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The flaw of scientific naturalism and Atheism

RGacky3

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If an atheist says "give me evidence for God" ... yet is a scientific naturalist, he's essencially assuming t hat no evidence is possible.

Scientific naturalism is the assumption that all phenomenon have a natural explination, that either we know or that we will know .... if you're a scientific naturalist (as many atheists are), NO evidence COULD exist for a God, because any evidence that MIGHT exist MUST be explained naturally, and if you can't explain it naturally, then there must be a natural explination that we just don't know.

You're essencially saying "show me evidence for God, but anything you show me will always have a natural explination whether we know it or not."
 

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If an atheist says "give me evidence for God" ... yet is a scientific naturalist, he's essencially assuming t hat no evidence is possible.

Scientific naturalism is the assumption that all phenomenon have a natural explination, that either we know or that we will know .... if you're a scientific naturalist (as many atheists are), NO evidence COULD exist for a God, because any evidence that MIGHT exist MUST be explained naturally, and if you can't explain it naturally, then there must be a natural explination that we just don't know.

You're essencially saying "show me evidence for God, but anything you show me will always have a natural explination whether we know it or not."

It sounds like you're making a case that's related to the Watchmaker argument, which is flawed.
 

hfd

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Not much activity here. The reason, I suspect, is that your contention is solid.


"How, then, did the first life arise? In the absence of a viable scientific answer, those needing a solution could only turn to religion. To some scientists, particularly those defending evolution from attacks by fundamentalists, this situation was unacceptable.The most obvious remedy was the revival of spontaneous generation in some form, with added provision that it required conditions that were present long ago on earth but not now."

Shapiro, Robert - ORIGINS, (NY: Bantam Books, 1987) p. 1O9-11O

Ph.D. Harvard University
Former Professor of chemistry
New York University

28 November 1935 – 15 June 2011

"There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution."

Wald, George. 1954. The Origin of Life. Scientific American August: 44-53.

Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology and Medicine
 

mbig

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If an atheist says "give me evidence for God" ... yet is a scientific naturalist, he's essencially assuming t hat no evidence is possible.
Scientific naturalism is the assumption that all phenomenon have a natural explination, that either we know or that we will know .... if you're a scientific naturalist (as many atheists are), NO evidence COULD exist for a God, because any evidence that MIGHT exist MUST be explained naturally, and if you can't explain it naturally, then there must be a natural explination that we just don't know.
You're essencially saying "show me evidence for God, but anything you show me will always have a natural explination whether we know it or not."
That's Inaccurate and illogical.
You're trying to paint science as just another baseLess belief system and say any superstitious take is just as good.
In furtherance of this you Abuse the word 'evidence'.
ie, evolution has the 'evidence' of Millions of Fossils gathered of 150 years (for just one branch of evidence).

My oft linked Sciam: "15 answers to creationist nonsense":
"...For instance, evolution implies that between the earliest-known ancestors of humans (roughly five million years old) and the appearance of anatomically modern humans (about 100,000 years ago), one should find a succession of hominid creatures with features progressively less apelike and more modern, which is indeed what the fossil record shows. But one should not--and does not--find modern human fossils embedded in strata from the Jurassic period (144 million years ago). Evolutionary biology routinely makes predictions far more refined and precise than this, and researchers test them constantly.

Evolution could be disproved in other ways, too. If we could document the spontaneous generation of just one complex life-form from inanimate matter, then at least a few creatures seen in the fossil record might have originated this way. If superintelligent aliens appeared and claimed credit for creating life on earth (or even particular species), the purely evolutionary explanation would be cast in doubt. But no one has yet produced such Evidence.".."​

All previous gods that were ignorantly assumed as explanations of natural phenomenon on which history has a verdict, have turned out to be bogus for the same reason.
That reason being people just made up/assumed a god because they didn't know... yet.
You would have made your same argument for the Fire, Lightning, Rain, gods.
Is rain 'evidence' of a god?

And of course, rather than a single real explanation, we Don't just have One geographic group Making Up one baseless explanation/god, we have many false ie, creation Myths.
So that even IF one was right everyone else's 'god' would be wrong.
Is your god any better than the Northwest Native Bear creationism?
Only science does have evidentiary explanations.

But I certainly Would accept evidence of a god.
If, for example, when I looked up every/Any night and the visible stars (how about some shiny/extra-bright/same-magnitgude new ones btw) clearly spelled 'Allah' in Arabic, that would be evidence!
Of course, that would Not be good news for Christians and Hindus, etc.
God has but to lift a tiny finger to prove he exists, (for another example) just speak to the whole planet from the sky any night.
Hasn't happened.

hfd said:
Not much activity here. The reason, I suspect, is that your contention is solid.
You suspected wrong, as usual.
Classic, as a good explanation/debunking was in fact cominbg.
 
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Cardinal

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Not much activity here. The reason, I suspect, is that your contention is solid.


"How, then, did the first life arise? In the absence of a viable scientific answer, those needing a solution could only turn to religion.

This statement assumes that scientists are more interested in having an answer than in how they arrive at that answer. If that was how they thought, they wouldn't be operating as scientists. Science is a discipline with a rigorous set of rules. When you step outside of those rules in order to arrive at a theological conclusion, you've left the realm of science and entered the realm of religion.

Is that clear?


To some scientists, particularly those defending evolution from attacks by fundamentalists, this situation was unacceptable.The most obvious remedy was the revival of spontaneous generation in some form, with added provision that it required conditions that were present long ago on earth but not now."

Shapiro, Robert - ORIGINS, (NY: Bantam Books, 1987) p. 1O9-11O

Ph.D. Harvard University
Former Professor of chemistry
New York University

28 November 1935 – 15 June 2011

"There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility.

Science, and evolutionary science at that, is essentially in its infancy. It's a little early to conclude that no 3rd possibility exists.

Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others.

With all due respect to the good Monsieur Pasteur, 120 years is a long ass time ago. There are several theories for how life arising from non-living matter can possibly happen.

"Using modern analytical techniques, Bada and his team, which included Eric Parker, then at Scripps, analyzed the products of the reaction, which were housed in small vials. They found an abundance of promising molecules: 23 amino acids and four amines, another type of organic molecule. The addition of hydrogen sulfide had also led to the creation of sulfur-containing amino acids, which are important to the chemistry of life. (One of these, methionine, initiates the synthesis of proteins.)


The results of the experiment – which exposed a mix of volcanic gases, including hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide gas to an electrical discharge – tell us that volcanic eruptions coinciding with lightning may have played a role in synthesizing large quantities and a variety of biologically crucial molecules on the primitive Earth..."

Chemistry of Life: An Old Experiment Offers New Insights | Amino Acids & Urey-Miller Experiment & Primordial Earth | LiveScience
 

Hard Truth

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If an atheist says "give me evidence for God" ... yet is a scientific naturalist, he's essencially assuming t hat no evidence is possible.

Scientific naturalism is the assumption that all phenomenon have a natural explination, that either we know or that we will know .... if you're a scientific naturalist (as many atheists are), NO evidence COULD exist for a God, because any evidence that MIGHT exist MUST be explained naturally, and if you can't explain it naturally, then there must be a natural explination that we just don't know.

You're essencially saying "show me evidence for God, but anything you show me will always have a natural explination whether we know it or not."

You are mistaken. Most scientists and atheists would accept a supernatural explanation for the god theory if there was evidence that was observable and repeatable. Phenomena such as radiation, radio waves and electro-magnetism are not visible or perceivable without the use of devices, but they are scientifically accepted because they can be observed and the phenomena repeated by reproducing the conditions that make the phenomena observable.

If the god theory is correct as claimed, this should be possible. For example, if god actually heals the sick if they have faith, it should be possible to measure the difference in how fast faithful people recover from a particular illness compared to non-believers. If the phenomena can not be reproduced, it indicates that people are being misled by coincidences, other phenomena*, misperception, or the phenomena is too inconsistent or weak to be relied upon or useful. It is also possible that we don't understand all the conditions that are required to make the god phenomena occur, which means that religions don't have a real understanding of the phenomena either.

* Here's an example: the people of a particular town are very religious and they have exceptionally good teeth. One might conclude that their faith is good for their teeth. To test that theory, they should be removed from their geographic area, or non-believers brought into the town. With enough carefully controlled experiments it would be revealed that the dental health is actually caused by the local water. Testing of the water would show high fluoride levels and we would eventually understand that fluoride is good for your teeth and people all over the world would benefit from that knowledge. The religious people of that town could have had the faith to accept that being religious was good for their teeth and left it at that, and the world would not have recieved the benefits of using fluoride.
 
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Northern Light

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A scientific naturalist will ask for explanations that are based in nature, yet the definition of what is "natural" may be too narrow to accommodate new modalities or paradigms. It's a catch 22 really.

God is not something that can ever be proven scientifically, but more mundane paranormal phenomena will continue to be dismissed because confirmation bias will prevent scientists from objectively evaluating a phenomenon that inherently challenges the dominant view of "natural".
 

Hard Truth

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A scientific naturalist will ask for explanations that are based in nature, yet the definition of what is "natural" may be too narrow to accommodate new modalities or paradigms. It's a catch 22 really.

God is not something that can ever be proven scientifically, but more mundane paranormal phenomena will continue to be dismissed because confirmation bias will prevent scientists from objectively evaluating a phenomenon that inherently challenges the dominant view of "natural".

There are many definition of "natural" and the phenomena or objects included within any particular definition can change as new information is discovered. Often the opposite of "natural" in science is "imaginary." Scientists accept the existence of man-made phenomena, which are not "natural" under many definitions. If the existence of a god was observable, scientist might revise the parameters of natural to include that god/phenomena. Paranormal phenomena is dismissed because no one has oberved it under controlled conditions. If you can prove that these phenomena exist, the Amazing Randi foundation has a million dollars waiting for you.

"At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform a relatively simple preliminary test of the claim, which if successful, will be followed by the formal test. Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives. Upon success in the preliminary testing process, the "applicant" becomes a "claimant.""
Challenge Info
 
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hfd

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This statement assumes that scientists are more interested in having an answer than in how they arrive at that answer. If that was how they thought, they wouldn't be operating as scientists. Science is a discipline with a rigorous set of rules. When you step outside of those rules in order to arrive at a theological conclusion, you've left the realm of science and entered the realm of religion.

Is that clear?




Science, and evolutionary science at that, is essentially in its infancy. It's a little early to conclude that no 3rd possibility exists.



With all due respect to the good Monsieur Pasteur, 120 years is a long ass time ago. There are several theories for how life arising from non-living matter can possibly happen.

"Using modern analytical techniques, Bada and his team, which included Eric Parker, then at Scripps, analyzed the products of the reaction, which were housed in small vials. They found an abundance of promising molecules: 23 amino acids and four amines, another type of organic molecule. The addition of hydrogen sulfide had also led to the creation of sulfur-containing amino acids, which are important to the chemistry of life. (One of these, methionine, initiates the synthesis of proteins.)


The results of the experiment – which exposed a mix of volcanic gases, including hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide gas to an electrical discharge – tell us that volcanic eruptions coinciding with lightning may have played a role in synthesizing large quantities and a variety of biologically crucial molecules on the primitive Earth..."

Chemistry of Life: An Old Experiment Offers New Insights | Amino Acids & Urey-Miller Experiment & Primordial Earth | LiveScience

1. Quite clear. Both chemical evolution and the Big Bang are outside observable science. Neither have been seen nor replicated.

2. Please give a third possibility as to how life may have originated.

3. It's a long way from organic molecules to life. To date life has not been generated from inorganic materials. And, if it were done in a lab, it would require a creative intelligence wouldn't it.

BTW: Newton lived long ago. Gravity still operates.
 

Cardinal

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This is such a perfect misunderstanding of everything I said it's kind of hard to know where to start, but I'll give it a shot.

1. Quite clear. Both chemical evolution

You obviously didn't click on my link or read the summary of the article I linked to.

and the Big Bang are outside observable science. Neither have been seen nor replicated. [/QUOTE]

Infrared radiation from the Big Bang has been observed and can be traced back fairly accurately regarding its nature. What isn't understood on pretty much any level is what existed before the big bang.

2. Please give a third possibility as to how life may have originated.

If I had one I would have given it.

3. It's a long way from organic molecules to life.

So?

To date life has not been generated from inorganic materials.

But amino acids have, and life as we know it requires amino acids.

And, if it were done in a lab, it would require a creative intelligence wouldn't it.

The conditions were replicated in a lab. The conditions the lab was replicating existed in nature (volcanos, lightning, etc).

BTW: Newton lived long ago. Gravity still operates.

Except that Newton's observations held up. While I am not actually familiar with Pasteur's beliefs on evolution, if he did say anything to suggest that it may not be true that he's been proven wrong.
 

mbig

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1. Quite clear. Both chemical evolution and the Big Bang are outside observable science. Neither have been seen nor replicated.

BTW: Newton lived long ago. Gravity still operates.
And Dinosaurs and other creatures lived Many Millions of years ago... but we Still have their boneds, in Fact find thousands more every year.. Filling in/Detailing the Fact of Evolution.


hfd said:
On the contrary
2. Please give a third possibility as to how life may have originated.
Continuing his Absurd FALLACY.
I don't know, so let's make up a god!
It worked for Rain, Ligthtning, Fire and Thunder right?
No.

hfd said:
3. It's a long way from organic molecules to life.
How do you know that? It may be a Very Short way- in a direction not yet taken.


hfd said:
To date life has not been generated from inorganic materials. And, if it were done in a lab, it would require a creative intelligence wouldn't it.
We only have to use 'intelligence' now because that's the only way to recreate Billions of years of different Chance element combinations and conditions.
Given that time period, conditions and materials, the odds of life may even be likely/highly likely.
We don't know.

ALL your posts are belched on on False premises, some because of 'lack of logic', others Disingenuous BS in furtherance of the God Delusion.
 

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This is such a perfect misunderstanding of everything I said it's kind of hard to know where to start, but I'll give it a shot.



You obviously didn't click on my link or read the summary of the article I linked to.

and the Big Bang are outside observable science. Neither have been seen nor replicated.

Infrared radiation from the Big Bang has been observed and can be traced back fairly accurately regarding its nature. What isn't understood on pretty much any level is what existed before the big bang.



If I had one I would have given it.



So?



But amino acids have, and life as we know it requires amino acids.



The conditions were replicated in a lab. The conditions the lab was replicating existed in nature (volcanos, lightning, etc).



Except that Newton's observations held up. While I am not actually familiar with Pasteur's beliefs on evolution, if he did say anything to suggest that it may not be true that he's been proven wrong.[/QUOTE]

1. I read the link. I'm well aware of red shifts and radiation. First I didn't deny that the Big Bang happened, but, we accept a lot about it that we are in essence guessing about to the point of probably making up stories. The first of which is simply this. If nothing existed how did it explode. The story is clear. Nothing existed prior to the event, nothing, not even time. Hoyle had a problem with is as others do such as Eric Lerner.


2. Don't feel bad, nobody else has one either. Unless, of course, one calls on panspermia. But, that merely begs the question

3.We have not seen life created in the lab.

4. True, but, plastic is a component of a lot of things. It's just plastic until formed into the end product.

5. We don't know what the early earth atmosphere was. We guess and extrapolate depending sometimes on an agenda.

6. Pasteur was a creationist. His experiments disproving spontaneous generation was a hard hit to Darwinism and to current day professors of chemical and biological evolution. So far Pasteur's experiments pertaining to spontaneous generation, abiogenesis, is just as solid as apples falling from a tree.
 

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"Continuing his Absurd FALLACY.
I don't know, so let's make up a god!
It worked for Rain, Ligthtning, Fire and Thunder right?
No."

What is it I'm making up? Please provide a third possibility for life's origin. Most all those involved say without equivocation that life is the product of a creator or it is the result of abiogenesis. I look forward to your response.
 

mbig

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"Continuing his Absurd FALLACY.
I don't know, so let's make up a god!
It worked for Rain, Ligthtning, Fire and Thunder right?
No."

What is it I'm making up? Please provide a third possibility for life's origin. Most all those involved say without equivocation that life is the product of a creator or it is the result of abiogenesis. I look forward to your response.
You keep fallaciously Inferring there's a god by your questions.
the answer to all of them is "we don't know" or "we don't know yet"
Because of this lack or temporary lack of understanding is No reason to infer a god.
For the 10th time in this string alone..
Not having understood, Lightning, Rain, Fire or Thousands of other Natural phenomenon, was No [rational] reason to speculate 'god did it'.
God = what we/YOU don't understand, which is why god/gods are all gone or shrunk.

And I note you don't quote some people or posts (so as Not to let them know you've replied) as you WANT NO PART/Can't handle of Me or my answers. You Just want a stealthy, if always bogus, last word.
 
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Northern Light

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There are many definition of "natural" and the phenomena or objects included within any particular definition can change as new information is discovered. Often the opposite of "natural" in science is "imaginary." Scientists accept the existence of man-made phenomena, which are not "natural" under many definitions. If the existence of a god was observable, scientist might revise the parameters of natural to include that god/phenomena. Paranormal phenomena is dismissed because no one has oberved it under controlled conditions. If you can prove that these phenomena exist, the Amazing Randi foundation has a million dollars waiting for you.

"At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform a relatively simple preliminary test of the claim, which if successful, will be followed by the formal test. Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives. Upon success in the preliminary testing process, the "applicant" becomes a "claimant.""
Challenge Info

The James Randi prize suffers from selection and confirmation bias. Many people have attempted the test, but he sets the bar impossibly high. For him, "psychic" = a success rate of greater than 80%. That's not what psychic means. Being psychic or a strong intuitive means you have a higher chance than average of correctly predicting something; but the criteria of Randi's test often deals with cards, or people standing behind blocked walls. If he would let psychics determine the nature of the test, and then allow Randi to refine it so that it can be scientifically reproducible, I think we would see better results. But he does not allow outside input.

If a high jumper can jump higher than most other people, then their abilities are extraordinary. Randi's test is equivalent to setting the bar higher than is reasonable, and if you can't make the jump, then you aren't extraordinary, regardless if you are able to jump higher than most humans on Earth. His test is flawed, always has been. That's why no one has ever passed it. I prefer the works of Rupert Sheldrake when it comes to non-material phenomena. Calling it paranormal from the start shows selection bias. It's not paranormal, it's normal.

None of this has to do with God though. Science should stop trying to certify whether or not God is real, because God has nothing to do material reductionism. Every time a scientist becomes engaged in a spiritual debate and feels the need to make empirical declarations, they are lowering themselves. Science and spirituality are largely incompatible at this stage in the game. I believe quantum theory and metaphysics will bridge the gap with time, but for now they are apples and oranges so they should stop trying to communicate with one another. (And I would say the same thing to "Christian scientists" as well.)
 

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If an atheist says "give me evidence for God" ... yet is a scientific naturalist, he's essencially assuming t hat no evidence is possible.
Some atheists may think like that but some atheists are idiots. I'd disagree with them.

If God exists, God is natural. It would significantly extend and alter our understanding of existence but would still be part of it and could, in principal, have scientific process applied to it (human physical limitations are the only restriction). The sticking point as I see it is when theist claim their beliefs are somehow outside scientific process and so must be accepted on faith alone. Of course, they don't accept the same principle for other theists with different beliefs and certainly don't accept the same principle for anything challenging their beliefs.

I'd personally be perfectly capable of accepting the existence of a god within this extended understanding of existence. I'm not willing to start from the position of assuming a specific god does exist though, especially since it would require significant changes to what we currently (think we) understand. That is why theists are expected to present positive evidence if they wish their beliefs to be accepted on any basis outside one of faith but that's no different to any other extreme claim.
 

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A scientific naturalist will ask for explanations that are based in nature, yet the definition of what is "natural" may be too narrow to accommodate new modalities or paradigms. It's a catch 22 really.

God is not something that can ever be proven scientifically, but more mundane paranormal phenomena will continue to be dismissed because confirmation bias will prevent scientists from objectively evaluating a phenomenon that inherently challenges the dominant view of "natural".

God is not something that can ever be proven scientifically

WHY NOT?
 

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God is not something that can ever be proven scientifically

WHY NOT?

Because God is immaterial, and science is the philosophy of material reductionism.
 

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Because God is immaterial, and science is the philosophy of material reductionism.

What exactly does an immaterial god do? He can't create the earth, the definition of a material act. They can't provide guidance to humans, as that has obvious material consequences. Controlling natural disasters and weather is right out. Hell, even emotionally comforting a human with a feeling of "divine presence" would have a material impact on the chemical and neural makeup of the brain.

Your statement is a logical contradiction, as your claimed knowledge of an immaterial being would have led to your post and mine as material results of its existence.
 

Northern Light

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What exactly does an immaterial god do? He can't create the earth, the definition of a material act. They can't provide guidance to humans, as that has obvious material consequences. Controlling natural disasters and weather is right out. Hell, even emotionally comforting a human with a feeling of "divine presence" would have a material impact on the chemical and neural makeup of the brain.

Your statement is a logical contradiction, as your claimed knowledge of an immaterial being would have led to your post and mine as material results of its existence.

I said God is immaterial, that doesn't mean God's actions can't have material consequences in some way that is not understood. But that's irrelevant because God itself/himself/herself/whatever is immaterial, and therefore it's impossible for science to distinguish between a merely mechanistic act due to physical properties, or one that was triggered by a Divine force. Hence, there is no point in science trying to critique God since all it concerns itself with are the properties of material phenomena.

i.e. does the ocean move because God controls gravity?

To a scientist, this is irrelevant to the study of gravity. Therefore I see no reason for some empiricists to get so bent out of shape when people say that God is moving the ocean. It's not something that can ever be tested so there's no point in arguing about it.
 

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The notion of god existing outside of human observation is a new idea, popularized because human observation has expanded considerably. It is theists, not their detractors, who have pushed god into this corner, and required that it not be observable. We have tested the efficacy of intercessory prayer on recovery from illness and injury. When theists proclaim "here is a thing that god does!" we test it. And then there is nothing. Science does not preclude god from its experiments or theories. A god that is defined as impossible to observe or quantify means that all human knowledge of that god has no credibility, because god does not behave in any predictable way. The acts of a god that cannot be observed cannot be distinguished from pure chance. Why should anyone conclude the existence of a god that is accounted for by random chance?

My point is, we are actually quite willing to accept any credible evidence. It is theists who have defined god so as not to leave any evidence.

I said God is immaterial, that doesn't mean God's actions can't have material consequences in some way that is not understood. But that's irrelevant because God itself/himself/herself/whatever is immaterial, and therefore it's impossible for science to distinguish between a merely mechanistic act due to physical properties, or one that was triggered by a Divine force. Hence, there is no point in science trying to critique God since all it concerns itself with are the properties of material phenomena.

i.e. does the ocean move because God controls gravity?

To a scientist, this is irrelevant to the study of gravity. Therefore I see no reason for some empiricists to get so bent out of shape when people say that God is moving the ocean. It's not something that can ever be tested so there's no point in arguing about it.

So then why posit god as an explanation in the first place? It's a useless explanation. It doesn't give us more insight into the ocean. It doesn't tell us anything about the world. If it is impossible for the human mind (described by you as "science") "to distinguish between a merely mechanistic act due to physical properties, or one that was triggered by a Divine force", then why posit divine force in the first place?
 

Northern Light

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My point is, we are actually quite willing to accept any credible evidence. It is theists who have defined god so as not to leave any evidence.

Ok... so if we're thinking of God as the man behind the curtain that's controlling everything, then it's sort of an either-or situation. But what about pantheism? That is, God is the entire universe and the universe is God. How do you test something that runs through everything, and is everything?

So then why posit god as an explanation in the first place? It's a useless explanation. It doesn't give us more insight into the ocean. It doesn't tell us anything about the world. If it is impossible for the human mind (described by you as "science") "to distinguish between a merely mechanistic act due to physical properties, or one that was triggered by a Divine force", then why posit divine force in the first place?

That's a great question and is a better one than all of this via negativa non-sense we've been discussing up until now.

Humans, AFAIK, are the only species who ask "why". God is an answer to that. Science describes the how, it does not concern itself with the why, because why can have any number of answers at the end of the day. If you go to the Wikipedia page on "God", there is no section that discusses what science thinks about the issue, because really, science doesn't care. As you've aptly pointed out, the existence of God does not add or subtract from scientific practice.

God provides meaning for many. It's an epistemological world view. That's why I see no point in trying to validate or denigrate it, and I wish scientists would stop doing it. I realize that some Christians have tried to milk the science angle to validate their beliefs in the modern world, and that the school of rationality has been viciously attacked by religion in the past, but those two facts aside, theism has zero to do with science so why does science concern itself with debunking theists?

Science is a deus ex machina worldview, and theism is the opposite. The fact that in some instances they try to compete is a result of petty and selfish human egos, since the two are quite capable of co-existing.
 

rathi

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I said God is immaterial, that doesn't mean God's actions can't have material consequences in some way that is not understood.

Defining immaterial as human ignorance is nonsense. Ancient humans didn't understand how lightning works, that doesn't make static electricity immaterial. Anything that has material consequences is material by definition, its only a question is whether science has progressed enough to observe it.

But that's irrelevant because God itself/himself/herself/whatever is immaterial, and therefore it's impossible for science to distinguish between a merely mechanistic act due to physical properties, or one that was triggered by a Divine force.

That is completely wrong. Divine Force would be very easy to distinguish because it would contradict the standard observed behavior of the system. If God turns off gravity for a minute, I'd notice myself floating.

Hence, there is no point in science trying to critique God since all it concerns itself with are the properties of material phenomena.

The only way for god to be beyond scientific critique is to avoid ever interacting with the physical world in any way, as even the tiniest change could be observed and move god into the domain of science.

i.e. does the ocean move because God controls gravity?

If God controls gravity, he follows a consistent set of principles to the letter without even the tiniest deviation. No matter what religion you follow, how much you pray, how moral you are or how in touch you are with your spirituality, god never modifies the rules of gravity even an inch. A god who does nothing but parrot natural laws is completely unnecessary.
 

Paschendale

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Humans, AFAIK, are the only species who ask "why". God is an answer to that. Science describes the how, it does not concern itself with the why, because why can have any number of answers at the end of the day. If you go to the Wikipedia page on "God", there is no section that discusses what science thinks about the issue, because really, science doesn't care. As you've aptly pointed out, the existence of God does not add or subtract from scientific practice.

God is a very bad answer to that question, because it doesn't provide anything useful. The abstract notion of god doesn't tell us anything about our relationship to the universe. What does this god, who is indistinguishable from random chance, have in mind for us? It clearly doesn't help or harm us in any meaningful way. It doesn't teach us anything, since it acts apparently at random. It doesn't benefit us more or less if we pledge our allegiance to it or not. It's a lousy answer. And when people pretend that they know the agenda of this god, they create situations where children are raped, women are brutalized, and ignorance is enshrined. Feel however you want about the universe caring that you're here. But don't pretend that it's talking to you.

God provides meaning for many. It's an epistemological world view. That's why I see no point in trying to validate or denigrate it, and I wish scientists would stop doing it. I realize that some Christians have tried to milk the science angle to validate their beliefs in the modern world, and that the school of rationality has been viciously attacked by religion in the past, but those two facts aside, theism has zero to do with science so why does science concern itself with debunking theists?

Some of us don't want the comfort of false hope. We want the truth. No scientist is out to denigrate anyone, other than their direct competitors. They want the truth. The existence of a god is not up for a vote. It doesn't depend on how we feel about it. It is either true or it isn't. And if there is anything that human beings seek, it is truth. That religion posits these gods and states that they interact with the world in meaningful ways, that's asserting a candidate for truth. And we want to know the real truth. Theists can feel about the truth however they like, but they don't get to determine it.

Science is a deus ex machina worldview, and theism is the opposite. The fact that in some instances they try to compete is a result of petty and selfish human egos, since the two are quite capable of co-existing.

Science is the observation of events and the extrapolation of rules and patterns based on those observations. It is not a worldview. It is simply a process for finding out what is true. When religion tries to assert a truth, it is subject to scrutiny and criticism, just like any other idea.
 

Northern Light

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Some of us don't want the comfort of false hope. We want the truth. No scientist is out to denigrate anyone, other than their direct competitors. They want the truth. The existence of a god is not up for a vote. It doesn't depend on how we feel about it. It is either true or it isn't. And if there is anything that human beings seek, it is truth. That religion posits these gods and states that they interact with the world in meaningful ways, that's asserting a candidate for truth. And we want to know the real truth. Theists can feel about the truth however they like, but they don't get to determine it.

Truth is a touchy subject for many, it seems. From the tennor of your post I'll assume you're a realist, so you believe that objective truth can be ascertained. I'm an idealist so my conception of the world deals more in the subjective than you; and it's not because I'm a pantheist, but because I've just derived so much useful information from many different epistemologies that I don't feel confident saying that I know one way or the other. I find pantheism useful because it explains a lot of the odd "coincidences" (which I'd rather refer to as synchronicities) in my life, and it adds magic to my personal world. I'm well aware of the scientific method and I love reading up on discoveries, but when it comes to the nature of reality I just can't put all my cards in the hands of science, or any one doctrine really. I prefer to explore many systems and see what truth precipitates out of the mass of human knowledge about it.

The conflict here is that you're a realist facing a world of idealists. You, like others of your kin, get offended when people assert truth that conflicts with yours, because as far as you're concerned there is only one truth. My problem with realists is that they're a bit holier than thou, as if they know the ultimate truth and others don't. I think truth is in the eye of the beholder... but that's why I'm an idealist.

Regardless if there's any afterlife or not, a God or not, I believe in the human right to live life in a way that resonates with you. I don't get offended when people have a different belief about reality than I do, because perhaps those differing structures are still permitting them to live out this life in some kind of relative peace.
 
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