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  #1  
Old Apr 5, '06, 11:30 pm
nucatholic nucatholic is offline
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Default Unfalsifiable Claims

I recently have come into contact with some strong arguments against the existence of God. The fact that something is unfalsifiable is a testament to the legitimacy or lack thereof of its claims e.g. example the invisible cat in the chair argument. Suppose that there is an invisible cat in a chair. We cannot see the cat and have no proof that there is a cat in the chair. We also cannot prove that the invisible cat is not in the chair. The claim that there is an invisible cat in the chair is therefore unfalsifiable. Is it still rational to believe that there is an invisible cat in the chair?
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  #2  
Old Apr 6, '06, 1:40 am
Ruthie Ruthie is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

The existence of God can't be proven, or disproven, by strictly scientific observation. You cannot prove something exists unless it has an observable and measurable presence.

This is why animal behavioriorists can't study emotions in animals. They can't be observed and measured.

Some scientists have taken this to the extreme, saying, "Since we can't measure it, it doesn't exist." But that is just as much bad science as is rejecting observations that might disprove your theory.

Trying to bring God down to the level of an invisible cat in a chair... pfft. Someone who does that is afraid of God.

That's why we call it faith!

You might want to stop hanging around with those people until you are stronger in your faith.

Or keep repeating:
"If the 'big bang' theory is true, then I know Who lit the fuse!"
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  #3  
Old Apr 6, '06, 2:07 am
Petergee Petergee is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

This is a silly argument. The ONLY thing that God and the "invisible cat" have in common is that they are both invisible. But God is not a finite THING like a cat is. God permeates and brings into being the whole universe. i.e. "God" is a special name we give to existence itself. Saying "God does not exist" is like saying "existence does not exist".

Btw why don't you try sitting on the chair and see if you get scratched?
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  #4  
Old Apr 6, '06, 4:14 am
Hitetlen Hitetlen is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthie
Some scientists have taken this to the extreme, saying, "Since we can't measure it, it doesn't exist."
That is not what scientists say: "Since we cannot observe or measure it, there is no need to assume that it exists." They also add: "Once evidence to the contrary is presented, we shall revise our assessment".


Napoleon asked Laplace aboit his book on celestial mothion of the planets, why does he not mention God. Laplace answered: "Sire, I have no need for that hypothesis".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthie
Trying to bring God down to the level of an invisible cat in a chair... pfft. Someone who does that is afraid of God.
Why should anyone be afraid of a nonexistent cat?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthie
That's why we call it faith!
Now that is true, very true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthie
You might want to stop hanging around with those people until you are stronger in your faith.
This is just the politics of an ostrich. Hiding one's head in the sand and pretend that reality does not exist is a dangerous position!
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  #5  
Old Apr 6, '06, 4:52 am
Flopfoot Flopfoot is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Actually, ostriches hide their heads in the sand for safety. It makes sense to me!

Anyway according to early parts of the CCC is it possible to come to know God by the light of natural reason alone. However, humans can't actually do that because they are imperfect. So faith comes in to fill the gaps in where we can't work it out for ourselves. But there is plenty of evidence suggesting the existence of God in the natural world (how did the universe come to be? and etc) and in the human person (why do I have a conscience, a sense of right and wrong? Why have men since prehistoric times always seemed to have a desire for God? Why do I? and etc) so reflecting on this coupled with accepting faith will help you to believe in God.
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  #6  
Old Apr 6, '06, 6:20 am
RyanL RyanL is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flopfoot
Anyway according to early parts of the CCC is it possible to come to know God by the light of natural reason alone.
Slight adjustment - it is possible to come to the knowledge that there is a God by the light of natural reason alone.
Quote:
However, humans can't actually do that because they are imperfect.
Yes, we can - if we couldn't, the first statement wouldn't make much sense. We cannot, however, use natural reason to come to the truths about God which He has revealed about Himself (e.g., He's a Trinity - can't get there on natural reason alone).
Quote:
So faith comes in to fill the gaps in where we can't work it out for ourselves.
I would say that faith comes in when we believe the revelation even if that belief is founded on reason, which is to say that belief in the revelation is rational and therefore we choose to believe it (even though we can't naturally reason our way to the final answer, we can still believe it through faith).

Further, I would say that "unfalsifiable" argument is only an argument for Agnosticism, not Atheism. All it claims is that we can't know if there is a God or not - it simply cannot be used to state that there definitely is no God, just as you cannot say that there definitely is not an invisible cat in the chair. You simply don't know. If they're claiming that God definitely doesn't exist based on that argument, they're trying to fool you. Don't buy it - they're being intellectually dishonest.

Moreover, I would say that philosophy is like a laboratory in that you can do experiments on your hypothesis to determine if they actually "work". For a better explanation, I recommend listening to this. It's worth your time. You might also surf the site a little, as he has some writings that are also worth reading.

God Bless,
RyanL
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Last edited by RyanL; Apr 6, '06 at 6:34 am.
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  #7  
Old Apr 6, '06, 6:31 am
RyanL RyanL is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims



Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitetlen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthie
You might want to stop hanging around with those people until you are stronger in your faith.
This is just the politics of an ostrich. Hiding one's head in the sand and pretend that reality does not exist is a dangerous position!
I disagree entirely, and think this is sound advice. You don't toss a middle-schooler into a theoretical quantum physics debate; it's setting them up to be confused and quite probably to come away with wrong ideas. First you educate the middle-schooler, send them to high school and grad school, and only then do you send them into that forum. If you send him out too soon, he'll never be able to recognize the bs when it gets tossed out there.

It's the same in the instant case - nucatholic simply needs training. You don't send a hunter on a hunt without teaching him about wolves and guns; that's just silly. He'll likely wind up dead. First you train him, then you send him out. It's nothing like sticking your head in the sand, and it's bad reasoning that you saw it that way.

If you don't know the basics, you'll never know if what you're being told is right or wrong. It's proper to learn the basics first, which is the advice which is being given.

God Bless,
RyanL

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  #8  
Old Apr 6, '06, 6:32 am
VociMike VociMike is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

The problem with your friend's view is that there is not a choice between invisible, irrational and visible, rational, as his view implies. The evidence now is quite strong that the entire universe exploded out of a pinprick. That is, it came into existence from some cause which we can never discern. We cannot go back before this moment of creation and examine what, if anything, was there. So any non-God explanation for the existence of the universe is also invisible and unfalsifiable. We can describe how it happened once it began, but we cannot say why it began, nor what, if anything, existed before it began to cause it.

Oh, and what about miracles? They are visible. Does your friend reject each and every reported miracle throughout the ages, even those witnessed by many people? If he does reject them all, and all the firsthand testimonies, is that rational?
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  #9  
Old Apr 6, '06, 7:26 am
Hitetlen Hitetlen is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
I disagree entirely, and think this is sound advice. You don't toss a middle-schooler into a theoretical quantum physics debate; it's setting them up to be confused and quite probably to come away with wrong ideas.
There is nothing wrong with listening to others, even if one cannot follow the discourse in its entirety. Your example is not really valid. There is nothing about the debates over God's existence that requires specialized knowledge, only a little logic and common sense.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
If you don't know the basics, you'll never know if what you're being told is right or wrong. It's proper to learn the basics first, which is the advice which is being given.
Yes, that is a sound advice. Where you make a small mistake that you suggest that only the believers can "educate" him properly. Why not suggest to gather all the possible information and encourage him to draw his own conclusions?
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  #10  
Old Apr 6, '06, 7:32 am
Joe Gloor Joe Gloor is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitetlen
Why not suggest to gather all the possible information and encourage him to draw his own conclusions?
Better, I think, to tell him the truth - how it really is, and then have him research all the possible information, so that when he reads something contrary to the truth, he will know that it is wrong and know that he needs to keep searching until he finds out why it's wrong.
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  #11  
Old Apr 6, '06, 8:38 am
RyanL RyanL is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitetlen
There is nothing wrong with listening to others, even if one cannot follow the discourse in its entirety. Your example is not really valid.

To a point, I'd agree - in and of itself, there's nothing wrong with listening to others.
Quote:
There is nothing about the debates over God's existence that requires specialized knowledge, only a little logic and common sense.

For those without any training in such matters, it's rather like engaging in a meaningful discourse on the moral questions regarding contraception eithout any knowledge of how to evaluate moral questions. Eveyone knows what contraception is, but not everyone knows how to properly evaluate moral questions. Sadly, there's little training in the matter so people believe the fallacious maxim that, "nothing is either right or wrong, but thinking makes it so." It is a complete denial of basic moral theology, but for those who don't know basic moral theology it sounds pretty attractive.

Kinda' like drugs - on the surface it seems good (makes you happy, you see fun things, etc.), and to those who don't know better it might even seem like a good way to "expand your mind". Sadly, quite a few people fall for this garbage.
Quote:
Yes, that is a sound advice. Where you make a small mistake that you suggest that only the believers can "educate" him properly. Why not suggest to gather all the possible information and encourage him to draw his own conclusions?
I would recommend against it for the same reason that I would recommend against letting my child go to a KKK rally and "letting him draw his own conclusions". But doesn't everyone understand the arguments involved with only minimal logic and common sense? Yup. Could they still be persuaded by funny wording, erroneous conclusions and logical traps? Yup. Case in point: there is no God because we can't verify it - that's a logical non-sequitor, but it seems to be a stumbling block. My advice, therefore, is that he learn how to identify these before engaging in any more dialog. He should fully learn at least 15 logical arguments for the existance of a God before he comes anywhere near the one argument against the existance of God (IMO, he should also know why that argument is wrong-headed as well before entertaining it).

Your objection: But you're assuming that only someone who believes racism is wrong could properly educate the boy about racism.

My response: Yup, sure am.

If you're a parent, you should understand this argument.

God Bless,
RyanL
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  #12  
Old Apr 6, '06, 10:32 am
Daniel Marsh Daniel Marsh is offline
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Wink Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by nucatholic
I recently have come into contact with some strong arguments against the existence of God. The fact that something is unfalsifiable is a testament to the legitimacy or lack thereof of its claims e.g. example the invisible cat in the chair argument. Suppose that there is an invisible cat in a chair. We cannot see the cat and have no proof that there is a cat in the chair. We also cannot prove that the invisible cat is not in the chair. The claim that there is an invisible cat in the chair is therefore unfalsifiable. Is it still rational to believe that there is an invisible cat in the chair?


http://www.wilk4.com/humor/img/346_cat_ticked.jpg

How to prove the cat is in the chair, try to follow these directions, if you get thorwn up by the invisible cat...he exists, if not, he does not.

Quote:
How To Clean Your Toilet - The Fun Way

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.

Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.

In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids. You may need to stand on the lid.

The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.

Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "power-wash" and rinse".

Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front door.

Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and run outside where he will dry himself off.

Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.

Sincerely,
The Dog
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  #13  
Old Apr 6, '06, 10:43 am
jimmy jimmy is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by nucatholic
I recently have come into contact with some strong arguments against the existence of God. The fact that something is unfalsifiable is a testament to the legitimacy or lack thereof of its claims e.g. example the invisible cat in the chair argument. Suppose that there is an invisible cat in a chair. We cannot see the cat and have no proof that there is a cat in the chair. We also cannot prove that the invisible cat is not in the chair. The claim that there is an invisible cat in the chair is therefore unfalsifiable. Is it still rational to believe that there is an invisible cat in the chair?
This really isn't an arguement against the existence of God. I could say that Hawking radiation is unfalsifiable and is unprovable. Scientists can't prove it exists yet they believe it.
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  #14  
Old Apr 6, '06, 11:33 am
DeFide DeFide is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by nucatholic
We cannot see the cat and have no proof that there is a cat in the chair. We also cannot prove that the invisible cat is not in the chair. The claim that there is an invisible cat in the chair is therefore unfalsifiable. Is it still rational to believe that there is an invisible cat in the chair?
You may be interested in this:

http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/gods-existence.htm

Keep in mind that there's quite a difference between the origin of the totality of existence and an invisible cat. That said, there's ample evidence for the existence of God.
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  #15  
Old Apr 6, '06, 12:10 pm
Hitetlen Hitetlen is offline
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Default Re: Unfalsifiable Claims

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
For those without any training in such matters, it's rather like engaging in a meaningful discourse on the moral questions regarding contraception eithout any knowledge of how to evaluate moral questions. Eveyone knows what contraception is, but not everyone knows how to properly evaluate moral questions. Sadly, there's little training in the matter so people believe the fallacious maxim that, "nothing is either right or wrong, but thinking makes it so." It is a complete denial of basic moral theology, but for those who don't know basic moral theology it sounds pretty attractive.
Basic moral theology is irrelevant for those who are not religious. What is "moral" and what is not is a corollary of one's metaphysical views, therefore there is no "absolute" morality. Contraception is a very good example, why one should not accept the teachings of the church. (I am going out on a limb, but it is my suspicion that the ludicrous teachings against contraception are a very good reason why many people turn their back on the church.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
Kinda' like drugs - on the surface it seems good (makes you happy, you see fun things, etc.), and to those who don't know better it might even seem like a good way to "expand your mind". Sadly, quite a few people fall for this garbage.
It is no one else's business what they do with their own mind.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
I would recommend against it for the same reason that I would recommend against letting my child go to a KKK rally and "letting him draw his own conclusions".
It is insulting to the extreme to compare atheism to the KKK. You should have chosen a different example. But, be as it may, even the members of KKK have their right to hold whatever view they want. And if someone wishes to listen to them, that is also their own business. Also, we do not talk about a child here, rather about someone who is contempating different philosophical views.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
Case in point: there is no God because we can't verify it - that's a logical non-sequitor, but it seems to be a stumbling block.
Incorrect assumption, the lack of possible verification does not explicitly prove God's nonexistence, it just makes it irrational to believe in the hypothesis.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
My advice, therefore, is that he learn how to identify these before engaging in any more dialog. He should fully learn at least 15 logical arguments for the existance of a God before he comes anywhere near the one argument against the existance of God (IMO, he should also know why that argument is wrong-headed as well before entertaining it).
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL

Your objection: But you're assuming that only someone who believes racism is wrong could properly educate the boy about racism.

My response: Yup, sure am.
On the very contrary, I do not think that accepting an ideology makes anyone "qualified" to teach it. I don't have to believe in the concept of astrology (for example) to show that it is sheer nonsense.
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