Does God Exist?

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skniuhi
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Does God Exist?

Postby skniuhi » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

Not the easiest of question to answer.
Whenever a topic involving human sentiments and emotions is discussed tempers fly high and more often than less they turn really nasty.
The above question is one such one where answering YES unsupported by facts might lead to one being branded as lunatic and answering NO may be considered as blaspheme.
I would like to introduce a new perspective into this hot topic which has nothing to do with religion and my apologies if the following argument hurts anyone's sentiment ( Prevention is better than cure).

Before answering if God exists or not we should understand that the belief that God exists is there within a lot of people(Theist).
Lets just look how people perceive God. If you ask a Buddhist, an Hindu a Muslim or a christian on who God is they will give you different answers but when we look at the idea of God in the simplest form we can conclude that God is someone who can perform miracle.
History supports my definition
Why is Christ considered God because he returned to bodily life three days after his death by crucifixion.
Why is Buddha considered like God because he attained enlightenment after sitting under Bodhi tree. A Miracle.
Lets leave history and think when most people pray God.
Of course the answer is at times of adversity because they want their situation to improve Miraculously.
Hence the definition.
The scientific community doesn't believe in miracles and hence they have little or no faith in God but even they are astounded by the fact that so many people believe in God they say it's just the foolishness of the people but nevertheless they should accept that it is a miracle for so many to believe in something or someone unsupported by facts and data.
What was the definition of God ? Miracle . He does exist.
Being a behavior analyst I can say that installing a belief in an individual is hard on a small group it's extremely tough and on the whole community quite a miracle.

PS : I would like to write more on this but the unsaid law in psychology is that one always seem right to oneself. Hence i don't want to get obsessed by my own idea and would wait for people to comment before i continue further.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

How is this more (or less) than a rehash of the age-old concept that God exists because people believe in him?

Furthermore, the basic premise of your idea, that such a large portion of people believing in God is a "miracle", is a completely faulty assumption. You have to prove it's a miracle. The existence of a slew of major religions throughout history (including plenty that don't believe in "God" at all), and well as belief other wide-spread phenomena (i.e. UFOs) sets the precedent that large numbers of people can come to believe factually unsupported things from completely mundane sources.

Society is really, really good at convincing people of all sorts of factually unsupported ideas. Especially if you give them thousands of years to do it, and a vested power structure to help. Take Santa, racial or gender discrimination, xenophobia etc etc.

In short, no.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:07 pm UTC

skniuhi wrote:History supports my definition
Why is Christ considered God because he returned to bodily life three days after his death by crucifixion.
Why is Buddha considered like God because he attained enlightenment after sitting under Bodhi tree. A Miracle.

Neither of these examples can be considered historically proven. That a person named Jesus lived at the appropriate time and is in Roman records is true, the rest is unsupported personal anecdote. That the Buddha attained enlightenment is a closed loop-he claimed to be enlightened and others agreed with him. There is no way to tell if enlightenment actually occurs.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:05 pm UTC

There is, and in all likelihood never will be, any empirical (see scientific) case for God's existence. From the materialist's perspective--from someone who is only concerned with what can be measured, observed, and known--there is no empirical evidence, no mathematical proof, and no logically sound argument for the existence of God.

If you want to move beyond the material--beyond what can be proven, measured, and observed--then there is room for belief in God. But there is no room in the realm of pure science. It isn't even that science responds to the query with a 'no'; that would imply that it's a question of some notable significance. As far as science is concerned, it isn't. The answer is less than a no--it's simply silence--because the question is irrelevant.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Czhorat » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

I think this thread is destined to be locked as there already seem to be similar discussions.

One of the most obvious, glaring flaws in your premise is that you neglected to define "miracle". To me, there seem to be two classes of god-stories which one could classify as "miracles":

1) Anecdotal tales of things which seem outside of normal reality. Mana from heaven, the burning bush that was not consumed, the loaves and fishes.

2) Supernatural explanations of things for which we lack natural explanations. The creation of the life. Sunrise. Earhtquakes. The weather.

Relatively few of what I'll call "Type 2" miracles still exist; there are perfectly reasonable natural explanations for just about any phenomena one could observe, and it's easy to imagine an as-of-yet-undiscovered scientific principal for those we lack scientific proof. I'd argue that your "miracle" of religious belief falls into the latter category. There are several disciplines within evolutionary- and social-psychology which in fact can explain how non-factual belief systems spread. Azrael's examples of UFOs is a good one. I'd further argue that different groups of people having incompatible sets of irrational beliefs is hardly miraculous. If EVERYONE believed the same thing, including social groups which developed in complete isolation from each other, than that might be harder to explain and at least give some credence to your idea. That is, unfortunately for your argument, not the case.

We're left with "Type 1" miracles - one off occurrences with poor documentation most often happening in the distant past. Absent any proof that such "miracles" occurred they really don't serve as proof. Many believers reconcile their faith with their knowledge by treating these stories as metaphors rather than literal truth.

@ PAstryChef: In all fairness, I don' t think he was giving these as historic events, but saying that Jesus and Buddha are considered Gods because they are believed to cause miracles. He runs into two problems here: 1) Buddha isn't considered a God, and achieving enlightenment is not a miracle. 2) He's assuming this definition has some basis in fact with no support other than that's what people think.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:08 pm UTC

What I've always found most troubling is not the answer to the OP's question (we all have our own and I generally respect them all) but the certainty to which people answer. The statistical probability of a human being knowing anything correctly is far from 0% or 100%. I find most troubling not the people who say "I think god exists" or "I think god doesn't exist", but the people who say "God exists" or "God doesn't exist" without preface or qualification. Believers terrify me, as do "strong atheists". These beliefs are both not only extreme to me but also in many ways intolerant. Intolerance is the greatest threat to humanity.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:22 pm UTC

mosc wrote:What I've always found most troubling is not the answer to the OP's question (we all have our own and I generally respect them all) but the certainty to which people answer. The statistical probability of a human being knowing anything correctly is far from 0% or 100%. I find most troubling not the people who say "I think god exists" or "I think god doesn't exist", but the people who say "God exists" or "God doesn't exist" without preface or qualification. Believers terrify me, as do "strong atheists". These beliefs are both not only extreme to me but also in many ways intolerant. Intolerance is the greatest threat to humanity.
Most (sensible) strong atheists are materialists, which is where their certainty comes from; I'm 100% certain God does not exist (or, if the term '100%' frightens you, I am as certain God does not exist as I am that invisible goblins are not secretly controlling my brain), because I put my faith in what is real, measurable, and observable. I don't think that's a scary proposition, and I don't think my faith in what is real should be described as intolerant. I also don't think those who put their absolute faith in God's existence are guilty of engaging in intolerance.

Edit: Also, I need to correct you. Intolerance is the second greatest threat. The first is, quite clearly, space-faring kill-bots.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby marky66 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:09 pm UTC

mosc wrote:What I've always found most troubling is not the answer to the OP's question (we all have our own and I generally respect them all) but the certainty to which people answer. The statistical probability of a human being knowing anything correctly is far from 0% or 100%. I find most troubling not the people who say "I think god exists" or "I think god doesn't exist", but the people who say "God exists" or "God doesn't exist" without preface or qualification. Believers terrify me, as do "strong atheists". These beliefs are both not only extreme to me but also in many ways intolerant.

I don't think that the belief, or the certainty in the belief, is an issue at all. All that matters in terms of tolerance is what people do with their faith (or non-faith.)Changing science curriculum to teach creationism is wrong. Suspending a teacher because she wears a piece of jewelry that depicts a cross is wrong. Forcing students to recite a prayer at a graduation is wrong. Preventing a student or a teacher from saying a prayer at a graduation is wrong. Using municipal funds to build a Christmas manger scene is wrong. Preventing citizens from using public property to display their own is wrong.

mosc wrote:Intolerance is the greatest threat to humanity.
Strong words from someone whose tag line reads "Doesn't care what you think." :) Edit: forgot smily face. I am not serious...

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

marky66, but you're wrong m8. Belief is not just what you think about. If a person believes with all their might that if you don't believe in Jesus Christ as your lord and savior you'll be damned for eternity then they SHOULD work hard to save your soul. Eternal damnation is more significant than any worldly need or want. You see, the belief itself is inherently intolerant, not just what we do because of the belief. Believing in eternal damnation for non-believers and then doing nothing to help the non-believers is morally contradictory. What you believe defines what you should do. They are one and the same. To put it simpler, defining your belief defines your morality.

As for my tag, it was sloppily written. It should read something like "Nobody cares what you think mosc" -Belial or similar. It's a line spoken by the site moderators towards my opinions, not my line about other people's opinions.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby marky66 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:58 pm UTC

mosc wrote:marky66, but you're wrong m8. Belief is not just what you think about. If a person believes with all their might that if you don't believe in Jesus Christ as your lord and savior you'll be damned for eternity then they SHOULD work hard to save your soul. Eternal damnation is more significant than any worldly need or want. You see, the belief itself is inherently intolerant, not just what we do because of the belief. Believing in eternal damnation for non-believers and then doing nothing to help the non-believers is morally contradictory. What you believe defines what you should do. They are one and the same. To put it simpler, defining your belief defines your morality.


If I know there is poison in the doughnut you are about to eat and I try with everything I've got to stop you, you will know my belief is genuine, but you will still despise the intolerance I display trying to keep you from eating it?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:16 pm UTC

To flip the wording, if it's a perfectly good doughnut and you continue to harass me about eating it because you say I'll die 5 minutes after eating it despite lots of proof that people eat doughnuts all the damn time then yes, it's intolerant. If the doughnut is poisonous or not neither of us know for absolute certainty. The belief that you do know leads you to some intolerant positions like say banning the consumption of doughnuts entirely (which would be an evangelical prospective on being pro-life).
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby krazykomrade » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:45 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:There is, and in all likelihood never will be, any empirical (see scientific) case for God's existence. From the materialist's perspective--from someone who is only concerned with what can be measured, observed, and known--there is no empirical evidence, no mathematical proof, and no logically sound argument for the existence of God.

If you want to move beyond the material--beyond what can be proven, measured, and observed--then there is room for belief in God. But there is no room in the realm of pure science. It isn't even that science responds to the query with a 'no'; that would imply that it's a question of some notable significance. As far as science is concerned, it isn't. The answer is less than a no--it's simply silence--because the question is irrelevant.

You seem to be conflating physicalism and empiricism; while they do have a philosophical relationship, they are are independent concepts. Physicalism is a metaphysical theory, while Empiricism is a epistemological theory. Neither entails the other.

That said, your explanation of a materialist seems a bit circular, since you define it in part as being concerned with what is known, and yet physicalism itself is theory about what sorts of things there are to be known. That is, there are many non-phsicalists who are primarily concerned with what can be measured, observed, and known -- they merely reject physicalist explanations of the content of knowledge.

It's harder to find a more clear case of of a man who explicitly set himself to the specific task of finding out what was known than Descartes, and yet he was a dualist. I mention this not to advocate dualism, but to point out that it is not only the physicalist who is concerned with the measurable, observable, and knowable. Similarly, scientific truths and scientific knowledge are not the only forms of truth or knowledge; that something may lie outside the domain of science doesn't render it unknowable or insignificant.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:50 pm UTC

krazykomrade wrote:You seem to be conflating physicalism and empiricism; while they do have a philosophical relationship, they are are independent concepts. Physicalism is a metaphysical theory, while Empiricism is a epistemological theory. Neither entails the other.
Someone who works with empirical tools does not need to be a physicalist, but a physicalist who doesn't put all their faith in empiricism is a bad physicalist.
krazykomrade wrote:That said, your explanation of a materialist seems a bit circular, since you define it in part as being concerned with what is known, and yet physicalism itself is theory about what sorts of things there are to be known. That is, there are many non-phsicalists who are primarily concerned with what can be measured, observed, and known -- they merely reject physicalist explanations of the content of knowledge.
Which is usually an example of someone valuing non-empirical knowledge over empirical knowledge.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby folkhero » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:57 pm UTC

I diagree with your definition of God, as one who can perform miracles, or as you seemed to shorten it at the end of the post "Miracle." Many religious people have believed, and still do believe in entities that can perform miracles who are not gods. Every Catholic saint, for example, is believed by the church to have performed miracles. Witches were believed to have performed miracles, not acting through God at all, but getting their powers through Satan. Many people believe that there are psychics who can talk to the dead, which is quite miraculous a feat, but none of the believes seem to think of them as gods.
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It may be argued that casting spells wouldn't be considered performing a miracle, but you use the word "miracle" so broadly later in your post that I think spell casting would have to fall under it.

Your central point seems to be that something surprising or unexplainable has occurred and that the best explanatory hypothesis is that it is a miracle. I would argue that it is not very surprising that people believe things that the evidence does not support. There is a great deal of existing work on explaining why people do believe in things contrary to evidence. Much of this work is in the scientific fields of psychology and anthropology and in the philosophic field of epistemology. Are you familiar with this work, and if so, what are the problems that you see in it that still requires a miracle for explanation of people's beliefs? If you aren't familiar with the work, there are a number of books written by people in the modern skeptical movement that explain these issues to the layperson. These have been invaluable to me since I'm not a trained psychologist or anthropologist, and I would recommend Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things and Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World as primers.

Now my disagreements about your definition of a god, and the how surprising it is that people believe in a God without sufficient evidence are rather secondary (not to mention any number of sniping questions like, "if god miracles belief into people, why is belief so varied and sometimes absent among the multitudes?"). My primary disagreement with your post is the idea that "a miracle occurred because of a god," is a worthwhile explanatory hypothesis. You seem to understand that in science, the miracle hypothesis isn't taken seriously, but you don't seem to understand why. Lets take a look at some virtues that a hypothesis, belief or set of beliefs can have. I will first look at the five virtues described in chapter six of The Web of Belief by W. V. Quine and J.S. Ullian and see how well the miracle hypothesis enjoys each of them:

Virtue 1: Conservatism, how well does the hypothesis fit with our current beliefs? While plenty of people believe in miracles, scientists almost universally do not believe in miracles in their field of study. If we decided that the occurrence of miracles was allowed in science, it would throw the whole field on it's head. Since you are talking about how scientists are the ones who should accept the miracle, I think it's fair to limit the "our beliefs" part of the virtue to what scientists believe about their own fields.

Virtue 2: Modesty, a more modest theory implies less, in the logical sense and is more humdrum in the subjective sense than less modest theories. The hypothesis that a miracle was produced by a god is an astoundingly immodest hypothesis, depending on how we are defining god. If you mean God in the judeo-christian sense of an omnipotent creator of the universe, it might be the most immodest hypothesis ever created. If you mean it in the sense of any miracle creator, we still have very immodestly introduced an entity that is above the natural laws of the universe.

As a side note, your particular miracle is a widespread belief unsupported by evidence. We all know that a charismatic individual, or someone in a position of authority can create this sort of belief in a few individuals. Could a large enough aggregation of these individuals exist to make the beliefs widespread? Would this aggregation be considered a god?

Virtue 3: Simplicity. "A miracle occurred," initially seems to be the a great example of simplicity, but let's peel back a few more layers. Why did a miracle occur? Because god willed it. Why did God will it? At this point the answer is usually something like, "God's ways can't be known to men." If that is the case, the hypothesis quickly becomes so complex that it is fundamentally unknowable to humans.

Virtue 4: Generality, how widely can the hypothesis be applied? The whole point of miracles is that they are exceptional, that they occur unpredictably and unreliably. If they did occur predictably or reliably, they would cease to be miracles and become natural laws. A miracle is a one-off explanation that can't be generalized by it's very nature.

Virtue 5: Refutability, is there any potential evidence that would show the hypothesis to be incorrect? Karl Popper's work is the origin of the idea that unfalsifiable ideas are not scientific, and that idea is a major part of the foundation of the modern epistemology and philosophy of science. In Quine's book, he explains that virtue 5 stems from virtue 4, and here we see that it is the ad-hoc, one-off nature of miracles that makes them so impossible to ever refute.

In Thomas Kuhn's seminal work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, he lists the epistemic values common to theories (or collections of theories) accepted by scientists. Unfortunately I seem to have misplace my copy of that book, so I have to rely on the descriptions in James Ladyman's, Understanding Philosophy of Science page 121 and Martin Curd and J. A. Cover's Philosophy of Science pages 228-230. They largely overlap with Quine's virtues, with the additional virtues of accuracy of observations and fruitfulness. A good theory should be fruitful in generating further scientific study. Using explanations of gods and miracles has never done much to generate further research, and historically, the abandonment of those explanations provided a tremendous boost in science and research. Accuracy is not a problem for past observations, but the miracle hypothesis does nothing to accurately make predictions about future observations, because of their ad hoc nature.

I hope you understand now why scientists don't care for the miracle hypothesis and have good reason for discarding it outright. It fails essentially all the criteria for a useful scientific hypothesis, and it fails many of them embarrassing badly. None of this disproves a god, but I hope it demonstrates the futility of using god or miracles to explain observed or empirical phenomena.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:48 am UTC

That criteria is almost reverse engineered for the purposes of posting it to refute divine interference. A similar list would be reversing all the criteria people would use to define a miracle in the first place. Not saying anything you said isn't correct, just that it should be rather fucking obvious. A miracle is by definition non-scientific.
The Great Hippo wrote:Most (sensible) strong atheists are materialists, which is where their certainty comes from; I'm 100% certain God does not exist (or, if the term '100%' frightens you, I am as certain God does not exist as I am that invisible goblins are not secretly controlling my brain), because I put my faith in what is real, measurable, and observable. I don't think that's a scary proposition, and I don't think my faith in what is real should be described as intolerant. I also don't think those who put their absolute faith in God's existence are guilty of engaging in intolerance.
What you basically said is "I'm as certain as I could be about anything else" which is very different from "I KNOW you're wrong". It's an important distinction. Absolutes in belief structures lead to absolute actions. For example you could argue since you are absolutely right than those who disagree with you should perhaps not be able to graduate from your school of learning or say vote since their judgment is clearly suspect. You would probably argue against protection of religion in the first place as pandering to the superstitious and the ignorant. I've certainly heard that extreme voiced on here more than once...
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby krazykomrade » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:11 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
krazykomrade wrote:That said, your explanation of a materialist seems a bit circular, since you define it in part as being concerned with what is known, and yet physicalism itself is theory about what sorts of things there are to be known. That is, there are many non-phsicalists who are primarily concerned with what can be measured, observed, and known -- they merely reject physicalist explanations of the content of knowledge.
Which is usually an example of someone valuing non-empirical knowledge over empirical knowledge.

So what if it is? That hardly says they're not concerned with knowledge, which seemed to be the original implication. In any case, I'm not sure that's quite right (the "usually" part). One may hold that some knowledge is gained through experience, and some is not; there need not be a dichotomous attitude towards knowledge as a whole. In fact, I think that such an attitude is in a minority, amongst both physicalists and non-physicalists. Both Rationalists and Kantians grant some value to sense data, and yet are not physicalists (at least rationalists tend to not be physicalists).

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:23 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:So what if it is? That hardly says they're not concerned with knowledge, which seemed to be the original implication. In any case, I'm not sure that's quite right (the "usually" part). One may hold that some knowledge is gained through experience, and some is not; there need not be a dichotomous attitude towards knowledge as a whole. In fact, I think that such an attitude is in a minority, amongst both physicalists and non-physicalists. Both Rationalists and Kantians grant some value to sense data, and yet are not physicalists (at least rationalists tend to not be physicalists).
I never claimed that anyone who values empirical knowledge is a physicalist; only that good physicalists value empirical knowledge first. Can you give me a concrete example of a physicalist putting non-empirical knowledge before empirical knowledge? I also don't understand where you're getting the impression that I think that non-physicalists are unconcerned with knowledge in general.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby krazykomrade » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:42 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I also don't understand where you're getting the impression that I think that non-physicalists are unconcerned with knowledge in general

To me, the following statement:
The Great Hippo wrote:From the materialist's perspective--from someone who is only concerned with what can be measured, observed, and known--

is phrased in such a manner that it seems to imply that the qualities of being concerned only with what can be measured, observed, and known are unique to materialists. I was disputing that implication, although perhaps I misread you.

The Great Hippo wrote:Can you give me a concrete example of a physicalist putting non-empirical knowledge before empirical knowledge?

A physicalist would ask for a concrete example, wouldn't he? :) Many physicalists believe that the root of knowledge of the physical world is in reason, not experience. Since our experiences can be deceitful or misleading regarding the physical world, reason must be the ultimate arbiter of knowledge. Not only that, but many truths necessary for a greater knowledge of the physical world are not to be gained from experience at all, such as logical or mathematical truths. So one may reject empiricism but accept physicalism. However, we could split hairs over the semantics regarding the differences between "empiricism" and "using empirical data" and "empirical knowledge", but I really don't want to go there, and it would drive us farther away from the OP.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:08 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:...is phrased in such a manner that it seems to imply that the qualities of being concerned only with what can be measured, observed, and known are unique to materialists. I was disputing that implication, although perhaps I misread you.
Oh, no, pardon--I didn't mean to imply that this was a quality exclusive to physicalists, but that it was a quality that physicalists possessed (though I would hesitantly conjecture that anyone who is concerned only with the measurable and observable--and nothing else--probably qualifies as a physicalist).
krazykomrade wrote:Many physicalists believe that the root of knowledge of the physical world is in reason, not experience. Since our experiences can be deceitful or misleading regarding the physical world, reason must be the ultimate arbiter of knowledge. Not only that, but many truths necessary for a greater knowledge of the physical world are not to be gained from experience at all, such as logical or mathematical truths. So one may reject empiricism but accept physicalism. However, we could split hairs over the semantics regarding the differences between "empiricism" and "using empirical data" and "empirical knowledge", but I really don't want to go there, and it would drive us farther away from the OP.
I think I understand what you mean; I might be making a poor distinction--as a physicalist, I believe empirical methods are the best means by which to measure the physical world.

To put this another way (and bring it back to topic), how would it be possible for a physicalist to not be an atheist?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:28 pm UTC

Definitions of God tend to be either impossible or uninteresting. Does an interesting, possible God exist? No.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Ivor Zozz » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:44 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Definitions of God tend to be either impossible or uninteresting. Does an interesting, possible God exist? No.

What does "interesting" mean in this context?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:02 pm UTC

Ivor Zozz wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Definitions of God tend to be either impossible or uninteresting. Does an interesting, possible God exist? No.

What does "interesting" mean in this context?

My guess: a definition of God that doesn't boil down to "the universe itself". Or a God which can actually interact with this universe in some way, not confined to passively observe from an alternate reality.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:04 pm UTC

SlyReaper explained it shorter and better than I was going to.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Griffin » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

Believing in eternal damnation for non-believers and then doing nothing to help the non-believers is morally contradictory.


Nonsense. It's perfectly possible to believe both that people are going to hell, AND that they deserve it.

And to reply to the OP:
There be some mOtHeRfUcKiNg MiRaClEs up in this place, you know? But who's to say they are in any way related to god? I mean, humans do some pretty cool miracles all the time, I mean look at what we are doing right now! Communicating in a completely virtual human made reality space, accessed by incredibly complicated machines that make all this work by switching 1s and 0s. Miracles, man, everywhere you look.

But maybe what you're saying is that we are... all gods?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Strange Quirk » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:25 pm UTC

skniuhi wrote: Why is Christ considered God because he returned to bodily life three days after his death by crucifixion.
Why is Buddha considered like God because he attained enlightenment after sitting under Bodhi tree. A Miracle.

I'm no expert on either of these religions, but I don't see anything to support your statement. As far as I understand, the bodily (wait, bodily? really?) return to life was only one of a number of things confirming Christ as the messiah, including a number of fulfilled prophesies. Buddha, on the other hand, has little to do with God at all. He was primarily a teacher and a founder of a religion, and most certainly not divine in the Western sense. His enlightenment was no more a miracle than a scientific breakthrough is, and one of the main teachings of Buddhism is that enlightenment can be attained by anyone.

Well, that's it for my nit-picking at the moment. I'm not in the mood for a religious discussion atm.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby krazykomrade » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:31 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:To put this another way (and bring it back to topic), how would it be possible for a physicalist to not be an atheist?

A physicalist could believe that God is physical, or at least supervenes on the physical. Sounds a bit strange, but to me its not really any stranger than the idea that my own consciousness is physical.
Vaniver wrote:Definitions of God tend to be either impossible or uninteresting.

Okay, I'll bite. How about the traditional notion of God as a being which possesses the qualities of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolance? Is that impossible, or uninteresting? It strikes me as neither.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Me321 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:54 am UTC

http://xkcd.com/505/

that said:
if you can prove God does not exist the you would have to know everyting and be able to see everything, and that is the definition of God, so you can't prove God does not exist, and short of God proving to us that He does exist, there will never be a way to prove his existance.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mercuryseven » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:35 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Definitions of God tend to be either impossible or uninteresting.

Okay, I'll bite. How about the traditional notion of God as a being which possesses the qualities of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolance? Is that impossible, or uninteresting? It strikes me as neither.


I had a Philosophy of Religion class some time ago. From what I vaguely remember, a God that satisfies all the three properties are logically incompatible, or at least has some severe philosophical inconsistencies that needs to be resolved. At most you can have two out of three that are mutually compatible with each other.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby krazykomrade » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:44 am UTC

mercuryseven wrote:
krazykomrade wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Definitions of God tend to be either impossible or uninteresting.

Okay, I'll bite. How about the traditional notion of God as a being which possesses the qualities of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolance? Is that impossible, or uninteresting? It strikes me as neither.


I had a Philosophy of Religion class some time ago. From what I vaguely remember, a God that satisfies all the three properties are logically incompatible, or at least has some severe philosophical inconsistencies that needs to be resolved. At most you can have two out of three that are mutually compatible with each other.

There's absolutely nothing logically inconsistent about one entity having all three properties. What you may instead be thinking of is the problem of evil, the supposed incompatibility of a being with those three properties and the existence of evil. However, that incompatibility or lack thereof is a subject of debate, not a violation of logic.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mercuryseven » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:46 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:
mercuryseven wrote:
krazykomrade wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Definitions of God tend to be either impossible or uninteresting.

Okay, I'll bite. How about the traditional notion of God as a being which possesses the qualities of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolance? Is that impossible, or uninteresting? It strikes me as neither.


I had a Philosophy of Religion class some time ago. From what I vaguely remember, a God that satisfies all the three properties are logically incompatible, or at least has some severe philosophical inconsistencies that needs to be resolved. At most you can have two out of three that are mutually compatible with each other.


There's absolutely nothing logically inconsistent about one entity having all three properties. What you may instead be thinking of is the problem of evil, the supposed incompatibility of a being with those three properties and the existence of evil. However, that incompatibility or lack thereof is a subject of debate, not a violation of logic.


yes, really...that's what I meant by "philosophical inconsistencies that needs to be resolved", I couldn't seem to find the right words at the time...

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Wnderer » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:53 pm UTC

skniuhi wrote: God is someone who can perform miracle.


Well yes. One way to look at is a god is someone who transcends the system. It's like Plato's cave or Flatland or the Matrix. You are inside the computer and there is no way for you being limited by the rules of the program to know you are inside the computer. I think it's a flaw in the movie that people who are the battery and the user are able to change the program. People should have been the hardware and the operating system in order to have the level of control to bend the spoon. Put I digress. Since you are trapped in the system, someone from outside the system has to contact you and tell you about the higher reality, or lift you off the page like in Flatland. This being would have the ability to do things that someone inside the system could not do. Miracles. This does not make the gods all knowing and perfect or the creator of the universe but many traditions have such gods.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jonolith » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:31 pm UTC

God is someone who can perform miracle.


God is not someone. "He" is not a being that we can ever understand or acknowledge as existing in any kind of way that we can comprehend. "He" exists outside of our understanding. "He" is Unknowable.

If you ask "Does God Exist", and expect a Yes/No response, then you will be let down. There is no proof on either side that supports the claim. The only answer worth pursuing is "We don't know."

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Griffin » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:14 pm UTC

God is not someone. "He" is not a being that we can ever understand or acknowledge as existing in any kind of way that we can comprehend. "He" exists outside of our understanding. "He" is Unknowable.

You're supposing quite a bit here. Who's to say your beliefs about god are correct? Maybe he IS knowable!

If you ask "Does God Exist", and expect a Yes/No response, then you will be let down. There is no proof on either side that supports the claim. The only answer worth pursuing is "We don't know."

Though all the available evidence points to no, so its a pretty good default in the absence of new revelations.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Jonolith » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:01 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:
God is not someone. "He" is not a being that we can ever understand or acknowledge as existing in any kind of way that we can comprehend. "He" exists outside of our understanding. "He" is Unknowable.

You're supposing quite a bit here. Who's to say your beliefs about god are correct? Maybe he IS knowable!


But he is not. You can't shake his hand, and he doesn't talk to you. Unless you are meaning that he is knowable in the same way that my own personal feelings are knowable. But that is hardly good Science.

If you ask "Does God Exist", and expect a Yes/No response, then you will be let down. There is no proof on either side that supports the claim. The only answer worth pursuing is "We don't know."

Though all the available evidence points to no, so its a pretty good default in the absence of new revelations.


I would argue that it's the only way to find common ground with one another, because it is, truly, the only thing anyone has in common with anyone else. The other two options just lead to confrontation and strife. In the end it is simply best to acknowledge the truth of the situation. "We don't know if God Exists or does not Exist."

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:03 pm UTC

An "unknowable" God falls snugly into the category of an uninteresting God, since He will not affect anything in this universe. The moment He affects something in the universe, He becomes knowable. Or rather, he becomes knowable the moment the light cone of the divine event encompasses you.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby skniuhi » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:46 pm UTC

Sorry folks was out of station and hence couldn't reply.
First of all i will like to clarify a point that in this thread i am not proposing any proof for the existence of God or the other way around .
I intend to discuss how the idea of God originated. I think everyone would agree with me that an idea needs a origin.
Now consider the following example "Why did people consider the earth to be flat ? " because that sounded more or less obvious in an age without camera and still its tough to imagine someone standing in a curve right?

I would welcome any discussion regarding the origin of idea than proofs using the watchmaker's argument( intelligent design) or arguments on the basis of innateness or disproving using the infinite monkey theorem.

Buddha isn't considered a God, and achieving enlightenment is not a miracle.
.
Well my mother tongue ain't English but i mentioned Buddha is considered like a God which means that he isn't God and achieving enlightenment might not be a miracle but if one says he attained enlightenment after sitting under a Bodhi tree it sounds creepy and if you believe it I would call you a fool but if a million people believe in it then it needs to be analyzed and that was the purpose of this article.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Czhorat » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:17 pm UTC

skniuhi wrote:Sorry folks was out of station and hence couldn't reply.
First of all i will like to clarify a point that in this thread i am not proposing any proof for the existence of God or the other way around .
I intend to discuss how the idea of God originated. I think everyone would agree with me that an idea needs a origin.
Now consider the following example "Why did people consider the earth to be flat ? " because that sounded more or less obvious in an age without camera and still its tough to imagine someone standing in a curve right?

I would welcome any discussion regarding the origin of idea than proofs using the watchmaker's argument( intelligent design) or arguments on the basis of innateness or disproving using the infinite monkey theorem.


You do realize that the origin of the idea of God is a DISTINCT AND SEPARATE QUESTION from that of whether or not God exists? I read your original post as a somewhat sloppy version of the ontological proof of God's existence. For "why" people believe, there are plenty of reasons. A need to explain the unknown. Creation of a framework for social order. The strong group loyalty created by religion being an advantage. If you'd like to discuss any of these, then feel free.


Regarding the Buddha, there are two things in your statement on which I find it worth commenting:

1) The "miracle" of achieving enlightenment: I see nothing remarkable about the idea that sitting under a tree and thinking, or even sitting under a tree and letting ones mind wander, can lead to an epiphany. What's interesting about the Buddha is his ideas, not that they allegedly came to him while he was sitting under a tree.

2)
if a million people believe in it then it needs to be analyzed and that was the purpose of this article.
Why? To study groupthink? Or the nature of belief? Is this any different than studying, for example, belief in witches? Or global warming deniers? Or an Iraqi connection to 9/11?fool but if a million people believe in it then it needs to be analyzed and that was the purpose of this article.[/quote]

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:24 pm UTC

skniuhi wrote:First of all i will like to clarify a point that in this thread i am not proposing any proof for the existence of God or the other way around .
I intend to discuss how the idea of God originated.

Then may I suggest that next time you start a thread you actually write what you intend to discuss in the first post?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:29 pm UTC

The origin of god is well studied and there is much scientific work with good bits of historical support. Back when isolated tribes of human beings still existed not exposed to our modern culture, discussions of their religious systems and beliefs was well documented and discussed. The answer to the question of where god came from in human understanding anyway is one I would encourage you to do some research on. There are entire texts on the matter. Your standard religion class at any university would spend a huge chunk of time on the subject.

To give you the cliff notes, animals (like humans) relate to the world around them by relating it to themselves. The wind blows, they think of a person causing the wind to blow. We anthropomorphize everything. Early gods were often tied to day and night cycles, the seasons, weather patters, and other life dominating effects with no directly decipherable cause. We generally, as a species, don't like the "don't know" answer. Every event or phenomenon is explained and as shown time and time again in many different cultures, a divine entity is a more acceptable cause than an unknown cause. I would also add that humans tend to think of themselves as MASSIVELY important on the cosmic scale. As such, their actions can control everything. The stars for patterns because of things HUMANS have done, the wind blows too strong because they caused anger in the wind, etc.

The modern god most commonly observed today traces back to Judaism (later Christianity and Islam) and similar religions of the region (Egyptian monotheism was a strong influence). I think this is a separate topic though so I'll end it here.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:57 pm UTC

krazykomrade wrote:Okay, I'll bite. How about the traditional notion of God as a being which possesses the qualities of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolance? Is that impossible, or uninteresting? It strikes me as neither.
1. Omnipotence and omniscience are contradictory under physical laws.
2. Heck, omniscience by itself does not mesh with physical laws, and thus is impossible.
3. Omnibenevolence contradicts the other two, and the universe does not look like what we would expect were there an omnibenevolent agent of high potency, let alone infinite potency.

Jonolith wrote:If you ask "Does God Exist", and expect a Yes/No response, then you will be let down. There is no proof on either side that supports the claim. The only answer worth pursuing is "We don't know."
The question "Could X Exist" is one you can approach, though, and that allows you to narrow down the possible entities that you call "God," and then you could say "God v 14 couldn't exist, therefore it doesn't exist."
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