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Author Topic:   I Know That God Does Not Exist
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 159 of 2138 (675955)
10-17-2012 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by Panda
10-17-2012 6:27 PM


Re: Absurd fallacies
I am not denying any evidence: there is none.

Let us be more specific - it is not the "lack of evidence" that is evidence of absence.

It is rather the lack of conspicuous, or strongly expected, evidence which is evidence of absence.

I know that there is no dragon in my lounge because the hypothesis that there is a dragon in my lounge would strongly predict that I should see it, that it would eat things and excrete waste, make sound, breathe air (fire?), be tangible and audible, etc.

When I fail to observe that which is strongly predicted by the hypothesis, the hypothesis becomes proportionally less likely to be accurate.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 158 by Panda, posted 10-17-2012 6:27 PM Panda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 160 by Panda, posted 10-17-2012 9:04 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 202 of 2138 (676384)
10-22-2012 2:20 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by ringo
10-22-2012 2:04 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
And nobody is saying that it does. But it does preclude knowledge of his non-existence.

Depending on one's definition of "knowledge." As was said very early in this thread, there's a very large difference between "knowledge implies certainty," and "knowledge implies a tentative position that is currently thought to be the position vastly more likely to be accurate than alternatives."

By the former, I do not "know" anything. By the latter, I "know" that there are no ghosts, I "know" that we are not in the Matrix, I "know" that extant organisms evolved from ancestors over many generations, I "know" that the Earth is billions of years old, and I "know" that the things called "gods" do not exist.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 2:04 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 203 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 2:38 PM Rahvin has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 205 of 2138 (676388)
10-22-2012 2:43 PM
Reply to: Message 203 by ringo
10-22-2012 2:38 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
There is no standard current thought on whether that position is more or less likely than the alternatives. That alone disqualifies it as "knowledge".

Appeal to popularity. The fact that there is no "standard current thought" is irrelevant. For centuries the "standard current thought" was that the Earth was flat, even after an educated few had become aware of the evidence for a roughly spherical planet.

I "know" that there is no "god" for the same reason I "know" a pen is not on my desk. I looked. The absence of conspicuous, strongly expected evidence strongly implies absence. I am not certain, because all knowledge is tentative and I am absolutely certain of nothing, but if I can say that I "know" whether a pen is on my desk, I can with the same level of confidence assert that I "know" there are no "gods" by any definition of the term you or I would recognize.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 203 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 2:38 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 209 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 3:01 PM Rahvin has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 217 of 2138 (676408)
10-22-2012 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 209 by ringo
10-22-2012 3:01 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding

And they didn't "know" that the earth was flat.

The average person 1000 years ago would have said that they "knew" the Earth was flat. You appear to be alternately using the wrong definition of "knowledge" here. "Knowledge" cannot imply certainty, as if that were the case the word would serve no purpose; we would all simply have to admit that none of us "know" anything.

Your "standard current thought" line is simply an obfuscated appeal to popularity - the prevalence of opinion is not and never is the determining factor (or even a contributing factor) to determining which hypothesis is most likely to be accurate. There are no words you can say which will make it otherwise.

Your argument can only be successful if you can provide evidence that suggests that "gods" do exist - when the only objective evidence regarding a specific hypothesis is negative, ringo, what does that mean? It means that all competing hypotheses which have either no evidence whatsoever or at least some positive evidence are more likely than the hypothesis in question.

As I've already pointed out more than once, you're not using the same goalposts for the gods as you're using for the pen. You know that there's no pen "on your desk" and you know that there are no gods "where you have looked". But you haven't even begun to scratch the surface of all the places you'd need to look before you could know that gods don't exist at all.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the terms "conspicuous" and "strongly expected" and "evidence." You may also be unfamiliar with the term "extrapolation."

There are many "god" hypotheses, ringo, from many cultures. Just about every single one, however, involves an entity that will respond favorably to prayer or ritual.

Yet in every test ever performed, prayer and ritual provides no meaningful statistical result distinguishable from doing nothing at all.

This is an absence of strongly expected evidence - prayer and ritual are strongly expected to have an effect, and in the absence of that expected effect, the likelihood that the "god" hypothesis is accurate is greatly diminished.

In the absence of any positive evidence suggesting that "gods" do exist, it's easy to tentatively extrapolate that "gods" are not llikely to exist outside of those studies, as well.

But look, ringo - "gods" are just unevidenced imaginings. They're like polka-dotted unicorns on Planet Xebes in Dimension X. All things being equal, hypotheses that do not include such extraneous entities are significantly more likely to be accurate than their competitors. The hypothesis that there are no "gods" is significantly more likely to be accurate than any of the myriad "god" hypotheses simply because it avoids extraneous terms in its equation.

That conclusion is tentative, as is all] "knowledge" of the practical sort, and can immediately be revised if new evidence is uncovered which requires the introduction of such an entity.

But as it is, the world would look exactly the same to us whether we are in the Matrix or not...and so the hypothesis that we are not in the Matrix is more likely, because there is no evidential requirement for such additional entities as the Matrix to be included in our model of reality.

In the same way, the world without "gods" is nearly indistinguishable from a world with "gods," save that there is some negative evidence in the form of failed predictions from the "god" hypothesis. Therefore, not only is the "no gods" hypothesis more likely, it is significantly more likely, by far, than the various "god" hypotheses.

Occam's Razor is not merely an optional logical tool, ringo.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 209 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 3:01 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 221 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 3:47 PM Rahvin has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 219 of 2138 (676410)
10-22-2012 3:37 PM
Reply to: Message 214 by ringo
10-22-2012 3:27 PM


Re: The Northwest Passage
That's what I'm saying. The idea has to exist before we know what to look for or how to look for it. You don't just find a Higgs boson under the microscope and say, "What the hell is that?" You have to have an idea where a Higgs boson might be and what it might "look like" before you can go looking for it.

Yet that's not always the case. As Straggler pointed out, the first person to see an elephant did not need to imagine or search for an elephant prior to making the discovery.

In fact, it's not necessary that physicists already have a theoretical model of and be searching for the Higgs prior to discovering it. That's the way it happened, but that doesn't mean it was a requirement - many similar discoveries have been made simply by analyzing aberrant data, simply stumbling over something important that we never even knew was there. Antibiotics, for example, were not previously imagined or sought - penicillin was discovered quite by (fortuitous) accident.

Edited by Rahvin, : No reason given.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 214 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 3:27 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 224 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 3:54 PM Rahvin has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 226 of 2138 (676420)
10-22-2012 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 224 by ringo
10-22-2012 3:54 PM


Re: The Northwest Passage
Data can only be aberrant if there is a framework for it to deviate from.

Irrelevant. See the words that you ignored from the same post.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 3:54 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 228 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 4:08 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 227 of 2138 (676422)
10-22-2012 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 221 by ringo
10-22-2012 3:47 PM


Re: Snakes may be in the pudding
There you go again, defining God out of existence. If elephants are defined as "large herbivores that live in Africa" then the one in your living room doesn't count - but it doesn't cease to exist either.

I didn;t define "god," ringo. Others did. You're the one burdened by the term, not I - if we're discussing whether "gods" exist, we must only be considering that subset of phenomenon that, if observed, would recognizably be a "god."

But please, respond to the rest of the words of my posts.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 221 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 3:47 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 229 by ringo, posted 10-22-2012 4:12 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 267 of 2138 (676660)
10-24-2012 3:09 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by New Cat's Eye
10-24-2012 2:22 PM


Its just dumb to say that people knew something that is false.

It's funny how you just go on assuming that people in the past had access to the same evidence that we have today.

A few hundred years ago, people would tell you that they "know" the Earth to be flat - because they weren't even aware of any evidence to the contrary, it was the accepted wisdom of the time (ie, it was "established," as you like to use the term), and if you just look at the lay of the land from anything other than extreme altitude, it looks overall pretty flat.

Many things that you or I "know" are wrong, simply because we are unaware of evidence that would force us to readjust our internal models of external reality. Most of the ways we're wrong will be small...but chances are high that at least a few are completely off the mark.

For many years it was "established" that phlogiston was responsible for combustion. Any educated person would have told you so, and would have said that this is "known."

And of course they were all wrong.

"Establishing knowledge" is simply like any logical argument - you can create a statement that is entirely logically self-consistent, but if your basic premise is wrong, your argument is still false.

So too with "established knowledge" - you use the term to describe theoretical models that are well-supported by evidence and are accepted by the greater scientific community...

...but any scientist worth a dozen neurons will tell you that even "established" theories are tentative pending new evidence or the falsification/alteration of existing evidence.

Newtonian gravity turned out to be pretty wrong even though it gives "close enough" answers at the right scales, and was considered "established knowledge" for a long time...

...right up until Einstein came and changed everything by fundamentally altering some basic assumptions about reality.

quote:
Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody "knew" that the earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody "knew" that the earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you "knew" that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll "know" tomorrow. ~ Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), Men in Black

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-24-2012 2:22 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 268 by 1.61803, posted 10-24-2012 3:32 PM Rahvin has responded
 Message 272 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-24-2012 3:47 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 270 of 2138 (676665)
10-24-2012 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 268 by 1.61803
10-24-2012 3:32 PM


Yes, imagine what unknown things will present themselves tomorrow that you will gain knowledge of and still might prove to be incorrect.
I think that was K's point, but I could be wrong.

Regardless of what the screenwriter intended the line to mean, I agree with your interpretation.

All "knowledge" is tentative. Nothing is absolutely certain. If I hold what I "know" to be absolutely certain, then I close off those opportunities to more closely align my internal model with external reality.

This should not be misconstrued to mean that all knowledge is equally tentative; well-supported and rigorously tested models are by far more likely to be accurate than lesser hypotheses, and random guessing falls in with unsupported assertions in the "you're more likely to win the lottery three times consecutively and be struck by lightning while catching a meteorite in your hand" category.

But even the most rigorously tested and "established knowledge" is tentative. After all...if we live in the Matrix, that's not really air you're breathing.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 268 by 1.61803, posted 10-24-2012 3:32 PM 1.61803 has acknowledged this reply

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 271 of 2138 (676666)
10-24-2012 3:43 PM
Reply to: Message 269 by ringo
10-24-2012 3:37 PM


Re: A good foundation
"I haven't seen any evidence that points to God, so it seems pretty unlikely that He exists - but I don't know for sure."

I see no functional distinction between this statement and "I know that God does not exist."

Of course, I'm using the same definition of "knowledge" that Straggler et al are using.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of
variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the
outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." Barash, David 1995.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 269 by ringo, posted 10-24-2012 3:37 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 273 by ringo, posted 10-24-2012 3:56 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
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