Proof of God Debate

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RazorOutlaw
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Proof of God Debate

Post by RazorOutlaw » 2009-05-01 04:46pm

For a while I pretty much avoided these discussions - rarely were the atheists involved truly knowledgeable at science and the few Christians involved at least knew enough terms to make the whole thread muddled. But since going back to TWC.net I stumbled upon a discussion entitled "If God cannot be proven or disproven and there is no evidence for Him..."

On the most recent pages of the debate Chaigidel (who is against atheism) and Ragabash (for atheism) have been going back and forth. Chaigidel made the claim that for every piece of scientific evidence Ragabash provided for atheism he would provide two more for the existence of God. As the discussion continued Ragabash did not answer the challenge, but then, something smells fishy about the challenge. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

So, after getting sick of watching Chaigidel taunt Ragabash for not providing evidence I decided to step in and request Chaigidel to provide his evidence to move the discussion along. Maybe this is a mistake because the members over there tend to be more dishonest than not but I went through with it anyway. Chaigidel responded with pretty much the same challenge he gave Ragabash, which I considered taking until I realized it was more of a dodge than anything else:
Chaigidel wrote:@ razor I am more than happy to oblige as soon as you can provide some scientific proof that atheism is supported through scientific facts-- when you produce one I will produce two scientific facts which lend credence to my position--- we cant prove anything outright only add up the evidence on each side--- at some point soon so that you all have some decent ammunition when you argue; I will indeed provide both sides of this arguement, giving you evidence for and against god under scientific law--- it saddens me greatly that those who claim science is the basis of the world view they keep are so unable to summon those facts in any way other than the most dogmatic of faiths. so like our enemies we all become.
Of course, he hadn't said anything new and had ignored most of my post. So I replied with:
RazorOutlaw wrote:My simple challenge to you was to provide evidence in support of God. Now I will ask you to do so without playing the "you show me yours and I'll show you mine" game. You claim you have evidence and it should not be hard to show this evidence to members of this discussion. Since your main target, Ragabash, isn't answering your challenges you could do him one better by posting your own evidence without waiting for him.
Yet I remain perplexed and unsure of myself. Was I right to challenge this fellow right back? Am I doing what is considered fair in a debate? I'll be honest, I'm unaware of scientific facts that support atheism, so I would be unable to answer Chaigidel's challenge. He likely knows this too, which is why I challenged him the way I did now that I think about it.

All I *do* know is that science has yet to find God so there's no reason to claim his existence is true. Any help would be greatly appreciated because he's a very unrelenting debater. And if you have evidence for your position you should be able to display it first and foremost, right?
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Re: Proof of God Debate

Post by Samuel » 2009-05-01 06:31pm

Chaigidel made the claim that for every piece of scientific evidence Ragabash provided for atheism he would provide two more for the existence of God.
This is a profound misunderstanding of the burden of proof.
As the discussion continued Ragabash did not answer the challenge, but then, something smells fishy about the challenge. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Simple. Try proving the theory of gravity. You can't. Outside of math and logic proofs become alot rarer. You can't prove atheism because that would require you to prove God does not exist. Alot of Gods can be disproven, but given the sheer number of definitions, some cannot (try disproving the pantheistic God). You can show there is no reason to believe in them, that they are almost certainly false, that they are man-made, etc, but you can't disprove some of the more arcane versions.

Of course, if he is arguing for all good/all powerful you can crush him like a bug.
scientific proof that atheism is supported through scientific facts
:wtf: Does that even mean anything? How are scientific facts different from normal facts?
we cant prove anything outright only add up the evidence on each side
:banghead: That isn't how it works. If one theory has explanatory power for something that the other theory doesn't, the explanatory one wins.
All I *do* know is that science has yet to find God so there's no reason to claim his existence is true.
:lol: Why do you guys toss around science like it is a magic word or talisman against evil? The more sane way to say this is there is no evidence and if it existed the phenomena would have evidence in places we have examined.

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Re: Proof of God Debate

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-05-01 08:25pm

This is the problem with TWC: there is a strong, vocal contingent of people who have absolutely no idea what science means, or how its underlying philosophical concept works. They treat it as a secular priesthood.
Moron wrote:@ razor I am more than happy to oblige as soon as you can provide some scientific proof that atheism is supported through scientific facts-- when you produce one I will produce two scientific facts which lend credence to my position--- we cant prove anything outright only add up the evidence on each side--- at some point soon so that you all have some decent ammunition when you argue; I will indeed provide both sides of this arguement, giving you evidence for and against god under scientific law--- it saddens me greatly that those who claim science is the basis of the world view they keep are so unable to summon those facts in any way other than the most dogmatic of faiths. so like our enemies we all become.
What does he define as a scientific fact in support of God or against God? In other words, how does he determine whether a scientific fact supports the existence of God? What is his litmus test? What is his logical mechanism? How does he define God in such a manner that it becomes possible to logically deduce specific testable predictions?

This is the problem with religious debaters: they think that "scientific fact in favour of God" is "anything science does not yet understand": an enormous logical fallacy. It betrays their fundamental misunderstanding of what it takes to actually support an idea in science. When pressed, they eventually reveal that they have absolutely no idea how a theory is properly supported in science: they just think it's supported the same way you support an argument in politics.
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"It's not evil for God to do it. Or for someone to do it at God's command."- Jonathan Boyd on baby-killing

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Re: Proof of God Debate

Post by RazorOutlaw » 2009-05-02 12:47am

Samuel, Mr. Wong, thanks for your help. I really appreciate the input especially since nobody I know really knows anything about science. Samuel, I wasn't able to use parts of your post because I'm not really sure where I would have fit a discussion on theory. What theory would be applied to a discussion on God, anyway? He just mindlessly repeated his challenge, one I already said I wouldn't do because I'm not involved in that debate per se, so there wasn't much new information to cover. However your mention of burden of proof was a very good one - one that I'd forgotten about completely.
Samuel wrote:Simple. Try proving the theory of gravity. You can't. Outside of math and logic proofs become alot rarer. You can't prove atheism because that would require you to prove God does not exist. Alot of Gods can be disproven, but given the sheer number of definitions, some cannot (try disproving the pantheistic God). You can show there is no reason to believe in them, that they are almost certainly false, that they are man-made, etc, but you can't disprove some of the more arcane versions.
So let me get this straight: you can't prove atheism because you can't prove a negative. Prove that I'm not stalking you right now (right?)

And why would the more arcane versions of God be impossible to disprove? Is it because they are more remote concepts or what?
Darth Wong wrote:What does he define as a scientific fact in support of God or against God? In other words, how does he determine whether a scientific fact supports the existence of God? What is his litmus test? What is his logical mechanism? How does he define God in such a manner that it becomes possible to logically deduce specific testable predictions?
I did ask similar questions such as "How would scientists define God?" and "How would scientists measure Him in the day-to-day processes in the world?" but, again, he ignored even the mention (since they weren't directed at him but more at his assertion that science was agnostic rather than atheist, and that's a completely different point he kept raising).

He certainly puts on the air of knowing a lot about science which to me, an obviously weak debater about science, is pretty intimidating. He recently posted this which I would have a hard time responding to:
Chaigidel wrote:yes I understand what you are saying ragabash but it reads-- "I dont know anything specific, I just really really believe that Im right"

to eliminate science from the question of god first you must answer certain questions--- like what would constitute god?

if you begin with an absurd premise of course your answer will be absurd, if you base your premise on solid facts, the result is more feasable-- we can agree here.

now give me something specific after you define what would constitute a god in your eyes; what specifically would prevent this from occuring within our scientific understanding?

how do you know god is unobservable and untestable? have you been told this by someone ?
And all this was from Ragabash saying that the accepted scientific theories aren't directly tested "but they can always be tested and experimented by using other scientific data and their indirect affect to observable phenemona, even when we don't actually understand the force behind the actual phenemona we research." The example in this case was dark matter.
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Re: Proof of God Debate

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-05-02 01:09am

RazorOutlaw wrote:He certainly puts on the air of knowing a lot about science which to me, an obviously weak debater about science, is pretty intimidating.
A lot of creationists do that. It's usually pure bluffing. The rare example of a creationist who is also a scientist is typically just being dishonest. Most creationists sincerely think that their butchered version of science is accurate, because they've done a lot of reading ... of creationist websites, not science textbooks.
He recently posted this which I would have a hard time responding to:
Chaigidel wrote:yes I understand what you are saying ragabash but it reads-- "I dont know anything specific, I just really really believe that Im right"

to eliminate science from the question of god first you must answer certain questions--- like what would constitute god?

if you begin with an absurd premise of course your answer will be absurd, if you base your premise on solid facts, the result is more feasable-- we can agree here.

now give me something specific after you define what would constitute a god in your eyes; what specifically would prevent this from occuring within our scientific understanding?

how do you know god is unobservable and untestable? have you been told this by someone ?
And all this was from Ragabash saying that the accepted scientific theories aren't directly tested "but they can always be tested and experimented by using other scientific data and their indirect affect to observable phenemona, even when we don't actually understand the force behind the actual phenemona we research." The example in this case was dark matter.
These people need to understand that every scientific theory is a solution to a problem, or an explanation of a mystery.

Ideas such as dark matter are solutions to problems. The problem already exists: how to explain gravitational effects of unseen matter. Dark matter is proposed to explain it, and still stands as the best candidate for an explanation, even though it is not considered a well-defined theory. It is still well-defined enough to produce specific testable predictions.

So the question becomes: what problem does the idea of God solve? No doubt he would answer with a list of everything we don't yet understand. But he fails to understand that it's not enough to produce a list of mysteries. He must show how the idea of God solves those mysteries, and it must solve them by producing testable predictions which can be directly and logically deduced from the concept of God.

Yahweh-worshippers typically say that God predicts <insert prediction here> simply by declaring it to be so. They have no way of explaining how one would logically deduce such predictions from the idea of a God, so they simply turn the definition of God into a story.

For example:

Christian: "How can you explain abiogenesis without God?"
Scientist: "How can you explain abiogenesis with God? What's the mechanism?"
Christian: "God created life. It's simple."
Scientist: "That is not an explanation. There's no mechanism. That is just a story."
Christian: "It's better than your story, where atoms randomly form into life."
Scientist: "No, that is the outcome of a theory, not the theory itself. The actual theory is the mechanism. Every scientific theory is based on a mechanism. Explanations of historical events are applications of that mechanism."
Christian: "Now you're just trying to confuse the issue."

This is what they do. They don't understand the distinction between a story and a scientific theory. And quite frankly, most of them don't want to understand it. They don't even care about most of the arguments they use anyway; they're mere verbal contrivances to cover up the true motive for their faith, which is that they want to live forever.
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"It's not evil for God to do it. Or for someone to do it at God's command."- Jonathan Boyd on baby-killing

"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

"I do not believe Russian Roulette is a stupid act" - Embracer of Darkness

"Viagra commercials appear to save lives" - tharkûn on US health care.

http://www.stardestroyer.net/Mike/RantMode/Blurbs.html

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Re: Proof of God Debate

Post by Count Chocula » 2009-05-02 01:28am

Mike said it better than I can. It comes down to some very simple questions:
  • How do you define God? (in the US all-powerful, all-knowing)
  • If God exists, how would His works be made evident to us?
  • Prove It.
Asking these questions of my Religion teachers, with variants for limbo, original sin, and questioning such Church practices as plenary dispensation and Galileo's persecution didn't make me popular with the nuns :wink: . Asking those simple questions is part of the reason I'm agnostic.

It seems to me that there are no physical, observable, verifiable proofs to justify God, i.e. monothestic religion OR atheism. I accept the possibility of the existence of God, without holding my breath waiting for the manifestations. Logic would imply there is no God or possibility thereof, but I'm irrational enough to entertain the prospect anyway.
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Re: Proof of God Debate

Post by Samuel » 2009-05-02 01:35am

What theory would be applied to a discussion on God, anyway?
To be blunt, which one? Generally theists devolve to defending deism which is really different than the God of the OT, polytheistic Gods or ones that only deal with afterlives.
So let me get this straight: you can't prove atheism because you can't prove a negative. Prove that I'm not stalking you right now (right?)
You can't prove atheism because the word god includes gods that cannot be logically disproven, correct.
And why would the more arcane versions of God be impossible to disprove? Is it because they are more remote concepts or what?
Pantheism is where the universe is God. You can't logically or evidentary disprove it anymore than someone claiming that the universe is a billard ball in a game played by aliens a la Men in Black.
"How would scientists measure Him in the day-to-day processes in the world?"
Presumably the same way we measure the effects of normal individuals, but more so. After all, God tends to act by breaking the traditional laws of physics which tends to be rather noticable.
now give me something specific after you define what would constitute a god in your eyes; what specifically would prevent this from occuring within our scientific understanding?
If we had an entity breaking the laws of physics, we'd rewrite the laws of physics and try to figure out how it does that, not immediately crown it God. There really isn't a well agreed definition, although if a powerful enough entity asked politely I guess we could give it the title. Making the universe isn't required.

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Re: Proof of God Debate

Post by Starglider » 2009-05-02 07:02am

Since we're on the subject of why religiously-motivated science is an oxymoron, I feel compelled to show you this neat graphical summary;

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