Hi Stile! You are one of my favorite opponents, since we rarely agree and yet are so polite to each other!
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.
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? If so, I am inclined to agree with you. My only comment would be that just because one guy knows something does not lead to the logical presupposition that everyone knows it.
I don't believe God doesn't exist, I don't have faith that God doesn't exist, I don't simply have a lack of belief in God. I know that God doesn't exist. And I think that my basis is rational.
Again, Ive no reason to doubt your position. I cannot counter it with the idea that I know that God exists. All I can say is that I believe that God exists.
Example: "I know that Santa Claus does not exist." This is more like the "I know that God does not exist" claim. But, again, the idea is the same as the previous example. We look for where the thing is supposed to be (North Pole? Chimneys during Christmas Eve night?) and see if the thing is there or not. In the case of a 'being', we are also able to check to see if certain things are done that this being is supposed to do (do presents appear underneath Christmas trees or in stockings hung on the fireplace mantle?)
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. Besides, some would argue that if the idea of Santa Claus classically defined exists in their hearts and minds, Santa Claus does in fact exist at their house...living through them, no doubt. Again, it is but a belief and a belief put into practice, however.
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.
And again, this is where I can't challenge your logic.
My only question is this: Is it possible that some people know differently than other people, or must we assign everyone a demand to adhere to the evidence apart from their own subjective musings?
Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.
What it does not mean is proof of absence. That's because there are levels of evidence. Finding the fingerprints of someone at the scene of a crime is evidence that they were present, but it's not proof. Perhaps there's some other way to account for the fingerprints being there besides the person being there. But the point is that the presence of fingerprints does not need to definitively prove that the person was there to be evidence that they were there.
The only sort of subjective evidence that I can see supporting the possibility of a Deity is personal experiences and changed lives. I don't however, expect that to be counted as public evidence, but rather rationale for private and personal belief.
Again, in this subject...as discussed in a science forum, I have no argument with Stiles theory as to why God does not exist. On a personal level, I have my own standards, however.
Ask yourself, is the absence of evidence for an elephant in your living room evidence that an elephant is not present in your living room ?
From what I know of Elephants, I most definitely agree that absence of evidence...not to mention presence...is all that I need to conclude that no elephant is in my living room.
Of course, I dont expect a Deity to be visible to begin with, so my criteria for evidence of such a presence would revolve around beliefs, feelings, and bias. Logically, there is no verifiable nor recordable evidence for a Deity or any supernatural entity in my living room.
And yet I believe that He is there. Belief is all that I have. I have no knowledge apart from subjective experience.
Conspicuous absence of evidence is positive evidence.
It all depends what you are trying to prove.
The phrase "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" can be used as a shorthand rebuttal to the second form of the ignorance fallacy (i.e. P has never been absolutely proven and is therefore certainly false). Most often it is directed at any conclusion derived from null results in an experiment or from the non-detection of something. In other words, where one researcher may say their experiment suggests evidence of absence, another researcher might argue that the experiment failed to detect a phenomenon for other reasons.
Mankind has spent thousands of years looking for this God thing and the only evidence he's found has been in his own mind. God is absent.
What if thats the only way God decided to reveal Himself?(Herself,Itself, etc)
Assuming a concept of communion, how would one tell whether God was entirely their own imagination or that they were communing with Him? Granted, not all of mankind has claimed to have found said Deity. If only one man claimed to have found it, would it count? Say we had a team of people searching for snakes in your garden. The only way to prove to everyone that the snakes were there would be physical evidence, right? But what if these snakes were invisible and nobody was certain whether or not they existed?
Some of the searchers, however, claimed to have felt these snakes slithering on their arms.
a few of the claimants were delusional or prone to exaggeration, yet at least one of them was an otherwise respectable intelligent man.
These invisible snakes were said (by cultural mythos) to possess a venom that could cure many ailments. In fact, many people who were healed claimed that the snakes bit them as they were about to die. How do we separate fairy tales from folklore?
...Eventually the 'echo' of the anxiety fades away.
So if there is no actual evidence of God we must conclude for all intents and purposes that that is no difference in him not existing or not interacting with us in any way.
Perhaps I have anxiety over Him not being real. I feel that when I talk to Him (to an empty room) that He responds in a subtle way....if nothing else, its the saner calm altruistic part of my mind that calms my anxiety. I will admit that I need for Him to exist.
The way I've set things up... it most certainly IS necessary for there to be evidential support for God's existence before you can use the statement of fact that "I know God exists." If we stop equivocating and use a single definition for the word "know," you either have to accept this, or stop using the word "know" for anything else.
Is there a difference between saying "I know that God does not exist" and "we know that God does not exist?"
I would argue that subjective experience allows for some people to honestly know that God does not exist and for other people to honestly doubt or even affirm that God exists.It is always good to continue questioning, however. And as for tangles "garden" not only is the universe a very big garden, but our human mind itself is a rather large garden as well. I don't think that we have explored every nook and cranny in there or out there either. In fact, I wouldnt even assign a probability, as others have done.
Why can't we limit what is "known" to what actually is known instead of speculating that what is not known yet will never be known?
Because it is always philosophically possible that some anomalous result is around the corner waiting to blow away everything we think we know. Beyond accepting that all knowledge is tentative and fallible I see no reason to actually deny that we can know things because of this.
I like this exchange. So for me personally, I can't say...beyond subjective experiences coupled with confirmation bias...that I know God exists, although I do often irrationally talk with Him. I also cannot honestly say that I know that He doesn't exist, though I suppose were I to wish to be in agreement with my neighbor on such a lofty philosophical possibility I may accept further knowledge.
Lots depends on the motive, if we are to approach this from a strictly philosophical standpoint. First of all, if we have a room full of philosophers seeking something to conclude, bias often enters the picture. I may seek to prove X to be true, while you may seek to prove Y true. And further, what do we define as truth? DEFINITION OF TRUE or TRUTH:
That X is unknowable.
That X is knowable.
That logic is truth. etc etc. Do you see my point?
Does this hypothetical room of philosophers wish to ultimately agree or disagree? Or perhaps the goal is simply to expand knowledge....
I've proposed that God could be on a certain planet orbiting a certain star.
And I have also proposed that He/She/It may be somewhere in our mind or brain, which, by the way does not mean that we invented Him/Her/It. All that it means is that He can hide quite well.
Still, Knowledge is not yet complete, and the facts are not all yet in. Stay tuned as we look in all of the gardens on the block...We dug up Tangles whole yard and all we found were earthworms to use as fishing bait!
We have three "God" topics in high rotation, chiefly because I like talking about such things. I have to discipline myself, however, and sort the data as to which topic should be addressed by what specific criteria.
This topic is in the Science Forums.
Thus I can summarize that I have no evidence apart from my subjective beliefs and feelings on the matter.
The thing is, the god hypothesis isn't exactly new is it? The entire planet has been looking for this thing since the dawn of humanity with nothing to show for it but human corruption and wishful thinking.
Personally, I'm entirely happy to rule out any and all the Gods we've so far invented, but leave open, as an outside possibility, the chance that one day a thoroughly disinterested god will be found playing dominos with himself in another dimension. (You can't rule it out can you?)
In my opinion,and for the sake of science, if we cant rule one of them out we cant rule any of them out...but maybe we can have a tournament and reduce them down to the Final Four or something.
In your view, is there anything that does not exist?
In my mind, anything within the realm of my imagination can exist. In my belief, GOD(as I understand Him) exists. Stile does, however, have a point in that testable observable human reality, we collectively must have logic, reason, and reality as our basis for knowledge.