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View Poll Results: Is science inherently atheistic?
Yes 77 46.39%
No 68 40.96%
On Planet X, God is a scientist 21 12.65%
Voters: 166. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:14 PM   #81
HansMustermann
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Or as Vince Ebert put it (loosely translated from German):
"The Scientific Method is, simply put, just a way to test suppositions. If I supposed for example 'there might be beer in the fridge' and go look in the fridge, I'm already doing science. Big difference from Theology. There they don't usually test suppositions. If I just assume 'There is beer in the fridge' then I'm a theologian. If I go look, I'm a scientist. And if I go look, find nothing inside, and still insist that there's beer in the fridge, that's esoteric."
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Old 3rd May 2012, 02:40 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Right--it just opperates on the assumption that gods don't exist, explicitely rejecting any suggestion of supernatural causes in favor of a naturalistic worldview. Science doesn't reject gods; Science merely demands that if they exist, they be less consequential than the smallest insect, less meaningful than the most average quark, that they have less impact on the universe than a volume of pure vaccuum.
To opperate on the assumption that gods don't exist would require science to make assumptions about what relevance that existence would have on the area being measured. Presumably the many scientists who believe in god realise that no one can presume what effect or involvement a god might have in the universe we find ourselves in.

Science itself being an enquiry into physical activity would only address god if it happened to detect one with its instruments and then only if it somehow recognized what it was.

Oh and I am a highly skilled chair maker by the way
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Old 3rd May 2012, 02:50 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
To opperate on the assumption that gods don't exist would require science to make assumptions about what relevance that existence would have on the area being measured.
Bull. No more so then to operate on the assumption that the chair doesn't exist would require science to make assumptions about what relevance that existence would have on the area being measured.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 02:50 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Or as Vince Ebert put it (loosely translated from German):
"The Scientific Method is, simply put, just a way to test suppositions. If I supposed for example 'there might be beer in the fridge' and go look in the fridge, I'm already doing science. Big difference from Theology. There they don't usually test suppositions. If I just assume 'There is beer in the fridge' then I'm a theologian. If I go look, I'm a scientist. And if I go look, find nothing inside, and still insist that there's beer in the fridge, that's esoteric."
If you get drunk on the non existent beer you're a mystic.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 02:54 PM   #85
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My chairs hold no beliefs (god beliefs or otherwise) whatsoever, therefore atheists.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 02:54 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
To opperate on the assumption that gods don't exist would require science to make assumptions about what relevance that existence would have on the area being measured. Presumably the many scientists who believe in god realise that no one can presume what effect or involvement a god might have in the universe we find ourselves in.

Science itself being an enquiry into physical activity would only address god if it happened to detect one with its instruments and then only if it somehow recognized what it was.

Oh and I am a highly skilled chair maker by the way

I'm a highly skilled chair sitter by the way.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 03:08 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by punshhh
Presumably the many scientists who believe in god realise that no one can presume what effect or involvement a god might have in the universe we find ourselves in.
The fact that you say "presumably" proves that you don't know what you're talking about. Many scientists DO believe in gods--and many of them have spoken about yout. You don't need to "presume" anything; you can merely state what they believe: that God acts via the laws of nature. Of course, this also renders God irrelevant, so I can see why you're pretending they haven't spoken on the matter.

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Science itself being an enquiry into physical activity would only address god if it happened to detect one with its instruments and then only if it somehow recognized what it was.
Yeah, but, see, here's the thing: theists keep saying their gods interact with the world, and science keeps showing those statements to be false. "God causes lightning!" No, it's static electricity. "God causes the sunrise!" Actually, the Earth rotates to causes it, so everything about that line is wrong. "God heals the sick!" No, it's medicine and the immune system. And so on. Again, after a certain point it becomes reasonable to conclude that all gods are imaginery.

And need I remind you that you agree? You INTENTIONALLY define gods as unknowable in other threads, to avoid their being tested.

Besides, the scientific method doesn't only work with physical reality. Psychology and the like prove that it works for mental issues as well. In fact, science can work with ANY consistent system of rules, so long as there's the posibility of those rules being tested (which means, they impact the system in question). The scientific method works perfectly well in videogames, for example.

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To opperate on the assumption that gods don't exist would require science to make assumptions about what relevance that existence would have on the area being measured.
Not even a little. All it requires is that we don't factor gods into our equations. I don't ask "Did sedimentological processes deposit this formation, or did God magic it into existence?" I ask "Which sedimentological processes deposited this formation?" The "Goddidit" hypothesis never even enters into the framework. I need make no assumptions about gods, for the same reason I need make no assumptions about imps who hold up sand grains whenever someone's looking to make it look like we're walking on solid rock. Neither is applicable, and because neither is ever applicable, in ANY science (which means, in any detectable system bound by consistent rules), I can assume neither exists.

The irrelevance of gods is amply demonstrated by the fact that they are never necessary as an explanation for anything measurable or testable. I need make no assumptions about their nature.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 03:15 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
The fact that you say "presumably" proves that you don't know what you're talking about. Many scientists DO believe in gods--and many of them have spoken about yout. You don't need to "presume" anything; you can merely state what they believe: that God acts via the laws of nature. Of course, this also renders God irrelevant, so I can see why you're pretending they haven't spoken on the matter.

Yeah, but, see, here's the thing: theists keep saying their gods interact with the world, and science keeps showing those statements to be false. "God causes lightning!" No, it's static electricity. "God causes the sunrise!" Actually, the Earth rotates to causes it, so everything about that line is wrong. "God heals the sick!" No, it's medicine and the immune system. And so on. Again, after a certain point it becomes reasonable to conclude that all gods are imaginery.

And need I remind you that you agree? You INTENTIONALLY define gods as unknowable in other threads, to avoid their being tested.

Besides, the scientific method doesn't only work with physical reality. Psychology and the like prove that it works for mental issues as well. In fact, science can work with ANY consistent system of rules, so long as there's the posibility of those rules being tested (which means, they impact the system in question). The scientific method works perfectly well in videogames, for example.

Not even a little. All it requires is that we don't factor gods into our equations. I don't ask "Did sedimentological processes deposit this formation, or did God magic it into existence?" I ask "Which sedimentological processes deposited this formation?" The "Goddidit" hypothesis never even enters into the framework. I need make no assumptions about gods, for the same reason I need make no assumptions about imps who hold up sand grains whenever someone's looking to make it look like we're walking on solid rock. Neither is applicable, and because neither is ever applicable, in ANY science (which means, in any detectable system bound by consistent rules), I can assume neither exists.

The irrelevance of gods is amply demonstrated by the fact that they are never necessary as an explanation for anything measurable or testable. I need make no assumptions about their nature.
The Intelligent Design scientists reduce god to making tails for bacteria.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 03:20 PM   #89
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God is by definition undefinable when skeptics try to argue against his existence.

God is by definition the most powerful being in existence all the other times.

That's a nice state of mind if you can talk yourself into it.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 05:41 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
God is by definition undefinable when skeptics try to argue against his existence.

God is by definition the most powerful being in existence all the other times.

That's a nice state of mind if you can talk yourself into it.
Gods' ways are unknowable yet we have books about them.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 06:02 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Unless you are referring to the Novels of Ann McCaffrey ( of which I am not a fan)- No.
Yes, that Pern, a religion-free planet.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 06:07 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Gods' ways are unknowable yet we have books about them.
Ted: Why do you believe in God?
Bob: Because believing in God gives me meaning, influences all aspects of my life, and in my view God's presence is felt over everything.
Ted: But there's no evidence that God exists.
Bob: Well of course not! God has no influence on the world!
Ted: But you just said it did!
Bob: Well yes when you're talking about why I believe in God he does. When you're talking about proving God he doesn't. And this makes perfect sense.
Ted: Why the hell do I still talk to you Bob?
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Old 3rd May 2012, 09:52 PM   #93
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I don't see how.

Science is merely the explanation of the physical world. It doesn't purport a metaphysical view about the existence of God. In areas where aspects of religion intrude upon known science, then science seems to have a say, but only because religion came marching into its own territory. Such a literalist, physical view of God such as would contradict science is an archaic and increasingly uncommon conception of God. A more philosophical concept of God doesn't intrude upon science any more than any other philosophical question intrudes upon science.
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Old 4th May 2012, 01:02 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by corbin View Post
I don't see how.

Science is merely the explanation of the physical world. It doesn't purport a metaphysical view about the existence of God.

... etc...

Uh, huh ... so what is the evidence for this existence of the " metaphysical " world that you are talking about?

Where is this God?
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:12 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin View Post
I don't think science is agnostic. If gods existed in a meaningful fashion, i.e. answered prayers, dabbled in the affairs of mortals, all the things gods are said to do by god-botherers, then there would be evidence of gods,
There is simply no justification for this claim. The assumption is that if an omnipotent being existed, he wouldn't actually be omnipotent enough to outwit a human being with a microscope and a test-tube.

It's actually a tenet of science that results that have been skewed by the intervention of a person aren't reliable.


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and that would be part of science. You could hypothesize that one sort of prayer or another would be more effective, or that god prefers one sort of burnt offering over another, or that one race gets their prayers answered more often, that sort of thing. Then you'd design experiments, run tests, and get answers. God isn't part of science because when they overlap, god loses. One defense is the god of the gaps; stick your little deity into the places science hasn't gone yet, and hope to avoid notice for another decade or two, until science closes that gap too, and god has to move into crummier digs yet again. The other defense is to hypothesize an invisible god, who does nothing of relevance. That's where science says 'don't know', but at that point science might just as well say "who cares?" since an invisible nonparticipant god might as well not exist.
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:14 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Inasmuch as a system of investigation (science) can have a belief
Which it can't, of course, any more than a system of cooking.
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:24 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Inasmuch as a system of investigation (science) can have a belief, I think science is Athiestic.

If it were not, all experimentation would need to include experiments into the existence of the supernatural.

If I designed an experiment to test a hypothesis, It would always have to include a God option.

"Condition X" occurred because:
Hypothesis "A"
Hypothesis "B"
Hypothesis "C"
Hypothesis "God did it"

If I leave the "God did it" hypothesis out of the testing- it is an Atheistic test because it presumes that "God did it" is not an option.
Since Scientific inquiry leaves "God did it" out of all testing, science is Atheistic.
It's true that the naturalistic assumption precludes testing for the God hypothesis, but this should not be taken as implying that science has a belief system tacked on the side as a useful extra. The naturalistic assumption is necessary in order to do science, that's all. It in no way implies that a scientist should incorporate beliefs, per se, into his science, or indeed, into his life outside science.

The confusion between the naturalistic assumption and a belief system is at the heart of this issue.
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:31 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
This is a cheap rhetorical trick and you know it. In a discussion, unless someone cites a source you can assume it's their opinion.

Look, I didn't bring this up. I was accused of professing omnipotence because I didn't say "in my opinion". Of course it's my opinion, and your opinion, and his opinion.


Quote:

I'm a scientist, so my opinion should carry more weight than, say, that of an accountant, but it's still just my opinion. If you expect me to put "In my opinion" or "I don't really know for sure" in front of everything I say your only possible justification is to place an undue burden on me, in order to shut me up. For example, I notice that in all our conversations, you rarely put "In my opinion" before your posts. No, it seems you only demand that those who disagree with you preface their posts that way.
I WASN'T THE ONE WHO DEMANDED IT. I POSTED MY OPINION AND I WAS ACCUSED OF PROFESSING OMNIPOTENCE BECAUSE I DID SO.

Quote:
It's a tactic I'm very familiar with, and I have absolutely no patience with it.
Look, I didn't start this one. I was accused of making professions of omnipotence. All I did was point out a double standard - where the post I replied to was just as dogmatic as my reply.

Of course it's absurd to expect people to preface everything with "In my opinion". That was precisely my point.

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We're adults here. Let's act like it.

True. It's always funny to read about atheistic priests.
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Old 4th May 2012, 05:30 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
It's true that the naturalistic assumption precludes testing for the God hypothesis, but this should not be taken as implying that science has a belief system tacked on the side as a useful extra. The naturalistic assumption is necessary in order to do science, that's all. It in no way implies that a scientist should incorporate beliefs, per se, into his science, or indeed, into his life outside science.

The confusion between the naturalistic assumption and a belief system is at the heart of this issue.
Except, AGAIN, that wasn't what the OP was all about. Nobody was talking about science having any beliefs. It was just about how world explanations that are called atheistic or wrong for not including a God in every day life, are the default kind of hypothesis in science.

Basically that while in the rest of America you can have such discussions as "how can you look at a mountain on a tree and not see they're made by God?" in science it's the normal and sane way to go about it. When you look at a mountain from a science point of view and try to explain how it came to be, "god manifesting himself in the beauty of his creation" is exactly the thing that doesn't even enter the equation. What you come up with is stuff about plate tectonics and erosion and all sorts of natural things that DON'T assume a God anywhere.

Or that while you can see idiots outside science ranting and raving about how humans can't possibly come up with morals without God, and need names like "secular morals" as if it's something that needs a separate category, if you're a sociologist or anthropologist or psychologist or whatever, "God told people to behave that way" is exactly the kind of hypothesis that would get you laughed out the door.

The point is that science doesn't need labels like "atheistic world view" or "secular morals", because those are the only explanations it does. It's the norm, rather than some oddity.

And yes, ultimately all it's talking about is that naturalistic assumption. No more, no less.

So, really, you can cut it out with the strawman about science having belief systems, because nobody was proposing that.
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Old 4th May 2012, 05:47 AM   #100
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In that sense it is just coincidence that science and atheism are saying the same thing.

Or is it atheism which is mimicking science I wonder, or using it as a fig leaf.
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Old 4th May 2012, 06:10 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Uh, huh ... so what is the evidence for this existence of the " metaphysical " world that you are talking about?

Where is this God?
This. We constantly see religious trying to get into science with their gods, and then dodging back out when they're faced with doing science to prove they or their phantasmagorical playground actually exists.
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Old 4th May 2012, 08:03 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by westprog
Look, I didn't bring this up. I was accused of professing omnipotence because I didn't say "in my opinion".
Not by me, so don't play that kind of game with me.

Quote:
The confusion between the naturalistic assumption and a belief system is at the heart of this issue.
Only on your side. I'm arguing that because the naturalistic assumption is capable of explaining everything we encounter--and in other threads YOU have agreed with me here--that there's no other assumption necessary. Adding a god is superfluous, and unsupported. Science itself can be viewed as a test of the naturalistic assumption, and that test has worked almost literally fantastically. There's nothing left for gods to explain. Believers with any shred of honesty are forced to admit that either they don't know what they're talking about (ie, they see gods only when their knowledge of the actual process is minimal), or that their gods are of no consequence (they mess with our minds, as punshhh proposes, or are clockmaker gods, or something equally irrelevant).

I'm not confused in the slightest about the naturalistic assumption. If it didn't work I'd happy abandon it. I've got no dog in this fight, to be honest--it doesn't matter to me if gods exist or not, and if one did I'd happily add it to my equations and analyses. I'm simply interpreting the evidence--the failure of every god hypothesis that was testable, and the rather sad and self-serving definitions used at this point (see punshhh's definitions for an example)--differently than you. When an idea is wrong over and over and over, I move on to more fruitful ideas, as do most scientists.

Originally Posted by punshhh
In that sense it is just coincidence that science and atheism are saying the same thing.
No. Atheism is the belief that there are no gods. Science proves that there's no evidence for them. Belief without evidence is arbitrary and therefore invalid.

I'll grant that there are atheists who aren't scientists, or who reject science--"atheism" is as diverse as "theism". But science has disproven all proposed gods that interact with the universe (unless you're proposing a brain-in-a-jar god, which is again arbitrary as there's no evidence), and atheism is the logical conclusion.

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Or is it atheism which is mimicking science I wonder, or using it as a fig leaf.
No more than theism mimicks faith, or uses faith as a fig leaf.
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Old 4th May 2012, 09:37 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
There is simply no justification for this claim. The assumption is that if an omnipotent being existed, he wouldn't actually be omnipotent enough to outwit a human being with a microscope and a test-tube.

So you are suggesting that an omnipotent being might exist, in such a way that he'd be undetectable to science? OK, fine ... so what is the evidence showing such a being might exist?

How would such a being be undetectable to science? What is the proposed mechanism for that?

If you can't give a detailed answer to questions like that, then the proposal is worthless. Because I might equally say to you " well suppose such an omnipotent being does not exist ".

IOW - you have to show evidence of what you claim. Or if you cannot do that, and claim instead that the evidence is “hidden”, then you have to show precisely how & why the evidence is being hidden. Otherwise claims like that are worthless.

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Old 4th May 2012, 09:57 AM   #104
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I think the base problem is with people thinking they can skirt the standards of evidence by simply defining the thing they want to believe with meaningless terms like "outside" of an all encompossing concept. There is no such thing as outside reality or outside science.

It's like a child that when first told about the concept of infinity being bigger then anything else will ask "Well what about infinity plus one?" Yes linguistically the concept flows, but it's obvious the person doesn't have a clue logically about what they are talking about.
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Old 4th May 2012, 10:18 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by westprog
There is simply no justification for this claim. The assumption is that if an omnipotent being existed, he wouldn't actually be omnipotent enough to outwit a human being with a microscope and a test-tube.
This argument suffers the same shortcomings of the "brain-in-a-vat" arguments: even if it's true, you simply cannot prove it. It's a post-hoc justification for why no evidence is found, and one which if applied to other fields would be patentily rediculous. Imagine if someone said "If the gubmunt was really in charge of 9/11 don't you think they'd be smart enough to outwit newspaper reporters?" It's the exact same logic--you can't detect X because X doesn't want to be detected--but with conspiracy theories we laugh at it.
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:30 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
This argument suffers the same shortcomings of the "brain-in-a-vat" arguments: even if it's true, you simply cannot prove it. It's a post-hoc justification for why no evidence is found, and one which if applied to other fields would be patentily rediculous. Imagine if someone said "If the gubmunt was really in charge of 9/11 don't you think they'd be smart enough to outwit newspaper reporters?" It's the exact same logic--you can't detect X because X doesn't want to be detected--but with conspiracy theories we laugh at it.
The point is that science shouldn't be producing conjectures about potential omnipotent beings in the first place. Doing so and then restricting their nature to what happens to fit the naturalistic assumption and insisting that this restriction is in fact avoiding the special pleading which it is actually indulging in is precisely the problem.

Metaphysical speculation is part of philosophy. Such speculation is deeply unscientific, and I find the spectacle of scientists indulging in it and pretending that it's science quite disturbing.
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:41 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
So you are suggesting that an omnipotent being might exist, in such a way that he'd be undetectable to science? OK, fine ... so what is the evidence showing such a being might exist?

How would such a being be undetectable to science? What is the proposed mechanism for that?
Well, being bleedin' omnipotent would seem to be one way.

The assumption is that when you have an omnipotent, unlimited being, and a human scientist with all the limitations of his human status and capabilities, that somehow the scientist is omnipotent. There is no scientific principle that states that a scientist can detect everything. There's no scientific principle that states that states that everything is detectable.

Quote:
If you can't give a detailed answer to questions like that, then the proposal is worthless. Because I might equally say to you " well suppose such an omnipotent being does not exist ".
The proposition should quite rightly be ignored by science as not a scientific question. Unfortunately a lot of people have gotten into a tangled mix of arguments where they think that this equates to science passing pronouncements on metaphysical issues. This is bad thinking and bad science.

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IOW - you have to show evidence of what you claim. Or if you cannot do that, and claim instead that the evidence is “hidden”, then you have to show precisely how & why the evidence is being hidden. Otherwise claims like that are worthless.
Claims like that are not scientific claims. They are not subject to scientific analysis, and using science as a tool to examine them is a misuse of science. If such a claim were to be presented as a scientific paper, it would rightly be rejected - as would any scientific paper that dealt with the subject.
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:42 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I think the base problem is with people thinking they can skirt the standards of evidence
The people skirting the standards of scientific evidence are those who are pretending that science can deal with metaphysical issues.
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:47 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by westprog
The point is that science shouldn't be producing conjectures about potential omnipotent beings in the first place. Doing so and then restricting their nature to what happens to fit the naturalistic assumption and insisting that this restriction is in fact avoiding the special pleading which it is actually indulging in is precisely the problem.
You've yet again misunderstood what I've stated. Science isn't "producing conjectures about potential omnipotent beings". Science has demonstrated that such beings are superfluous--the universe works just fine without them. The only "conjecture" is the CONCLUSION that they are an unnecessary component of any hypothesis.

Quote:
Metaphysical speculation is part of philosophy. Such speculation is deeply unscientific, and I find the spectacle of scientists indulging in it and pretending that it's science quite disturbing.
Probably about as disturbing as I find non-scientists telling me how to do my job, which is what you're doing by trying to tell me the limits of science.

Quote:
Claims like that are not scientific claims.
You can keep claiming this all you want, with whatever fonts you want. Doesn't change the fact that you're engaging in precisely the same "logic" as conspiracy theorists. "Oh, it's so powerful that it can hide itself perfectly. But *I* can detect it!" If this wasn't about your pet hypothesis, you'd see the flaw in this logic immediately.

ETA:
Quote:
The people skirting the standards of scientific evidence are those who are pretending that science can deal with metaphysical issues.
Right--because "metaphysical" means "undetectable, untestable, and not having any known or knowable impact on reality--but totally real!"
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:50 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
The point is that science shouldn't be producing conjectures about potential omnipotent beings in the first place.
And that's just so awfully convienent for people that want to just make crap up and not be called on it.

Put as many coats of paint on it as you want. You're still just saying "The standards don't apply to me because I don't want them to."
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Old 4th May 2012, 12:06 PM   #111
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Here's the problem basically. You're just making up a concept for the sole purpose of not being held to intellectual standards. "Metaphysics" is nothing more then a custom made on call "Get out of having a reason" free card. It literally serves no other purpose then to be able to just have reasons for something whenever you feel like it.

Imagine if we pull this crap in any other topic.

Ted: Bob what's 2+2?
Bob: Well Ted 2+2=5.
Ted: Oka... wait a minute. No it doesn't. 2+2=4.
Bob: Nope. 2+2=5.
Ted: Bob you're being silly. Basic mathematics says that two values of 2 will equal 4.
Bob: Well there's you're problem Ted. I'm not talking mathematics. I'm talking Metamathmatics.
Ted: Metamathmatics?
Bob: Yes. Metamathmatics exist beyond our current understand of mathmatics and normal mathmatics can't prove or disprove them, so I can say anything I want!

So basically you can just slap the meta- or para- prefix on anything and just spout jibberish all day long and not be called on it.

You know call me crazy but I don't see positive value for that.
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Old 4th May 2012, 01:10 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
The people skirting the standards of scientific evidence are those who are pretending that science can deal with metaphysical issues.
And you know this metaphysical exists, how?
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Old 4th May 2012, 01:15 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
And you know this metaphysical exists, how?
Well you see that's the great thing about metaphysics. You don't have to have evidence that it exists. You just have to magically know that it exists and that it exists outside of evidence both for and against it. And this makes perfect sense. Also my socks are made out of egg noodles.
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Old 4th May 2012, 01:17 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
... Also my socks are made out of egg noodles.
Does that go well with toe jam?
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:33 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
The people skirting the standards of scientific evidence are those who are pretending that science can deal with metaphysical issues.
Jesus wept!

Now the're asking us to produce this metaphysical thing so they can place on the scientific table and dissect it with their instruments!

Because anything that exists can be examined.
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:47 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
Well, being bleedin' omnipotent would seem to be one way.

The assumption is that when you have an omnipotent, unlimited being, and a human scientist with all the limitations of his human status and capabilities, that somehow the scientist is omnipotent.

Who said that scientists were omnipotent? Nobody here said that. And no scientists ever say that.

You are suggesting that what myself and others have said above, means that scientists would need to be omnipotent. But that’s not true at all.

Scientists don’t need to be omnipotent. But what does need to happen is that anyone who claims that a God is somehow beyond the known “laws” of science, has to explain what they actually mean by a statement like that. They need to explain a viable mechanism for how a God could actually be “beyond or outside the laws of science”

... so, what is the proposed mechanism for a creator God being somehow beyond or outside science?


Originally Posted by westprog View Post
There is no scientific principle that states that a scientist can detect everything. There's no scientific principle that states that states that everything is detectable.

There does not need to be any such principle. That’s not the issue. The issue is - where is this evidence of a God? What is the proposed mechanism for a God to be undetectable?

What you are trying to say is that because science may not currently know absolutely every possible fact in precise detail, therefore an apparently impossible supernatural God might exist. And also by pure coincidence, that undetected God will in fact turn out to be precisely the type of God envisaged by completely ignorant Palestinian peasants 2000 years ago.

There are all manner of scientifically valid reasons to think a scenario like that is highly unlikely to say the least.

In saying that I’m aware that you yourself do not believe in such a God (well, I assume that you don’t), but what I’m trying to point out is that the so-called “philosophical” defence of such claims does not stand up to scientific scrutiny ...

... unless you can give a credible mechanism for how the God is inherrantly undetectable?


Originally Posted by westprog View Post
The proposition should quite rightly be ignored by science as not a scientific question. Unfortunately a lot of people have gotten into a tangled mix of arguments where they think that this equates to science passing pronouncements on metaphysical issues. This is bad thinking and bad science.

Scientists rarely bother wasting their time and money on specific research into the existence of a biblical type God. But that’s not because all of science and all scientists regard it as a taboo subject on which they are not qualified to make a judgement.

On the contrary, science has already made that judgement by default in every single one of it’s many millions (if not billions) of discoveries and detailed explanations, all of which have turned out to be incompatible with a miraculous type creator God.

There’s no need to do any further experiments. Because every scientific experiment ever done has revealed an explanation which excludes a God of that type. There is no trace of any such God in anything ever studied and explained by science. We might very easily have discovered such evidence, if such evidence ever existed, but so far not only have we failed ever to find any evidence of a God, but on the contrary we have found universal explanations which specifically exclude any such God who acts by supernatural miracles … all known science has turned out to have entirely natural explanations, with no evidence of any supernatural events or miracles anywhere at all.


Originally Posted by westprog View Post
Claims like that are not scientific claims. They are not subject to scientific analysis, and using science as a tool to examine them is a misuse of science. If such a claim were to be presented as a scientific paper, it would rightly be rejected - as would any scientific paper that dealt with the subject.

Of course they are scientific claims. And of course they are subject to scientific analysis.

You are talking about the claims made by ordinary people. It’s perfectly easy to test and explain why people make claims of Gods, and why they claim to witness miracles etc. And although that sort of thing is not my field of science, I suspect a great deal of medical and psychological research has been done to explain why people make claims of Gods and miracles … remember these are only human claims that we are testing … we are not testing the actual existence of the God itself, because as far as science can tell the God does not actually exist … all that exists are the human claims, and it’s perfectly easy to study why people make claims about supernatural God’s.

Again, re published research - I suspect there is plenty in the research literature of medical science and related fields that report studies of belief in Gods and devils etc. There’s probably plenty about that in other academic fields too. But the reason physicists and other hard-core scientists don’t publish on an issue like God and religious belief, or indeed on so-called meta-physics or academic philosophy, is that mainstream physics journals exist to publish new discoveries and new explanations in physics … they are not there to publish scientific myth busting explanations of why ancient civilisations believed in devils, gods, angels, spirits and supernatural creation … there’s no longer any point in science publishing on any of those ancient beliefs, because everything ever discovered and explained has already been shown to be incompatible with ancient superstitious beliefs of that sort anyway.

If I may come directly to the overall point - what you are trying to claim, as most philosophy students try to claim, and indeed as all religious students try to claim, is that God might exist unknown to science, because science is always discovering new things, and maybe it just has not discovered God yet.

But arguments of that sort are made in ignorance of what fundamental science actually does and what it actually reveals. Science is not just about discovering numerous entirely unrelated amazing things. On the contrary, everything that science has discovered, is related to everything else in the known universe through a series of interdependent theories (ie watertight mathematically precise explanations) which explain in detail why all of those things actually exist and how they behave … and that now even goes down to the origin of the universe itself, ie there are now very good theories to explain how and why our universe came into existence in the first place (with no God involved).

As I said in an earlier post - if you claim that a God can exist but be undetectable to current science, then that claim is worthless (I’ll explain that below, if necessary!) unless you can show a credible mechanism of how things like a God might be inherently undetectable to any scientific enquiry. So … what is that mechanism? …

… what is the proposed mechanism by which a creator God could remain undetected by current science?

Footnote re. why the claim is worthless it’s worthless to simply claim that a God might be undetectable, because that’s just a way of claiming that things might one day turn out to be the opposite of what we think they are. But your opponents can say exactly that same thing about anything you claim. That’s just an endless chain of un-evidenced speculation in words … it’s a semantic word game from philosophy. But the very reason we have science, and the very reason that scientists have not used philosophy since the time of Galileo, is that philosophy does not work, and in fact cannot ever work, to truly explain the real world around us. And the scientific response to a suggestion like yours, ie a suggestion which says that God might be inherently undetectable, is to ask what you actually mean by that? Do you know what you actually mean by your own words when you make a proposal like that? If you do know, then what is the mechanism for how that God can remain undetectable? If you don’t’ have a valid mechanism then the statement is completely empty and actually has nothing to say at all.

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Old 5th May 2012, 06:50 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Who said that scientists were omnipotent? Nobody here said that. And no scientists ever say that.

You are suggesting that what myself and others have said above, means that scientists would need to be omnipotent. But that’s not true at all.

Scientists don’t need to be omnipotent. But what does need to happen is that anyone who claims that a God is somehow beyond the known “laws” of science, has to explain what they actually mean by a statement like that. They need to explain a viable mechanism for how a God could actually be “beyond or outside the laws of science”

Why do they need to do this?

Let's leave aside the obvious issue that when people are not making a scientific assertion, that they need to be bound by scientific principles. Let's examine the claim that a viable mechanism needs to be demonstrated.

What's the most important, most revolutionary discovery in science? One can argue, of course, but Newton's Principia has to be up there. What mechanism does Newton provide for his law of universal gravity? None whatsoever. This troubled him, certainly - but he recognised that the theory was valid without a mechanism.

If Newton could get by with a scientific theory that lacked a mechanism, then it seems perverse to demand a mechanism for a theory that has nothing to do with science.

Quote:
... so, what is the proposed mechanism for a creator God being somehow beyond or outside science?





There does not need to be any such principle. That’s not the issue. The issue is - where is this evidence of a God? What is the proposed mechanism for a God to be undetectable?

What you are trying to say is that because science may not currently know absolutely every possible fact in precise detail, therefore an apparently impossible supernatural God might exist. And also by pure coincidence, that undetected God will in fact turn out to be precisely the type of God envisaged by completely ignorant Palestinian peasants 2000 years ago.
It might be helpful for blustering purposes to throw in the Palestinian peasants bit, but it has nothing to do with the general case. It's certainly not a scientific approach.

Quote:
There are all manner of scientifically valid reasons to think a scenario like that is highly unlikely to say the least.
Which is again a very unscientific way to put it. "All manner of reasons". "To say the least". That's not the way scientific theories are expressed.

Quote:
In saying that I’m aware that you yourself do not believe in such a God (well, I assume that you don’t), but what I’m trying to point out is that the so-called “philosophical” defence of such claims does not stand up to scientific scrutiny ...

... unless you can give a credible mechanism for how the God is inherrantly undetectable?

It's not necessary to have

Quote:
Scientists rarely bother wasting their time and money on specific research into the existence of a biblical type God. But that’s not because all of science and all scientists regard it as a taboo subject on which they are not qualified to make a judgement.

On the contrary, science has already made that judgement by default in every single one of it’s many millions (if not billions) of discoveries and detailed explanations, all of which have turned out to be incompatible with a miraculous type creator God.
There is no incompatibility in any scientific discovery with a miraculous type creator God. If there were, then some scientist somewhere would have taken the trouble to point it out. As it is, no such scientific paper has (AFAIAA) been published.

All the arguments in favour of such incompatibility have been philosophical arguments. Such arguments can be found a-plenty in philosophical writings.

One might suppose that when a particular argument is found to be entirely associated with one field of study, and entirely absent from another field, that that would be fairly conclusive evidence as to which field it belongs in.

Quote:
There’s no need to do any further experiments. Because every scientific experiment ever done has revealed an explanation which excludes a God of that type.

I suggest you produce not evidence of every scientific experiment - instead, just a single scientific paper which supports your claim that God is excluded. Just one statement will do.

Quote:
There is no trace of any such God in anything ever studied and explained by science. We might very easily have discovered such evidence, if such evidence ever existed, but so far not only have we failed ever to find any evidence of a God, but on the contrary we have found universal explanations which specifically exclude any such God who acts by supernatural miracles … all known science has turned out to have entirely natural explanations, with no evidence of any supernatural events or miracles anywhere at all.
That's almost a tautology. Science is the study of the repeatable, objective, natural world. Of course it excludes the subjective, the unrepeatable, the supernatural. That's inherent in what science is. It has nothing to do with claims that science makes outside its own area.


Quote:

Of course they are scientific claims. And of course they are subject to scientific analysis.

You are talking about the claims made by ordinary people. It’s perfectly easy to test and explain why people make claims of Gods, and why they claim to witness miracles etc. And although that sort of thing is not my field of science, I suspect a great deal of medical and psychological research has been done to explain why people make claims of Gods and miracles … remember these are only human claims that we are testing … we are not testing the actual existence of the God itself, because as far as science can tell the God does not actually exist … all that exists are the human claims, and it’s perfectly easy to study why people make claims about supernatural God’s.
It would be perfectly possible to examine, say, the psychological makeup of the people who have different views on the interpretation of quantum theory. Nobody would claim that such research could be incorporated into a physics paper to demonstrate that a particular viewpoint was true.


Quote:
Again, re published research - I suspect there is plenty in the research literature of medical science and related fields that report studies of belief in Gods and devils etc. There’s probably plenty about that in other academic fields too. But the reason physicists and other hard-core scientists don’t publish on an issue like God and religious belief, or indeed on so-called meta-physics or academic philosophy, is that mainstream physics journals exist to publish new discoveries and new explanations in physics … they are not there to publish scientific myth busting explanations of why ancient civilisations believed in devils, gods, angels, spirits and supernatural creation … there’s no longer any point in science publishing on any of those ancient beliefs, because everything ever discovered and explained has already been shown to be incompatible with ancient superstitious beliefs of that sort anyway.

If I may come directly to the overall point - what you are trying to claim, as most philosophy students try to claim, and indeed as all religious students try to claim, is that God might exist unknown to science, because science is always discovering new things, and maybe it just has not discovered God yet.
The principles that there are things unknown to science, that there might be things unknowable to science, and that science is not applicable to everything that humans beings do are entirely obvious and entirely correct. Espousing these principles is not only

Quote:
But arguments of that sort are made in ignorance of what fundamental science actually does and what it actually reveals. Science is not just about discovering numerous entirely unrelated amazing things. On the contrary, everything that science has discovered, is related to everything else in the known universe through a series of interdependent theories (ie watertight mathematically precise explanations) which explain in detail why all of those things actually exist and how they behave … and that now even goes down to the origin of the universe itself, ie there are now very good theories to explain how and why our universe came into existence in the first place (with no God involved).
There are no such theories. The search for such theories may be going on, but it's a long, long way from their formulation, never mind proof.

Quote:
As I said in an earlier post - if you claim that a God can exist but be undetectable to current science, then that claim is worthless (I’ll explain that below, if necessary!) unless you can show a credible mechanism of how things like a God might be inherently undetectable to any scientific enquiry. So … what is that mechanism? …

… what is the proposed mechanism by which a creator God could remain undetected by current science?

Footnote re. why the claim is worthless it’s worthless to simply claim that a God might be undetectable, because that’s just a way of claiming that things might one day turn out to be the opposite of what we think they are.



The mistake is the idea that scientists are interested in pronouncements about ultimate truth. They are not. They don't care whether the natural universe is maintained by a creator god or not - provided it gives them the same results. That is why a large percentage of scientists are able to combine science with religious belief without any effect on their scientific ability.


Quote:
But your opponents can say exactly that same thing about anything you claim. That’s just an endless chain of un-evidenced speculation in words … it’s a semantic word game from philosophy. But the very reason we have science, and the very reason that scientists have not used philosophy since the time of Galileo, is that philosophy does not work, and in fact cannot ever work, to truly explain the real world around us. And the scientific response to a suggestion like yours, ie a suggestion which says that God might be inherently undetectable, is to ask what you actually mean by that? Do you know what you actually mean by your own words when you make a proposal like that? If you do know, then what is the mechanism for how that God can remain undetectable? If you don’t’ have a valid mechanism then the statement is completely empty and actually has nothing to say at all.
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Old 5th May 2012, 07:00 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Jesus wept!

Now the're asking us to produce this metaphysical thing so they can place on the scientific table and dissect it with their instruments!

Because anything that exists can be examined.
Are you included in your "us" here?
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Old 5th May 2012, 07:06 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Jesus wept!

Now the're asking us to produce this metaphysical thing so they can place on the scientific table and dissect it with their instruments!

Because anything that exists can be examined.
Why does this idea bother you so? Why is it so important to you to think there's something vastly unknowable about the universe?

I fully accept that in both a practical and perhaps even theoretical level they are things that which we will never understand, but I don't seem to just take joy in it the way you do.

I don't get the joy of not-knowing. I just don't.
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Old 5th May 2012, 07:26 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by westprog
Why do they need to do this?

Let's leave aside the obvious issue that when people are not making a scientific assertion, that they need to be bound by scientific principles. Let's examine the claim that a viable mechanism needs to be demonstrated.
You don't get to tell people what science should or shouldn't do anymore. The fact that you thin there's any doubt that the person making the claim needs to provide the mechanism shows you're pretty ignorant of the subject. Wagner's failure to provide a viable mechanism (he provided a mechanism, but it wasn't viable) was one of the main reasons continental drift was rejected. If we're going to reject something with that much support because a viable mechanism hasn't been proposed, we MUST reject gods until a mechanism for at least detecting them is proven. To do otherwise would be intellectually dishonest.

I won't bother with the rest of your post; it can be countered very simply: Scientists aren't anything like what you believe us to be, and you demonstrate that more and more the more I read your posts.
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