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Author Topic:   The persistent question of evidence (RAZD and subbie only)
RAZD
Member (Idle past 304 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 34 of 42 (607757)
03-06-2011 4:44 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by subbie
03-05-2011 7:26 PM


Re: Another alternative course of discussion - why make a decision?
Hi again subbie,

I suppose my position can be loosely summarized as follows:

Most (if not all) definitions of "god" include a supernatural component. There has never been any repeatable, objective evidence of any supernatural phenomenon, and all repeatable, objective observations are consistent with a non-supernatural universe. Therefore, all evidence supports the conclusion that there are no supernatural forces operating in the universe.

Can you tell me what "natural laws\forces" would be in a created universe?

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : clrty


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 33 by subbie, posted 03-05-2011 7:26 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by subbie, posted 03-06-2011 5:33 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 304 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 36 of 42 (607784)
03-06-2011 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by subbie
03-06-2011 5:33 PM


Re: Another alternative course of discussion - why make a decision?
Hi subbie,

Probably not, certainly not if you can't tell me anything about the nature of the supposed creator, or the purpose of creating the universe.

Just raising the question on how one would distinguish a created universe from a not created universe.

As I see it, the created universe would be complete, with all the laws\forces that would govern how everything behaves, they would be what we see as "natural laws\forces" in the world\universe around us, because that is how the universe was made. A well made universe would not need any tinkering.

In this sense, everything would be done by "supernatural laws\forces" and what we interpret as the "natural laws\forces" is just our explanation for how it was done.

So when you say:

There has never been any repeatable, objective evidence of any supernatural phenomenon, and all repeatable, objective observations are consistent with a non-supernatural universe.

... it is that it is consistent with how the world\universe was made, whether natural or supernatural.

In other words, without a basis for comparing a created universe with a not created universe we cannot say that it is one and not the other.

The atheist says that science investigates and finds natural laws that explain how the universe formed. With no god/s interfering and tinkering with things, they should behave\remain a constant explanation (upgraded as more information becomes available).

The deist says that science investigates and finds natural laws that explain how the universe was made. With god/s not interfering and tinkering with things, they should behave\remain a constant explanation (upgraded as more information becomes available).

Whether or not you see supernatural laws\forces, may be a matter of perspective.

I do hope you're not planning a god of the gaps argument here.

Not really ... more of a scientific method approach to god/s:

  1. What would we see if god/s were real?
  2. What would we see if god/s were not real?
  3. How can we tell one from the other?

But I also don't see any big negative issue with what is normally disparaged as "god of the gaps", as I look at it as an approach that is consistent with the scientific method: try various hypothesis and discard what is falsified.

As long as one approaches it with open-minded skepticism, as a personal quest, and willingly discards falsified concepts, rather than clinging fiercely to strongly held beliefs, I personally don't see any problem.

This relates, again, back to the issue of why would anyone need to frame a conclusion on something where there is insufficient information one way or the other, especially when it is not a life-or-death question.

  • Is ignostic the best position (can't make up mind without definition)?
  • Is agnostic the best position (can't make up mind without evidence)?
  • Or is there some reason for reaching a decision?

There is an old "Non-Sequitur" cartoon that I wish I had saved
http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/

It showed a corner with two tables around the corner from each other

One had a banner ...  "ALL YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED" 

The other had a banner  "ALL YOUR ANSWERS QUESTIONED" 

Enjoy.


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 35 by subbie, posted 03-06-2011 5:33 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by subbie, posted 03-06-2011 9:52 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 304 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 38 of 42 (607833)
03-07-2011 11:51 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by subbie
03-06-2011 9:52 PM


Re: Another alternative course of discussion - why make a decision?
Hi subbie, thanks.

This, of course, is nothing more than your personal opinion about how universes ought to be, with no evidence to support it. Perhaps you should question your own answer.

Amusingly, I do. However it is not personal opinion, it is a logical deduction:

If god/s created the universe
then we should see either the hand of god actively manipulating things
or we should see laws\forces put in place so that manipulation is not necessary

We do not see the hand of god actively manipulating things
Therefore, if god/s exist and created the universe, they would have put laws\forces in place to guide the behavior of all things in the universe.

Then you don't understand the "god of the gaps" position. It assumes that a god is responsible for any phenomenon we don't understand, and takes things that we don't understand as evidence of the existence of a god. This seems to be what you are doing; assuming that the existence of an ordered universe is evidence that a god is responsible for the order.

Really? or are you just trying to cram my position into your preconclusion? How does the position that science explains how things work by "natural laws\forces" -- which were put in place by god/s at the formation of the universe -- use god to explain things we do not know?

I have concluded that the complete lack of any reliable evidence for the existence of any gods is a sufficient basis for concluding that there are no gods.

In other words you make the logical fallacy conclusion that the absence of evidence is evidence for absence.

This, of course, is nothing more than your personal opinion about how universes ought to be, with no evidence to support it.

Perhaps you'd like to discuss why Coelacanths cannot exist because evidence of their existence was missing for some 65 million years ... did they spontaneously re-evolve?

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : evidence


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 37 by subbie, posted 03-06-2011 9:52 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by subbie, posted 03-07-2011 6:36 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 304 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 40 of 42 (608755)
03-13-2011 1:18 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by subbie
03-07-2011 6:36 PM


assumptions and logical arguments
Hi subbie,

If god/s created the universe
then we should see either the hand of god actively manipulating things
or we should see laws\forces put in place so that manipulation is not necessary.

Nope, nothing logical there, simply assumptions.

Okay, I'll see if I can make it a little plainer:

If god/s created the universe
then we should either be able to (A) detect them or (B) not detect them ...

  1. If we ARE able to detect them
    then we would see\detect the hand of god/s actively manipulating things (ie acting\being supernatural)

  2. If we are NOT able to detect them
    then we would NOT see\detect the hand of god/s actively manipulating\doing things: everything would appear to operate by "natural laws\forces".

Can you tell me which "natural laws\forces" would exist that would NOT be "put in place" and would NOT be under the control of god/s that created the universe?

I note that in Message 35 you replied:

Can you tell me what "natural laws\forces" would be in a created universe?

Probably not, certainly not if you can't tell me anything about the nature of the supposed creator, or the purpose of creating the universe.

As I stated in Message 36

As I see it, the created universe would be complete, with all the laws\forces that would govern how everything behaves, they would be what we see as "natural laws\forces" in the world\universe around us, because that is how the universe was made. A well made universe would not need any tinkering.

Whatever "laws\forces" exist within the created universe would be ones used ("put in place") by god/s for the created universe. In a created universe, what "laws\forces" you detect would be there as a result of the creation, and they explain how god/s made\make it work, without "see(ing)\detect(ing) the hand of god/s actively manipulating\doing things" ... they appear to be "natural laws\forces" because the hand of god/s is, by premise (B), NOT detected.

You chided me earlier in this thread because you thought I was assuming things about gods, and here you are actually making assumptions about a god.
...
It assumes that god/s put the laws in place.

Yes, the argument assumes that god/s created the universe, that IS the stipulated premise, and then follows that to the logical conclusion.

Are you saying that whatever is created just happens to operate by some previously existing external "natural laws\forces" that somehow exist now within the created universe and that the god/s would be\are absolutely powerless to control, change or modify them to make their creation function?

Can you tell me what "natural laws\forces" would be in a created universe?

Probably not, certainly not if you can't tell me anything about the nature of the supposed creator, or the purpose of creating the universe.

Can you list one?



You might recall that earlier in this thread established a general definition of "evidence."

quote:
Fact X is evidence is support of hypothesis Y if the existence of X makes Y more probable than it would be without. The converse, obviously, would be that fact X is evidence against hypothesis Y if the existence of X makes Y less probable than it would be without. Evidence does not need to conclusively establish or invalidate a hypothesis by itself to be evidence in support of or against a hypothesis.

It seems clear to me that if one looks for some object or entity where one would expect it to be and fails to find it, that makes it more likely that the object or entity does not exist. As you point out, it's possible that further search could reveal the existence of the entity. That, of course, is precisely why I reserve the right to change my position if new evidence comes to light.

If you disagree that not finding something where it's expected to be makes it more likely that it doesn't exist, you need to explain why.

Again, we tried that with the Coelacanths, looking for evidence where we thought it would be, and found no evidence of their existence for a 65 million year period, and then they were only found when people looked in a different place.

You assume that:

  1. that you know where to look,
  2. that you know how to detect god/s,
  3. that you have actually investigated a substantial majority of possible places, and
  4. that no evidence has ever been found by anyone at any time.

I note that in Message 22 you replied:

• If the only means of communication between humans (or any intelligent organism, we don't have to be the "chosen" species) is via religious experiences, where the experience occurs within the mind, then can you suggest some means to test whether this is actually happening or being imagined?

Can we test for imagination versus actual religious experiences?

Nothing comes immediately to mind.

RAZD in reply from msg 23 writes:

I have been unable to develop a reasonable test either, for this or for a number of similar situations:

  • in many religions there are beliefs involving god/s appearing as humans or animals for any number of reasons,
  • many eastern religions believe in enlightenment, which involves a level of understanding universal truths,
  • many religions claim that prayers are means to communicate with god/s, and
  • there are religions (like the Australian Aborigninal's) that believe in dreamtime experiences.

That's four additional ways that various religions have claimed to have a source of knowledge about supernatural beings\entities\etc. -- without actually seeing\experiencing them directly.

It seems to me that if you can't tell whether those experiences are real or imaginary, then you cannot assume that all investigations have come up completely and unequivocally empty-handed. I would agree that they have not been "proven" or validated, but that this does not mean they are invalid or that they should be ignored.

It seems to me that you are assuming that you know a lot more than the actual evidence shows, and that you have not provided any reasonable evidence to show that this implied knowledge is based on anything but your personal assumptions.

Fact X is evidence is support of hypothesis Y if the existence of X makes Y more probable than it would be without.
...
If you disagree that not finding something where it's expected to be makes it more likely that it doesn't exist, you need to explain why.

Notice that in this particular case you do not have any real evidence\argument that your (X) is actually an established FACT, that exists unchangeable, rather that it is an hypothesis that is assumed by you to be true. Thus we see in this case that your conclusion is also your assumed premise: this is begging the question or circular reasoning.

In addition, you are making assumptions that you know enough to judge the probability or likelihood of (Y), based on your opinions, biases and world-view, not on evidence. Without objective empirical evidence to support this position it is logically invalid (see Message 28 purple area, specifically in regard to 6 & likelihood).

What is more likely: that god/s do not exist or that we don't know?

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : end

Edited by RAZD, : clrty


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 39 by subbie, posted 03-07-2011 6:36 PM subbie has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by subbie, posted 03-19-2011 4:47 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 304 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 42 of 42 (615515)
05-13-2011 6:45 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by subbie
03-19-2011 4:47 PM


Re: assumptions and logical arguments
Hi subbie,

I've been busy with new (<1) business, newly bought old (1861) house and old (91) family ... so it's been a while since I had time for this forum.

You are making tacit assumptions about a created universe so that your conception of what a creator would produce is consistent with what we see. If you do not see the error in this process, it's beyond my ability to explain it to you.

I repeat, yes, I am consciously proposing that the premise that god/z create/d everything in the universe means that god/z create/d everything in the universe. This - taken to the utmost logical conclusion - includes creating all the "natural laws" that we see as explanations for HOW things are as they are.

(*)It is a logical conclusion of a creator god/z concept.

For instance if we assume for the sake of argument that the premise that god/z created the universe is true, but that gravity is a natural law that exists independent of god/z, then there are aspects of the universe that god/z did not create, which contradicts the premise of the creator god/z.

As we have specifically taken the premise that god/z created the universe is true for the sake of the argument, then we must conclude that gravity is part of that creation.(/*)

This is NOT to support my concept -- I don't need that, nor am I defending my personal position in this debate.

The purpose of proposing this premise is to show you that you cannot assume that our understanding of HOW things work via what are called "natural laws" do not rule out the possibility that those laws are HOW god/z made\make the world\universe the way they are.

This is in opposition to the conscious premise that no god/z create/d anything means that no god/s create anything in the universe. This - taken to the utmost logical conclusion - includes NOT creating the "natural laws" that we see as explanations for HOW things are as they are.

I'm not saying anything about what a creator might make or what it might be like, because I don't think it's possible to do that without assuming things about the creator.

The point being that if you cannot distinguish a created universe from a non-created universe from the evidence within the universe, including the "natural laws" for HOW things are as they are, then the logical conclusion is that we don't know if it is a created universe or not, and thus that we don't know whether god/z exist or not, and thus that the logical position is necessarily that we don't know -- we don't have enough information to know, enough knowledge to distinguish one from the other.

The agnostic position holds that neither pro nor con are sufficiently demonstrated to make a valid logical conclusion.

The open-minded skeptic position holds that either is possible, but neither is sufficiently supported by objective empirical evidence on which to base a valid logical conclusion.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : HOW

Edited by RAZD, : time

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 41 by subbie, posted 03-19-2011 4:47 PM subbie has not yet responded

  
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