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.

Comments

  1. Andreas says

    To “prove god”, you need to observe something that would not be possible without god. Ideally this should be something reproducible, or else you will have problems convincing others.

    To produce “evidence of god”, you need to observe something (reproducible) that would be highly unlikely without god.

    Unfortunately, the statement “X would not be possible / likely without god” is a dead end. For anything we observe, we either have an explanation based on a physical model of the universe, or we say “this is new, we don’t know how this works”. In the latter case, we could insert a god explanation, but we could also insert any explanation based on magic, faeries, unicorns, nature spirits, etc. Or we could extend our physical model of the world. The latter usually leads to testable predictions, whereas the former only leads to speculation.

    We would also need to be more specific what the “god assumption” implies. Assuming you observe something that is impossible without god, this probably does not tell you whether to believe the bible, the Q’ran or something completely different. Unless the “proof” is very specific, and tied to a specific ancient book.

    Overall in this domain we have seen so much nonsense over the time that it is unlikely this is something new. The person should write a blog post or post in a philosophy forum somewhere, and see it being ripped apart, like anyone else.

  2. Monocle Smile says

    It’s surely an odd question, but I’d be interested to see what he’s done thus far. This guy doesn’t seem troll-y.

  3. says

    If this guy is sincere, I think he should just publish his ‘blueprint’ in the public domain — Facebook, Theist and Atheist blogs, etc.
    However, I’m not sure he’s sincere. A big red flag is that he states that he originally did this to make a lot of money and to create opportunities for himself. The motivation of simply finding out what is true is absent.
    If he really does have a robust method to determine whether there’s a god — simply get it out there. If it has merit, someone will act on it. I’m sure fame and fortune will follow!

  4. Andreas says

    @MonocleSmile My bet is that he is serious, but it is still yet another dead end. Or an old-hat dead end.
    In the best case, it is a well-written summary of what we already know.

    But, this said, I often find these kinds of arguments entertaining, so yeah it would be interesting to see 🙂

  5. says

    He should contact Steven Novella, who is as well-versed in the scientific method as anyone, and submit his idea/paper to him. It would be interesting to hear how close this person’s approach comes to being valid.

  6. Andreas says

    Or he could post his idea on christianity . stackexchange . com or skeptics . stackexchange . com

  7. Russell Glasser says

    @FairWitness: IMHO, he only thinks the problem is that nobody will pay attention to his paper. The real problem is that his work is almost certainly not very good, and doesn’t meet even the most basic standards required to have a reviewer bother with it. It’s possible nobody ever read it because they don’t spend time taking email submissions from random strangers that didn’t go through the proper channels. It’s also possible that somebody did glance at it, and “noped” out after the first few sentences.

    Of course I haven’t read the proof so I can’t say this for sure, but it’s probably a fair guess.

  8. Knarf says

    Perhaps a team of “true believers” could pray for an statistically unlikely but specific outcome in a coin flipping experiment (eg 1000 consecutive “heads”). Wrap that up with some pretty statistics and graphs and publish. I would be baptized next week in the church of their choice should such an outcome be achieved. However, in the spirit of fair play, I would expect the team of true believers to publicly renounce their faith should they not obtain 1000 consecutive heads.

  9. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I think one of the biggest problems is, which god or gods? What is the definition of god or gods?

    Many times I have gotten into discussions with theists who either cannot or will not actually define god or gods. Or spiritual.

    I know, not much help. Sorry.

  10. says

    @9 Knarf

    Perhaps a team of “true believers” could pray for an statistically unlikely but specific outcome in a coin flipping experiment (eg 1000 consecutive “heads”). Wrap that up with some pretty statistics and graphs and publish.

    The issue there is that this would demonstrate that prayer works… not that a god exists. It’s still be a cool discovery though.

  11. Andreas says

    Also I suspect that even theists, or especially theists, would deny that this is going to work.

    The most common defining characteristic of god, as opposed to “the laws of physics” is that god is considered to be a person, an agent, not a mechanism or a process.

    A human is both a person and an (organic) mechanism. Things like eating, sleeping, etc, are part of the organic / mechanic aspect. These parts are reproducible. The “person” part produces actions that are not reproducible. Well in fact they are, statistically at least, because the “person” part is embedded in a physical world, and based on physical reactions in the brain.

    But god, so a theist would claim, is pure “person” and “will”, and zero “organic machine”. We cannot expect anything reproducible.

  12. Mattmon666 says

    Here’s how he can get his article published. It’s very simple. Submit it to Answers in Genesis, or Conservapedia or Fox News.

  13. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Never mind testing. What’s he even looking for?
     
    It’s not a god that wants to be known, or it would’ve revealed itself. It’s not one that prefers to hide, or it’d evade human searches. A non-anthropocentric / deist / dead god? What interaction does he think would provoke a response? What does he know of this god to predict trace evidence of past interaction?
     

    no one seems interested or convinced that it can be done.
     
    I cannot find any scientific journals
     
    I can’t perform the experiments
     
    I am not qualified
     
    I thought I could make a lot of money and create opportunities for myself that I did not have before.

    It’s not a god that would help with any of that.

  14. says

    @12 ME

    @9 Knarf
    Perhaps a team of “true believers” could pray for an statistically unlikely but specific outcome in a coin flipping experiment (eg 1000 consecutive “heads”). Wrap that up with some pretty statistics and graphs and publish.
    The issue there is that this would demonstrate that prayer works… not that a god exists. It’s still be a cool discovery though.

    I’d add that answered prayer isn’t entirely irrelevant… it largely depends on how it factors into the model being tested.

    If we’re working on a telekinesis model, answered prayer could also verify it… it’s just that the people don’t understand that it’s telekinesis. If the model is that of an intelligence doing something, the test would have to be more geared towards establishing some kind of intelligence instead of merely a mechanic.

  15. Geoff Newman says

    He would also need a precise definition of *which* god he is attempting to prove, including how his proof could not equally be applied to other supernatural forces or other gods. One would assume from his capitalisation that he means one of the Christian gods, but which precise one?

  16. mond says

    Sounds as though he is toying with a version of the Galileo gambit. In his case, instead of being persecuted, he is just being ignored.
    It would also appear that he maybe lacks confidence in his ideas. If I was the type of person who claimed (and genuinely believed) to have knock down scientific way of proving god then I wouldn’t let few rejections get in the way.

  17. Wiggle Puppy says

    I’m also kind of curious what’s up here, if only for the entertainment value. The fact that he doesn’t go into much detail about his experience with journals is telling. I’ve both published in and reviewed articles for professional journals – historical journals, not science journals, but refereed publications nonetheless – and I can tell you that most reputable journals get way more legitimate submissions than they can possibly publish, and that it takes a lot of time to arrange reviewers for an article and collect the initial reviews and the reviews of revised versions, so jurnals definitely don’t have time to waste on every yahoo that comes along. Furthermore, it would be borderline insulting to ask busy academics to waste time reviewing the work of obvious crackpots, and such requests might even harm the reputation of the journal itself. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had received curt replies from editors before the article ever went out for review. I mean, in the email, he doesn’t even bother to define what he means by “God” before asking for help on how to proceed, which is some pretty vital missing information. Dunning-Kruger indeed.

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Todd Smith says

    However, I’m not sure he’s sincere. A big red flag is that he states that he originally did this to make a lot of money and to create opportunities for himself. The motivation of simply finding out what is true is absent.

    Yep.

    To the email author:

    Step 1: Define “god”. Are we talking the Christian god of the Christian Bible? Which variant of that in particular? Standard Roman Catholic dogma? Mormon dogma?

    If you just wish to prove the mere existence of some god, potentially including a deist clockmaker god that didn’t do anything except start the universe on its way, then I’m not interested. One of the many fatal flaws of Pascal’s Wager is that even if you could show that some – potentially deist clockamker – god exists, it gets you absolutely no closer to showing that the Christian god exists. On just that evidence alone, I can create a god hypothesis that is just as likely as the Christian god hypothesis, and mutually exclusive, by taking the Christian god hypothesis, and replacing “Earth” with “a planet around some star”, and replace “humans” with “human-like aliens on that planet”, etc.

    In other words, discussions about mere deist gods are useless. Worse, it’s often used as a ruse by people similar to yourself – in short, you will try to do a bait and switch. You probably believe in the christian god, but you may try to argue for merely the deist god, which is not a position that you believe. In other words, you can to the Christian god belief for some reasons, but you believe that these other reasons should be sufficient, but those deist god reasons are not what convinced you in the first place, and the deist god reasons are actually very, very bad reasons.

    I will emphasize again, that if you try to do some first-cause argument, ontological argument, or some other asinine argument, you’re wasting your time. As an academic exercise, sometimes I’m interested in poking holes in those arguments for fun, but even if you could win that argument, it gets you no closer to your actual goal of convincing me that the Christian god exists.

    Now, if you want to show that the Christian god exists, imagine the kind of evidence that would be necessary to show that aliens exist and regularly visit Earth and mess with cows and humans in experiments on board their interstellar spacecraft. Imagining some hypothetical scenario and evidence is trivial – just look at popular science fiction films like Independence Day. Similarly, it’s trivial to imagine evidence that should convince someone that the Christian god is real. Just look at various Hollywood movies that deal with the Christian god, angels, demons, etc. For example, Dogma, the Prophesy, End Of Days, etc.

    I also would like to ask you whether you think this is even a worthwhile venture in the first place.

    Of course it is! I would very much want to know if the Christian god existed. I currently believe it doesn’t, but imagine what kind of national security risk it would represent if true! Forget national, it would be a threat to all of humankind. If it was showed that the Christian god existed, we would need to create an international agency tasked with further investigation into the intentions, powers, and weaknesses of this god, and develop countermeasures to neutralize the threat, especially based on preliminary research that the Christian god is a horrible, horrible creature that has committed genocide of the human species once before already.

    In other words, very similar to the plot of Stargate SG-1. I would very much want to know if the Goa’uld or the Ori were real, because I would want time to prepare defenses, and not be broadsided by the surprise when they come to enslave or kill us.

    To put this all another way, if there’s anything that I learned from Stargate SG-1, it is that the proper response to an evil god is not to bow down and worship, but to blow it up, like SG-1 did many times. Nuke god!

    I die free
    Give me liberty, or give me death!
    Live free or die

  19. Jason Waskiewicz says

    When I was a believer, I would have told him God was all based on faith. He doesn’t allow himself to be proven. If God proves its existence, this takes away the element of faith.

  20. dayan75 says

    As an agnostic atheist, if I can’t say what evidence I would accept as proof that a God exists, then my position is not defeasible and appears to others to be faith-based. If I say that there isn’t any possible empirical evidence for God, then asking for such evidence from theists is, at a minimum, disingenuous. The claim “God exists” is considered by many atheist as an empirical question for which sufficient evidence should be possible (at least in principle). On the other hand, many atheists also claim that presenting compelling empirical evidence on this question is not possible, even in principle. To them I say, interesting claim, what’s your evidence for that?

  21. Monocle Smile says

    @dayan
    This is why my first follow-up to that question is always “which god?” Because the evidence varies with the god.

  22. says

    @23

    On the other hand, many atheists also claim that presenting compelling empirical evidence on this question is not possible, even in principle. To them I say, interesting claim, what’s your evidence for that?

    In many cases the god concept has been specifically engineered to NOT be demonstrable. The god is invisible, undetectable, does not leave any kind of physical evidence, and has in fact created reality to appear to be not-designed. Intentionally.

    The evidence is that, upon questioning (and if this information isn’t volunteered), the theist has explicitly defined the god to BE that way.

  23. steele says

    @20

    EL the same old dried up arguments time and time again. First though; Russell’s condescending post aside, this guy trying to prove God for money does beg the question of his motivation and his pursuit of the “truth” and would lead me to question his method as well. I would say though that science and religion are hand maidens in the pursuit of knowledge.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/what-is-the-relation-between-science-and-religion

    EL I know you follow mythicist blogger (who tries to pick up chicks off his blog) Richard Carrier but the evidence for Christianity is there :

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/why-christianity-rather-than-judaism-or-islam
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/rediscovering-the-historical-jesus-the-evidence-for-jesus

    Further science has been indebted to Christianity since Newton

    https://isaacnewtonstheology.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/theology-of-the-principia.pdf

    Second, it is impossible to understand Newton’s discussion of the absolute and relative senses of space, time, place and motion found in the Scholium on the Definitions (already present in the Principia of 1687) with out an appreciation for Newton’s theological ideas about God’s omnipresence and eternal duration.

    you say:

    but those deist god reasons are not what convinced you in the first place

    actually that is not true many people come to faith through a deistic understanding of God and then later realizing He is the Christian God as well. You are committing the genetic fallacy with your snide comment

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy

    Lastly EL you would fail to blow up God no matter how much you tried, I know failure wouldn’t stop you as your arguments fail every day but that doesn’t stop you from using them ad nauseum.

  24. Monocle Smile says

    Fuck. steele’s back. Just when I thought the theist quality aside from jonnie couldn’t get shittier…
    FYI, William Lane Fucking Craig does not believe because of evidence. He is a presuppositionalist, though he uses this “inner witness of the holy spirit” garbage as his Monopoly card. His arguments reflect this inanity. Those links come down to “what about the empty tomb?” The response of any sane person is “what fucking empty tomb?” Craig acts as if the gospels are 100% accurate historical accounts, which makes him a buffoon. Regardless of whether or not a historical jesus existed, the character described in the bible did not.

    I’m sure we’re all excited for the huge posts of mostly bible verses that you’ll undoubtedly be dropping next.

  25. TimothyJ999 says

    Science has not been “indebted:” to Newton’s christianity, it’s religion that owes him the debt. Newton was a genius, but was a crackpot when it came to religion and spiritualism and alchemy; his science is freighted with it, and it took another hundred years before that shit was stripped away. Physics has made a little progress since Newton, your attempt to assign current science the characteristics it had 400 years ago notwithstanding.

  26. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Couple quick additions

    Newton can be a Christian, and it can influence his thoughts, but Newton was acting against the established church position of the last 1000 years, which was the physics of Aristotle, and the model that the Earth was the center of the universe, and the sun went around the Earth. While the main reason for Galileo’s punishment was not advocating a sun-centered model, there are plenty of other astronomers who were punished in large part because of their views on the motions of the sun and the Earth, such as Tycho Brahe, who was on the run for a lot of his life for fear of being burned at the stake, and Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake. (I know that the church was pissed as Bruno for more than just his views on astronomy and cosmology, but those were definitely big and important factors in his executable execution by being burned alive.)

    As to the ridiculous notion that science didn’t advance for 400 years after Newton – my fucking ass. Just off the top of my head, Newton tried to determine how might the orbits of the planets would be stable over long times, e.g. millions of years, but concluded that they could not be, threw up his hands, and said “a god must be keeping the orbits stable”. His intelligent design stunted his progress, and he didn’t do anything relevant for astronomy and cosmology again. 150 years later, this guy called LaPlace came along, and continued where Newton stopped, developed perturbation theory, and explained how the orbits of the planets were stable over long periods of time. Also, while the original quote is suspect, AFAICT the original meaning was communicated and is accurate of LaPlace’s views: The story goes that Napoleon asked LaPlace in person “why did you not mention god in your great work on the motions of the heavens?”, and LaPlace answered “I had no need of that hypothesis”.

    actually that is not true many people come to faith through a deistic understanding of God and then later realizing He is the Christian God as well. You are committing the genetic fallacy with your snide comment

    No, it’s rationalizations and self-lies. The simple Bayesian analysis shows that evidence for some god is useless, precisely because there’s at least a trillion trillion different and mutually exclusive god hypotheses – one for every star in the sky. Quite literally. I can take Christianity, replace “Earth” with “planet around some other star”, and I’ve already created a new god hypothesis, that is just as likely as Christianity to be true on the basis of mere evidence for some god, and it’s mutually exclusive.

    Emphasis: “On the basis of mere evidence for some god”. If you start to bring out evidence specific to Christianity, then you might be able to actually show that the Christian god exists. However, evidence for some first-cause god supports the existence of the Christian god just as much as it supports the existence of the trillion trillion other god hypothesis. Roughly, at best, that means my estimation of the likelihood of the truth of the Christian god is increases only by 1 divided by a trillion trillion, and that is a very small number indeed.

    Lastly EL you would fail to blow up God no matter how much you tried, I know failure wouldn’t stop you as your arguments fail every day but that doesn’t stop you from using them ad nauseum.

    You seem very confused. Arguing against the existence of god is not trying to blow it up. By “blowing it up”, I do mean quite literally blowing up the god, such as with a nuclear bomb. For example, if the god requires a spaceship ala Star Trek 5, then I would try to blow up the spaceship and the god. For example, if the god is a non-corporeal energy being in a higher plane of existence, then I would research the rules, the physics, of that other place, in the hopes that I could build a bomb that would be effective against beings of that kind, like what SG-1 did against the Ori.

  27. steele says

    @EL and MS

    First MS thanks for the welcome back, I will spare you the Bible verses.because I know you are like Superman and they bounce off you like bullets. MS sure you are somewhat right about Craig, not the buffoon part for sure. Craig like me believes there is dual warrant for being a Christian, evidence and yes the inner witness of the Holy Spirit call it what you want and knock it as well but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The whole universe testifies God is real but I realize that amount of evidence isn’t enough for the “Brights” like yourself. Faith is a virtue MS you should try it, lol, it might help with your rageoholism too.

    Actually my main reason for stopping back was to try and spare EL embarrassment by using the same embarrassing arguments he makes. EL is actually sounding more like an theist these days though so maybe there is hope for him. EL seems to be advocating for polytheism now as he says:

    The simple Bayesian analysis shows that evidence for some god is useless, precisely because there’s at least a trillion trillion different and mutually exclusive god hypotheses – one for every star in the sky. Quite literally. I can take Christianity, replace “Earth” with “planet around some other star”, and I’ve already created a new god hypothesis, that is just as likely as Christianity to be true on the basis of mere evidence for some god, and it’s mutually exclusive.

    Wow EL so you are going to prove Christianity is not true by proving there are an infinite number of similar god arguments out there…sounds like you are on your way to theism not atheism. I will save you some time though EL, use Occam’s razor, so we only need to prove or disprove one God…the real one of Christianity.

    Bayesian analysis EL actually works against your little hypothesis as Swinburne has shown Jesus Resurrection to be 97% probable

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/11/arts/so-god-s-really-in-the-details.html?pagewanted=all

    Pierre Simon LaPlace was a pompous ass Newton wannabe. Leonhard Euler was much better mathematician and more humble and as he said anecdotally in jest to the atheist Diderot

    “Sir, a+bn/n=x, hence God exists—reply!”

    Lastly again EL you would never be able to blow up God, I know you wish you could but a little philosophy may help clear up your confusion about this namely this:

    “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?”

    answer

    You get squashed in the middle EL, thanks for playing better luck next time.

  28. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Wow EL so you are going to prove Christianity is not true by proving there are an infinite number of similar god arguments out there

    Again, I specifically stated how evidence for the existence of “some god” is not evidence for the existence of the Christian god. That line of argument is nothing more, and nothing less. It is not an argument that the Christian god does not exist. It is not an argument that the Christian god does not exist. It’s just a line of argument that some bits of evidence are irrelevant to the conversation “does the Christian god exist?”.

    Please simmer down, slow down, calm down, take your time, and read for comprehension. Comprehension comes from trying to understand the opponent’s position. Your goal should be able to make my own arguments better than I can. That’s should be your goal in order to reach comprehension, and comprehension of your opponent’s points should be your goal in any confrontation like this.

    This you are not doing. You are just skimming my points, looking for something out of context that you can throw back at me. This is not not honest conversation. You should know that what you wrote in the above quote is not an honest description of my position as described.

    Bayesian analysis EL actually works against your little hypothesis as Swinburne has shown Jesus Resurrection to be 97% probable

    Like any form of inductive or deductive reasoning: GIGO. In other words, if you grant me any premise I want, I can reach any conclusion I want.

    Lastly again EL you would never be able to blow up God, I know you wish you could but a little philosophy may help clear up your confusion about this namely this:

    How do you know that? Because your god says so? Yea, I’m not going to trust that. I’m going to want to test that, rather than just take your word, or your god’s word, on that. Specifically, your god might be lying.

    Further, it seems that your god is weak to iron chariots, and has been defeated by iron chariots before (Judges 1:19). If iron chariots can defeat your god, what about a radar guided, multi-warhead, thermonuclear missile? We’ve come pretty far in our ability to wage war. Has your god made any improvements since its defeat to iron chariots?

  29. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, you missed the last part of my response, which is: If your god exists, and if I fail to destroy your god, it is better to die free than live a slave. That is the true spirit of freedom, which is the antithesis of being a Christian. To be a Christian is to be a slave willingly. I am no one’s slave. Your god cannot make me a slave, because I will never submit in my heart of hearts.

    PS: Ok, I guess your god could mind-rape me to be a slave, just like it did to Pharaoh when it “hardened Pharaoh’s heart”. There’s nothing I can do against actual magical mind control and magic mind alterations e.g. mind rape. Short of that, I will never be a slave.

    PPS:
    I am Spartacus
    I die free
    Give me liberty, or give me death!
    Live free or die

  30. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PPPS:
    Actually, if mind rape magic is real, we might be able to research countermeasures, like a shield that protects from mind rape. So I partially retract my earlier statement. If the god mind rapes me, then I am no longer me, and that new me might be a slave. However, there might be something I can do to defend against mind rape. The mere existence of mind rape does not mean that there are no defenses to mind rape.

    Science!

  31. Devocate says

    @EL:

    Step 1: Define “god”.

    Completely disagree. Step 1: Examine the world. …. Step 356703: If there is something you have found which is unidentified, that matches what many people consider god-like, name it ‘god’.

  32. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Devocate
    Meh. Politely disagreed. Both approaches are about as good. Both are trying to get at the fundamental questions: “What do you believe? And why do you believe it?” – Matt Dillahunty.

  33. steele says

    @EL

    Again, I specifically stated how evidence for the existence of “some god” is not evidence for the existence of the Christian god. That line of argument is nothing more, and nothing less. It is not an argument that the Christian god does not exist. It is not an argument that the Christian god does not exist. It’s just a line of argument that some bits of evidence are irrelevant to the conversation “does the Christian god exist?”.

    I would agree evidence for “some god” is not necessarily evidence for the Christian God but it is evidence atheism is flawed and wrong. So if you grant me even a deistic god atheism goes down in flames. The deistic god is cold comfort as it could be evil, good, neutral, indifferent, etc. To say though that a deistic god is irrelevant to the conversation of the Christian God existing is going to far though as it is very well possible the deistic god is the Christian God, in fact IMHO it is exactly that. You call it the bait and switch method I am well aware as Islam or any other religion could claim the deistic god is their god but to poo poo it as irrelevant requires a certain amount of cognitive dissonance on your part (a god existing is evidence that the Christian God is possible no matter how you slice or dice it).

    I comprehend your position just fine; much better than you seem to understand mine in fact. My main point is atheists like yourself are good a taking pot shots at theists but when defending their own position of atheism they are rather weak and don’t wish to take up atheist share of the burden of proof. They just give inane Russell Teapot analogies and the false premise about not being able to prove a negative nonsense.

    You say:

    Similarly, it’s trivial to imagine evidence that should convince someone that the Christian god is real.

    Sure it is trivial EL; look at history, the Bible, logic, reason, creation, order. All these trivial evidences point to the Christian God being real but you ignore them why exactly? Oh I read you bluster and false bravado about “Live or Die Free” and blowing up God. Funny your only reason for wanting to know if God is real is so that you can try to kill Him. Sorry they tried that 2000 years ago and He rose from the dead, so your idle threats I doubt are much to be worried about.

    Your a slave to sin or to Christ EL, its either or but you do get a free choice of which one so in that respect you are free, thank God for that EL.

    http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=301

  34. TimothyJ999 says

    “Sure it is trivial EL; look at history, the Bible, logic, reason, creation, order. All these trivial evidences point to the Christian God being real but you ignore them why exactly?”

    Because the way you are presenting them as evidence, they are all inherently circular. They all assume the thing that you’re trying to assert. The very fact you refer to everything as “creation” shows how dishonest or oblivious you are. Reason is evidence for god because–why? Reason is the illustration of the mind of god, so godmust exist?

    This is absurd, even for a presuppositionalist. And a huge waste of time, because you either can’t or won’t see the inherent problem with your arguments.

  35. Monocle Smile says

    @steele
    I see you’re not familiar with “evidence.” Evidence is data that fits one explanation to the exclusion of others. Those things you listed can be very trivially explained by things other than the christian god and just as well. Even if we couldn’t explain those things in mundane terms, any magical explanation is just as sufficient as your god. This is Ray Comfort garbage.

    Faith is a virtue MS you should try it, lol

    Faith is gullibility. It’s adults believing in freakin’ Santa Claus. There’s nothing virtuous about insisting up being a sheep.

    Bayesian analysis EL actually works against your little hypothesis as Swinburne has shown Jesus Resurrection to be 97% probable

    So why does that appear in the New York Times instead of in science journals? Insert pants-on-head conspiracy theory here.
    EL is correct here. Swinburne is granting as true a shitload of premises that are either unknown or flatly false. This is common practice among all religious apologists.

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @steele
    Also, EL is channeling Diderot when he talks about the many god arguments. You are the lizard brain portion of Euler. Your posts are every bit as moronic as what you claim Euler said to Diderot. And you revel in this dumbassery. You weren’t missed in the least.

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I comprehend your position just fine;

    Then stop misrepresenting it.

  38. Devocate says

    “Both are trying to get at the fundamental questions: “What do you believe? And why do you believe it?” – Matt Dillahunty.”

    Not interested in what people believe, or why. Only interested in knowing the truth (if some theist has evidence I want to know it). And having other people know the truth (if they don’t have evidence, I want them to know what that means). As that seems, to me, to allow us all to arrive at the best world.

  39. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Devocate
    What you write here is simply misguided and wrong:

    Not interested in what people believe, or why. Only interested in knowing the truth (if some theist has evidence I want to know it). And having other people know the truth (if they don’t have evidence, I want them to know what that means). As that seems, to me, to allow us all to arrive at the best world.

    To reliably know what is true, it is requisite to personally know what you personally believe, and to know your personal reasons (justifications) for why you believe it. Further, one common way that we improve our knowledge is by trying to understand the beliefs and reasons of others, because they might have noticed something that we ourselves did not. Taken at face value, your position is that of supreme arrogance; it is the position that never has it happened that someone has corrected you on any topic whatsoever. You ought to want to know what other people, and why they believe it, because sometimes they’re right and you’re wrong, and further this is a very common way that intelligent people improve their own personal knowledge. This strikes me as comically-Rousseau in its ignorance, naivety, and arrogance of how improvement of knowledge actually happens in the real world.

    Going back to what you said earlier:

    [EL:] Step 1: Define “god”.

    [Devocate:] Completely disagree. Step 1: Examine the world. …. Step 356703: If there is something you have found which is unidentified, that matches what many people consider god-like, name it ‘god’.

    The kid gloves are coming off. This is asinine.

    Proper empirical reasoning is Bayesian. To do proper Bayesian reasoning, you have to look at all (plausible) explanations, weigh the evidence on each explanation, and see if one is a clear winner. In the proper approach, we are constantly taking in new evidence and updating our estimations of the likelihood of the truth of various explanations. No explanation is favored on the mere basis that we previously believed that it is correct.

    On your account of how knowledge and reasoning works, you state that we should first look for evidence that does not fit our current explanations before looking for new explanations. That is wrong. This is a complete mishandling of the intellectual burden of proof. You’re setting up artificial barriers to alternative explanations. Your system favors explanations on the mere basis that we used to believe that they are correct, absent any specific logical and rational basis to do so. Effectively, you’re creating a system of dogma and stagnation, where one must overcome a supreme hurdle in order to overturn current knowledge. Again, this is a completely wrong view of the personal intellectual burden of proof. In other words, we should take or reject hypotheses on their merits, and not on the basis of whether we already accept them as true.

    PS: I remember Tracie making a similar point in a show in the last year or two. There is some merit to some of the nuance and content of her point, but as to your points made here, no.

  40. Devocate says

    To reliably know what is true, it is requisite to personally know what you personally believe, and to know your personal reasons (justifications) for why you believe it.

    I can easily design (thought not build) a computer system which is as reliable as it is possible to be in determining the truth, without even modeling the concept of ‘belief’. All one needs is Bayesian analysis, as you of all people should know. Nowhere in Baye’s theorem is there a concept of ‘belief’.

    On your account of how knowledge and reasoning works, you state that we should first look for evidence that does not fit our current explanations before looking for new explanations. On your account of how knowledge and reasoning works, you state that we should first look for evidence that does not fit our current explanations before looking for new explanations.

    Here your reading comprehension is just abysmal. You have turned an ellipsis into an entire (wrong) argument. I don’t know what demons you are arguing against in your head, but it couldn’t be me. Give the kid gloves back to the goat.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    I was actually planning on writing a (shorter) response to Devocate myself, but now I have to take issue with this:

    No explanation is favored on the mere basis that we previously believed that it is correct.

    I agree on a technical level, but only because of the “mere” in there. When we acquire data that doesn’t fit our current explanation, it behooves us to check out that explanation and wonder why it explained all the past data just fine. At the very least, our current explanations often give us a launching point for the new explanation or plausible explanations. Note that I’m not arguing tradition for the sake of tradition.
    I agree with your first half entirely. I take issue with not being concerned about why we believe things and why other people believe other things (or even the same things…reasons matter). It is the most important part of intellectual honesty.

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To MS

    I agree on a technical level, but only because of the “mere” in there. When we acquire data that doesn’t fit our current explanation, it behooves us to check out that explanation and wonder why it explained all the past data just fine. At the very least, our current explanations often give us a launching point for the new explanation or plausible explanations. Note that I’m not arguing tradition for the sake of tradition.

    There is merit in what you say.

  43. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #44:

    I remember Tracie making a similar point in a show in the last year or two.

    Article: AXP – Determining the Attributes and Effects of Gods
     
    * Posted 2014-07-14, from the era when comments were nested. Archive.org preserved the HTML (with <li class=”depth-N”>), but not the CSS which used that info to display comment list items indented. >.>

  44. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Devocate
    I try to be clear and thorough in my posts, so that there is little source of confusion. Thus far, it appears that you’re trying to be short and concise and ambiguous as possible. I don’t currently care enough to pull teeth one at a time. If you want to engage like an adult in a proper conversation, then please take a little more time so that you can explain your position in sufficiently clear and precise details.

    In short, I don’t understand most of what you wrote. It makes no sense. Knowledge is belief. If you claim to know “some particular claim is true”, you are also claiming to believe that “this particular claim is true”. This is because, by definition, knowledge is a particular kind of belief. In other words, knowledge is a subset of belief. If you wish to use non-standard definitions of terms, the onus is on you to provide definitions.

  45. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    In other words, “a belief that X is (probably) true” is simply the mental state of being in the state of accepting that X is (probably) true. In other words, to believe that something is (probably) true is to accept that this something is (probably) true.

    If you wish to use non-standard definitions, the onus if on you to present your alternative definitions at the start and to clearly describe them.

  46. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PPS:
    Sorry for multiposting. I should take more time to proofread. I’m also trying to live up to my own standards.

    Devocate, in particular, if I misrepresent your position, the proper thing to do is not just merely state “you misrepresented my position”. The proper thing to do in conversation is explain what your position is, with more detail and clarity, to clear up the confusion. This you have not done. This is what I’m asking you to do. Don’t just complain about my reading comprehension and say that I got your argument wrong. Instead, correct me, and explain to me with simple childlike words so that I can understand your position, so that I can accept it, reject it, critique it, etc.

  47. Tim Freeman says

    He should find a coauthor who understands the process and can get things published. Either the coauthor will tell him how he is wrong or they will get an interesting paper published.

  48. Please help me understand says

    Do you really need a nuclear bomb? Isn’t he shown to be fearful of iron chariots?

  49. jdoran says

    This e-mail author seems similar to a nut I ran into on Youtube a few years ago. Is his “scientific proof” a divine vision that contained secret knowledge of magnetism?

  50. Questor says

    So if the original poster is truly serious about applying the scientific method to finding establishing God (or a god – any god), may I humbly suggest an essay by Robert Root-Bernstein in _Science and Creationism_ (1981, ed. A. Montagu, Oxford University Press ). The book is a collection of essays written by scientists and philosophers centered around evolution and creationism. The essay by Root-Bernstein is titled “On Defining a Scientific Theory: Creationism Considered”. In there, he does an admiral job deconstructing the scientific method and showing the importance of applying the fundamental concepts related to each piece. If you want to know *how* to test an empirical theory regarding something, read through this and be sure you understand each piece of the scientific process presented, and why it is – and must have been – included therein. I will warn you that it is somewhat dry and dense, but it is, as Sagan would have put it, a necessary addition to your toolbox if you want to do science. I highly recommend the read – it is one of (several) reasons I deconverted. If you get through this essay (and the book), and still think that proving God may be possible, ring me up, we can have a chat.