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Author Topic:   I Know That God Does Not Exist
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2926
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 16 of 2312 (675425)
10-11-2012 9:58 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by Straggler
10-11-2012 9:42 AM


Re: Knowledge
Hi Straggler, I do think scientific knowledge is possible. In fact I believe it is a superior way to obtain knowledge.

As far as what do I know?
I feel that Rene Descartes said it best.

"Congito ergo sum."


"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Straggler, posted 10-11-2012 10:13 AM 1.61803 has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 17 of 2312 (675428)
10-11-2012 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by 1.61803
10-11-2012 9:58 AM


Re: Knowledge
Straggler writes:

Can you tell us something you do know? Something based on evidence rather than deductive definitions.

Numbers writes:

"Congito ergo sum."

Anything else?

Numbers writes:

Hi Straggler, I do think scientific knowledge is possible.

Then an example of such would be helpful....


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Son Goku
Member
Posts: 1153
From: Ireland
Joined: 07-16-2005


Message 18 of 2312 (675429)
10-11-2012 10:17 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by crashfrog
10-11-2012 9:08 AM


Re: God
Eh. You could support the possibility of such a figure,.....

Sorry, yes. I should phrase it as:
One could make an argument that a Platonic featureless God is a possibility, without there being directly contradictory evidence. This is in contrast to most explicit gods of human cultures where even this much would not be possible.

but to claim anything about it, including its existence, would be to claim knowledge that you've just said that you cannot by definition have.

Did I say this? I didn't mean to give that impression if I did, not that I would disagree though.

Edited by Son Goku, : Additional word.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 2312 (675431)
10-11-2012 10:45 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
10-10-2012 2:27 PM


I would like to attempt a defense for the position that I know that God does not exist.

As it sits, that statement doesn't tell me very much. What do you mean by "God"?

I think the more specific and discrete you get about gods, the more confident you can get about them not existing. As you approach the other end, where God becomes more abstract, your confidence in any position towards it approaches zero.

Therefore, I know that God does not exist.
I, and many other people, have looked for where God is proposed to exist for almost the entirety of human history.

How are you determining the difference between God not existing and those propositions being wrong about God?

What data have you found and analyzed that wasn't just something that someone imagined about God?

Therefore, after obtaining the data and analyzing it, my position is that I know that God does not exist.

I suppose it could be rational for you to have become convinced that the concept that you invoke with the word God does not exist, and therefore know that it doesn't. But I don't think that tells us much about whether God really exists or not.

Is there any being(s) that is a "higher power" than humans that they could cause them to believe that a God exists?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Stile, posted 10-10-2012 2:27 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 3863
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


(1)
Message 20 of 2312 (675433)
10-11-2012 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Thugpreacha
10-10-2012 5:30 PM


Rationality and Data
Phat writes:

Hi Stile! You are one of my favorite opponents, since we rarely agree and yet are so polite to each other!

Opponents? I like to think that we're actually working together, just from different sides.
But don't tell the rest of the guys on my football team, they might think I'm weak or something...

So by the definition of knowing, what you mean is that through all logic, rationality, and reasonableness you know that God does not exist...right?

Almost. I would simply add that the logic and rationality must be based on the data that we are able to obtain. Just using logic and rationality alone can lead to some very crazy conclusions. If it cannot relate to the data we have, then it is useless.

My only comment would be that just because one guy knows something does not lead to the logical presupposition that everyone knows it.

A good point.
Many people still do not know that the earth revolves around the sun.
I am saying that the statement "I know that God does not exist" is equivalent to the statement "I know that drinking water is good for us."
Lots of people can disagree if they'd like... but they are both based on all the data that we have available to us.

I cannot counter it with the idea that I know that God exists. All I can say is that I believe that God exists.

I agree. I think it would be irrational to say "I know that God exists" because there is no data available to us to suggest such a thing. I would not attempt to dissuade you of your belief in God, as I don't think it is detrimental to you, and you seem to understand the difference between basing ideas on accumulated data vs. basing ideas on subjective thoughts.

My point is to use the phrase "I know that God does not exist" as a rebuttle to someone implying that atheists are religious because they "believe in no gods." I do not intend the phrase to be spouted off in public. Although such a thing may be "not rationally wrong"... I would consider it rude (at a minimum).

I should also state that I think the statement "I know that God does not exist" is on the equivalent important epiphany level as the statement "I know my parents exist." ...big deal. As far as general public conversation is concerned, anyway. Here, obviously, such things are focused on a bit more.

In the case of God, we don't really have a consensus on what this Being is supposed to do, nor where He/She/It resides. Thus, I would argue that the claim is more difficult than the Santa Claus one.

I agree as long as we add "In the case of God as proposed by Phat..."
This is important, because there certainly are people proposing God such as one that is in specific places and doing specific things. And, wherever such claims are testable, we find that the results are no different than if such a God did not exist.

Is it possible that some people know differently than other people

It is certainly possible that some people know differently than other people.
In fact, it's likely a certainty.
The way I've framed it, knowledge is based on the data we've obtained.
No single person has obtained *all data* that humans have obtained throughout history, that's simply impossible.
Therefore, it is expected that different people "know" different things based on the different data sets they have available to them.
However, when two (or more) of these people get together and focus their efforts on a single idea... the resulting pool of data will only have one conclusion that can be "known" to those who are aware of it.

must we assign everyone a demand to adhere to the evidence apart from their own subjective musings?

I would never demand that people adhere to my method of knowing things.
I would, however, challenge people that if they find rationality and honesty to be priorities... then they must agree with my methodology. Or, at least, show me my rational, honest mistakes so that we can come to a rational, honest conclusion of the available data.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 2312 (675434)
10-11-2012 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by crashfrog
10-11-2012 9:04 AM


Trust me, there's no evidence whatsoever for the proposition that a herd of elephants is not stampeding through your living room besides the complete lack of evidence that they are.

Wait. What about being able to see to the other side of the room unblocked by any elephants, and that the floor is still holding up, and that the room still smells like the candle from yesterday, and that you can still hear the TV from the other room. All of that is evidence that there is not a herd of elephants stampeding through the living room; you don't have an absence of evidence.


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Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 3863
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 22 of 2312 (675438)
10-11-2012 11:02 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by 1.61803
10-10-2012 5:42 PM


Argument from data
1.61803 writes:

Is this not a fallacious argument from ignorance and incredulity?

I don't know. I don't think so. Can you explain why you think it might be?
I am not basing the argument on data I don't have... though. In fact, it's just the opposite, I'm basing this argument directly from data we do have.

If you think it is fallacious, can you explain how the statement "I know that Sharkfin soup does not exist on McDonald's menu" is fallacious in the same way?
I tried very hard to base both statements on the same flow of rational thought, that's why the example was in my original post.

A undifferentiated, manifested reality of being itself. Is one way it was explained to me.

How can it manifest itself if it is undifferentiated? Sounds like a direct conflict to me, like an oxymoron.
An idea that conflicts itself is not a rational idea.
An idea that is not rational cannot be examined critically.
If something cannot be examined critically, there is no data to speak of.
If there is no data, and if I know things "based on the data I have obtained" (how else can you possibly know something?) then obviously, I know that it "does not exist."

I could be wrong, of course. But only future data will show that to be true or not.
The possibility of being wrong is included with anything and everything that anyone "knows"... so, again, this is not a problem with my methodology.

Edited by Stile, : I'll spell argument correctly if it's the last thing I do!


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Replies to this message:
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subbie
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 23 of 2312 (675440)
10-11-2012 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by New Cat's Eye
10-11-2012 10:45 AM


To a degree you have a point. Without some kind of definition of God, it is quite difficult to determine whether the evidence that we have supports the nonexistence of God.

It seems to me that virtually every description/definition of God that any culture has devised contains at least one item in common, some degree of supernaturality, either in the nature of God's being or in the things that he does, or both. If this is true (and I invite anyone to correct me if I'm in error), then the complete lack of any evidence anywhere of any type of supernaturalness, and the complete consistency of all evidence that shows the world is governed by natural laws, without exception, strongly support Stile's position.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

Howling about evidence is a conversation stopper, and it never stops to think if the claim could possibly be true -- foreveryoung


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1.61803
Member
Posts: 2926
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 24 of 2312 (675441)
10-11-2012 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Stile
10-11-2012 11:02 AM


Re: Argument from data
Stile writes:

I don't know. I don't think so. Can you explain why you think it might be?

Hi Stile,
I agree that argument from data is a good one. But lack of data, does that mean the data does not exist?

I say again that it is reasonable to conclude the non existence of God, but to claim knowledge of such sets up a false dichotomy perhaps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance
If a proposition has not been disproven, then it cannot be considered false and must therefore be considered true.
If a proposition has not been proven, then it cannot be considered true and must therefore be considered false.

http://en.wikipedia.org/...incredulity.2FLack_of_imagination

Arguments from incredulity take the form:
P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.
I cannot imagine how P could possibly be false; therefore P must be true.


"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(2)
Message 25 of 2312 (675444)
10-11-2012 12:22 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by New Cat's Eye
10-11-2012 10:45 AM


CS writes:

What do you mean by "God"?

You have said previously that you are convinced such things exist. So you tell me – What is it you are convinced of the existence of?

CS writes:

I think the more specific and discrete you get about gods, the more confident you can get about them not existing. As you approach the other end, where God becomes more abstract, your confidence in any position towards it approaches zero.

Except that there comes a point of ambiguity well before zero where the thing under discussion cannot any longer meaningfully be called a “god”.

If you ask an atheist whether he believes that reality contains “unknowns” I expect you’ll find widespread agreement that there are all sorts of unknown (and quite possibly unknowable) phenomena out there. But when you start applying attributes like supernaturality, consciousness, intelligence, creativity, omnipotence, omniscience etc. etc. to these “unknowns” the atheist will role his eyes and point out that you are just inventing anthropomorphic-super-beings in the way that so many have unsuccessfully done before you.

It seems that many theists want to take the idea of “unknowns”, impose their personal beliefs on top and then blur the distinction between the two in order to defend their beliefs from critical analysis.

Either that or you literally have not the foggiest idea as to what it is you believe in…….


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ringo
Member
Posts: 17665
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 26 of 2312 (675445)
10-11-2012 12:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
10-10-2012 2:27 PM


Stile writes:

I, and many other people, have looked for where God is proposed to exist for almost the entirety of human history. It is possible that "God's existance" is the most looked for thing ever. But no data has ever been obtained that indicates God's existance.


This strikes me as more of a talking point than an actual argument. You're sitting back with your arms folded and demanding, "Show me the evidence." If there is no evidence forthcoming, you claim victory. It may be technically valid but it's weak.

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Stile
Member
Posts: 3863
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 27 of 2312 (675450)
10-11-2012 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by New Cat's Eye
10-11-2012 10:45 AM


Catholic Scientist writes:

How are you determining the difference between God not existing and those propositions being wrong about God?

By checking all the propositions, then it doesn't matter if the propositions are correct or not, any correct ones will be checked.
If all propositions are wrong, and no correct propositions exist... then there is no data to evaluate and no claim exists.

Sure, one can say "Hey, you haven't tested for this God that is untestable so you don't know if He exists or not!"
But, such a thing is also irrational.
This methodology is based upon a rational and honest framework.

If you can show me how investigation into a phenomenon for which there is no data indicating it's possible existance in the first place is rational... then I agree you have a point. Without doing so, I think that you do not have a point.

What data have you found and analyzed that wasn't just something that someone imagined about God?

None. That's why it's rational to state "I know that God doesn't exist."

I suppose it could be rational for you to have become convinced that the concept that you invoke with the word God does not exist, and therefore know that it doesn't. But I don't think that tells us much about whether God really exists or not.

Now... which God are you talking about? One that has no data indicating that He actually exists in the first place? Or do you have a rational proposal for us to investigate?

Is there any being(s) that is a "higher power" than humans that they could cause them to believe that a God exists?

"Is there...?" No. This is what I mean when I say I know that God doesn't exist.
"Can there be...?" Sure.
If we tested the sun being pulled across the sky and found there actually is a chariot doing so - I would be wrong.
If we tested for a world-wide flood and found there was one consistent with the biblical story - I would be wrong.
If we tested prayer groups and those that were prayed for consistently did fare better than those that did not - I would be wrong.
If we tested blood coming from statues and actually found real blood being produced from stone - I would be wrong.
If we tested the levels of happiness/peace from those that worship God vs. atheists and found that they consistently fare better - I would be wrong.

You are free to develop more tests, even.

quote:
How do we "know" things?
We first start with the assumption that it is possible for us to know anything about the existance we find ourselves in.
We then take what data we can find and analyze it.

Rational expansion of our knowledge begins with the data we have and moves from there.
It is irrational to expand our knowledge beginning with an idea that does not have any data indicating that it could possibly be there.
Such an irrational expansion may possibly lead to new knowledge (it's happened before). But it doesn't change what we know until actual data is found and analyzed. Therefore, before new data is found, it remains irrational and therefore is not a rational argument for the statement "I know that God does not exist" which is rationally based on the data we do have.

Edited by Stile, : YOU provide reason for edit here.


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Stile
Member
Posts: 3863
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


(1)
Message 28 of 2312 (675453)
10-11-2012 1:04 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by 1.61803
10-11-2012 11:47 AM


Re: Argument from data
I tried to flesh out my thoughts on the idea of knowing something when no data is available in Message 27, maybe you can reply to that?

It's basically saying that a claim to the existance of something when that something is not defined in the firstplace... is irrational and therefore discarded. Also saying that it is rational to only consider claims of existance for things if that thing can be defined... which seems like "the way it should be" to me anyway?

Arguments from incredulity take the form:
P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.
I cannot imagine how P could possibly be false; therefore P must be true.

I'll reword this to say:

P is too incredible (or: I cannot understand how P could possibly be true from the data I have); therefore P must be false.

And I agree that my argument looks very much like an Argument from Incredulity.
...but I don't think it is

Let me try to explain the difference and see what you think:

Let's say I have some data showing that the only birds in existance are penguins and ostriches. (It's a weird example, but please play along with me... maybe I live in some manufactured zoo in some evil experiment on social studies or something...)
If I have no knowledge of flying birds, and all my data indicates that birds exist, and they have wings, but they do not fly...
I believe it is rational to state "I know that birds that fly do not exist." Would you agree? Or do you disagree at this point, even?

Consideration #1 - Argument from Incredulity:
Now, let's say that someone comes into my compound and says "Birds that fly do exist, they just do not live here."
I ask for pictures, and they show me robins and eagles.
I ask for bones and they show me bones of robins and eagles.
I ask why they do not live in here, and they explain that I live in a wacko-compound where access is extremely limited and flying birds are not allowed in. But the government is working on freeing me.
I ask how they connect with penguins and ostriches and they explain the theory of evolution and how they have a common ancestor.
I continue to state "I know that birds that fly do not exist."
I now have an Argument from Incredulity fallacy. I do not believe that the birds actually fly because I think I'm being fed a load of bullshit that sounds too over-the-top and it's just not possible.

Consideration #2 - Not an Argument from Incredulity:
Now, let's say that someone comes into my compound and says "Birds that fly do exist, they just do not live here."
I ask for pictures, and they don't show me any.
I ask for bones and they don't show me any.
I ask why they do not live in here, and they don't reply.
I ask how they connect with penguins and ostriches and they do not reply.
I continue to state "I know that birds that fly do not exist."
Is this still an argument from incredulity? Or is it logically valid to stick with the same conclusion because no actual new data has actually been provided?

Obviously, I think that my argument falls into the category of Consideration #2. Do you think otherwise?

Can anyone say anything to anybody, and if you do not doubt, then you are Arguing from Incredulity and should consider yourself "wrong" or irrational?
I think that seems... ridiculous.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by 1.61803, posted 10-11-2012 11:47 AM 1.61803 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by jar, posted 10-11-2012 1:38 PM Stile has responded
 Message 54 by 1.61803, posted 10-12-2012 9:39 AM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3863
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 29 of 2312 (675454)
10-11-2012 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by ringo
10-11-2012 12:25 PM


Neener
ringo writes:

You're sitting back with your arms folded and demanding, "Show me the evidence." If there is no evidence forthcoming, you claim victory.

I wouldn't quite put it like that. But, yes, I guess so. Can you suggest a better way to "know" things?

If there is no evidence forthcoming, you claim victory. It may be technically valid but it's weak.

I suppose that it's really just formalizing the following argument:

You have no problem saying "I know that fairies do not exist."
You have no problem saying "I know that the Loch Ness monster does not exist."
But, given similar data sets and knowledge about God, you have an issue saying "I know that God does not exist."

I'm just highlighting it, and having the same discussion again. Seemed like it had been a while and I thought I had a slightly different spin.

The little kid part of me, that's not quite-so-little, thinks you're just jealous 'cause you didn't think of it


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jar
Member
Posts: 31766
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


(2)
Message 30 of 2312 (675455)
10-11-2012 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Stile
10-11-2012 1:04 PM


Re: Argument from data
I would tend to agree with you that your position is the reasonable, rational and logical position.

I happen to believe otherwise but certainly realize that my beliefs are unreasonable, irrational and illogical.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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