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Author Topic:   I Know That God Does Not Exist
ringo
Member
Posts: 16827
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


(2)
Message 91 of 1329 (675690)
10-14-2012 5:52 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Tangle
10-14-2012 5:41 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
Tangle writes:

If you've taken every feasible effort to establish evidence of presence, if it's not found, then it IS evidence of absence.


The operative phrase there is "every feasible effort". As I mentioned earlier, evidence that there is no elephant in your living room says nothing about the overall existence of elephants. Evidence that there are no snakes in your garden says nothing about the overall existence of snakes. And evidence that there are no gods anywhere that we have looked says nothing about the overall existence of gods.

Creationists use the same argument as the OP: Nothing we have tried has produced life in the lab, therefore they "know" that life can not arise by natural means. I don't like it when they use it and I don't like it when you use it either.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Tangle, posted 10-14-2012 5:41 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by Tangle, posted 10-14-2012 6:59 PM ringo has responded
 Message 103 by Straggler, posted 10-15-2012 2:42 PM ringo has responded
 Message 104 by Stile, posted 10-15-2012 3:00 PM ringo has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6951
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 92 of 1329 (675692)
10-14-2012 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by ringo
10-14-2012 5:52 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
ringo writes:

I don't like it when they use it and I don't like it when you use it either.

You may not like it, but the dog bites both ankles.

My parameters were marked, the question was whether there where snakes in my garden, not the world or cosmos. Being unable to find snakes in my garden despite using all possible efforts, is evidence of absence - in my garden. That can not be in doubt.

So abiogenesis. Does the same logic work? I'd say it does. Science's inability to show how life might have started is absence of evidence that speaks to evidence of absence. But it's as limited as the snakes not being in my garden.

Does it apply to god? I think so but maybe it's stronger evidence - we have, after all, been looking everywhere we can think of for thousands of years. It's not proof but it IS evidence of absence.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by ringo, posted 10-14-2012 5:52 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by TrueCreation, posted 10-15-2012 3:59 AM Tangle has responded
 Message 118 by ringo, posted 10-16-2012 12:22 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
TrueCreation
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 93 of 1329 (675706)
10-15-2012 3:59 AM
Reply to: Message 92 by Tangle
10-14-2012 6:59 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
quote:
You may not like it, but the dog bites both ankles.

My parameters were marked, the question was whether there where snakes in my garden, not the world or cosmos. Being unable to find snakes in my garden despite using all possible efforts, is evidence of absence - in my garden. That can not be in doubt.

So abiogenesis. Does the same logic work? I'd say it does. Science's inability to show how life might have started is absence of evidence that speaks to evidence of absence. But it's as limited as the snakes not being in my garden.

Does it apply to god? I think so but maybe it's stronger evidence - we have, after all, been looking everywhere we can think of for thousands of years. It's not proof but it IS evidence of absence.



Much of the heuristic power of science is owed to the fact that it recognizes how intellectually flaccid this type of reasoning is. In order for a hypothesis to be tested, scientific or not, you must demonstrate that an observation follows from that hypothesis being true. Confirmation of the hypothesis is then merely proportional to how confident you can be that your observation statements are true.

The problem with god is that you invariably fail step 1: no one can demonstrate that an observation necessarily follows from the hypothesis that god exists. In fact, the idea is paradoxical on a basic level since it is possible to suggest that such observations might include the existence of life, the universe, or any other such problem on the fingertips of science. So ignorance suggests god exists and ignorance suggests god doesn't exist. This is below serious consideration for the same reason the intelligent design pseudotheory is.

There are only two workarounds: (a) Either unnecessary but sufficient observations can be found such as a pulsar pumping out morse code indicating supernatural causation (this is Monton's example: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/2592/) or (b) invent a characterization of god whose existence necessitates certain observations.

The first would be an outright "super-scientific" proof (in other words, truth depends not on evidence or testing, but confidence that what is observed is not simply illusory), but this is just fantasy. The second shows us that it may be possible to take advantage of the fixity of history and demonstrate falsity of at least once case using logic, but lo, here comes the theologian to ascend Mt. Ignorance, stake his flag, and beam confidence in face of yon horizon.

Edited by TrueCreation, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by Tangle, posted 10-14-2012 6:59 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by Tangle, posted 10-15-2012 4:29 AM TrueCreation has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6951
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 5.1


(1)
Message 94 of 1329 (675707)
10-15-2012 4:29 AM
Reply to: Message 93 by TrueCreation
10-15-2012 3:59 AM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
TrueCreation writes:

In order for a hypothesis to be tested, scientific or not, you must demonstrate that an observation follows from that hypothesis being true. Confirmation of the hypothesis is then merely proportional to how confident you can be that your observation statements are true.

Hypothesis: There are no snakes in my garden.
Test: Strip the land bare to rock and look.
Outcome: No snakes found
Conclusion: There are no snakes in my garden

Hypothesis: There is no god
Test: Look for any evidence of the supernatural
Outcome: Haven't seen anything supernatural yet. Test continues.
Conclusion: Not yet proven, but it's looking more likely to be true than not. (ie the absence of evidence is building towards evidence of absence.)

And yes, you can quibble that we can't define 'god' like we can define 'snake' but I'm not particularly interested in semantic argument - most people understand what the term 'god' means in common usage and would expect to recognise one should it turn up.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by TrueCreation, posted 10-15-2012 3:59 AM TrueCreation has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 95 by TrueCreation, posted 10-15-2012 5:42 AM Tangle has responded

  
TrueCreation
Inactive Member


Message 95 of 1329 (675710)
10-15-2012 5:42 AM
Reply to: Message 94 by Tangle
10-15-2012 4:29 AM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
quote:
Hypothesis: There is no god
Test: Look for any evidence of the supernatural
Outcome: Haven't seen anything supernatural yet. Test continues.
Conclusion: Not yet proven, but it's looking more likely to be true than not. (ie the absence of evidence is building towards evidence of absence.)

You're not taking seriously my suggestion that "no one can demonstrate that an observation necessarily follows from the hypothesis that god exists." This should be fully realized when you consider that even if you could explore all corners of the universe it remains conceivable that no evidence should be found that god exists since it is conceivable that no property of the universe uniquely implicates divine agency. Accordingly, it cannot be demonstrated that probabilistic inferences contain epistemic information on this matter. As I said, this type of testing is only useful if you happen to find a sufficient circumstantial proof or if you consider a specific notion of god. Moreover, for the latter case, to then claim that you have knowledge about whether or not god exists you must demonstrate that that notion of god is all that can exist.

quote:
And yes, you can quibble that we can't define 'god' like we can define 'snake' but I'm not particularly interested in semantic argument - most people understand what the term 'god' means in common usage and would expect to recognise one should it turn up.

It is not a semantic quibble, it is a necessary condition to make the sorts of general statements the OP wants to make. In addition, you can't simply relegate to what "most people understand what the term 'god' means" unless that is just code for doing exactly what I just said will not lead you to the general claim that there is no god (ie, testing specific notions of god).
This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Tangle, posted 10-15-2012 4:29 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Tangle, posted 10-15-2012 6:12 AM TrueCreation has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6951
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 96 of 1329 (675711)
10-15-2012 6:12 AM
Reply to: Message 95 by TrueCreation
10-15-2012 5:42 AM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
TrueCreation writes:

You're not taking seriously my suggestion that "no one can demonstrate that an observation necessarily follows from the hypothesis that god exists."

Your suggestion is being taken seriously, it's a very obvious qualification. However, I'm ignoring it because it's not relevant - I'm making a very narrow point about absence of evidence. For the moment, I'm not concerned about Gods that might exist beyond our powers to find evidence for them.

It is not a semantic quibble, it is a necessary condition to make the sorts of general statements the OP wants to make. In addition, you can't simply relegate to what "most people understand what the term 'god' means" unless that is just code for doing exactly what I just said will not lead you to the general claim that there is no god (ie, testing specific notions of god).

Most people, when talking about God, have a particular version in mind. The fact that there is no evidence for any of their versions is evidence for their absence.

That's as far as my little foray allows. The fact that you can define away a god so as to put it beyond the normal rules of evidence is interesting but irrelevant to my argument.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by TrueCreation, posted 10-15-2012 5:42 AM TrueCreation has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by TrueCreation, posted 10-15-2012 7:11 AM Tangle has not yet responded

  
TrueCreation
Inactive Member


Message 97 of 1329 (675716)
10-15-2012 7:11 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by Tangle
10-15-2012 6:12 AM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
quote:
Your suggestion is being taken seriously, it's a very obvious qualification. However, I'm ignoring it because it's not relevant - I'm making a very narrow point about absence of evidence. For the moment, I'm not concerned about Gods that might exist beyond our powers to find evidence for them.

Then you are not interested in affirming the statement that god does not exist. You must be interested in affirming another sort of statement.

quote:
Most people, when talking about God, have a particular version in mind. The fact that there is no evidence for any of their versions is evidence for their absence.

This is a mistake. The fact that one has no evidence for a conjecture is only a demonstration that it is conjecture. A problem is that an absence of evidence doesn't denote anything about efforts exhausted to find evidence. Even more problematic, however, is that the statement of an absence of evidence seems to connote that such efforts have been sufficiently exhaustive to say something about the likelihood of absence. My point has been that this cannot necessarily be done because it is impossible to know what necessary observation demonstrates existence. The only way this can be attempted is if you test specific versions, and that ultimately these tests don't, or only rarely, succeed in demonstrating proofs.

Nevertheless, I feel that the OP's argument is not only logically mistaken but is also misguided. It is precisely this type of reasoning which scientific method has saved us from--we have learned to dismiss the idea that ignorance is meaningful. Arguments on the matter of god's existence should focus on demonstrations of absurdity and epistemic uselessness rather than audacious attempts at falsification.

Edited by TrueCreation, : No reason given.

Edited by TrueCreation, : clarified some things


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Tangle, posted 10-15-2012 6:12 AM Tangle has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 98 of 1329 (675730)
10-15-2012 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Stile
10-12-2012 11:48 AM


Re: Definition of God
I think I took your meaning to be something different as I went through that line of reasoning before.
I thought you meant defining God as the sun (the inanimate object).
But perhaps you meant defining God as the sun but also having some living-like properties such as caring about humans and having some sort of relationship with them? Those that worshipped the sun did extend those sorts of properties onto "the God" they worshipped.

As for that definition, then my statement does still stand. I know that "the sun as an entity that cares about humans and has some sort of relationship with them" does not exist. The sun as an inanimate object certainly exists... but inanimate objects do not have those properties and therefore that definition of God does not exist.

The point was that your statement doesn't distinguish between those things, that it isn't really telling me much.

When I started the thread, I was simply thinking of the popular idea held by our current society... That God is a rational concept of some entity that sits back and governs good things and helps out people who pray to Him and used to do grand miracles but hasn't felt like it since we started to monitor such things.

Ok. As I said before, the more specific and discrete you get about the god, the more easily it is to know it doesn't exist.

Afterall, if "God" isn't what everyone uses the term as... how am I supposed to rationally frame a statement about it?

Yeah, you can't really.

If we are admitting that the defintion of "God" is irrational in the first place, then there is no reason to say whether or not we know He exists because we all know that irrational ideas don't deserve any rational consideration in the first place.

I agree more with you that the questions doesn't deserve any rational consideration than I do that you know the answer.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Stile, posted 10-12-2012 11:48 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by Stile, posted 10-15-2012 1:12 PM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 99 of 1329 (675731)
10-15-2012 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 77 by crashfrog
10-12-2012 5:40 PM


Yes, that's what I'm saying. Conspicuous absence of evidence is positive evidence.

I agree that absence of evidence can be evidence of absence. What I was disagreeing with was this:

quote:
Absence of evidence is always evidence of absence, because that's how we detect absence - by the lack of evidence.

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.


You can also detect absence by the presence of something that couldn't coincide with the thing in question.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by crashfrog, posted 10-12-2012 5:40 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3587
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 100 of 1329 (675742)
10-15-2012 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by ringo
10-12-2012 3:51 PM


Do you know
ringo writes:

Stile writes:

What rationally makes you think God will exist somewhere else in the universe?

Not "will" exist, could exist.

Fair enough, but it doesn't change my question:

What rationally makes you think God could exist somewhere else in the universe?

If you don't have anything rational that indicates that God could even possibly exist somewhere else in the universe... then why do you think the option should be rationally considered when making a rational statement about our knowledge?

ringo writes:

I think you're misusing the word "know", diluting it from something that we can use on a repeatable basis to something that just hasn't been proven wrong yet.

How can I no longer use the word "know" on a repeatable basis?

It isn't just mathematics.I also know how to bake a cake. I know how to operate a table saw. I know how an airplane flies - to the extent that I could build one. I know how to get to France.

But... you can't. You're arguing that you cannot know these things.
I'm the one arguing that we can know these things because we do not have to acknowledge irrational possibilities.

I know how to bake a cake, I've done it before.
You may have done it before, but you cannot say you know how to bake a cake.
What if we discover something in the future that shows you that what you thought was "baking a cake" actually was not?
I think that such an idea is an irrational consideration and shouldn't be considered when we make a rational statement about our knowledge.
You're the one arguing that we cannot say "I know God does not exist" because of a similar irrational statement.

So, what is it?

Do you know that God does not exist?
Or can you no longer say that you know how to bake a cake because there might be something that shows you that you've been wrong all along?

"All areas we're able to investigate" begins with nothing and we don't know where it ends.

Not quite. It ends where we are no longer able to investigate. Perhaps due to limits in current technology. Perhaps due to physical barriers.

At what point on that continuum do you decide that you "know" something?

As soon as you have the data.
We know everything we know because it is part of our data set and we can make rational conclusions about the analysis.
We are likely wrong about a great many things we think we know. But that's never stopped us from saying we know them before, and it won't in the future.
But the only thing that will stop us from saying we know them... is actually finding more data to add to our data set. Irrational statements have no effect.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by ringo, posted 10-12-2012 3:51 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 324 by Thugpreacha, posted 03-05-2014 11:55 AM Stile has responded
 Message 337 by ringo, posted 03-11-2014 12:20 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3587
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 101 of 1329 (675749)
10-15-2012 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by TrueCreation
10-12-2012 3:52 PM


Re: Ideas and Data
TrueCreation writes:

I don't see the problem with acknowledging that some statements of fact are unfalsifiable.

Perhaps this is our difference.
I don't understand how something could be considered a "statement of fact" if it is unfalsifiable.

Unfalsifiable, to me, means that it is untestable. If we are unable to test it... if we can't check it... how can we call it a statement of fact?
Wouldn't it, then, just be an idea?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by TrueCreation, posted 10-12-2012 3:52 PM TrueCreation has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by TrueCreation, posted 10-15-2012 7:38 PM Stile has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3587
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


(1)
Message 102 of 1329 (675750)
10-15-2012 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 98 by New Cat's Eye
10-15-2012 10:28 AM


Re: Definition of God
Catholic Scientist writes:

I agree more with you that the questions doesn't deserve any rational consideration than I do that you know the answer.

I understand.
From here, I think it's just a semantics issue to say "I know that God does not exist" or not.
For me, if we can keep in mind all the semantics I've explained and discussed... it makes sense to me and I think the statement is rationally justified.
However, I certainly do see the ease in which it can be taken another way, especially with a quick look. And, of course, that's exactly why I named this thread such as it is... because I knew the phrase would evoke a certain interest.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-15-2012 10:28 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply

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


Message 103 of 1329 (675757)
10-15-2012 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by ringo
10-14-2012 5:52 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
Ringo writes:

The operative phrase there is "every feasible effort".

Isn't that all we ever have?

Can you give an example of something you think we can legitimately describe as "known"....?

Because beyond "every feasible effort" I'm not sure what else we can take into account with regard to the possibility that any specific piece of knowledge is wrong.

I know this will inspire groans but.... We can say we know that life on Earth evolved without taking into account philosophical possibilities like omphalism. So why can't we say we know that God does not exist without dismissing equally pointless undetectable possibilities?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by ringo, posted 10-14-2012 5:52 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 116 by ringo, posted 10-16-2012 12:05 PM Straggler has responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3587
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 104 of 1329 (675760)
10-15-2012 3:00 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by ringo
10-14-2012 5:52 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
ringo writes:

Creationists use the same argument as the OP: Nothing we have tried has produced life in the lab, therefore they "know" that life can not arise by natural means.

But this isn't the same argument.

I'm telling you that "every feasible effort" ends when we don't even have a rational indication of possible further checking. Creationists don't stop there, they stop as early as possible because they want to stop.
I'm not asking for a lot, I'm not saying you have to produce God... just produce anything that even rationally points towards God.
The ancients did it with the Sun. They turned out to be wrong, but at least they were rational.

Obviously, with producing life in the lab, there is rational indiciation that RNA life may have some interesting information we should be checking into. And, of course, science is on their way checking into this (and other lines of rationally possible pathways as well).

Creationists would say to stop right now because we have the answer they want.
I say don't stop because you have rational pathways to follow.
I say don't stop even if you have irrational pathways to follow... although at this point, I would say "I know life wasn't produced naturally." But, we haven't reached that point yet, have we?
As a side note, if we did reach this point, I would then stop saying that I know God doesn't exist.. because no longer having a rational possibility for the origin of life would actually give a rational indication that God does indeed exist...
But, again, we're just not at such a point.

Since we are saying to do two very different things... are you sure it's not you who is confused on what each argument is proposing?

Edited by Stile, : Added a "not", otherwise it just wouldn't have made any sense. And I am all about sense. Sense is my middle name. I eat sense for breakfast. I am full of sense!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by ringo, posted 10-14-2012 5:52 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 117 by ringo, posted 10-16-2012 12:17 PM Stile has responded

    
TrueCreation
Inactive Member


Message 105 of 1329 (675780)
10-15-2012 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 101 by Stile
10-15-2012 1:06 PM


Re: Ideas and Data
quote:
Perhaps this is our difference.
I don't understand how something could be considered a "statement of fact" if it is unfalsifiable.

Unfalsifiable, to me, means that it is untestable. If we are unable to test it... if we can't check it... how can we call it a statement of fact?
Wouldn't it, then, just be an idea?



A statement of fact is not necessarily true or supported by evidence. It is simply a proposal that something is true and can be either falsifiable or unfalsifiable. One may arrive at circumstantial evidence for unfalsifiable hypotheses, such as god revealing itself to humanity, but because it is unnecessary for the hypothesis that god exists (a statement of fact) is true, the absence of such circumstantial evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, and it certainly is not a demonstration of absence.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by Stile, posted 10-15-2012 1:06 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 106 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-16-2012 1:13 AM TrueCreation has responded
 Message 111 by Stile, posted 10-16-2012 9:23 AM TrueCreation has responded

  
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