We get email: Man asks atheists how to prove God exists

To: The Atheist Experience
Subject: Need some advice

I am in a strange situation and I need some advice as to how I should go about navigating it. For years and many months, I have been trying to craft a way to prove God using the scientific method since no one seems interested or convinced that it can be done. For some time now, I have been sending my article to peer-reviewed scientific journals, and I purchased professional help along the way as well. At this point, I am confident that I was able to show that God can actually be proven scientifically. However, I cannot find any scientific journals that allow you to publish hypothesis articles and I can’t perform the experiments myself because I am not qualified to do so. More importantly, even if I was qualified, the predictions from the hypothesis require an enormous amount of testing from the scientific community at large to make the conclusion that GOD exists. Thus, I need advice as to how I should alert the public or media so they can alert theistic and non-theistic scienstists around the world as well as the general public.

I also would like to ask you whether you think this is even a worthwhile venture in the first place. I originally did this because I thought I could make a lot of money and create opportunities for myself that I did not have before. Do you think this is worth it or should I give up?

Remember, I am not suggesting that I proved the existence of God but I provide a blueprint as to how researchers can do so.


 

From: Russell Glasser

That is a very odd question to ask atheists. We already don’t believe that God exists, and logically you can’t “prove” something that isn’t true. So if I believed that you had likely found a way to prove that God exists, I would probably think God does exist — which I don’t.

I think a big problem here is that you don’t sound like you have very much training in the sciences, so you are trying to invent your own path to scientific validation for something you want to be true. Science doesn’t work that way. You should develop a background in the fundamentals of scientific inquiry first, gain a thorough understanding of the review and publication progress, and then start working on research that follows from the evidence. Not make up a point to prove, and try to mold the publication process to reach the conclusion you’re after.

Let me make an analogy. Say you are trying to get an Academy Award for a movie, but you haven’t studied film, and you have never worked on a movie in any capacity. So you write to an atheist group to ask how you can submit your YouTube video to the  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and how you can make them give you the award.

That won’t work. You should learn all you can about film first, or find a way to get some professional experience, and by the time you’ve finished your studies, you should already have a good sense of what kind of work will be required to make a good movie.

That’s basically my advice to you. You should not be putting your energy into the idea that you are planning to prove God. You should be putting more energy into studying science and learning to do it well. Hate to say it, but for most people that means a formal education — probably all the way up to the Ph.D level. You can email atheist shows all day if you want to, but we aren’t scientists and none of us have PhD’s, so you’re not even beginning by asking the right people. What’s the highest degree you have obtained? If you’ve had some college, start studying up for GREs, see how you do when you take the test, and apply for grad schools. Talk to admissions officers and find what kind of effort it will take. It’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself at this point.

Don’t believe every Jesus conspiracy you read

Okay, I need to nip this in the bud. We’ve gotten a flood of email in the last 24 hours telling us we should check out this thing.

I’m inclined to conclude that it’s rubbish. Joseph Atwill has been peddling his Jesus conspiracy theories for years. He is not a historian, he doesn’t have any credibility on the subject. I’m not inclined to believe his “discovery” of a “confession” by Romans who invented Jesus, and even if it were verified to be real, I wouldn’t be inclined to assume they were telling truth either.

I’m not a historian myself so I don’t have the ability to thoroughly evaluate this information. But here’s a guy claiming to have a made a new discovery of significant academic importance, yet he won’t just release it to other scholars and the public. Instead, you must buy tickets to attend a lecture at which he will reveal his secret information in a week and a half. Scholarship does not work like that. You don’t reveal new information in a lecture and then let other scholars pore over it. You get it reviewed, verified, and debated first, and after it’s accepted by a significant number of credible reviewers, THEN you reveal it in a lecture. Jumping the gun like this is just pulling the equivalent of the cold fusion fiasco, and in this case it’s clearly a stunt to bring in some money.

Bother us about this stuff again after Atwill has finished his lecture and other mainstream historians have reviewed his work. Until then, don’t be gullible.

Added: Martin would also like you to read this review of Atwill’s work by Robert Price.

Update 2: Richard Carrier weighs in with much more detail; calls Atwill a crank.

Climate change “skeptics” in the creationist role

We received an email from a relatively new atheist who is still coming to grips with various science-related issues now that he’s shed his theism.  He wrote:

After de-converting I’ve started reassessing some long held political beliefs that were based on my old religious beliefs. I’ve found that when I look at things from a skeptical point-of-view it is much easier to come to a rational political position than if I just accept things on faith or along party lines. Unfortunately I might be looking at things a little too skeptically. Here’s my current dilemma:

I’ve been studying the merits of accepting the concept of global warming. I am not a scientist, so I have to base my decision on the information that is available to me, which is usually dumbed down for mass consumption. I have done quite a bit of research outside of news articles, but I couldn’t really get far without hitting the political side of things. Unfortunately, I see way too many logical loopholes in the presentation; especially the Al Gore/liberal democrat presentation, which to be honest, sounds like it’s based on religious indoctrination.

It’s taken me quite a while to compose a reply, but the response touched on quite a lot of useful concepts about scientific claims, peer review, how laymen learn about complex scientific issues, and the political tactics of creationists.  While this isn’t always directly related to atheism, it’s one of those issues that comes up from time to time from atheist viewers, and it’s worth a discussion.

The rest of his letter, as well as my response, is below.

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