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Author Topic:   Belief in God is scientific.
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(3)
Message 46 of 262 (695186)
04-03-2013 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by divermike1974
04-03-2013 3:57 AM


Hi Mike, and welcome to EvC.

I think some here have been overwhelmed by how far off you seem in your initial post, and we're getting very sidetracked, very quickly.

You're using words like "complex" and "scientific" in ways that, frankly, aren't appropriate for what you appear to be trying to convey.

My brain is a stand alone version of the most complex thing in the known universe.

How do you measure "complexity," Mike? What metric do you use? What units? You seem to be using "complexity" as a substitute for something else - a word like "impressive," or "awesome," or "this does stuff that I don't fully understand." The word complexity is not actually a synonym for any of those other terms. Others have provided examples of things that are more "complex" than the brain (at least in terms of having more components, if that's the metric we want to use), but you've dismissed them with insult rather than argument.

It is one of billions that make up humanity. Humanity more or less classes the brain as a computer, and lots of these computers independently and through a myriad of experiences called life come to the conclusion that there is a God. More people - brains - computers come to the answer 'God' than those that come to the answer 'no God'.

The similarity between brains and computers, on top of being extremely imprecise as a comparison in the first place, is also irrelevant.

As has been pointed out, you're using nothing more than a simple appeal to popularity. You're saying "gee, lots of people came to this conclusion - that means that the conclusion is scientific."

The problem is that popularity has little to nothing to do with the accuracy of a belief - the vast majority of people in the world used to believe that the Earth was flat, after all.

And, of course, the lager issue is that none of your argument has anything at all to do with what is scientific.

The term "scientific" denotes something related to science or the scientific method. The Theory of Evolution is a scientific theory because it meets that definition - it is an explanatory framework of observed natural phenomenon developed from the application of the scientific method: repeated experimentation, observation, and peer review.

"Belief in God" is not, itself, an explanatory framework. It has nothing to do with experimentation, or observation. There are no peer-reviewed published papers in scientific journals regarding the existence of god(s). The closest scientific anything related to "belief in God" would be the many studies on why people believe, or what they believe, and so forth. In effect there are scientific studies about belief in god(s), but the belief in god(s) itself has, so far, nothing to do with science.

That would change if and when a cogent, testable hypothesis regarding the existence of god(S) were to be postulated and tested through experiment and observation. Such a hypothesis could then be supported through validated predictions, repeatable objective evidence, and logically consistent extrapolations thereof. Since there has not been any such cogent, testable hypothesis...belief in god(S) remains a particularly unscientific conclusion.


“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 1 by divermike1974, posted 04-03-2013 3:57 AM divermike1974 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by divermike1974, posted 04-03-2013 4:37 PM Rahvin has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 63 of 262 (695204)
04-03-2013 5:02 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by divermike1974
04-03-2013 4:37 PM


Hi thanks for the reply, i will read in full and give a detailed reply later.

I look forward to it.

Can i just ask how much of the science that you take for granted

What do you mean by this? Do you refer to those scientific theories that I currently accept as the most accurate explanatory frameworks yet available to describe various observed natural phenomenon?

and wont think outside of

Well, that's rather presumptuous of you. Not every belief that I hold can be called "scientific." Only the ones that pertain to the way nature behaves. What I believe regarding such topics as attractiveness or comfort or enjoyment, even moral considerations, are not natural phenomenon and are not the result of "thinking inside of the science I take for granted," as they are not themselves scientific beliefs.

You seem to be using the term "scientific" as a synonym for "accurate." While the scientific method does indeed define a process by which we can increase the accuracy of our beliefs regarding the observable, objective reality around us, the two words are not synonyms. One can hold a belief that is unscientific and yet wholly accurate, and scientific theories can be (and are) inaccurate to varying degrees.

can you actually do yourself

That's more a question of available time, equipment, assistance, and funding than anything else. I can, and have, performed many scientific experiments when I was in school.

and understand within your own mind

This is more general. I have a decent layman's understanding of many scientific topics, and I'm generally well-read. I'm not an expert (and no one is an expert on everything), but my understanding of various topics has been validated at times by actual experts in scientific fields.

But really - why is this relevant? All that matters is evidence and argument. If you'd like to challenge one of my beliefs or my understanding of one or another scientific topic, we can always have a debate on that topic - where we will use logic and evidence to determine whose understanding is most accurate. But since you're so new, and since you didn't mention a specific topic, it sounds to me like you're trying to set up for a more generalized accusation that I am appealing to authority in determining my beliefs with regard to science. Fortunately for me, appealing to authority takes the form of "x is true because authority y says so," while my arguments take the form of "x, y, and z have been observed, which strongly supports the accuracy of hypothesis a and strongly refutes the accuracy of hypotheses b and c. S and T performed the initial observations, which were validated by Q and R; these experiments and observations can be repeated by anyone with the appropriate equipment."

with absolute certainty?

There is no such thing as absolute certainty. I'm not absolutely certain that we do not all live in the Matrix - and neither are you.

There are only degrees of certainty. I hold various beliefs with varying degrees of confidence, according to the evidenciary support of those hypotheses as compared to competing hypotheses. Some of my beliefs are held weakly, and it will not take much evidence to change my mind. On other subjects, I'm extremely confident and it would take a very, very strong argument with strong evidence to shift my position.

If you'd like to be more specific, then I will be able to respond in kind.


“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 54 by divermike1974, posted 04-03-2013 4:37 PM divermike1974 has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 65 of 262 (695206)
04-03-2013 5:04 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by divermike1974
04-03-2013 4:48 PM


I don't claim the majority consensus is true. I claim that if the brain is the most powerful natural computer in the known universe and the majority of those brains say there is a God then that overwhelming number of answers should be classed as scientific evidence for the existence of said God.

Those are mutually contradictory statement, Mike.

If the majority of opinions counts as evidence that those opinions are accurate, then the majority consensus is more likely to be true.

Your argument really is, at its core, nothing more than an appeal to popularity, with a bunch of additional misused terminology.


“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 59 by divermike1974, posted 04-03-2013 4:48 PM divermike1974 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by divermike1974, posted 04-03-2013 5:16 PM Rahvin has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 71 of 262 (695213)
04-03-2013 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by divermike1974
04-03-2013 5:16 PM


Would you say science is a religion?

Absolutely, vehemently no, I would not. The two are about as different as two ideas can possibly be.

Science is about using objective, reproducible evidence to change beliefs based on which hypotheses are validated and which are falsified.

Religion is about faith, which is specifically defined in the very dictionary as "belief not supported by evidence."

Science is absolutely in no way at all a religion, unless you're using your own personal definitions for the terms.

Scientology is a religion...but has as much to do with science as...well, Christianity. That is to say, nothing at all.


“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 69 by divermike1974, posted 04-03-2013 5:16 PM divermike1974 has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 144 of 262 (695458)
04-05-2013 11:36 AM
Reply to: Message 138 by Ossat
04-05-2013 11:02 AM


But Intelligent design and creation can be accepted as scientific if we open our minds enough to recognize that the universe, the nature and life are far too complex to be an accident.

This is a simple and obvious argument from incredulity, a logical fallacy.


“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 138 by Ossat, posted 04-05-2013 11:02 AM Ossat has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 169 of 262 (695624)
04-08-2013 10:35 AM
Reply to: Message 168 by divermike1974
04-08-2013 10:04 AM


Not sure if you have read the rest of the posts in this topic but this has nothing to do with denomination, or belief in any one named deity. Its just the simple fact that 80 odd percent of the worlds population believe in some form of higher intelligence not of this universe that has God like qualities.

Name one other humanity wide argumentum ad populum that covers 80 odd percent of the human population today.

Just because a hypothesis is really really popular doesn't make our argument any less of a logical fallacy. It's logically invalid reasoning.

The reason the argument from popularity is false is because it crosses the cause and effect. People should believe hypotheses that are verifiably accurate. However, the argument from popularity suggests that a hypothesis has a greater likelihood of being true, simply because it's popular.

Whether 10 people, 100, a million, or 6 billion people think something is true has absolutely zero relevancy as to whether that idea actually is true. No matter how popular an idea is, the popularity of the idea itself is evidence only of how popular it is. It is not and can never be evidence that the believed idea is actually accurate.

You continue to make bald, outrageous assertions using terminology in ways that demonstrate that you don't actually understand the terms, and your root argument continues to be a logical fallacy. Mike, Im sorry, but your posts here are some of the most trivially easy ideas to disprove that we've ever seen here. That's why you're getting piled on - even the most rudimentary training in logic exposes your arguments as blatantly and absolutely false.


“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 168 by divermike1974, posted 04-08-2013 10:04 AM divermike1974 has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 179 of 262 (695657)
04-08-2013 2:23 PM
Reply to: Message 175 by divermike1974
04-08-2013 12:43 PM


Definition of Complex = composed of many interconnected parts.

If you understood physics and how everything in the universe is actually made and works you wouldn't even ask such a stupid question in regards of the complexity of the human brain.

Comparative measurement? The human brain and the body that supports it is made up of a mixture of subatomic particles.

...

If you don't think that that defines complex and describes how the human brain is the most complex thing in the known universe then you are probably not as clever as you thought and are probably living in a fantasy dream world like all your friends.

If you're using "number of interconnected component parts" as your definition of "complexity," then there are innumerable things that are vastly more complex than the human brain int he Universe.

If you're really just using the number of subatomic particles, then literally anything with a greater mass than the human brain is going to be more complex (that's not entirely precise, as an equal mass of neutronium would contain fewer particles than a human brain, but it gets the point across).

If you're talking about neurons, well...the internet, as a singular example, is interconnected with millions of devices, millions of which contain hundreds of millions of transistors in their multitudinous processors and other components. The internet, then, by your own definition of the term, is more complex than the human brain.

Interesting to note on the subject of complexity is the fact that human DNA, which contains the chemical instructions for building the human brain, is orders of magnitude less complex than the DNA of other organisms, including some species of amoeba...which have no brains at all, and are in fact single-celled organisms.

"Complexity" alone, however you want to define it, doesn't mean much. It certainly has nothing to do with your argument.

And your argument remains a simple argument from popularity, nothing more. The window dressing of "complexity" and "the human brain is a computer" and the rest is all nothing more than a set of red herrings, irrelevant to your argument, made to distract attention toward intelligent sounding (but inappropriately used) terms and away from your actually fallacious core argument. You may convince a layperson with minimal education on any of the subjects you attempt to tie together (or, of course, basic logic), but not anyone with even the barest knowledge of science or logic.


“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 175 by divermike1974, posted 04-08-2013 12:43 PM divermike1974 has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(4)
Message 224 of 262 (695933)
04-10-2013 12:50 PM
Reply to: Message 222 by divermike1974
04-10-2013 12:27 PM


Re: No need for invisible men..
But you could also say that with modern understanding of how unbelievably amazing the universe is and how unfathomable a place it really is that modern skeptics are also victims of their own imaginations in thinking that they understand enough of existence and the universe to say with such certainty that there isn't a God. When in reality the true value of how much we actually know is probably more or less nothing compared with what there is to know.

It is unquestionably true that much, even most of what we think we know is imprecise, wrong to some degree, and that our present store of knowledge as a species is a woefully deficient subset of the sum total of knowledge required to wholly understand the Universe. We are ignorant; we can only ever be ignorant, and all of the learning and science that has ever occurred or ever will can only ever help us to be less wrong about the world.

And yet your reasoning suggests that, since we are ignorant, the darkness of our ignorance provides some form of evidence that god(s) may actually exist.

No one except the very foolish says that there is certainly no such thing as god(s); it is impossible for us to know anything with absolute certainty. The simple fact is that we could all exist in the Matrix, and literally every thing you think you know could be an elaborate lie.

But in the absence of positive evidence, the vastly more probable hypothesis is that a thing does not exist. To use an analogy, I could suppose that there may be a teapot orbiting the Sun halfway between Earth and Mars. There is no evidence of such a thing, and our instrumentation would be too imprecise to be able to detect it were we to search. Yes, there is a non-zero probability that such a teapot actually exists...but as with all unevidenced assertions (even if the same assertion is made by every person who has ever lived, the ultimate appeal to popularity), that probability is so close to zero as to be zero for all practical purposes of reasoning. That is, we would not attempt to plot the course of probes sent to Mars accounting for the possibility of a collision with the teapot - because the teapot is so unlikely to exist that we consider that may as well just not.

This is the case with all hypotheses that are not supported by evidence. They are quite simply no more likely to be true than any of the infinite random guesses the human mind can create within itself. It is possible but unlikely in the extreme that an invisible unicorn is watching over your shoulder while you read this post. It is possible but unlikely in the extreme that there really are leprechauns in your garden, and they simply hide whenever you or anyone else is present.

God(s) are no different. The hypotheses that suggest god(s) exist (and there are many, and they are often mutually exclusive; it's wrong to even conclude that the popular belief in god(s) suggest that god(s) exist simply because the vast majority cannot even agree on what these god(s) are supposed to be) are not supported by any evidence whatsoever. Books, tradition, and popularity are evidence only that books were written, that beliefs were held, and nothing more. They do not and never can provide more than the smallest suggestion that such beliefs might actually be accurate reflections of objective reality.

The reason is simple: evidence is any observation that adjusts the probability of a given hypothesis being true as compared to alternative, competing hypotheses. If I hypothesize that there is a pen on my desk, I can test that hypothesis by making an observation of my desk - and the observation of a pen being present would increase the probability of the hypothesis that said the pen was there to nearly 100%, while the competing hypothesis that said that the pen was not present would be adjusted to a near-zero probability of being accurate.

In the grand scheme of things, the vast, vast majority of the infinite number of possible hypotheses are inaccurate. Therefore, the null hypothesis, the most likely answer when we ask, in the absence of evidence, "does this exist," is "maybe, but probably not" until and unless evidence is discovered that alters that probability.

By this reasoning is the "god of the gaps," the god(s) who occupy the spaces of ignorance within and around our understanding, shown to be a logically worthless idea in itself. It is not impossible to reason in the presence of uncertainty - indeed, as we are never certain of anything, uncertainty is the natural state of all human reason, and it is inappropriate and intellectually dishonest to make exceptions for certain favored hypotheses.

Not to mention the fact that such god(s) must forever flee to new shadows of mystery as we continue to expand our knowledge.

The argument from ignorance is every much a logical fallacy as the argument from popularity, or the argument from incredulity.

There may well be god(s), Mike. It's not likely, but it's possible. But your fallacious reasoning cannot be the way we discover them.


“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 222 by divermike1974, posted 04-10-2013 12:27 PM divermike1974 has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 230 of 262 (695943)
04-10-2013 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 229 by divermike1974
04-10-2013 1:39 PM


Re: belief
In that case belief could be the driving force for the evolution of thinking creatures.

That's about the biggest non-sequitur I've ever seen. That's not at all how belief, thought, nor evolution work.


“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 229 by divermike1974, posted 04-10-2013 1:39 PM divermike1974 has not yet responded

  
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