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


Message 19 of 1267 (675431)
10-11-2012 10:45 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
10-10-2012 2:27 PM


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by subbie, posted 10-11-2012 11:46 AM New Cat's Eye has acknowledged this reply
 Message 25 by Straggler, posted 10-11-2012 12:22 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 27 by Stile, posted 10-11-2012 12:34 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 1267 (675434)
10-11-2012 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by crashfrog
10-11-2012 9:04 AM


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

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


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by crashfrog, posted 10-11-2012 9:04 AM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by crashfrog, posted 10-11-2012 4:01 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 31 of 1267 (675456)
10-11-2012 1:49 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Stile
10-11-2012 12:34 PM


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.

So, you're not differentiating between a God and peoples propositions about a God. That is, you're only testing people's propositions and not actually testing a God.

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."

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.

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?

The one that would be there if it was real. You would still have the erroneous propositions that you've discarded all the while never actually determining anything about the God.

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.

Well I was thinking along the lines of sufficiently advanced aliens that helped primitive man become civilized and then became deified. There could be a purely natural "god" that the propositions stem from that you'd be unduly rejecting, imho.

Rational expansion of our knowledge begins with the data we have and moves from there.

But your data is limited to peoples' propositions.

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.

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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Stile, posted 10-11-2012 12:34 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by Stile, posted 10-11-2012 2:26 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 33 of 1267 (675458)
10-11-2012 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Straggler
10-11-2012 12:22 PM


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

I think that's closer to it


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Straggler, posted 10-11-2012 12:22 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by Straggler, posted 10-11-2012 2:38 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 44 of 1267 (675490)
10-11-2012 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by crashfrog
10-11-2012 4:01 PM


What about being able to see to the other side of the room unblocked by any elephants, and that the floor is still holding up, and that the room still smells like the candle from yesterday, and that you can still hear the TV from the other room.

All that stuff is an absence of evidence, though - the absence of evidence that elephants are obstructing your view of the room, absence of evidence that the floor is not intact, absence of evidence that the room smells like elephant shit, and so on.

I guess if you want to try to turn it into an absense of evidence then you can look at it that way. But its positive evidence nonetheless.

The room smelling like the apple candle is what: absence of evidence of it smelling like elephant shit, absence of evidence of it smelling like cheese, absence of evidence of it smelling like gasoline, absence of evidence of it smelling like... whatever else you care to throw in there.

But, it is the presence of evidence of it smelling like apples too.

Is the rate of acceleration due to gravity 9.8 m/s/s because of the lack of evidence of it being 9.7, or 9.9, or any other number? Or is it because we have evidence that it is, in fact, 9.8?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by crashfrog, posted 10-11-2012 4:01 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by crashfrog, posted 10-12-2012 5:40 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 46 of 1267 (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 1267 (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
 Message 50 by PaulK, posted 10-12-2012 2:06 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 57 of 1267 (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 1267 (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

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 61 of 1267 (675550)
10-12-2012 10:58 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by Stile
10-12-2012 10:33 AM


Re: Thanks for all the fish
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.

That's why I said that as it sits, "I know that God does not exist", doesn't really tell us that much without understanding what you're talking about with the word "God".

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 don't know. But I think that reduces the confidence you can have in your knowledge and eliminates any establishment you could have about gods.

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.

I'm not seeing it.

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.

But the sun does exist and people have worshiped it as a god. So were they just wrong or are you? Where's that been established?

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.

That, and what you mean by "God".

I just think that my statement does rationally flow from the definitions I've provided.

Seems alright to me... but as you say:

quote:
my statement is easily taken out of context and can seem like it's overstepping it's boundaries.

By itself, it isn't really conveying much meaning.

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.

As I said:

quote:
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.

I think it'd be better with further qualifiers on what you mean by "God".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Stile, posted 10-12-2012 10:33 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by Stile, posted 10-12-2012 11:48 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 98 of 1267 (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 1267 (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

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 106 of 1267 (675796)
10-16-2012 1:13 AM
Reply to: Message 105 by TrueCreation
10-15-2012 7:38 PM


Re: Ideas and Data
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.

Wait, what? If it ain't true then how's it a statement of fact?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by TrueCreation, posted 10-15-2012 7:38 PM TrueCreation has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by Thugpreacha, posted 10-16-2012 1:18 AM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 109 by TrueCreation, posted 10-16-2012 3:16 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 108 of 1267 (675800)
10-16-2012 1:21 AM
Reply to: Message 107 by Thugpreacha
10-16-2012 1:18 AM


Re: Ideas and Data
Oh, like "claiming" a fact rather than stating one?

'Cause that seems different...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 107 by Thugpreacha, posted 10-16-2012 1:18 AM Thugpreacha has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 113 of 1267 (675812)
10-16-2012 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 109 by TrueCreation
10-16-2012 3:16 AM


Re: Ideas and Data
Because a statement of fact merely classifies what the statement implies,

No, a "statement of fact" is stating something that is factual. Its not just a claim or proposal about the veracity of the statement.

and what it implies is that something is the case in reality. This is just the convention I have used.

Well its unconventional and confusing, but whatever, I can work with it.

So back to this:

Unless one can show that (1) if god exists it is of a certain type, and (2) that this type of god can be confirmed or disconfirmed/falsified by some observation of nature, it cannot be said that one 'knows' god does not exist, inasmuch as 'knowledge' involves a demonstration of truth.

I agree that it is possible to conceive of things that are not in our data set that may (if they exist) overturn some of the things we "think we know" from within our data set.
But to take these conceivable ideas that may or may not even exist themselves... and say that they should have an effect on a rational conclusion that is based on our collective data set... that is what seems ridiculous to me.

If there is nothing within our collective data set that doesn't even indicate that "something" may exist outside of our data set... I find it silly to consider that such a "something" should have the power to overturn rational statements of knowledge that do come from a rational analysis of the data we do have.

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

How are you even addressing what he's saying? Sure, you can claim something is true even though its unfalsifiable. But what does that have to do with unevidenced possibilities not having an effect on evidenced conclusions?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 109 by TrueCreation, posted 10-16-2012 3:16 AM TrueCreation has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by TrueCreation, posted 10-18-2012 12:45 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
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