God is "beyond" science!
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01-01-2013, 03:02 AM (This post was last modified: 01-01-2013 04:44 AM by amyb.)
RE: God is "beyond" science!
(01-01-2013 01:54 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Amy.

Science will continue to be excellent at exploring scientific frontiers. Anyone who argues against that is a fool. But I don't see what that has to do with this argument.

I can say, "maybe one day science will give me a blowjob," and the whole "one day" thing has this charming romantic appeal. But science doesn't do that sort of thing. So I can wait for someday, but it aint gonna come. So we can say, "maybe someday science will be able to comment on the metaphysical," but it's nothing more than charming romanticism if that's just plain something that science doesn't do.

In the meantime, all you're really saying is that science DOESN'T do it today. Which is the argument.



What I was saying was that, given the current evidence for it, I would say that the supernatural does not exist. I'd agree that there is pretty much no reason for science to look for it, but that's because I feel it's silly to even consider believing in such things without any evidence. If it's supernatural and not perceptible by the senses, even if it does exist, we'd have no way to understand it or know about it. There's no more evidence to say Christians are right than Zoroastrians, you'd have to totally make it up as you go along, because you couldn't know who was right and wrong until you're dead.

Anyway, this is why it seems much more likely to me that there are no deities. If there were, they'd either be detectable and make themselves known somehow. The fact that there are numerous religions that all think they're right about god, yet contradict each other, seems like pretty good evidence they're all making it up or misinterpreting the world. (And if there were a god, he seems pretty inept and lazy, if not outright evil, so I still wouldn't understand the urge to worship him).

As for "someday," I mean that if something exists, I'd imagine that science could eventually tell us about it. Otherwise, it seems more reasonable to assume no deities exist.

Summary: Why would a modern-day, thinking person believe in deities in the first place? Authority? Anecdotal evidence from ancient people trying to figure out where the rain comes from? If it's unseeable, untestable, and unknowable, then there is no reason to assume it's there. Saying it's "beyond science" seems like the ultimate cop-out to me.
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01-01-2013, 07:00 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
(01-01-2013 01:54 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

OK. What are you talking about? Because to me it sounds like you think it obliterates the entire argument, and I don't even know what you mean.

I mean, we DO things with science. I can define speed as beyond science, but the moment you hit my car with the radar gun, that one's out the window because measuring velocity is NOT beyond science. The whole God thing isn't beyond science because people arbitrarilly decided it is. It's beyond science because science can't DO anything with it.

Here's the million dollar question. If science CAN comment on the God question, then why the fuck HASN'T it? With all the tension between Athesists and Theists, creationists and Darwinists, wouldn't it just be simple for science to weigh in officially on the matter? But it hasn't. Is that just the biggest oversight in ever, or is it because it can't?

Hey, Amy.

Science will continue to be excellent at exploring scientific frontiers. Anyone who argues against that is a fool. But I don't see what that has to do with this argument.

I can say, "maybe one day science will give me a blowjob," and the whole "one day" thing has this charming romantic appeal. But science doesn't do that sort of thing. So I can wait for someday, but it aint gonna come. So we can say, "maybe someday science will be able to comment on the metaphysical," but it's nothing more than charming romanticism if that's just plain something that science doesn't do.

In the meantime, all you're really saying is that science DOESN'T do it today. Which is the argument.

As for unicorns, they coild accept there are none because science hasn't uncovered them, but that's not, and doesn't even aproach, scientific truth. I mean, it is what it is, but it aint science and shouldn't be put in the same category as "people accept gravity, evolution and chemistry."

I don't think that people are moving the goal posts. People believe in SOME things. No one believes in everything. Except the credulous and feebleminded. Possibly Rain Man. But if someone believes in God, they don't actually have an obligation to believe in unicorns.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Matt,
Science has commented on the god question. Try Victor J. Stenger.

In general, science has commented on gods by finding no evidence of any gods, evidence which should be there if gods interact with the real world. It is only by defining them beyond the reach of evidence that one can say science has no purview. It is only by defining science as incapable of comment that the argument is made.

I don't accept your definition of science. If we define the supernatural as unobservable, then we have defined it out of existence.

-Charles

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-01-2013, 09:01 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
Hey, Chas.

There's a difference between a scientist taking a personal stand and a scientist having incontrovertible evidence. If Stenger had published inconrovertible evidence, wouldn't this entire thing be over?

If science is incaoable of finding evidence of God then how is it a comment on God that science has found no evidence of it?

You keep repeating that someone has simply defined God as beyond science. But that's not the case. There are very serious arguments as for why God is beyond science, not the least of which come from scientists.

Again, if I light a match and burn a piece of paper, that's a series of natural phenomena. Every single step of that is understandable, measurable, predictable, repeatable and knowable. But if, say, a bush were ro burn without expending its fuel, that is not a natural phenomenon because it violates natural law. How can you determine how it is that the bush burned without expending any fuel if there is no corresponding natural law? You cannot. You can't repeat it. You can't measure it. You can't make predictions about it. And you can't determine the natural cause because there wasn't one. This is what is meant by there being no emmpirical evidence. This is why it's beyond science.

Just seeing something is NOT empirical evidence. If I see a ghost, that's empirical evidence of Ghosts? If I see bigfoot, that's empirical evidence of bigfoot? UFOs? Loch Ness?

This is the central thing that hasn't been mentioned. Revelation. People get their knickers up about God because they say God revealed himself to them. That's God interacting with the real world. That's God being seen. That's nothing even aproaching empirical evidence.

So it's not my definition of science. It's the definition of science. And this isn't just a matter of someone saying God is beyond science without any cause. It's a matter of mechanics.

Hey, Amy.

There's nothing saying that it wouldn't be perceptible by the senses. In fact the claim is that it has been.

That's the quandry isn't it? Do you believe without evidence? But if you're waiting for scientific evidence, you're going to be waiting a long time.

Now we're really getting into the spirit of "God is beyond science". You wouldn't know who was right until you were dead because science cannot tell us which is right. People think they're right because someone somewhere claimed that God revealed themselves to them. They have no evidence of this, because evidence doesn't exist for Gods. So they tell people, "Trust me, it happened." And people either do or they don't, not becuse there's evidence, but because they have faith in it. When all is said and done, science has nothing to do with it.

Returning to someday, maybe someday my Great Grandomther will rise from the dead to do an all-folk music review. Maybe. But bodies don't do that. So why would I think it's possible. Science doesn't comment on the supernatural. So why would I assume that someday it might?

To answer your questions:
1 - Someone said they saw a God once, that idea caught on, the person is acculturated to believe that, they do believe that. But more than that, it's an important part of their culture and their self-identity.
2 - Yes, authority certainly has something to do with it. It say that it has more to do with influence.
3 - I don't even know that the evidence qualifies as anecdotal Cool But yeah. Some dead person said it happened.
4 - It is allegedly seeable via revelation, it is untestable, and it is unknowable scientifically, but knowable on an individual basis through revelation (if one is lucky enough to have one) and knowable through faith. There's no scientific reason to believe it's there, but that's the point of all this. It isn't a scientific question. It's a question of faith.
5 - Saying it's beyond science isn't a cop out any more than saying gravity is measureable is a cop out. It's how science works. Science doesn't just say that God is beyond science. Science says that every singe conceivable metphysical question or supernatural explanation is beyond science. Saying that it's within the realm of science when science is incapable of commenting on it is the cop out. I get it. If one admits that it's beyond science it opens up all kinds of doors for Theists to say "in yo face!" But at least its honest. Isn't that what we as scientists strive to be? Who cares if it's beyond science? It doesn't mean that Theists are right. It doesn't invalidate science in any way, shape, or form. It reinforces the central idea of science, that science is for examining natural phenomena by looking at empirical evidence, it isn't about confirming or denying metaphysical claims. Science just assumes there is no supernatural and goes about its day. Leave the metaphysical to the philosophers and in so doing, let it be known that no metaphysical question can ever be considered to have either the support or dismissal of science. You do your thing, we'll do ours and never the twain shall meet.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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01-01-2013, 09:12 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
(01-01-2013 09:01 AM)Ghost Wrote:  If Stenger had published inconrovertible evidence, wouldn't this entire thing be over?
If evidence had any influence of the position of theists (generally speaking), there would be no adherents of Creationism and Intelligent Design and no apologists.

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01-01-2013, 09:24 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
Hey, Vosur.

Dammit, I knew it. Why the fuck don't I listen to myself? Sometimes I feel that I should put a disclaimer because I know someone is going to take it the wrong way and miss/diminish/dismiss/trivialise the actual point. Et tu Brute?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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01-01-2013, 09:28 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
Quote:That's the quandry isn't it? Do you believe without evidence? But if you're waiting for scientific evidence, you're going to be waiting a long time.
I have a problem with believing due to faith because how would you know you aren't being deceived? What if the Bible was written by the devil? Or a bunch of half-literate tribal desert people who only pretended it was divinely inspired? If it's not testable or able to be experienced by everyone, no one can be sure they're worshiping the right gods.

As for revelation, IMO, I don't see that as anything more than wishful thinking or, worst case scenario, psychosis. Feelings and hallucinations are not convincing to nonbelievers. The very nature of religious revelation makes it seem very suspicious and to seem very much like hallucinations. It seems to me that religious folks are often unaware that their senses can be deceived. (For example, eyewitness testimony is not very reliable.) There is a lot of evidence that the brain often just makes stuff up (there's a cool video on youtube with 2 faces that distort if you look between them, because your brain makes up some of the image.) Likewise, magnetic fields, trance states, etc can make people believe they see and hear things. I'm often surprised that "religious experience" convinces the person themself, much less other people.

Quote:Saying it's beyond science isn't a cop out any more than saying gravity is measurable is a cop out.
You can't see gravity, but its effects can be observed in our daily lives, unlike god(s). It keeps me from jumping out of high windows. I can show the effects of gravity by dropping an object, etc. I don't think the analogy works.
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01-01-2013, 09:35 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
(01-01-2013 09:24 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Vosur.

Dammit, I knew it. Why the fuck don't I listen to myself? Sometimes I feel that I should put a disclaimer because I know someone is going to take it the wrong way and miss/diminish/dismiss/trivialise the actual point. Et tu Brute?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I'm sorry if I misunderstood the point you were trying to make - do you mind explaining what you actually meant with that question?

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01-01-2013, 09:43 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
(01-01-2013 09:01 AM)Ghost Wrote:  There's a difference between a scientist taking a personal stand and a scientist having incontrovertible evidence. If Stenger had published inconrovertible evidence, wouldn't this entire thing be over?

I don't think you understand quite how religious belief works. Mormonism has been debunked factually in as many ways as a religion could be debunked, and yet it's still a popular religion (and possibly growing). Scientology is about as provably wrong as a religion can be, and yet it still has devotees.

I'm not sure that I agree with Chas that scientists (even Victor Stenger) have provided incontrovertible evidence for Christianity, but even if they did, do you seriously believe that would be the end of it?

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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01-01-2013, 10:09 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
(01-01-2013 09:43 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(01-01-2013 09:01 AM)Ghost Wrote:  There's a difference between a scientist taking a personal stand and a scientist having incontrovertible evidence. If Stenger had published inconrovertible evidence, wouldn't this entire thing be over?

I don't think you understand quite how religious belief works. Mormonism has been debunked factually in as many ways as a religion could be debunked, and yet it's still a popular religion (and possibly growing). Scientology is about as provably wrong as a religion can be, and yet it still has devotees.

I'm not sure that I agree with Chas that scientists (even Victor Stenger) have provided incontrovertible evidence for Christianity, but even if they did, do you seriously believe that would be the end of it?


I never said incontrovertible.

Stenger has provided compelling evidence that the God(s) of the big monotheisms does not exist.

The natural world provides compelling evidence that no kind of benevolent gods exist.

If by "God" one means something that is undetectable, then it is equivalent to non-existent.

If your "God" acts in the physical world, then "He" is detectable. A non-detectable god that acts in the world is an incoherent concept. It is nonsense.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-01-2013, 10:15 AM
RE: God is "beyond" science!
Hey, Amy.

Quote:I have a problem with believing due to faith because how would you know
you aren't being deceived? What if the Bible was written by the devil?
Or a bunch of half-literate tribal desert people who only pretended it
was divinely inspired? If it's not testable or able to be experienced by
everyone, no one can be sure they're worshiping the right gods.

True dat.

As for revelation, that could very well be the case. I once had a conversation with a Catholic PhD student and he was very ardent in his defense of revelation.

As for the analogy, science works in very specific ways.

Hey, Vosur.

I just meant we wouldn't be talking about this.

Hey, Starcrash.

Yeah. I already dealt with that one with Vosur Cool

I don't care whether or not other people believe something. I believe in proof when it's provided.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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