Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statements?

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Greyarcher
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Greyarcher » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:17 am UTC

People have brought up the death of children. I think this gives an interesting contrast to some other comments about "humans using their free will" or "demonstrating their greatness through suffering". How are the deaths of very young kids compatible with the idea that God allowed suffering and free will so people can demonstrate their good qualities? The kids who die very young don't have the chance to demonstrate anything.

In fact, how are the death of infants and very young children compatible with God wanting anything from humans? It doesn't make sense, unless God doesn't want anything from those kids except for them to die so other humans can show off.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby a_toddler » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:48 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:How are the deaths of very young kids compatible with the idea that God allowed suffering and free will so people can demonstrate their good qualities?


well its not. This isn't the sole reason that God allows suffering - we don't know everything about God, and the complete reason as to why he allows suffering to continue is not revealed.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Enthalpie » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:16 am UTC

a_toddler wrote:well its not. This isn't the sole reason that God allows suffering - we don't know everything about God, and the complete reason as to why he allows suffering to continue is not revealed.

Let me get that straight. Here we have this god guy, who kills and tortures innocent people while they are alive for no conceivable reason at all. And then there is this devil, the one that tortures evil and deserving people only after their death and does nothing to hurt the innocent.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Xeio » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:49 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:If the junior I had built a Lego Star Wars set whose little 5 piece figurines decided to overthrow me with their plastic lightsabers and deny that I had built them from the overpriced Lego set from whence they came, then I would be justified in disassembling them, or not playing with them. Similarly, if God had created the universe, and man suddenly decided there is no God (a whole another discussion), then he would be justified to stop building lego X-Wings for them to fly around in- no?
All else aside, no, you, nor he, would be justified. Or no more justified than you would be for killing them for fun, or because you wanted to, regaurdless of whether or not they follow your rules. We don't say parents are justified in murdering their children if they don't follow the rules, do we?

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby a_toddler » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:51 am UTC

Enthalpie wrote:Here we have this god guy, who kills and tortures innocent people while they are alive for no conceivable reason at all.


lol how much of my post and this thread did you read?

a_toddler wrote:This isn't the sole reason that God allows suffering ...


A reason. Not all the reasons. Glad you made it straight.

Also while we're at it, so far as the bible is concerned, no-one is "innocent". But probably not what you're meaning.

We don't say parents are justified in murdering their children if they don't follow the rules, do we?


parents dont exactly own kids the way God owns ppl :p

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Xeio » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:15 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:parents dont exactly own kids the way God owns ppl :p
So what gives god "ownership"? That he created the universe? So if I create life, why is it not mine?

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Tirian » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:36 pm UTC

Enthalpie wrote:How you can compare loosing a chess game to the death of thousand of children is something I cannot even begin to understand. Neither your use of "ironic". I see nothing ironic in coping with suffering.


What specifically about the death of thousand of children bothers you? I don't believe that there is pain after death, because we don't have bodies after death. If there is a compassionate God who processes our souls in some appropriate way after our deaths, then that God would therefore have a compassionate plan for dealing with the souls of the innocent as well as the good and evil. If there is something more, I don't know of it.

I will speak of my personal feelings now. As I said before, the indiscriminate nature of death is horrifying, and I find myself wishing that I lived in a world where tragedies didn't occur. Nearly everyone does, but it doesn't take much experimentation to realize that wish doesn't get granted. So I put on a helmet and do what I can do to make this world the way I perceive it should be, because the only alternative offered to me is not doing what I can. If I had the power to bring comfort or joy to a dead baby, I believe I would do that all day long. Since I don't have that power, I don't see the point in yelling at the universe instead of using the power I do have.

I can't tell you what comes after physical death, if anything, and I don't think much of the children's stories about pearly gates and lakes of fire so I won't even bother trying. But I choose to believe it's under control even though I don't know how. I can't justify the basis of that faith, but I can appreciate the consequences that it brings me comfort and gives me the strength to focus my attention on issues that I do understand and can control. A different person will have a different strategy for dealing with grief and fear, and I make no claim that my way is the only solution or the best one. Nor will I believe this in six years or even six months, as I wrestle with these matters and learn and grow just as everyone does. (Indeed, writing this post made me wonder how I would have written this before watching Ian McKellan.)

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Soralin » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:31 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:Perhaps this is ironic, but if there were no suffering and evil in the world, then people would never be able to struggle to overcome it and thus there would be no good in humanity either.

Citation Needed. I mean, if this were the case, then why is it that children who are abused and hurt, who experience suffering, are far more likely to end up hurting others or themselves later on? Whereas those who are loved and protected from suffering, are more likely to do the same for other people? Reality seems to disagree with you, the evidence seems to indicate that without suffering and evil, humanity would end up more good than it is now, not less.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Enthalpie » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:04 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:lol how much of my post and this thread did you read?

Glad to see you still find the murder of children funny.
What about answering for a change?

a_toddler wrote:A reason. Not all the reasons. Glad you made it straight.

Ah, well then. As long as it is not the only reason, it has to be all right then.

a_toddler wrote:Also while we're at it, so far as the bible is concerned, no-one is "innocent". But probably not what you're meaning.

You realize that this statement does not change anything at all, do you?



Tirian wrote:What specifically about the death of thousand of children bothers you?

I don't know, maybe the death of thousands of children?
Or some little thing called compassion? I don't run all day crying, true, but at least I never called it just, good or even that is has the potential for something good.

Tirian wrote:I don't believe that there is pain after death, because we don't have bodies after death.

Yeah, well, you do realize that there are still familiy and friends suffering, don't you?

Tirian wrote:If I had the power to bring comfort or joy to a dead baby, I believe I would do that all day long. Since I don't have that power, I don't see the point in yelling at the universe instead of using the power I do have.

What about telling parents that their child died for a greater good, that they are better off that way and it was only some infinitely good being that decided it was time. No? Of course not, no human being should do such a thing.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Greyarcher » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:
Greyarcher wrote:How are the deaths of very young kids compatible with the idea that God allowed suffering and free will so people can demonstrate their good qualities?


well its not. This isn't the sole reason that God allows suffering - we don't know everything about God, and the complete reason as to why he allows suffering to continue is not revealed.
That seems like a major problem though. If we can't properly back up the claim that "God is good" is compatible with those deaths, why would we think it? A much more straightforward conclusion is that God is not good or that God does not exist at all.

After all: the only way to actually check claims about God is by measuring them against the world. A lot of the most important stuff (e.g. supernatural stuff in the far past or after death) can't be reliably checked at all. But if we can't reliably check the claims, we don't have a reason to believe anything about God--not even the claim that he exists.

If we're going to think God exists and is good and has a reason for this, we must already have strong grounds for claiming these things. But what in the world is the ground for those claims?
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Duban » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:48 pm UTC

Why is there suffering in this world?
Simple answer: Because no deity exists and people are frequently at the whim of bad luck.
Complex answer: 3 pages of "to bring out the best in people", "bad things happen because people are bad", and "He must be so beyond our understanding" with no end it sight trying to justify why some being could exist while being compatable with the world we know and see. It's just layer after layer of rationalization and stretching possibility and reason further and further to justify it.


When you open your closet and your cat jumps out how do you explain how he got in there?
Simple answer: He must have snuck in when i wasn't looking and I closed the door behind him.
Complex Answer: The stars and the sun must have aligned in such a way that a dimensional portal opened up precisely at the right time to send your cat through the 5th dimension using some yet undiscovered form of physics and into your closet.

Similar to what I was saying before about said deity not being necessary to explain our existence. The simplest answer that can satisfactorily explain an issue is usually the correct one. Why need a long and complex book and ever longer list of complicated patches, workarounds, and excuses when a much simpler answer can describe it perfectly? Occam’s razor.

P.S. Pain, suffering, poverty, etc doesn’t bring out the best in people. There’s a reason there is such a strong correlation between poverty and crime. Being in bad living conditions makes people more desperate for escape, less predictable, and therefore more dangerous.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby bobjoesmith » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:54 pm UTC

Duban wrote:Why is there suffering in this world?
Simple answer: Because no deity exists and people are frequently at the whim of bad luck.
Complex answer: 3 pages of "to bring out the best in people", "bad things happen because people are bad", and "He must be so beyond our understanding" with no end it sight trying to justify why some being could exist while being compatable with the world we know and see. It's just layer after layer of rationalization and stretching possibility and reason further and further to justify it.

When you open your closet and your cat jumps out how do you explain how he got in there?
Simple answer: He must have snuck in when i wasn't looking and I closed the door behind him.
Complex Answer: The stars and the sun must have aligned in such a way that a dimensional portal opened up precisely at the right time to send your cat through the 5th dimension using some yet undiscovered form of physics and into your closet.


So you are saying that all occurrences are all explained by the simplest occurrence? How about:
Complex Answer: Particles at the beginning of our universe did funny stuff which I do not profess to have any clue about and that resulted in a big bang called the Big Bang. Then in arm of a certain galaxy, particles aligned in such a way to create a sun and 9- excuse me now 8 orbiting planets. These planets coalesced with gas giants farther away helping to shield the special fourth planet from meteors, while on a certain planet in the solar system, the right elements were thrown out by nuclear fusion to create a planet with abundant oxygen and hydrogen which reacted in a way to give liquid water. The gravity was just enough to hang on to an atmosphere and a moon happened to be in place. Then enzymes which were formed by chance by different elements were hit in such way by energy to be energized into a formation which would replicate itself. After sufficient replication these structures on the certain planetoid, in a certain region of the solar system which lies safe in the arm of a galaxy began to develop and eventually became man.

TL;DR It took a shit ton of steps to reach humanity.

Things don't just happen. This is a silly explanation: what is easiest and most reasonable MUST be the answer? No, it could be, but as often as not, it is more complex and harder to swallow reasons that are real.


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bobjoesmith wrote:If the junior I had built a Lego Star Wars set whose little 5 piece figurines decided to overthrow me with their plastic lightsabers and deny that I had built them from the overpriced Lego set from whence they came, then I would be justified in disassembling them, or not playing with them. Similarly, if God had created the universe, and man suddenly decided there is no God (a whole another discussion), then he would be justified to stop building lego X-Wings for them to fly around in- no?
All else aside, no, you, nor he, would be justified. Or no more justified than you would be for killing them for fun, or because you wanted to, regaurdless of whether or not they follow your rules. We don't say parents are justified in murdering their children if they don't follow the rules, do we?


Did I say that I would disassemble them? No. Did I say I would take pleasure in destroying them? No.
If these toy Jedi perform as they should, I would be glad to build more lightsabers- it is mutually satisfactory that they if sentient get more lightsabers, and I would be able to enjoy watching over more-lightsabered Jedi. However, would you say that me not giving something they never had be counted as evil or mean?

1. Sometimes those whom are loved do not understand as well as them who love. Parents may not buy a video game for their kids- or make them do homework. However, that by no means makes the parents cruel or unjustified in making them do it. It does not make the parents happy when they scold their children. Indeed they scold them and they make them work hard because they do care and because it will, for the long run turn out better. It is a negligent parent that spoils their kids with whatever they want and let them do whatever they please.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Enthalpie » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:28 pm UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Things don't just happen. This is a silly explanation: what is easiest and most reasonable MUST be the answer? No, it could be, but as often as not, it is more complex and harder to swallow reasons that are real.

Well, you didn't quote all of what Duban was saying, which was more along the lines of (quoting wikipedia now):
Occam's razor [...] is a principle that generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects. For instance, they must both sufficiently explain available data in the first place.

Not the best explanation I have ever read, but it should suffice for now.
bobjoesmith wrote:1. Sometimes those whom are loved do not understand as well as them who love. Parents may not buy a video game for their kids- or make them do homework. However, that by no means makes the parents cruel or unjustified in making them do it. It does not make the parents happy when they scold their children. Indeed they scold them and they make them work hard because they do care and because it will, for the long run turn out better. It is a negligent parent that spoils their kids with whatever they want and let them do whatever they please.

Well, the moment they actually torture and kill them, they have overstepped that bound. Or how exactly will it be better in the long run for the ones that are dead? And what about those that after death have to suffer eternal pain because they were killed before they could convert to the "right" religion?

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby DSenette » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

occam's razor doesn't use the word "simplest" or "least complex". it uses the word parsimonious. which is the most frugal or restrained. or the one that relies on the least amount of assumptions.

so, if your cat jumps out of the closet, you can assume that he got in there before you closed the door and you didn't see him.

OR

you can assume that he fell out of some kind of rift in the space time continuum.

each of these is TECHNICALLY one assumption when taken at face value. when you actually dissect them they aren't though.

for the first one, you have to assume that your cat has knowledge of how to get into your closet without you seeing it. everything else has evidence. you know your cat exists, you know that your closet has only one way in and one way out, you know that your cat is pretty sneaky and that you don't always pay attention to the floor when you open the door.

the second requires you to assume basically everything other than the fact that you own a cat. you have to assume that it's possible to have a rift in the space time continuum, that your cat has the ability to manipulate and travel through this rift, that your cat could survive such an event, that it's possible to actually travel through a rift in the space time continuum in the first place, etc.. etc... etc...
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby bobjoesmith » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:25 am UTC

Enthalpie wrote:Not the best explanation I have ever read, but it should suffice for now.
bobjoesmith wrote:1. Sometimes those whom are loved do not understand as well as them who love. Parents may not buy a video game for their kids- or make them do homework. However, that by no means makes the parents cruel or unjustified in making them do it. It does not make the parents happy when they scold their children. Indeed they scold them and they make them work hard because they do care and because it will, for the long run turn out better. It is a negligent parent that spoils their kids with whatever they want and let them do whatever they please.

Well, the moment they actually torture and kill them, they have overstepped that bound. Or how exactly will it be better in the long run for the ones that are dead? And what about those that after death have to suffer eternal pain because they were killed before they could convert to the "right" religion?


Well I said this before, but hell in its most basic form is separation from God. The lake of fire could very well be a metaphor- however, holding God and heaven to be true, the true pain of hell is the contrast: the contrast between not having God and having God; the contrast between living with your own doubts and fears forever and to not fear and doubt. Nevertheless, there is still an argument to be made for God to allow these children into heaven anyways- even retroactively to death. The contrast here is between the difference in nature of a mother or a father and God. God by his nature is righteous. Man by our nature sucks- we suck, I suck, you potentially suck. There is an irreconcilable difference between natures that is what causes the separation- not because he is petty.


DSenette wrote:for the first one, you have to assume that your cat has knowledge of how to get into your closet without you seeing it. everything else has evidence. you know your cat exists, you know that your closet has only one way in and one way out, you know that your cat is pretty sneaky and that you don't always pay attention to the floor when you open the door.

the second requires you to assume basically everything other than the fact that you own a cat. you have to assume that it's possible to have a rift in the space time continuum, that your cat has the ability to manipulate and travel through this rift, that your cat could survive such an event, that it's possible to actually travel through a rift in the space time continuum in the first place, etc.. etc... etc...


This is a very good theory. However, life tends to interfere with such thought experiments. Occam's Razor is great as a tool to use in debates, but can hardly be applied- the world is complicated. A man holds the knife to a murder over the bloody body of the victim. Is he the murderer? Occam says so- electrocute him immediately. But wait! It wasn't him? He just happened to pass by the scene of the crime and picked up the knife. Crap. Dear Occam just killed an innocent man.

Also the cat analogy is pulled to the extreme. What if the cat hid in the laundry basket when the maid put the laundry in my closet (do they do that?). That assumes that he/she did the laundry, but is just as plausible no? But Occam would say that is not true.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby DSenette » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:44 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:
DSenette wrote:for the first one, you have to assume that your cat has knowledge of how to get into your closet without you seeing it. everything else has evidence. you know your cat exists, you know that your closet has only one way in and one way out, you know that your cat is pretty sneaky and that you don't always pay attention to the floor when you open the door.

the second requires you to assume basically everything other than the fact that you own a cat. you have to assume that it's possible to have a rift in the space time continuum, that your cat has the ability to manipulate and travel through this rift, that your cat could survive such an event, that it's possible to actually travel through a rift in the space time continuum in the first place, etc.. etc... etc...


This is a very good theory. However, life tends to interfere with such thought experiments. Occam's Razor is great as a tool to use in debates, but can hardly be applied- the world is complicated. A man holds the knife to a murder over the bloody body of the victim. Is he the murderer? Occam says so- electrocute him immediately. But wait! It wasn't him? He just happened to pass by the scene of the crime and picked up the knife. Crap. Dear Occam just killed an innocent man.

Also the cat analogy is pulled to the extreme. What if the cat hid in the laundry basket when the maid put the laundry in my closet (do they do that?). That assumes that he/she did the laundry, but is just as plausible no? But Occam would say that is not true.

you not understanding the process of science and reality doesn't make it not actually doable.

if you see a dude covered in blood standing over a dead body riddled with knife wounds and he is holding a knife, then yes it is ABSOLUTELY correct to suspect that the guy is the murderer. which is why he's going to be your prime suspect, and then you do the science of proving that he did in fact kill the guy. if the science (dna, finger prints etc..) proves that he DIDN'T kill the guy, well, then there you go.

now, if you see the same thing, but you automatically assume the devil must've done it and then put the knife in the dude's hand and then made him forget about doing it....well that's not science, that's stupid.

your alternate for the cat theory is perfectly fine, assuming that there is some form of evidence that this is the case. if there's no laundry basket in your closet then it's unreasonable to assume that the cat was in the laundry basket.

just like if you have NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF SOMETHING (you know....like anything "miraculous" in the bible) then it's COMPLETELY unreasonable to assume that it happened without said evidence.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:04 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:This is a very good theory. However, life tends to interfere with such thought experiments. Occam's Razor is great as a tool to use in debates, but can hardly be applied- the world is complicated. A man holds the knife to a murder over the bloody body of the victim. Is he the murderer? Occam says so- electrocute him immediately. But wait! It wasn't him? He just happened to pass by the scene of the crime and picked up the knife. Crap. Dear Occam just killed an innocent man.

Also the cat analogy is pulled to the extreme. What if the cat hid in the laundry basket when the maid put the laundry in my closet (do they do that?). That assumes that he/she did the laundry, but is just as plausible no? But Occam would say that is not true.

To put it another way, the most parsimonious/least complex (framed correctly) explanation is more likely to be correct than more complicated explanations, all else being equal. Occam's razor should never be used to prove things, only to produce reasonable assumptions. So it should be your default belief, in the absence of other evidence. But it is often wrong, so you should be open to other explanations, and as you collect more evidence, and rule out less complicated possible explanations that do not in fact work (for example, if there are fingerprints on the knife and dna under the victim's fingernails that don't match your suspect), eventually you should get to the point where the least complicated explanation that fits all your observations is the correct one.

Certainly you shouldn't go to extremes such as executing someone until you've at least conducted a serious investigation and the evidence you find points to the same obvious explanation. Even then it's possible that you're wrong because the true explanation creates the appearance of the simpler explanation, so imprisonment is preferable to execution.

Note: this is a non-mathematical explanation, but the correct formulation of Occam's razor is a mathematical one. The links go to the precise mathematical concepts underlying my math-free exposition.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby bobjoesmith » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:31 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:o put it another way, the most parsimonious/least complex (framed correctly) explanation is more likely to be correct than more complicated explanations, all else being equal. Occam's razor should never be used to prove things, only to produce reasonable assumptions. So it should be your default belief, in the absence of other evidence. But it is often wrong, so you should be open to other explanations, and as you collect more evidence, and rule out less complicated possible explanations that do not in fact work (for example, if there are fingerprints on the knife and dna under the victim's fingernails that don't match your suspect), eventually you should get to the point where the least complicated explanation that fits all your observations is the correct one.


So I don't want to get into the God v Science debate because frankly I believe one does not exclude the other- but:
Which would be more Occam friendly? There being a God and he creating humans- by whatever manner it may have been or there being a long series of random chance over a few billion years that creates humans.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Aaeriele » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:00 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Which would be more Occam friendly? There being a God and he creating humans- by whatever manner it may have been or there being a long series of random chance over a few billion years that creates humans.


The latter, since that is what the simplest assumption based on all of the evidence we have is. The evidence we have is all consistent with a lack of a god; assuming the existence of God is an additional assumption on top of all of that.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:00 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:So I don't want to get into the God v Science debate because frankly I believe one does not exclude the other- but:
Which would be more Occam friendly? There being a God and he creating humans- by whatever manner it may have been or there being a long series of random chance over a few billion years that creates humans.

This is a very incomplete question, for two reasons. First, what are you trying to explain? The mere existence of human beings? The existence of some sort of reasoning life-form, which may or may not be humans? Or all of the observable facts that we are aware of, including the plethora of life on the planet, our observations of the DNA of various organisms, our observations of the fossil record, and so forth? The simplest explanations for all three will be very different. Second, neither are complete explanations. "God created humans" is not an explanation, because it is horribly incomplete. Who/what is god? Where did he come from? You use this label "god" as if it is understood what you mean by "god", but it's a hugely complicated concept to try and define. If there is some god being, why should we have expected humans rather than something else? Your "science" explanation is similarly incomplete. What chance events happened over a few billion years? What were the intermediate stages like? What drives the chance events? You also leave out the main component to the theory of evolution by natural selection, which is natural selection, which throws a non-random component to the mix. This is important, because the theory is a much better explanation with that component than without it.

If you simply want to explain the existence of humans, the simplest explanation is that humans have always been here. You have to describe humans, which is a terribly complex thing to do, but you don't have to describe anything else, like God, evolution, or any of the other explanations one might be inclined to give, so this is the simplest possible explanation. But it doesn't explain anything besides the mere fact of our existence. Importantly, it doesn't explain the fact that there are no humans in the fossil record older tha couple hundred thousand years. The simplest explanation of that fact is that there were no humans around at the time. I'm not sure what the simplest explanation of the combined fact is, but already, evolution is starting to look a lot more likely. Eventually if you put together everything biological science knows, the simplest explanation by far is some form of evolution by natural selection, and evolution-by-natural-selection is simpler than evolution-by-natural-selection-with-god, so we should assume, by Occam's razor, that the former explanation is true, unless we have some other evidence which is only explained by evolution-by-natural-selection-with-god, and not by evolution-by-natural-selection.
Last edited by skeptical scientist on Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:09 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby elasto » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:08 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:So I don't want to get into the God v Science debate because frankly I believe one does not exclude the other- but:
Which would be more Occam friendly? There being a God and he creating humans- by whatever manner it may have been or there being a long series of random chance over a few billion years that creates humans.

That's not quite the right question to ask.

The more pertinent question is
"Which would be more Occam friendly?
- There being a God and he creating humans
- or out of the 100 billion galaxies each with 100 billion stars some having habitable planets capable of forming complex life, random chance on at least one of them creates humans over the course of billions of years"

And our universe may not even be the only universe. Because, of course, whichever planet in whichever galaxy in whichever universe happens to create humans - humans will stand on it, look around and go "Wow! That was unlikely!"

(Of course, this better framed question is still unhelpful. Occam's razor only gives you a rational starting point as others say, it doesn't actually give you the solution.

Science has done well by assuming the simplest rational answer is the best one to plump for while waiting for more evidence to come in, but when it comes to a question like "Does God exist?" you are back to the old adage of "You can't prove a negative".

We'll know God exists if/when he reveals himself to us but otherwise we'll never know for sure.)
Last edited by elasto on Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:12 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Goplat » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:11 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:To put it another way, the most parsimonious/least complex (framed correctly) explanation
Kolmogorov complexity is neither objective (you have to pick a Turing-complete language to use) nor is it directly applicable to assigning prior probabilities to real-world situations (it defines the complexity of a string, not of a state of the universe, so you need to define some mapping between the two). The prior probability of the existence of a god (or anything else) can be made arbitrarily high or low by choice of the language and mapping, so Kolmogorov complexity tells us absolutely nothing. (And if you want to restrict it to "sensible" choices of language and mapping, then trying to formally define "sensible" will put you right back where you started.)

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:14 am UTC

elasto wrote:And our universe may not even be the only universe. Because, of course, whichever planet in whichever galaxy in whichever universe happens to create humans - humans will stand on it, look around and go "Wow! That was unlikely!"

If you want to carry this idea to its logical conclusion, the simplest possible explanation is "every mathematical model has an instantiation". Because somewhere, within the vast space of all mathematical models, you get a mathematical model of our universe, and us in it.

Interestingly, somewhere else in the vast space of all mathematical models, you also get a mathematical model of our universe, and us in it, and god. :P

However, this explanation is completely useless, because while it leads us to predict the existence of humans, it doesn't lead us to make any other predictions about the properties of the mathematical model we're in (as opposed to the meta-model, containing all possible models).
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby elasto » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:21 am UTC

Actually, the most relevant application of Occam's razor to God (which still isn't all that helpful) isn't in relation to humans but the Universe as a whole; And it's this:

"Is it simpler to assume that the Universe has always existed or created itself - or is it simpler to assume God created the Universe and God has always existed or created himself?"

Put like that it's clear the simpler assumption is the first. Unless there is some need for God to create the Universe (in which case why isn't there a need for a God2 to create God1?), Occam's razor would lead us to assume no God.

Occam's razor only works with the current known evidence, though. Newton's laws of motion were the simplest explanation of the Universe until strange observations were made of the orbit of Mercury and such, at which point new theories were required. And Einstein's theories of gravity are quite possibly incompatible with Quantum mechanics, so the simplest possible theory that explains all the facts still isn't fully known.

So the bottom line is that people can 'Occam razor' all they like, and it will take is God turning up one day and everything gets thrown out the window.

skeptical scientist wrote:
elasto wrote:And our universe may not even be the only universe. Because, of course, whichever planet in whichever galaxy in whichever universe happens to create humans - humans will stand on it, look around and go "Wow! That was unlikely!"

If you want to carry this idea to its logical conclusion, the simplest possible explanation is "every mathematical model has an instantiation". Because somewhere, within the vast space of all mathematical models, you get a mathematical model of our universe, and us in it.

Interestingly, somewhere else in the vast space of all mathematical models, you also get a mathematical model of our universe, and us in it, and god. :P

*mind is blown*

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Xeio » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:38 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Did I say that I would disassemble them? No. Did I say I would take pleasure in destroying them? No.
If these toy Jedi perform as they should, I would be glad to build more lightsabers- it is mutually satisfactory that they if sentient get more lightsabers, and I would be able to enjoy watching over more-lightsabered Jedi. However, would you say that me not giving something they never had be counted as evil or mean?

1. Sometimes those whom are loved do not understand as well as them who love. Parents may not buy a video game for their kids- or make them do homework. However, that by no means makes the parents cruel or unjustified in making them do it. It does not make the parents happy when they scold their children. Indeed they scold them and they make them work hard because they do care and because it will, for the long run turn out better. It is a negligent parent that spoils their kids with whatever they want and let them do whatever they please.
Ah, ok, I misunderstood. I agree, even if he exists and created us he doesn't really have any obligations at all. Nor do I think we have any implicit obligation to him just because he created us. So we can follow his rules, or we can go "fuck you".

Though, he has (according to the bible) destroyed us for not following his rules, so your analogy doesn't hold in relation to what god has supposedly actually done. He has essentially killed his children for disobeying his rules. I still take issue with that.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:46 am UTC

Xeio wrote:Ah, ok, I misunderstood. I agree, even if he exists and created us he doesn't really have any obligations at all.

No, that's BS. Parents have obligations to their children, and can't just abandon them. So if god does exist, he has obligations to us.

Nor do I think we have any implicit obligation to him just because he created us.

I'm not sure if I agree with this either. But we can't have obligations to a being which we can't know exists, so if he wants us to behave a certain way, he should provide some evidence of his existence first.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Xeio » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:37 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
Xeio wrote:Ah, ok, I misunderstood. I agree, even if he exists and created us he doesn't really have any obligations at all.
No, that's BS. Parents have obligations to their children, and can't just abandon them. So if god does exist, he has obligations to us.
So putting children up for adoption is morally wrong? Granted, then we do force the responsibility in child support... I dunno, that's a grey area (and we legally limit abuse, though that's only if you've taken responsibility for caring for the child...).
skeptical scientist wrote:
Nor do I think we have any implicit obligation to him just because he created us.
I'm not sure if I agree with this either. But we can't have obligations to a being which we can't know exists, so if he wants us to behave a certain way, he should provide some evidence of his existence first.
Well, presumably at times in the old testament he did. Granted, I'm not sure if it's necessarily a good idea to tell an egomaniacle all powerful entity to shove it, but I don't think there is any moral obligation to obey. So, working under the assumption he exists (however silly that may be) do you believe it is immoral to disobey (consequences or not)?

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:11 am UTC

Xeio wrote:
skeptical scientist wrote:Parents have obligations to their children, and can't just abandon them. So if god does exist, he has obligations to us.
So putting children up for adoption is morally wrong? Granted, then we do force the responsibility in child support... I dunno, that's a grey area (and we legally limit abuse, though that's only if you've taken responsibility for caring for the child...).

Finding an adoption is not abandonment. One way to discharge your obligations to your children is to find someone else to care for them. Also, for god it's a little different, because he allegedly created not just us, but the universe we live in. A universe which for many of us results in an existence filled with suffering, with very little joy in it. Creating a being and placing them in such a situation when you have the power to prevent it is morally reprehensible.
skeptical scientist wrote:Well, presumably at times in the old testament he did.

Allegedly, but there is not enough evidence for us alive today to conclude that he exists. So at best this means that people alive then could have obligations to god.
So, working under the assumption he exists (however silly that may be) do you believe it is immoral to disobey (consequences or not)?

Not everything he says, just as we are not obliged to obey our parents in all things. But he is worthy of some amount of graditude and respect, if he exists (well, he would be, except for the whole morally reprehensible thing above).
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Enthalpie » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:09 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Well I said this before, but hell in its most basic form is separation from God. The lake of fire could very well be a metaphor- however, holding God and heaven to be true, the true pain of hell is the contrast: the contrast between not having God and having God; the contrast between living with your own doubts and fears forever and to not fear and doubt.

Never said otherwise and didn't intend to imply so. But it does not really sound any better, now does it?

bobjoesmith wrote:Nevertheless, there is still an argument to be made for God to allow these children into heaven anyways- even retroactively to death.

Is there? What about the adults? Or is there a given age for one to convert?
Is this god honest to us or was he lying? No, of course he does not lie. He said so himself. And he wouldn't lie to us. He said so himself. And... wait?

bobjoesmith wrote:The contrast here is between the difference in nature of a mother or a father and God. God by his nature is righteous. Man by our nature sucks- we suck, I suck, you potentially suck. There is an irreconcilable difference between natures that is what causes the separation- not because he is petty.

He does not suck? We all (potentially? how nicely framed!) do? How did you come to such conclusions?
And he seems to be pretty petty. Punish all humans for not worshipping him. Prohibitting kittens from entering heaven.

Justify this difference through nature, do not simply state so and start making excuses for him.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Soralin » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:35 am UTC

bobjoesmith wrote:Which would be more Occam friendly? There being a God and he creating humans- by whatever manner it may have been or there being a long series of random chance over a few billion years that creates humans.

There's a whole lot of misuse of Occam around. The real important part is the "all else being equal". i.e. if you have two theories that are otherwise identical, which predict all of the same outcomes. Basically, if you have a theory, and can take something out of it, and end up with no predictions changing, at all, then why was that piece there in the first place?

If the two theories aren't identical though, then Occam never even comes into it, since they can be separated by actual predictions, and a very complicated theory that gets things right will of course win out over a very simple theory which doesn't. Say for example the god creating humans idea, if it predicts things which end up being wrong, or if it doesn't predict things which end up being true, that the other theory does, then it would be discarded for not being accurate or for not being as precise as the other theory, before it even reaches the domain of Occam.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Ptolom » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:00 pm UTC

A far, far easier proof is this little passage "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other it was round all about, and...a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about....And it was an hand breadth thick..." (Kings, chapter 7, verses 23 and 26) clearly states Pi=3, which you disprove to mathematical standards.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:08 pm UTC

Ptolom wrote:A far, far easier proof is this little passage "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other it was round all about, and...a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about....And it was an hand breadth thick..." (Kings, chapter 7, verses 23 and 26) clearly states Pi=3, which you disprove to mathematical standards.


Pi = 3 is less than 5% error under the actual value. It's a perfectly reasonable and useful approximation under most circumstances. The obsession with digits of pi is purely for the joy of mathematicians.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby Silknor » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:12 pm UTC

Actually that passage might not be that far off: You're assuming the 30 cubits is the outer circumference (which as the bowl has thickness, is not the same as the inner circumference). But if you were building things using a mold, it'd make more sense to use the inner circumference of the finished product, because that would tell you what size the mold should be. In that case, the value of pi implied turns out to be 3.1395, which is well within reason for that time.

http://www.purplemath.com/modules/bibleval.htm
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby DSenette » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

a FAR easier proof is the claim that the entire planet was covered in water for 40 days some time in the not too distant past.

#1 where did the water come from?

#2 where did the water go?

#3 where did the archaeological evidence of a global disaster event go?
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby elasto » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:15 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:a FAR easier proof is the claim that the entire planet was covered in water for 40 days some time in the not too distant past.

#1 where did the water come from?

#2 where did the water go?

#3 where did the archaeological evidence of a global disaster event go?

Let's be careful bandying around the word 'proof'!

Genesis is considered by almost all Christians to be metaphorical; And if there is an afterlife it's probably impossible to relate to directly, so Revelations is almost certainly metaphorical too - even if the Bible is true.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby DSenette » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:27 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
DSenette wrote:a FAR easier proof is the claim that the entire planet was covered in water for 40 days some time in the not too distant past.

#1 where did the water come from?

#2 where did the water go?

#3 where did the archaeological evidence of a global disaster event go?

Let's be careful bandying around the word 'proof'!

Genesis is considered by almost all Christians to be metaphorical; And if there is an afterlife it's probably impossible to relate to directly, so Revelations is almost certainly metaphorical too - even if the Bible is true.

i would caution against using the phrase "almost all". i know a very high proportion of christians who believe that the flood story is a 100% factual claim.

at which point is a miraculous event that is suggested to have happened in the bible decided to be metaphorical? who gets to make that decision? i mean, the bible doesn't say it's metaphorical, it's not even written like anything else in the bible that IS written in a style that suggests that it's metaphorical. i mean, the flood story involves architectural schematics for a boat, i don't know two many metaphors that use the word "cubit"
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:36 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
elasto wrote:
DSenette wrote:a FAR easier proof is the claim that the entire planet was covered in water for 40 days some time in the not too distant past.

#1 where did the water come from?

#2 where did the water go?

#3 where did the archaeological evidence of a global disaster event go?

Let's be careful bandying around the word 'proof'!

Genesis is considered by almost all Christians to be metaphorical; And if there is an afterlife it's probably impossible to relate to directly, so Revelations is almost certainly metaphorical too - even if the Bible is true.

i would caution against using the phrase "almost all". i know a very high proportion of christians who believe that the flood story is a 100% factual claim.

at which point is a miraculous event that is suggested to have happened in the bible decided to be metaphorical? who gets to make that decision? i mean, the bible doesn't say it's metaphorical, it's not even written like anything else in the bible that IS written in a style that suggests that it's metaphorical. i mean, the flood story involves architectural schematics for a boat, i don't know two many metaphors that use the word "cubit"


There is actually evidence of a massive flood covering a good part of Eurasia. Nearly all cultures stemming from that region have a flood story. So perhaps the flood story actually happened, but "every animal" and the "whole world" may not actually be so. After all, the world to people who didn't have cars or airplanes was considerable smaller.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby DSenette » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:43 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:
DSenette wrote:
elasto wrote:
DSenette wrote:a FAR easier proof is the claim that the entire planet was covered in water for 40 days some time in the not too distant past.

#1 where did the water come from?

#2 where did the water go?

#3 where did the archaeological evidence of a global disaster event go?

Let's be careful bandying around the word 'proof'!

Genesis is considered by almost all Christians to be metaphorical; And if there is an afterlife it's probably impossible to relate to directly, so Revelations is almost certainly metaphorical too - even if the Bible is true.

i would caution against using the phrase "almost all". i know a very high proportion of christians who believe that the flood story is a 100% factual claim.

at which point is a miraculous event that is suggested to have happened in the bible decided to be metaphorical? who gets to make that decision? i mean, the bible doesn't say it's metaphorical, it's not even written like anything else in the bible that IS written in a style that suggests that it's metaphorical. i mean, the flood story involves architectural schematics for a boat, i don't know two many metaphors that use the word "cubit"


There is actually evidence of a massive flood covering a good part of Eurasia. Nearly all cultures stemming from that region have a flood story. So perhaps the flood story actually happened, but "every animal" and the "whole world" may not actually be so. After all, the world to people who didn't have cars or airplanes was considerable smaller.

right, and when you take into account the ENTIRELY NOT global view point of the people that are responsible for the bible, you kind of have to doubt their universal claims of a creator.
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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:55 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:right, and when you take into account the ENTIRELY NOT global view point of the people that are responsible for the bible, you kind of have to doubt their universal claims of a creator.


Eh, you don't really have to. You totally can, but you don't have to. That's really the biggest thing about religious discussions. Because everything is so subjective, you can doubt things, or you can not doubt things, both with pretty logical conclusions.

Every single argument against God can be refuted and every argument for God can be refuted. It's at this point, when you are done refuting everything that you have to make a choice. Some people choose to believe in God, some people don't. I'm not quite to that point yet, and even if I get there, I'll be back at that point over and over again my entire life.

I think that's kind of the beauty of religion. You can't really refute it, but you can't really prove it either, and yet we keep on trying because what else would we do?

I know that many people will disagree with me, and I don't mind because these are just my observations right now. I'm sure they'll change tomorrow.

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Re: Is this evidence that the Bible contains false statement

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

Genesis is considered by almost all Christians to be metaphorical; And if there is an afterlife it's probably impossible to relate to directly, so Revelations is almost certainly metaphorical too - even if the Bible is true.

Tell that to the Christian population of Texas, and also Missouri. And those are just the states that I have experience in. Even liberal, progressive churches (of Protestant flavor) in the U.S. teach that Genesis is literal, there is an afterlife, hell is real, and Revelations used metaphorical language to describe real events. Just witness the huge shitfight that broke out across the country when one pastor published a book arguing that hell wasn't real.
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