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Author Topic:   I Know That God Does Not Exist
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 46 of 2686 (675492)
10-11-2012 4:14 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Stile
10-11-2012 2:26 PM


I am testing all propositions.

Not all of them are testable.

If we cannot even propose that God exists, then doesn't that make the statement "I know that God does not exist" even stronger?

No, I don't think so.

Do you know another way of knowing things?

I'm fine with your usage.

If there is nothing about God that can be tested or verified, we cannot even propose that He exists. We're just making things up. Why should making things up have the ability to cause doubt on things we know from the data we actually have collected?

Its not that, its that you havn't really collected any of the data you think you have. All you've tested is what people have imagined about it but you haven't ever actually tested it.

Is this similar to imagining the one piece of evidence that would destroy evolution if that piece of evidence was real?

No.

Just because we can phrase a what-if scenario, do you really think it should bear any weght against the things we actually do know?

No. I'm doubting that you know what you think you know.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Stile, posted 10-11-2012 2:26 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by Stile, posted 10-12-2012 8:48 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 47 of 2686 (675493)
10-11-2012 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Straggler
10-11-2012 2:38 PM


Well with all due respect I don't believe you.

I think you and most other theists have a pretty consistent albeit vague idea of what they believe in.

It's something along the lines of a conscious intelligent being who is inherently unable to be investigated or understood by any material means and whose intellect and abilities are so super-human as to be effectively incomprehensible to us necessarily limited mere mortals. This being is generally deemed to be the creator of the universe (and anything else which might exist).

Sure - The details will fluctuate. But that's the core idea. That's the sort of thing we are talking about here.

Am I wrong?

For me personally, yes*, but I think your description can work well for this thread.

*for example:

a conscious intelligent being

That's too anthropomorphised for me.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Straggler, posted 10-11-2012 2:38 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Straggler, posted 10-11-2012 7:09 PM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply
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subbie
Member (Idle past 367 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


(1)
Message 48 of 2686 (675497)
10-11-2012 4:32 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by ringo
10-11-2012 4:10 PM


Re: Neener
subbie writes:

Or do you maintain that we should stay in a constant state of agnosticism about any and all entities that do not exist?

ringo writes:

Yes.

But you don't. You don't actually maintain an agnostic position on the existence of Sherlock Holmes as a real person. You might pretend to for purposes of an academic discussion on the nature of reality and knowledge (and I'm not necessarily saying that such a position isn't defensible), but you know, in your heart of hearts, that he doesn't really exist.


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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 Message 45 by ringo, posted 10-11-2012 4:10 PM ringo has responded

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10327
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 49 of 2686 (675504)
10-11-2012 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by New Cat's Eye
10-11-2012 4:17 PM


In what sense does the thing you believe in qualify as a god?

It sounds more like some mysterious unconscious/mindless "force"....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 4:17 PM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16549
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 50 of 2686 (675521)
10-12-2012 2:06 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by New Cat's Eye
10-11-2012 4:17 PM


quote:

a conscious intelligent being

That's too anthropomorphised for me.


How would something lacking awareness or the capacity for thought qualify as a "god" at all ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 4:17 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-12-2012 10:13 AM PaulK has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 51 of 2686 (675529)
10-12-2012 8:14 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by Modulous
10-11-2012 3:34 PM


Good Summary
Modulous writes:

If I can say I know there is no Santa Claus
If I can say I know there are no fairies
If I can say I know there are no secret CIA bases on the moon controlling our thoughts
Then I say I know there is no God.

That's a nice, succinct summary of my thoughts on the matter.
I suppose I'm just trying to discuss the thought process behind all the "If's" and "Then's" in order to make sure everything lines up and that I understand the foundation.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by Modulous, posted 10-11-2012 3:34 PM Modulous has responded

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 Message 66 by Modulous, posted 10-12-2012 1:39 PM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


(2)
Message 52 of 2686 (675532)
10-12-2012 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by New Cat's Eye
10-11-2012 4:14 PM


Now we don't know simple math?
Catholic Scientist writes:

Stile writes:

I am testing all propositions.


Not all of them are testable.

If they're not testable, then they're not rational propositions.
Irrational propositions are good to think about and even investigate (by those with enough passion to do so)... they may lead to actual rational propositions. But it is an error to think that these should have an impact on the rational conclusion of "I know that God does not exist" which is based on the rational data that we do have.

Catholic Scientist writes:

All you've tested is what people have imagined about it but you haven't ever actually tested it.

When phrased this way, it does seem like you have a point.
However, if I rephrase "what people have imagined about it" to say this:

"All I've tested is the data we've been able to actually collect after looking in all possible search areas...."

It then seems a lot more rational and that we have tested everything we can.

My issue is one of consistency. If I am to take your concerns into account... if I do not say "I know God does not exist" simply because someone has imagined a place where He might exist even though we cannot possibly check that area yet (it is untestable)... then we open a lot of other things into doubt that simply don't make any sense.

No one would ever be able to say that they know anything at all. Even mathematical equations!

Example:

I know that 2 + 2 = 4 because it is based on number theory that has been developed and created by humans and this is true by the axioms and definitions of 2 and 4 and addition.
-But humans are discovering more and more things about math simply be expanding on the basic foundation and taking it into areas that weren't originally thought of before. Isn't it possible that one day someone will use the basic foundation to somehow discover that math undermines itself and that our basic definitions are incorrect and that 2 + 2 doesn't even actually equal 4???
Therefore, you cannot say that you "know" that 2 + 2 = 4!!!!!

If your argument means we also have to acknoweldge that we do not know basic, fundamental, defined-by-us mathematics, is it really an argument you want to be using?

No. I'm doubting that you know what you think you know.

I am under no delusions that what I "know" somehow transforms into some sort of absolute truth or anything.
I have certainly been wrong about many things that I thought I knew. I'm pretty sure every human on the planet (including myself) is wrong about a significant number of things we all think we "know" right now.
This goes back to what I said about it in my first post:

quote:
But how do we *"know"* for sure-sure's and absolute truth's sake?
We don't.
But this is not a problem with "knowing" anything. We can't really ever *"know"* anything, even positive things.
I drove to work today, it would be extremely rational and reasonable for me to say "I know my car is in the parking lot." Of course I don't
*"know"* that as it could have been stolen. But saying so is still rational and reasonable. It is rational and reasonable because it is based upon the data I have found and analyzed. In obtaining new data (say, walking outside and noticing my car is missing), it is rational and reasonable to update my position.

If we're going to use a word like "know" to mean anything, it has to mean something consistent and understandable. To me, it makes sense that to "know" something implies a certain level of rational discrimination.
All I'm saying is that we should stop equivocating on the word "know" when God comes into the picture and treat Him the same as we treat all other aspects of our lives. It's not really all that profound or anything.

Edited by Stile, : Heh... corrected a really funny grammar/spelling error. But I'm not telling you what it was!!!

Edited by Stile, : Structure


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 4:14 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-12-2012 10:10 AM Stile has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


(2)
Message 53 of 2686 (675535)
10-12-2012 9:38 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by ringo
10-11-2012 4:10 PM


Re: Neener
ringo writes:

That could be because his expectations are unrealistic. If he expects to find an elephant in his living room and doesn't, it may be premature to conclude that elephants don't exist. He may need to broaden his scope.

True.
Can you broaden my scope?
We're talking about God existing. So far throughout history we've checked wherever we can when people have made a testable proposal of where God might exist.
If we have checked all testable proposals, wouldn't you say that we have broadened our scope sufficiently to rationally say that "I know God does not exist?"

If you think we should broaden the scope into the realm of untestable, irrational proposals, I will invite you to read my latest response to Catholic Scientist where I've made an attempt to explain why this leads us into the absurd: Message 52.

I think we should maintain a healthy state of agnosticism about things that do exist too.

I agree. And I think I already include this within my definition of "knowing things" from my first post:

quote:
But how do we *"know"* for sure-sure's and absolute truth's sake?
We don't.
But this is not a problem with "knowing" anything. We can't really ever *"know"* anything, even positive things.
I drove to work today, it would be extremely rational and reasonable for me to say "I know my car is in the parking lot." Of course I don't
*"know"* that as it could have been stolen. But saying so is still rational and reasonable. It is rational and reasonable because it is based upon the data I have found and analyzed. In obtaining new data (say, walking outside and noticing my car is missing), it is rational and reasonable to update my position.

The possiblity of being wrong has never stopped humans from saying they know things. Do you know anything? It is only an error if the conflict can be identified from the data we have at the time. Again, anything else leads us into the absurd as I attempt to explain in Message 52.

Edited by Stile, : Structure


This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by ringo, posted 10-11-2012 4:10 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by ringo, posted 10-12-2012 2:50 PM Stile has responded

  
1.61803
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 54 of 2686 (675536)
10-12-2012 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by Stile
10-11-2012 1:04 PM


Re: Argument from data
Hi Stile,

I agree that you have a case to make a statement that you know God does not exist, for all the reason you site.

Your thought experiment on birds is a good example of why arguments of incredulity and ignorance are illogical and fallacious.

If I set a piece of meat down and say it will putrefy because there are invisible creatures in the air that will colonize in the meat and cause it to spoil. If I give you no means to confirm this you could say, "that is ludicrous."

Just because something on its face seems ludicrous does not mean it is not true.

How many times has the impossible and improbable become fact?
Think how far humanity has come from throwing rocks at the moon to actually setting foot upon it. If I told you as a paleolithic Indian that it is possible to go to the moon you'd howl just as loud as the coyotes.

So how long did it take? How much to we know now in comparison to what we did in years past? Are we at the limits of human knowledge? The thing some theist worship could be some super advanced intelligent alien race. A aphid on my tomato plant could never know what my Iphone is. What if we are like a aphid on a plant, ignorant to the multitude of complex technology beyond our sensory perception and even frame of reference.

I agree, the mythological gods/ God, orbiting teapots, spaghetti monster don't exist.
I know this too.

We may not know what God is yet.


"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:
 Message 28 by Stile, posted 10-11-2012 1:04 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by Stile, posted 10-12-2012 10:03 AM 1.61803 has acknowledged this reply

  
1.61803
Member (Idle past 128 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 55 of 2686 (675540)
10-12-2012 10:02 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Straggler
10-11-2012 10:13 AM


Re: Knowledge
Anything else?
The sum of one added to one equals two.

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

The ideal gas law, cellular respiration, the Kreb cycle, take your pick.

"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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Stile
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 56 of 2686 (675541)
10-12-2012 10:03 AM
Reply to: Message 54 by 1.61803
10-12-2012 9:39 AM


Re: Argument from data
1.61803 writes:

A aphid on my tomato plant could never know what my Iphone is. What if we are like a aphid on a plant, ignorant to the multitude of complex technology beyond our sensory perception and even frame of reference.

I agree that this is a significant issue.

This is why a degree of tentativity is included in my definition of "knowing things" as well as the everyday usage of the word:

quote:
But how do we *"know"* for sure-sure's and absolute truth's sake?
We don't.
But this is not a problem with "knowing" anything. We can't really ever *"know"* anything, even positive things.
I drove to work today, it would be extremely rational and reasonable for me to say "I know my car is in the parking lot." Of course I don't
*"know"* that as it could have been stolen. But saying so is still rational and reasonable. It is rational and reasonable because it is based upon the data I have found and analyzed. In obtaining new data (say, walking outside and noticing my car is missing), it is rational and reasonable to update my position.
Message 1

But, if we allow these unsubstantiated, irrational* "what if's" to influence what it is we know, then we are left dwelling within the absurd where we don't even know that basic mathematics are correct. And we defined those ourselves! I attempted to explain my thoughts behind this already to Catholic Scientist in Message 52

* - by 'irrational' here, I mean that yes this may be "possible" but there isn't any actual data that suggests it could be a real possibility.

How many times has the impossible and improbable become fact?
Think how far humanity has come from throwing rocks at the moon to actually setting foot upon it. If I told you as a paleolithic Indian that it is possible to go to the moon you'd howl just as loud as the coyotes.

I agree that irrational propositions can sometimes serve a purpose in expanding our knowledge into areas where rational data actually can be obtained. And I encourage such things to be investigated by those with the passion to do so. I know that I don't want to waste my time investigating all irrational things people can imagine... but I have no problems with others doing so... and if they do actually find some rational data... then I suggest we start to take more serious focus of the subject.

But I think it is an error to take this idea and then use it to say that it should have an effect on how we "know things" as it can easily lead us into the absurd as well as waste a lot of time. If we focus on investigating irrational propositions over rational ones... we learn very quickly that the majority of irrational propositions are useless dead ends.

We may not know what God is yet.

I agree.
I still know that He doesn't exist, though


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by 1.61803, posted 10-12-2012 9:39 AM 1.61803 has acknowledged this reply

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 57 of 2686 (675542)
10-12-2012 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by Stile
10-12-2012 8:48 AM


Re: Now we don't know simple math?
If they're not testable, then they're not rational propositions.

Sure. But them being irrational doesn't necessitate your's being rational.

But it is an error to think that these should have an impact on the rational conclusion of "I know that God does not exist" which is based on the rational data that we do have.

I don't think you've shown that your position is rational yet.

When phrased this way, it does seem like you have a point.
However, if I rephrase "what people have imagined about it" to say this:

"All I've tested is the data we've been able to actually collect after looking in all possible search areas...."

It then seems a lot more rational and that we have tested everything we can.

Okay, but you're assuming that what people have imagined about it is actually a search area. You're not distinguishing between that and them being wrong. Before you said:

quote:
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.

So, take a culture that worships the sun as a god. Well, there is a sun up there. Is it a god? How do you test that?

My issue is one of consistency. If I am to take your concerns into account... if I do not say "I know God does not exist" simply because someone has imagined a place where He might exist even though we cannot possibly check that area yet

That's not what I mean. I'm just saying that you've never actually tested for a god, all you've tested is what people have told you they believe about a god. You're conclusion would be that you know that people are wrong about what they believe about the god.

I am under no delusions that what I "know" somehow transforms into some sort of absolute truth or anything.
I have certainly been wrong about many things that I thought I knew. I'm pretty sure every human on the planet (including myself) is wrong about a significant number of things we all think we "know" right now.
This goes back to what I said about it in my first post:

Okay, so back to our cars in the parking lots. I know my car is out there. That's fine. But in order to establish that my car is out there, I'd have to get up and go look.

If I haven't established it, and somebody says that its not out there, I'd probably react and go look. If I'm standing there looking at it, i.e. its established, and somebody tells me that its not out there, then I'll just roll my eyes.

So when you're saying that you know that god doesn't exist, its not in a way that you've actually established anything.

I don't really have a problem with that. But you did say you wanted to defend, so I'm just providing you with some offense


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by Stile, posted 10-12-2012 8:48 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by Stile, posted 10-12-2012 10:33 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 58 of 2686 (675543)
10-12-2012 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by PaulK
10-12-2012 2:06 AM


quote:

a conscious intelligent being

That's too anthropomorphised for me.

How would something lacking awareness or the capacity for thought qualify as a "god" at all ?

I'm not specifiying that it lacks those things. Its just that we tend to think of things in human terms. Do you think God would have a brain that is made of cells and blood n'stuff? Seems dubious.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by PaulK, posted 10-12-2012 2:06 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 59 by PaulK, posted 10-12-2012 10:26 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16549
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 59 of 2686 (675544)
10-12-2012 10:26 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by New Cat's Eye
10-12-2012 10:13 AM


quote:

I'm not specifiying that it lacks those things.

But that is what "conscious" and "intelligent" mean, and you objected to that description.

quote:

Its just that we tend to think of things in human terms. Do you think God would have a brain that is made of cells and blood n'stuff? Seems dubious

Neither "conscious" nor "intelligent" say anything about having a physical brain, in themselves. Most Dualists assume that it is perfectly possible to be conscious and intelligent without a brain - often going to the extent of claiming that the brain is only a "receiver" and that consciousness and intelligence reside in the "transmitting" entity.


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 Message 58 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-12-2012 10:13 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 60 of 2686 (675546)
10-12-2012 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by New Cat's Eye
10-12-2012 10:10 AM


Thanks for all the fish
Catholic Scientist writes:

So, take a culture that worships the sun as a god. Well, there is a sun up there. Is it a god? How do you test that?

I wouldn't test it at all. I would leave it up to anyone who wants to define the word "God" to be "the sun."

If we are going to define God to be the sun, then I would retract my statement. I can no longer say that I know God does not exist because the sun does exist and God is a bunch of chemical reactions in a ball of flaming gas that most certainly does exist.

I would be wrong... and the search for God would be over.

However, if someone does not accept such a definition and thinks that God is something more than the sun, something more along the lines of the popular definition of our times... then my statement still stands. I know that God does not exist.

I'm just saying that you've never actually tested for a god, all you've tested is what people have told you they believe about a god.

What more can be done?
I think that your statement here still comes back around to making an irrational claim that I havn't tested for "a god" that you have yet to define... which leads us again into the absurd.

So when you're saying that you know that god doesn't exist, its not in a way that you've actually established anything.

Except that we have established it for all the places we are able to possibly check. How can we rationally expect anything more?

I don't really have a problem with that. But you did say you wanted to defend, so I'm just providing you with some offense

I thank you very much for your replies. I wasn't sure how my stance would stand up to this kind of scrutiny.
I think it does stand up, although it does hinge very much on a strict defintion of "how we know things" which comes from holding a personal priority on rationality and epistemology. (And honesty... but honesty is kind of assumed as a priority in any sort of academic thought experiment, I would think?)

I do agree that if those things are not a personal priority, then my position is not a requirement.
I also agree that if we do not remember the tentativity and non-absolute-truth-ideal that is included when "knowing things" then my statement is easily taken out of context and can seem like it's overstepping it's boundaries.

I just think that my statement does rationally flow from the definitions I've provided.
I also think that the definitions I've provided do match the general usage of "knowing things" that we use everyday.
And I think that those who deny that my statement is acceptable are simply equivocating on the term "know" so that it means some sort of absolute-truth-sense for this statement... but those same people do understand that the term "know" does not include that same absolute-truth-sense when they use it in every day language for other non-God ideas.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-12-2012 10:10 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-12-2012 10:58 AM Stile has responded

  
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