.

There are many here, who take the easy position of sitting there and merely attacking everything anyone offers, without actually doing any work for themselves. They will provide facts to support their popularly accepted arguments, because somebody else has done all the work for them.

They get frustrated, and sloppy, and strawmans and ad hominem attacks usually follow.

Good to read you, I will read more of the topic now.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RAZD, posted 09-19-2009 4:22 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
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Kitsune
Member (Idle past 3570 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


(1)
Message 212 of 562 (526539)
09-28-2009 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 189 by Rrhain
09-27-2009 5:29 AM


Agnosticism vs. pseudoskepticism
Hi Rrhain,

I'll keep this brief because essentially the same conversation is going on here with RAZD, and from what I can tell my position doesn't differ significantly from his.

quote:
So you claim there is no objective evidence that people make stuff up?

No, I don't claim this. People do make stuff up but not all the time. They are also capable of accurately assessing the truth, otherwise there would be no such thing as science.

quote:
Don't you think that you should include the fact that people make up stuff all the time? That many of the various beings that have been put forward as "god" were made up?

As I've said several times in this ongoing debate, the evidence would seem to suggest that humans have a propensity for developing spiritual beliefs. While the validity of particular beliefs is a separate debate, IMO there is possibly some underlying reality that people are interpreting in ways that make it more readily accessible and understandable to them. Please prove to me that this stance is any less valid than "people make stuff up so all theistic beliefs are made up."

quote:
It's you for insisting that something that cannot be defined has a possibility of existing.

Firstly, the topic of this thread is pseudoskepticism; that is, assuming that the negative (or null) hypothesis is correct without recognising an obligation to provide evidence for this assumption. Secondly, it would seem to me that we are all able to talk about something called spirituality, without getting into semantic misunderstandings. We may not agree on what that is but if we had no concept of it at all then we'd have difficulty using the word.

quote:
There's a reason that the null hypothesis (what you are trying to show isn't true) is the default position. The default position is always that the thing that is claimed to exist actually doesn't.

But this isn't how the scientific methods works, is it? You don't design an experiment thinking, "I don't think this thing I'm (or you're) looking for actually exists." The only way to avoid confirmation bias is to keep an open mind -- that is, to be as agnostic as possible. Actually I can't stress this enough. There are serious, well-qualified scientists out there doing research into the paranormal, and others who will admit to being interested in such subjects off the record but who fear damage to their reputations if they admit it publicly, and what they're up against is a cadre of vocal pseudoskeptics (many of whom are not even scientists) who continually insist that the reality of such phenomena is patently absurd. How is it any different to insist that the idea of a god is patently absurd without appropriate evidence to back up the claim?

Case in point -- I've given this example before but I think there are people here who didn't read it, and I don't remember anyone replying to it directly. You find a way to travel back in time, to the middle ages. You decide that you're going to enlighten the people with your scientific knowledge, but (for whatever reason) you did not bring any of your apparatus with you. You tell them that their bodies are made up of many, many little things called cells; they'll have to take your word for it because it's impossible to see them. You also tell them that there are these cells called bacteria that live all over and inside your body and which actually outnumber your own body's cells, only you can't see those either. And there are these molecules called DNA, made up of things called atoms, which are responsible for the reproduction of those cells . . . and so on. Look at this from the point of view of the person you're trying to convince: you're insisting something is true but you are unable to prove it to them. And to them it sounds like the most absurd notion; their educated doctors would laugh at you. But the kicker here is . . . you are right.

How are we to avoid situations like this ourselves, if we declare that the appropriate stance to take is "I won't believe it until you prove it to me?" Surely the truly skeptical position, the one more open to new facts, would be, "I can't be sure about that until you prove it to me"?

My reaction to someone who described an IPU (or fairy or ghost or whatever) sighting is described in the "Immaterial Evidence" thread: Message 51

I'm not sure what else can be said because it feels like everyone's entrenched here and no one's going to budge. I'll keep my eye out for interesting new arguments though.

Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 189 by Rrhain, posted 09-27-2009 5:29 AM Rrhain has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 215 by Phage0070, posted 09-28-2009 12:12 PM Kitsune has replied
 Message 220 by onifre, posted 09-28-2009 6:21 PM Kitsune has replied
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 Message 238 by Straggler, posted 09-29-2009 4:02 AM Kitsune has taken no action
 Message 262 by Rrhain, posted 09-29-2009 9:39 AM Kitsune has replied

Kitsune
Member (Idle past 3570 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


(1)
Message 213 of 562 (526545)
09-28-2009 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 172 by RAZD
09-26-2009 7:32 PM


Re: Zen Deism == agnostic theism
Hi RAZD,

Thanks for the post. I don't know how you write consistently detailed and well reasoned responses when there are so many people arguing against you. I find it overwhelming when that happens to me.

quote:
Why not? Could there not be a kernel of truth in that concept? I also noticed that you had an interesting discussion with Modulus about chi.

Yes I do believe there's a kernel of truth to the concept but I was reluctant to say so because I anticipated the response I'd get here. Maybe I ought to be braver and just put up with more guff.

I didn't pursue the chi discussion either because I figured people would start trotting out studies that purport to prove that acupuncture is no better than placebo, etc. I'm sure you could find those if you looked but it would be a long debate to have to explain to closed-minded people why I accept the possible reality of chi despite that, and then we're getting into faults and bias in studies, and I've been there before . . . wasn't pleasant. It would make a refreshing change for me to join some science discussions here but usually that ground gets covered by people with more knowledge than me. I'm still banned from Herb Allure and I miss a good scientific debate. (Russ has been saying for about 6 weeks now that he'd "look into the issue," LOL.)

quote:
Thank you. I'll admit to having something of an "lighbulb" moment when I read the article in the OP, so I learned something too. I'm glad this knowledge is useful to others.

I've always seen the label of pseudoskeptic applied to people who dismiss the possibility of the reality of paranormal phenomena, such as James Randi or Richard Wiseman. But I think its application to those who dismiss the possible existence of a god is also sound, as you've shown.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 172 by RAZD, posted 09-26-2009 7:32 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 214 by bluegenes, posted 09-28-2009 11:59 AM Kitsune has replied
 Message 216 by Theodoric, posted 09-28-2009 2:08 PM Kitsune has replied
 Message 230 by RAZD, posted 09-28-2009 9:59 PM Kitsune has replied
 Message 251 by mike the wiz, posted 09-29-2009 8:27 AM Kitsune has replied

bluegenes
Member (Idle past 1747 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 214 of 562 (526568)
09-28-2009 11:59 AM
Reply to: Message 213 by Kitsune
09-28-2009 10:39 AM


Re: Zen Deism == agnostic theism
Hi Linda

I've always seen the label of pseudoskeptic applied to people who dismiss the possibility of the reality of paranormal phenomena, such as James Randi or Richard Wiseman. But I think its application to those who dismiss the possible existence of a god is also sound, as you've shown.

Always? Perhaps you should have read RAZD's O.P. carefully. It quotes from this:

http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/sheldrake.html

"Pseudo-skeptic" just seems to have become a mudslinging term for the two sides involved in "paranormal" investigations to sling at each other. Just a way of saying: "you're biased and I'm objective".

For example, you say: "But I think its application to those who dismiss the possible existence of a god is also sound, as you've shown".

You could have equally applied it to all people who believe in a god, and think they're investigating theism/atheism seriously (I expect you agree with that).

What do you think of the point that people from traditionally theistic cultures will frequently have a cultural bias in favour of theism in a theist/atheist debate/investigation? Doesn't it make sense? Considering that no actual evidence for gods is ever presented, why do so many consider a god so much more likely than centaurs or leprechauns?

Wouldn't the true skeptic regard all zero evidence propositions as equally unlikely?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 213 by Kitsune, posted 09-28-2009 10:39 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 215 of 562 (526571)
09-28-2009 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 212 by Kitsune
09-28-2009 9:43 AM


Re: Agnosticism vs. pseudoskepticism
LindaLou writes:

Look at this from the point of view of the person you're trying to convince: you're insisting something is true but you are unable to prove it to them. And to them it sounds like the most absurd notion; their educated doctors would laugh at you. But the kicker here is . . . you are right.


But you *can* prove it to them with an experiment. That is how we figured those things out in the first place, and when the experiment yields the results you predicted it would be evidence you are correct.

LindaLou writes:

How are we to avoid situations like this ourselves, if we declare that the appropriate stance to take is "I won't believe it until you prove it to me?"


We don't! It would be ridiculous to behave any other way; what is more likely, that you are a time traveler or one of the many other crazy people who claim to be displaced in time? You seem to be equating "I don't believe you" with "I will ignore evidence", which is not the case at all.

Claims with no evidence to support them should be held in the same regard as any other of the infinite unevidenced claims that can be made about reality. There is no magical quality of simply voicing them that makes them any more likely to be true. You undoubtedly hold some things to be true about reality; things that are not on that list you *don't believe are real*. There really is no other option!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 212 by Kitsune, posted 09-28-2009 9:43 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 7329
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 216 of 562 (526592)
09-28-2009 2:08 PM
Reply to: Message 213 by Kitsune
09-28-2009 10:39 AM


Re: Zen Deism == agnostic theism
I've always seen the label of pseudoskeptic applied to people who dismiss the possibility of the reality of paranormal phenomena, such as James Randi

He dismisses it because there is no evidence. That is a skeptic not a psuedoskeptic.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 213 by Kitsune, posted 09-28-2009 10:39 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 217 of 562 (526608)
09-28-2009 4:55 PM
Reply to: Message 216 by Theodoric
09-28-2009 2:08 PM


Re: Zen Deism == agnostic theism
I've always seen the label of pseudoskeptic applied to people who dismiss the possibility of the reality of paranormal phenomena, such as James Randi

He dismisses it because there is no evidence. That is a skeptic not a psuedoskeptic.

Ummm...this thread has it defined in the exact opposite way you are using it.

Someone who dimisses it because there is no evidence, while not supporting the negetive claim, is defined as a psuedoskeptic, not a skeptic. The skeptic is the one who, because there is no evidence, claims to not know.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 218 of 562 (526610)
09-28-2009 5:11 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by Phage0070
09-25-2009 3:28 PM


Re: False Dichotomy? What False Dichotomy?
As far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong), all cultures have a spoken language. Would you consider this to be proof that language is not a product of the human mind (or proto-human) and instead based in a fundamental quality of the universe?

I don't know about being a fundamental quality of the universe, and of course its not proof, but yeah, I think it suggests that language is not a product of the human mind.

You could easily look at our non-human hominid ancestors and find language to see that it is not. We can even go past homonids and find something-that-could-be-called-language in other genera.

Certainly, humans didn't produce the concept, nor the facilitation, of communication as it is something that gradually evolved.

Or am I missing the point?

If so, how can you explain how they are so different in structure and use while maintaining some fundamental properties (distinction of subject, actions, speaker, etc..)?

Yeah, I must be missing the point. What's so troublesome about that explanation?

Can you elaborate?


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 219 of 562 (526611)
09-28-2009 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 145 by Straggler
09-25-2009 5:08 PM


Re: False Dichotomy? What False Dichotomy?
Do you seriously doubt the capacity of the human mind to invent the entire concept of supernatural gods? Why?

A little, because basically there's just too much going on there. Although, I could be being too incredulous....

And there's also a terminology problem in that I don't see the unintentional gradual emergence of something as invention.

Then there's the point of it being the "entire" concept, which I find improbable because from the range from simple to complex subjective experiences that people have had in regards to religions, I doubt that they could all be imaginary.

Why does the commonality you speak of not suggest a commonality of human psychology? A commonality of need for explanation or higher purpose? An explanation for desires, wants, needs. emotional support, etc. etc. etc. etc..........

If I was an atheist with a naturalistic approach, I see how these would be palatable explanations... but I'm not.

Explain to me how the possibility that the very concept of immaterial supernatural god(s) is better and more objectively evidentially explained by the actual existence of said immaterial and non-empirical entities than it is by the possibility of human misinterpretation and invention?

That's a mouthful...

How about: No.

In the spirit of this thread, you know... providing support for the negetive claim, why don't you explain to me how the possibility that the very concept of immaterial supernatural god(s) is better and more objectively evidentially explained by the possibility of human misinterpretation and invention than it is by the actual existence of said immaterial and non-empirical entities.

and don't use some mutually exclusive dicotomy. Show the evidence itself.

ABE:

Sorry, that was a little snarky. I forgot we were friends now. But I've lost interest (for right now today at least) in always being on the defense in these threads. For this thread, the atheists are suppost to be on the defense but it got turned around anyways.

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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onifre
Member (Idle past 2220 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 220 of 562 (526614)
09-28-2009 6:21 PM
Reply to: Message 212 by Kitsune
09-28-2009 9:43 AM


Re: Agnosticism vs. pseudoskepticism
Hi Linda,

They are also capable of accurately assessing the truth, otherwise there would be no such thing as science.

A good point, and one I brought up originally. What would be a good method (like that of science) for investigating said god/s?

Would you agree, that if no method exists, then we should not consider the claim to be capable of being evidenced in reality?

As I've said several times in this ongoing debate, the evidence would seem to suggest that humans have a propensity for developing spiritual beliefs.

Yes, but can you point to any evidence for the development of these spiritual beliefs that is outside of the human mind?

Firstly, the topic of this thread is pseudoskepticism; that is, assuming that the negative (or null) hypothesis is correct without recognising an obligation to provide evidence for this assumption.

The same is true for assuming that god is real, but that the only thing that varies, or may be wrong, is the different concepts of god. That is a logical fallacy that takes place before the atheistic position.

You guys are concluding that the premise (god) is true before having evidence for it. Then, in an almost arrogant way, you're claiming atheists have a negative position, or are commiting a logical fallacy, when nothing has been evidenced about your original premise.

How does that make any sense?

But this isn't how the scientific methods works, is it? You don't design an experiment thinking, "I don't think this thing I'm (or you're) looking for actually exists." The only way to avoid confirmation bias is to keep an open mind -- that is, to be as agnostic as possible.

But again - what experiment or method do you suggest for investigated concepts about god/s? If you can't provide one, as science has been able to, then maybe you should consider the claim made up until such time as a proper method of investigation can be given?

It's very convinent to say that you believe in something that is unknowable, but I would be forced to ask you, then how do you know about it?

There are serious, well-qualified scientists out there doing research into the paranormal, and others who will admit to being interested in such subjects off the record but who fear damage to their reputations if they admit it publicly, and what they're up against is a cadre of vocal pseudoskeptics (many of whom are not even scientists) who continually insist that the reality of such phenomena is patently absurd.

Can you reference ONE paranormal event that has ever been concluded to be the work of magic, ghosts, spirits, immaterial entities, god/s, etc.?

Paranormal is just another word for "shit we haven't figured out to work naturally yet."

It's actually pathetic to see shows on TV like "Ghost Hunters" or the like. People really have lost their minds these days. Hey, you know what was a great paranormal investigative show? Scooby Doo, remember? Even they knew ghosts didn't exist.

And to them it sounds like the most absurd notion; their educated doctors would laugh at you. But the kicker here is . . . you are right.

Yes, but you could leave them tools and a method to investigate it on their own. I mean, how do you think we figured it out in the first place? - There was an actual working method to investigate it.

What method do you suggest we use to investigate concepts of god/s? If you can, provide one please, I'm eager to get to work.

How are we to avoid situations like this ourselves, if we declare that the appropriate stance to take is "I won't believe it until you prove it to me?" Surely the truly skeptical position, the one more open to new facts, would be, "I can't be sure about that until you prove it to me"?

You make a logical fallacy when you conclude the premise (god) is true without any evidence for it. The onus is on you to provide that evidence. That comes before my atheistic stance on your evidence-less premise.

Your premise fails to be evidence, thus yours/RAZD's/any concept of god/s is irrelevant until you can show how the premise (god) is true.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 212 by Kitsune, posted 09-28-2009 9:43 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 243 by Kitsune, posted 09-29-2009 5:21 AM onifre has replied

Theodoric
Member
Posts: 7329
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 221 of 562 (526617)
09-28-2009 6:54 PM
Reply to: Message 212 by Kitsune
09-28-2009 9:43 AM


Re: Agnosticism vs. pseudoskepticism
There are serious, well-qualified scientists out there doing research into the paranormal, and others who will admit to being interested in such subjects off the record but who fear damage to their reputations if they admit it publicly, and what they're up against is a cadre of vocal pseudoskeptics (many of whom are not even scientists) who continually insist that the reality of such phenomena is patently absurd.

Can you provide names of these scientists?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 212 by Kitsune, posted 09-28-2009 9:43 AM Kitsune has taken no action

Straggler
Member (Idle past 238 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(2)
Message 222 of 562 (526618)
09-28-2009 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 167 by Kitsune
09-26-2009 6:33 AM


Re: I'm missing something...I think
Straggler writes:

On the basis of the objective evidence alone is "probably human invention" atheism a justifiable rational conclusion? If not whay not. Be specific.

No, for the reasons given in my recent post to RAZD here. I agree with him that the logical position is agnosticism and that if you decide to lean toward a negative or a positive, you should be able to provide evidence to justify your stance.

The logical position is only "50-50 I just don't know agnosticism" if you deny the vast and overwhelming evidence that humans explain the unexplained with tales of the unexplainable. If you accept this blindingly obvious capacity for human invention then the reality of immaterial supernatural gods becomes so moot as to be irrelevant.

I ask again - On the basis of the objective evidence alone is a degree of "probably human invention" atheism justified?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 167 by Kitsune, posted 09-26-2009 6:33 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 244 by Kitsune, posted 09-29-2009 5:28 AM Straggler has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 238 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(2)
Message 223 of 562 (526619)
09-28-2009 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by RAZD
09-26-2009 6:16 PM


Re: Special Pleading for the atheist position to excuse the absence of evidence?
On the basis of the objective evidence alone is a degree of "probably human invention" atheism the rational conclusion with regard to supernatural immaterial gods? Or not?

If not why not?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by RAZD, posted 09-26-2009 6:16 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 231 by RAZD, posted 09-28-2009 10:04 PM Straggler has replied

Straggler
Member (Idle past 238 days)
Posts: 10332
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 224 of 562 (526620)
09-28-2009 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 219 by New Cat's Eye
09-28-2009 5:24 PM


Re: False Dichotomy? What False Dichotomy?
CS writes:

Then there's the point of it being the "entire" concept, which I find improbable because from the range from simple to complex subjective experiences that people have had in regards to religions, I doubt that they could all be imaginary.

You seem to be citing the fact that people believe "something" as evidence upon which to believe in that "something". Surely this is circular.

If I was an atheist with a naturalistic approach, I see how these would be palatable explanations... but I'm not.

Well as a scientist what warrants naturalistic explanations and what does not?

How about: No.

You seem to be citing the fact that people believe "something" as evidence upon which to believe in that "something". Surely this is circular.

If belief is in itself objective evidence of that which is believed surely Santa Claus is one of the most objectively evidenced entities on the planet?

Sorry, that was a little snarky. I forgot we were friends now.

I wanna get drunk with you does not mean I agree with you! In fact the reverse in every way is true (i.e. lets get beered up and then have a well meaning fight!)

For this thread, the atheists are suppost to be on the defense but it got turned around anyways.

Do you honestly think people would not invent gods whether any supernatural immaterial gods exist or not? I think all of the objective evidence we have overwhelmingly suggets that we would. Feel free to disagree.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 674 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 225 of 562 (526622)
09-28-2009 7:21 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by onifre
09-27-2009 10:36 PM


Re: finally, a description
Thanks Onifre,

According to the definition of Deism:

That is one definition, however deism is not a defined sect. See
http://www.moderndeism.com/html/deism_defined.html

quote:
While there are no “official” tenets of Deism, many of the following “unofficial” tenets might be the best way to introduce generally accepted beliefs within Deism. The unofficial tenets of Deism are:

There is no strict one-size-fits-all definition of deism as it is a personal philosophy\religion.

Now I can say with confidence that I am a #7. For the same reason that everyone has been saying: you are making that concept of god up.

Excellent. Where's your evidence?

Can you demonstate how this concept is not made up? Can you show how you came to this conclusion observing the natural world?

Perhaps at a later time, if the source above does not satisfy you, but it is off topic on this thread.

The purpose of this thread is to focus on the negative hypothesis, and the need to provide evidence to supbstantiate a negative hypothesis.

You have just claimed 100% sure-no-doubt-left that the concept of a "Unknowable, outside our universe, outside of our perception/s, or is off doing other things" god is false.

This means you have evidence that shows that this cannot be the case.

Do you have absolute proof (a) that I made it up (which would include a complete lack of the concept posted in any other source ... ) or (b) that the concept itself is false (ie that a knowable god exists instead ... ) or (c) that there absolutely is no god of any kind anywhere anywhen.

Evidence is needed when you make a claim.

Have fun with that.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : ...


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 201 by onifre, posted 09-27-2009 10:36 PM onifre has replied

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 Message 227 by onifre, posted 09-28-2009 8:17 PM RAZD has replied

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