Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 87 (8929 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 08-25-2019 11:21 AM
29 online now:
JonF, vimesey (2 members, 27 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: Jedothek
Post Volume:
Total: 860,394 Year: 15,430/19,786 Month: 2,153/3,058 Week: 11/516 Day: 11/31 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
23456
...
24NextFF
Author Topic:   I Know That God Does Not Exist
Stile
Member
Posts: 3789
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 1.9


(5)
Message 1 of 2138 (675373)
10-10-2012 2:27 PM


I've re-read a few old threads and sometimes atheists are referred to as people who believe that no gods exist. This is generally met with a reply that atheists simply "don't believe in God."

I, however, would like to take another approach to the statement.
I would like to attempt a defense for the position that I know that God does not exist.
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.

  • 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.

  • How do we "know" negative statements about the existance of things?
    Example: "I know that Sharkfin soup does not exist on McDonald's menu."
    This is a clear example. Obviously the way we know this is to look at McDonald's menu to see if Sharkfin soup is available. If it is is not there, this statement is correct. If it is there, the statement is false.

    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?)

  • 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.

  • 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. 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. We have also analyzed some of the things God has been proposed to have done (world-wide flood, bringing happiness/peace). And, again, the data results are no different than if God does not exist at all.
    Therefore, after obtaining the data and analyzing it, my position is that I know that God does not exist.



    Oh, and Faith and Belief forum is where I was thinking, but I don't find it too important

    Edited by Stile, : Forgot a very important "I know" in the line "it would be extremely rational and reasonable for me to say "I know my car is in the parking lot." Well, it's very important to me, anyway...

    Edited by Stile, : Added the forum I think the thread should be in. And this is a lot of edits. You know who makes a lot of edits? Editors. People think Editors are smart, right?

    Edited by Stile, : Just some structure.


    Replies to this message:
     Message 3 by Thugpreacha, posted 10-10-2012 5:30 PM Stile has responded
     Message 4 by 1.61803, posted 10-10-2012 5:42 PM Stile has responded
     Message 19 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 10:45 AM Stile has responded
     Message 26 by ringo, posted 10-11-2012 12:25 PM Stile has responded
     Message 34 by Tangle, posted 10-11-2012 1:54 PM Stile has responded
     Message 42 by Modulous, posted 10-11-2012 3:34 PM Stile has responded
     Message 62 by TrueCreation, posted 10-12-2012 11:08 AM Stile has responded
     Message 285 by Connie Muller, posted 10-28-2012 9:17 AM Stile has responded
     Message 375 by Cedre, posted 04-12-2014 11:50 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply
     Message 390 by mike the wiz, posted 02-02-2018 5:06 PM Stile has responded
     Message 490 by Dredge, posted 05-30-2019 12:57 AM Stile has responded
     Message 526 by Sarah Bellum, posted 06-04-2019 3:34 PM Stile has responded

        
  • Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    (1)
    Message 20 of 2138 (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.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 3 by Thugpreacha, posted 10-10-2012 5:30 PM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 22 of 2138 (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!


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 4 by 1.61803, posted 10-10-2012 5:42 PM 1.61803 has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 24 by 1.61803, posted 10-11-2012 11:47 AM Stile has responded

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 27 of 2138 (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.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 19 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 10:45 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 31 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 1:49 PM Stile has responded

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    (1)
    Message 28 of 2138 (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: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 29 of 2138 (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


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 26 by ringo, posted 10-11-2012 12:25 PM ringo has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 32 by ringo, posted 10-11-2012 1:51 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 35 of 2138 (675460)
    10-11-2012 1:55 PM
    Reply to: Message 30 by jar
    10-11-2012 1:38 PM


    Irrational is not useless or even negative
    jar writes:

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

    I think that irrational ideas have a very important place in life. Even a small place in the expansion of knowledge (it has the possibility to lead curiosity into areas where rationality may not venture). I just don't think they have a place in saying whether or not we "know" things. I tend to assume that when someone brings up knowing something that they are talking as rationally as possible.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 30 by jar, posted 10-11-2012 1:38 PM jar has acknowledged this reply

    Replies to this message:
     Message 875 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-29-2019 3:46 PM Stile has responded

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    (1)
    Message 37 of 2138 (675466)
    10-11-2012 2:26 PM
    Reply to: Message 31 by New Cat's Eye
    10-11-2012 1:49 PM


    Catholic Scientist writes:

    That is, you're only testing people's propositions and not actually testing a God.

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

    But you've defined knowing as finding and analyzing data. If you're only analzying peoples' propositions about a God then you're only knowing that their propositions are wrong.

    Do you know another way of knowing things? How else can we know something unless we find and analyze data about it? Feel free to attack my position at the base with the definition of "knowing"... that's why I included the definition in my post. Not as an assumption that we have to accept, but as something that should be tested if you have a better idea.

    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?

    The one (God) that would be there if it was real.

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

    I mean that seriously:

    Talking about God
    We can imagine the possibility of a God-yet-to-be-detected, but there is no data indicating that such a possibility might exist.
    Should this thought really have any rational impact on the saying "I know God does not exist" which is based on the body of knowledge we have collected about Gods and human minds and imagination throughout history?

    Talking about Evolution
    We can imagine the possibility of "a piece of evidence that would destroy evolution"-yet-to-be-detected, but there is no data indicating that such a possibility might exist.
    Should this thought really have any rational impact on the saying "I know that a 'piece of evidence that would destroy evolution' does not exist" which is based on the body of knowledge we have collected about Gods and human minds and imagination throughout history?

    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?

    Again, with both sayings, I agree that they may not be absolutely-true... but such absolute truth may not be possible for us to ever discover, and such a caveat already exists within everything we ever say that we "know." Everything we know is always "based on the data we have" such that future data may very well focus us in other directions. However, we do not allow such as-yet-undiscovered-future-data to effect the things we do know based on the data we do have. If we did, we would never learn anything else ever again. Because we would have to also lend credence to the possiblity that "the next piece of data we learn will kill us all" and other such nonsense and irrationality.

    I'm not following this. It sounds like your saying that an alternative is irrational, therefore your claim is rational. But that doesn't seem logical to me.

    I tried to provide an example in Message 28. Maybe that will help?


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 31 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 1:49 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 46 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-11-2012 4:14 PM Stile has responded

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    (2)
    Message 39 of 2138 (675471)
    10-11-2012 2:40 PM
    Reply to: Message 34 by Tangle
    10-11-2012 1:54 PM


    Tangle writes:

    They say that they just KNOW it to be true and that IS evidence.

    Yes, people can say a lot of things. That's why I provided a definition of "knowing" in the beginning.
    I'm open to that definition being challenged, of course. But not simply by saying it's wrong for no reason.

    I explain that as delusional and/or wishful thinking, but they claim that because they know it to be true, that is evidence enough.

    I just explain it as them not understanding what "knowing" means, or should mean. A simple semantic confusion that has led them down a path into larger confusion.

    If we use my definition of knowing, then it is obvious that these people are simply wrong. They don't know, and it isn't evidence.
    If we use their definition of "knowing" (because it feels right... because it happened to me... because I don't think I was under a delusion... because I've heard of similar things... etc) we would be forced to include a whole whack of other things that would then also be "known" that wouldn't make any sense (like the idea that the world is flat - some people feel that is true; and also round at the same time - other people feel that is true).

    I imagine that Jar's belief (above) falls into the "I just know" category.

    I don't think jar would say he "knows" his beliefs are true. In fact, I think he may have specifically stated otherwise?
    I really don't have a problem with beliefs when they are understood to be beliefs and not "things we know."


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 34 by Tangle, posted 10-11-2012 1:54 PM Tangle has not yet responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 40 by subbie, posted 10-11-2012 2:55 PM Stile has acknowledged this reply

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    (2)
    Message 41 of 2138 (675481)
    10-11-2012 3:13 PM
    Reply to: Message 9 by Son Goku
    10-11-2012 3:01 AM


    Re: God
    Son Goku writes:

    I would say I know all specific gods worshipped by any culture do not exist.

    This is what I was thinking about when I started this thread.

    The existence of an abstract creator God is a more difficult question

    It most certainly is, as I'm finding out rather quickly. I'm having a go at expanding my reasoning in order to incorporate this. I'm not sure if it's doing well or not. Seems to hinge on the definition of what 'knowing something' is. Which makes me think the argument is weak. However, the definition of 'knowing something' could be a very important definition.
    Without that, how do I know if I know anything at all?
    This makes me feel that having a good, strict definition of 'knowing something' is very important and that makes me feel like the argument is actually kinda strong. If you value having a good base for such things, anyway.
    Perhaps the argument doesn't hinge on the definition of 'knowing something' and it hinges more on the priority of rationality and epistemology in your life. Maybe a high priority of those things would simply require a strict definition of 'knowing something'...

    We'll see how it goes. It's fun either way


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 9 by Son Goku, posted 10-11-2012 3:01 AM Son Goku has not yet responded

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 51 of 2138 (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

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

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    (2)
    Message 52 of 2138 (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: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    (2)
    Message 53 of 2138 (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

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 56 of 2138 (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

        
    Stile
    Member
    Posts: 3789
    From: Ontario, Canada
    Joined: 12-02-2004
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 60 of 2138 (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

        
    1
    23456
    ...
    24NextFF
    Newer Topic | Older Topic
    Jump to:


    Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

    ™ Version 4.0 Beta
    Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019