Thought experiment. What if it was one day proven 200% there’s no God?


#262

It depends on what you mean by proof. Atheists claim that they have reasons to support their belief. For example, they will say that if God is all powerful, all merciful, and all good, He would prevent evils such as terrible diseases and war injuries that inflict great pain and suffering on small children.
Having said that, I don’t see how you can prove anything 200%. The most you can possibly do is to prove something is 100% true. I would agree that it is impossible to prove 200% that God does not exist.


#263

Maybe not for you. Throughout the centuries dragons have been claimed to exist. In Europe they were monsters to be slain, and in China they were worshipped. Why is God different? All this I ask with the due respect


#264

It was a figure of speech; a rhetorical device. The problem of evil is by far the best argument against the existence of God, by the way.


#265

Yes, and you have to do the same with God


#266

At least certain gods. If we’re talking Zeus those issues go out the window.


#267

No, I just disbelieve that my subconscious is the entity that is making decisions for me. (Apparently, my subconscious mind isn’t too fond of itself. :rofl: )

No… I’ve heard it, and I reject it. So, I repeat: the issue at hand isn’t whether I choose to accept things that I know I reject – it’s whether I volitionally choose the things that I choose to accept! Your challenge is nonsensical, I’m afraid, and doesn’t prove (or disprove) the assertion you’re trying to make!


#268

This is not quite true. Scientists base their willingness to accept a theory on a body of evidence. They have to be willing to put aside old theories because there are always a few loose ends that may or may not reconcile with the main theory when those are figured out. (By “loose ends,” I mean that no data set is perfect and it remains for further research to establish whether the perturbation that leads to the non-conformity in the data is due to small uncontrollable variables or a fundamental insufficiency in the model.)

Scientists base the credence they give to a theory on evidence. Faith, in contrast, is the “realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) When belief is based on the evidence of physical tests instead of trust in the testimony of persons, it blows away when there is counter-evidence.

I say “not quite true,” because all people, scientists or not, have a fondness for the status quo. We humans are where we are because our brains use imagination to fill in pictures from incomplete evidence. Any hunter or gatherer who is both as physically unremarkable as we are and also so lacking in imagination that they must wait for complete evidence before acting is going to starve to death. This is why we can find shapes in clouds and also why we are even capable of formulating theories that we can test in the first place. If we are going to move in this world at all, we have to be able to put faith in a full picture drawn from only a few puzzle pieces. The necessary emotional attachment to our theory that allows us to act on it in the first place makes us unwilling to give it up easily. That is not a bad thing, but I think it makes it clear why the entirely “evidence-based” intellect is doomed to inaction and indecision.

Yes, I mean that if you don’t have the imagination to be a believer, you are not doomed to be an atheist. If you have to have an unassailable “200%” case for anything before you will believe it, you are doomed to be an agnostic, and probably an agnostic whose unwillingness to commit goes far beyond the realm of religion.


#269

Actually, this could explain the situation. It is Letter 8 from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. (It is from a book written as a series of letters from a senior demon to a junior tempter on how to ensnare a soul. I had to cut it down to get it into a single post…)
"MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

So you “have great hopes that the patient’s religious phase is dying away”, have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to pieces since they put old Slubgob at the head of it, and now I am sure. … our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. … you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. … We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot “tempt” to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."


#270

The case for God’s existence does not depend solely on personal experience. There is enough objective evidence. So no, Curious11 is not justified in ignoring claims of God’s existence merely on the ground that he didn’t have the same experiences.


#271

From your POV I suppose God is not different. I think your POV is mistaken but I’m not going to be able to convince you. God bless you even though you think He’s not real.


#272

The subconscious is not a separate entity, it is part of “you” (the most important part of “you”) - you just don’t have a volitional control over it. Its functionality is very well established via many experiments. Can you present any experiments to substantiate whatever you believe “makes” your decisions “for you”? (Your rational soul, maybe?) All you did here is display your ignorance about neuroscience. Which is fine, but your dogmatic refusal to learn is pretty sad.

I heard once a great analogy. It said that our conscious is like a ship on the surface of the ocean. It is on the “top”, but it just goes where the water and the wind carries it. You have some small control over the direction of the ship, but not a whole lot. Your belief system about the brain is quite similar to the one that Aristotle held, namely that the brain is just an organ to cool the blood.

How can you make a conscious choice over what you already believe? Yes, the problem is exactly: “how can you volitionally choose to start to believe something that you don’t already believe”? A choice presupposes a change from something you did not believe to something new. That would be a real choice, which you are unable to perform. (Not just “you”.) This is really elementary linguistics.

In this short post of yours you exhibited your ignorance about neuroscience and elementary linguistics. But you also exhibited your adamant refusal to learn. How “gorgian” :slight_smile:


#273

Exactly, I hereby ratify our agreement of disagreement, and continue about my usual business, which right now involves the study of statistics as applied to economics, and wish you a nice day.


#274

Which religion is correct is a different question from is there a God. Because their is confusion among people of faith does not dismiss truth!


#275

Ahh, and now you’re flogging your dead horse. :roll_eyes:

The belief is the output state of a prior conscious choice, not the input state of a subsequent choice. Somehow, you keep missing this.


#276

Well again, certainty can be derived somewhat systematically. For instance, if I show you a rock that is in my hand, based on the assumption that we both have the same understanding of how “rock” is defined, then we, overwhelmingly inherently will conclude that what I am holding is a rock. It is visual, not easily changed, and our definition of ‘rock’ is general enough to not evoke disagreement. If we begin to get more specific in describing the rock (how old, what type, how heavy, etc) complication ensues, thus more opportunity for fallacy, thus disagreement.

If we say the earth is 4.55 billion years old, this is declaring specific “knowledge” on a very complex subject. Therefore, one would logically conclude that process of arriving at this conclusion is very complex and thus certainty needs to be questioned. If the questioning process involves varying complex tests done repeatedly numerous times, the conclusion of knowledge can be honed and certainty increases.

Scientific knowledge specifically is usually declared with levels of certainty (of course these are also wrong!) in order to attempt to avoid perceived deception.


#277

What is the level of certainty for the existence of dark matter or for the multiverse?


#278

I have no idea!


#279

To the degree Dark Matter is the name we give to the phenomenon of unexplained acceleration, that the phenomenon exists approaches 100%. There’s no working model for it yet, so that’s moot.

Multiverse is just a mathematical model at this point, so it would be comparatively low. That’s also why it’s never treated as more than it is.


#280

OK, but that’s scientific knowledge, whose grounds are empirical measurement. You can apply your standard of “levels of certainty” based on the accuracy of the measurement and the ability to perceive the measurement.

However, you made a claim of a completely different stripe – you claimed that God’s existence cannot be proven. Are you talking about empirical measurements of His existence? That would seem to be a category error. So… how might one go about ‘proving’ His existence, and how would that then relate to your notion of accuracy of measurement?


#281

God is not some item, like a dragon, to be “discovered” within the Universe.

God is the foundation of all reality.

This is the #1 confusion with many atheists (and even Christians, especially the "God of the Gaps’ intelligent designer types).

God by definition is not restricted in the spatio-temporal realm; rather, all of space and time is undergirded by a first principle – existence itself.

And so the methods we use to approach God’s existence are not scientific or empirical as such, and they cannot be by the very definition of God – not to mention the very definition of empirical science.

Dragons and God. Two very different, categorically different, realities.

The latter video expresses to what extent science can indicate God: by being evidence for a philosophical/metaphysical argument, e.g., “Whatever begins to exist has a cause.” Fr Robert Spitzer shows that all the scientific evidence available to us indicates that our Universe, or any hypothetical multiverse, must have had a beginning.


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