Hasn't god been disproved?
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17-04-2012, 04:17 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
Hey, Bub.

Your logic is sound (and articulated well). But there is a bias involved that you may or may not be aware of.

(This is my understanding. Please feel free to take it or leave it. I'm just trying to directly respond to your post.)

Your logic stems from a bias that most people don't discuss. The notion that everything in the universe has a material explanation is a philosophy, not a scientific fact. It cannot be proven empirically. But it's a philosophy that science must adopt to be effective. Science is based on a notion called methodological naturalism; basically, we're going to proceed as if everything has a material explanation even though we can't prove it. With that bias in place, if something appears to violate natural law, then the automatic thought is, "Well then the natural law must be wrong because there MUST be a material explanation." So to the die hard scientist, if Jesus flew down from heaven on a flaming pie and gave all the women in the world 40DD breasts, their first thought would be, "How was that possible? What was the material explanation?" What isn't even considered, what is eliminated as a possibility because of the methodological naturalism bias, is that there isn't a material explanation.

The thing about the supernatural is that all supernatural phenomena are, by definition, impossible. If they were possible, if there was a material explanation, then they wouldn't be supernatural. This is of course a very real possibility, naturalism may very well be correct; however, it cannot be determined empirically.

If supernatural phenomena do exist, then, by definition, they are impossible. That means that assuming that there is nothing wrong with our understanding of the limitations imposed on reality by natural law, something occurred that was impossible.

Here's the big difference. What is true under natural law is ALWAYS true. 2+2=4 and it can never equal anything else. But supernatural phenomenon occur UNIQUELY. By that it means they do NOT correspond to natural law and can be dissimilar to themselves if they occur once or if they occur infinite times. For example, say, one day, 2+2=5. Just once. Then it goes right back to =4. 2+2=5 SHOULD be impossible. We go back and check all of our calculations and all of our data and we confirm, 2+2 should = 4 and it does. Under methodological materialism, two things are possible. Either the data was wrong and 2+2 didn't = 5, or the equation 2+2=5 is false. But again, if we assume that our understanding of natural law is not flawed, then something impossible occurred. There was a phenomenon that was NOT bound/limited by natural law. It operated above or outside of natural law, ie, it was SUPERnatural.

Here's another example. Every day you wake up and you're a day older. But what if you woke up one day and you were negative 3 000 years old. The next day, you were a day older again. That's impossible. I can't even imagine what that would mean. But it never happens again. Not to you or to anyone else. That can't be tested empirically. And there's nothing wrong with the natural law. In every other case in every other test, every single human being wakes up every day and is a day older. That's the thing about the supernatural. It must VIOLATE natural law to be considered supernatural in the first place.

Now I'm not saying that the supernatural exists or that it doesn't. What I am saying is that IF it exists, then in order for it to be supernatural then it must operate outside of natural law. If it operates within it, then it's natural, not supernatural.

The bottom line is, none of this is verifiable. We cannot prove naturalism and we cannot prove the supernatural. So when asked if God's existence has been disproved, the only correct answer is no. Because it hasn't been disproved.

The dilemma is philosophical. There is no room for God in the worldview based on methodological naturalism. There is no room for strict naturalism in the worldview based on the existence of God the Creator. So the two philosophies are at odds because their premises are not compatible.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-04-2012, 04:54 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
(17-04-2012 04:17 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Bub.

Your logic is sound (and articulated well). But there is a bias involved that you may or may not be aware of.

(This is my understanding. Please feel free to take it or leave it. I'm just trying to directly respond to your post.)

Your logic stems from a bias that most people don't discuss. The notion that everything in the universe has a material explanation is a philosophy, not a scientific fact. It cannot be proven empirically. But it's a philosophy that science must adopt to be effective. Science is based on a notion called methodological naturalism; basically, we're going to proceed as if everything has a material explanation even though we can't prove it. With that bias in place, if something appears to violate natural law, then the automatic thought is, "Well then the natural law must be wrong because there MUST be a material explanation." So to the die hard scientist, if Jesus flew down from heaven on a flaming pie and gave all the women in the world 40DD breasts, their first thought would be, "How was that possible? What was the material explanation?" What isn't even considered, what is eliminated as a possibility because of the methodological naturalism bias, is that there isn't a material explanation.

The thing about the supernatural is that all supernatural phenomena are, by definition, impossible. If they were possible, if there was a material explanation, then they wouldn't be supernatural. This is of course a very real possibility, naturalism may very well be correct; however, it cannot be determined empirically.

If supernatural phenomena do exist, then, by definition, they are impossible. That means that assuming that there is nothing wrong with our understanding of the limitations imposed on reality by natural law, something occurred that was impossible.

Here's the big difference. What is true under natural law is ALWAYS true. 2+2=4 and it can never equal anything else. But supernatural phenomenon occur UNIQUELY. By that it means they do NOT correspond to natural law and can be dissimilar to themselves if they occur once or if they occur infinite times. For example, say, one day, 2+2=5. Just once. Then it goes right back to =4. 2+2=5 SHOULD be impossible. We go back and check all of our calculations and all of our data and we confirm, 2+2 should = 4 and it does. Under methodological materialism, two things are possible. Either the data was wrong and 2+2 didn't = 5, or the equation 2+2=5 is false. But again, if we assume that our understanding of natural law is not flawed, then something impossible occurred. There was a phenomenon that was NOT bound/limited by natural law. It operated above or outside of natural law, ie, it was SUPERnatural.

Here's another example. Every day you wake up and you're a day older. But what if you woke up one day and you were negative 3 000 years old. The next day, you were a day older again. That's impossible. I can't even imagine what that would mean. But it never happens again. Not to you or to anyone else. That can't be tested empirically. And there's nothing wrong with the natural law. In every other case in every other test, every single human being wakes up every day and is a day older. That's the thing about the supernatural. It must VIOLATE natural law to be considered supernatural in the first place.

Now I'm not saying that the supernatural exists or that it doesn't. What I am saying is that IF it exists, then in order for it to be supernatural then it must operate outside of natural law. If it operates within it, then it's natural, not supernatural.

The bottom line is, none of this is verifiable. We cannot prove naturalism and we cannot prove the supernatural. So when asked if God's existence has been disproved, the only correct answer is no. Because it hasn't been disproved.

The dilemma is philosophical. There is no room for God in the worldview based on methodological naturalism. There is no room for strict naturalism in the worldview based on the existence of God the Creator. So the two philosophies are at odds because their premises are not compatible.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I definitely agree that the existence of a deity has not been disproved, and I honestly don't think it could be, at least with what we know now. But I still don't see how it makes sense that something can exist, quite literally, outside of existence. The thing is, we don't know all of the laws of nature. We really can't know, either, for there are far to many that we have no way of proving, and may well never have a way of proving without question. For instance, the multiverse theory. We can find plenty of evidence that could suggest the existence, but given the boundaries of our universe, unless we can also prove that wormholes exist, there is no way to actually travel to another universe at this time. If something that had never been seen before happened right in front of me, I would of course feel confusion at first, but then move on to think that if it happened, it must be possible. By definition, possibility refers to the ability of something to happen, i.e. a ghost to appear. If a ghost appears, it happened. The ability has surely been realized, thus it must be possible, even if it goes against what we thought prior to the appearance.

Also, I'm not sure if I can relate to the supplied examples. I don't see how 2+2 could equal 5 in any way, unless the symbols and names for 4 and 5 switched places for a day. This can be postulated. In order for one to be forced to replace a 4 with a 5, they would have to be suffering from a condition that causes them to arrange numbers in an incorrect way, because they would have known that 2+2=4 from prior knowledge, unless every single person on the Earth forgot, all at once. Which while incredibly unlikely, it can still fit within the laws of nature.

As for the bit on aging backward, one's age is calculated based on a count. Unless time was thrown back 3000 years, there is no reason that someone's age would reduce, seeing as it's only an assigned number. It is possible for someone to forget their age, but this can still be explained by current knowledge of what is possible and what is not.
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17-04-2012, 05:22 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
The question is rarely "does a god exist", or "can a god exist" - though that's how theists like to argue it.

The real question is "does my god exist", or "does yours exist".

It's not possible to prove that no god exists, because each time we ruled out one class of "god" we would have to deal with a new class of "god" that evades our proof. For example, a god beast who had nothing to do with the creation of the universe and has no interaction with it can never be disproved until we can see beyond our universe to a point where we can be absolutely sure nothing else exists. Difficult!

However: For all people on this earth who believe in a god, I think it is possible to prove that their god does not exist.

Noone on earth has ever come up with a compelling argument or proof for their god, and all religions contain fundamental contradictions either with themselves or with what we as modern humans know about the universe. None has any special revealed knowledge. None have any special powers.
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17-04-2012, 06:50 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
Well put.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-04-2012, 11:42 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
Hey, Bub.

I can see the hamsters spinning Cool

Quote:But I still don't see how it makes sense that something can exist, quite literally, outside of existence.

Think about it logically.
1 - IF there is a creator of the universe, then this creator MUST be able to manipulate the natural universe. It must be supernatural (Medieval Latin: supernātūrālis: supra "above" + naturalis "nature", first used: 1520–30 AD). A creator God could not have begun within the thing it created. I cannot create myself.
2 - The laws are pretty easy to spot: gravity, electromagnetism, math, physics, yada yada. We KNOW that these laws break down even within our universe as we approach a singularity. The multiverse theory imagines that these rules operate differently in different universes. So the idea that the laws are absolute is unlikely. It's more likely that they only function WITHIN space-time. If there is something outside of space-time, or multiple space-times (Leonard Susskind once noted that "universe" was never intended to be pluralised) we can assume that it operates by different laws. If this thing can interact with space-time and manipulate it, then poof, we have ourselves some supernatural action.
3 - If there is no VIOLATION of natural law, then the phenomenon is not supernatural. So if you are trying to imagine the supernatural, you have to BEGIN with the fact that a violation of the law has occurred. Not a correction of our understanding of it, a straight breaking of the rule.

Quote:The thing is, we don't know all of the laws of nature. We really can't
know, either, for there are far to many that we have no way of proving,
and may well never have a way of proving without question. For instance,
the multiverse theory. We can find plenty of evidence that could
suggest the existence, but given the boundaries of our universe, unless
we can also prove that wormholes exist, there is no way to actually
travel to another universe at this time.

This is all true, but quite beside the point really. The supernatural, by definition (because the definition is all we know for sure), isn't simply a hole in understanding. Flight wasn't supernatural pre-Wright Brothers and natural post Kitty Hawk. Flight, or lift and thrust and aerodynamics and all of the governing laws, were ALWAYS natural laws. We just weren't aware of them.

We're not talking about a gap in understanding. Assume that the laws are there whether we know them or not. We're talking about violating those laws (a supernatural phenomenon could exist without our being aware of it or being aware of the law it violated). The laws, on any given day, are constant. But a supernatural phenomenon says, suck it laws, you ain't the boss of me, and does whatever it will. But the phenomenon doesn't rewrite the natural laws, it just circumvents them.

Here's a geek example. Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek TNG was an android that was INCAPABLE of emotion. He had a program and he had limitations. Laughter was something he simply could not do. It was impossible. Then along comes Q, the pesky omnipotent being. He snaps his fingers and Data belly laughs uncontrollably for 15 seconds. Everyone watching is shocked because they all know it's not possible (but hey, they feel happy for the guy). 15 seconds elapse and poof, the laughing stops. It goes right back to being impossible for him. The supernatural phenomenon didn't ALTER what was possible, it simply did the impossible DESPITE the natural law.

But what we're running into here is the bias of methodological naturalism. The automatic thought is, well if it happened, then it must have a material explanation. If one can understand that that is a bias, then one can imagine the supernatural. If one accepts it as what John Ralston Saul calls received wisdom, and others would call the hegemonic view, basically, if one accepts it as self-evident, then it becomes impossible to imagine the supernatural.

I'm not calling methodological naturalism a bad thing. But I am calling it what it is. A belief, not an empirical truth. And one that colours our perception of the universe.

Quote:If something that had never been seen before happened right in front of
me, I would of course feel confusion at first, but then move on to think
that if it happened, it must be possible.

You're very much locked into the logic of materialism. It handily proves my point. Even when I throw things at you that are clearly impossible (like the equation and the age thing), your brain won't allow you to even contemplate the notion that they don't have a material explanation. In your mind, they simply must. The problem, your mind tells you, must be with your perception. It couldn't possibly be that they simply don't have a material explanation.

Again, I'm not saying the supernatural exists. I'm just able to understand what it would be if it did exist.

This might help. A slight re-imagining or repositioning of the terms possible and impossible in your mind:

Possible = All phenomena with a material explanation
Impossible = All those phenomena without

Both of them can occur.

Quote:I don't see how 2+2 could equal 5 in any way, unless the symbols and names for 4 and 5 switched places for a day.

Again, the supernatural doesn't redefine natural law. The reason that you and I both cannot imagine how 2+2 could = 5 is because it can't. It's not possible. We both know it's not possible. But if it happened despite it not being possible, then it would be supernatural.

Try this analogy. You and I are playing soccer (or football if you prefer). The laws of the game clearly state, no picking up the ball. In a soccer game, picking up the ball is "impossible". Then one day, we both watch someone do it. They don't get a penalty or a yellow card or anything. It just happens. And when it's over, no one can figure out why. The rules of the game never changed, they should have received a penalty or a card, but simply didn't. It wasn't an oversight, everyone including the ref saw it. The rules of the game never changed. They were soccer before and continue to be soccer afterwards. By all logic, it just shouldn't have happened. It was "impossible". Make any sense? If it does, great. If not, it's not worth harping over this one analogy.

This is one of those things that is crystal clear in my mind, but that meets a lot of resistance primarily, I think, because of the methodological materialism bias. Imagine for a second a different premise. There ARE rules in the natural universe that are strict and in force all of the time. We can measure them and make predictions using them and explain things with them. The supernatural isn't bound by them. It has diplomatic immunity from those laws. It can do whatever the hell it wants because it isn't bound by the laws. The laws remain in place and in force. The supernatural simply circumvents them.

Again, I'm not saying the supernatural exists. What I am saying is this. A belief in methodological naturalism as a fact eliminates the possibility of the supernatural; however, it eliminates the thought only and has no effect on whether or not it actually exists. If the supernatural exists (which it may or may not, who knows), then it absolutely must have as a property the ability to operate outside of natural law. If it does not, then it cannot be supernatural.

A Jewish Rabbi, as far as I'm concerned, summed it up nicely:
Quote:If we define existence as that which God has,
because the one thing we can say about God is that he exists, he is, he has a
state… he exists in a state of absolute isness, in Hebrew that’s called Yeshut,
isness, by in no way shape or form can I define myself relative to those terms.
Meaning that’s a level of reality that is completely beyond time, completely
beyond space, completely even beyond finite or infinite. God isn’t even
infinite, he creates infinite reality and he creates finite reality. He’s
beyond both. Which helps solve the problem how…. the philosophers asked how can
it be that an infinite God creates finite reality. Judaism doesn’t see a
problem whatsoever because God’s not infinite. God’s completely beyond
limitation. Infinite reality itself is limited by virtue of the fact that it
can’t express itself in a finite way. Finite reality is limited to the extent
that it exists within the context of some sort of finite space, finite time.
God is beyond both.
-Rabbi Boruch Kaplan



I'm not calling this a proof, but a logical necessity IF there is a creator God.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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18-04-2012, 08:22 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
(17-04-2012 11:42 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Bub.

I can see the hamsters spinning Cool

Quote:But I still don't see how it makes sense that something can exist, quite literally, outside of existence.

Think about it logically.
1 - IF there is a creator of the universe, then this creator MUST be able to manipulate the natural universe. It must be supernatural (Medieval Latin: supernātūrālis: supra "above" + naturalis "nature", first used: 1520–30 AD). A creator God could not have begun within the thing it created. I cannot create myself.
2 - The laws are pretty easy to spot: gravity, electromagnetism, math, physics, yada yada. We KNOW that these laws break down even within our universe as we approach a singularity. The multiverse theory imagines that these rules operate differently in different universes. So the idea that the laws are absolute is unlikely. It's more likely that they only function WITHIN space-time. If there is something outside of space-time, or multiple space-times (Leonard Susskind once noted that "universe" was never intended to be pluralised) we can assume that it operates by different laws. If this thing can interact with space-time and manipulate it, then poof, we have ourselves some supernatural action.
3 - If there is no VIOLATION of natural law, then the phenomenon is not supernatural. So if you are trying to imagine the supernatural, you have to BEGIN with the fact that a violation of the law has occurred. Not a correction of our understanding of it, a straight breaking of the rule.

Quote:The thing is, we don't know all of the laws of nature. We really can't
know, either, for there are far to many that we have no way of proving,
and may well never have a way of proving without question. For instance,
the multiverse theory. We can find plenty of evidence that could
suggest the existence, but given the boundaries of our universe, unless
we can also prove that wormholes exist, there is no way to actually
travel to another universe at this time.

This is all true, but quite beside the point really. The supernatural, by definition (because the definition is all we know for sure), isn't simply a hole in understanding. Flight wasn't supernatural pre-Wright Brothers and natural post Kitty Hawk. Flight, or lift and thrust and aerodynamics and all of the governing laws, were ALWAYS natural laws. We just weren't aware of them.

We're not talking about a gap in understanding. Assume that the laws are there whether we know them or not. We're talking about violating those laws (a supernatural phenomenon could exist without our being aware of it or being aware of the law it violated). The laws, on any given day, are constant. But a supernatural phenomenon says, suck it laws, you ain't the boss of me, and does whatever it will. But the phenomenon doesn't rewrite the natural laws, it just circumvents them.

Here's a geek example. Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek TNG was an android that was INCAPABLE of emotion. He had a program and he had limitations. Laughter was something he simply could not do. It was impossible. Then along comes Q, the pesky omnipotent being. He snaps his fingers and Data belly laughs uncontrollably for 15 seconds. Everyone watching is shocked because they all know it's not possible (but hey, they feel happy for the guy). 15 seconds elapse and poof, the laughing stops. It goes right back to being impossible for him. The supernatural phenomenon didn't ALTER what was possible, it simply did the impossible DESPITE the natural law.

But what we're running into here is the bias of methodological naturalism. The automatic thought is, well if it happened, then it must have a material explanation. If one can understand that that is a bias, then one can imagine the supernatural. If one accepts it as what John Ralston Saul calls received wisdom, and others would call the hegemonic view, basically, if one accepts it as self-evident, then it becomes impossible to imagine the supernatural.

I'm not calling methodological naturalism a bad thing. But I am calling it what it is. A belief, not an empirical truth. And one that colours our perception of the universe.

Quote:If something that had never been seen before happened right in front of
me, I would of course feel confusion at first, but then move on to think
that if it happened, it must be possible.

You're very much locked into the logic of materialism. It handily proves my point. Even when I throw things at you that are clearly impossible (like the equation and the age thing), your brain won't allow you to even contemplate the notion that they don't have a material explanation. In your mind, they simply must. The problem, your mind tells you, must be with your perception. It couldn't possibly be that they simply don't have a material explanation.

Again, I'm not saying the supernatural exists. I'm just able to understand what it would be if it did exist.

This might help. A slight re-imagining or repositioning of the terms possible and impossible in your mind:

Possible = All phenomena with a material explanation
Impossible = All those phenomena without

Both of them can occur.

Quote:I don't see how 2+2 could equal 5 in any way, unless the symbols and names for 4 and 5 switched places for a day.

Again, the supernatural doesn't redefine natural law. The reason that you and I both cannot imagine how 2+2 could = 5 is because it can't. It's not possible. We both know it's not possible. But if it happened despite it not being possible, then it would be supernatural.

Try this analogy. You and I are playing soccer (or football if you prefer). The laws of the game clearly state, no picking up the ball. In a soccer game, picking up the ball is "impossible". Then one day, we both watch someone do it. They don't get a penalty or a yellow card or anything. It just happens. And when it's over, no one can figure out why. The rules of the game never changed, they should have received a penalty or a card, but simply didn't. It wasn't an oversight, everyone including the ref saw it. The rules of the game never changed. They were soccer before and continue to be soccer afterwards. By all logic, it just shouldn't have happened. It was "impossible". Make any sense? If it does, great. If not, it's not worth harping over this one analogy.

This is one of those things that is crystal clear in my mind, but that meets a lot of resistance primarily, I think, because of the methodological materialism bias. Imagine for a second a different premise. There ARE rules in the natural universe that are strict and in force all of the time. We can measure them and make predictions using them and explain things with them. The supernatural isn't bound by them. It has diplomatic immunity from those laws. It can do whatever the hell it wants because it isn't bound by the laws. The laws remain in place and in force. The supernatural simply circumvents them.

Again, I'm not saying the supernatural exists. What I am saying is this. A belief in methodological naturalism as a fact eliminates the possibility of the supernatural; however, it eliminates the thought only and has no effect on whether or not it actually exists. If the supernatural exists (which it may or may not, who knows), then it absolutely must have as a property the ability to operate outside of natural law. If it does not, then it cannot be supernatural.

A Jewish Rabbi, as far as I'm concerned, summed it up nicely:
Quote:If we define existence as that which God has,
because the one thing we can say about God is that he exists, he is, he has a
state… he exists in a state of absolute isness, in Hebrew that’s called Yeshut,
isness, by in no way shape or form can I define myself relative to those terms.
Meaning that’s a level of reality that is completely beyond time, completely
beyond space, completely even beyond finite or infinite. God isn’t even
infinite, he creates infinite reality and he creates finite reality. He’s
beyond both. Which helps solve the problem how…. the philosophers asked how can
it be that an infinite God creates finite reality. Judaism doesn’t see a
problem whatsoever because God’s not infinite. God’s completely beyond
limitation. Infinite reality itself is limited by virtue of the fact that it
can’t express itself in a finite way. Finite reality is limited to the extent
that it exists within the context of some sort of finite space, finite time.
God is beyond both.
-Rabbi Boruch Kaplan




I'm not calling this a proof, but a logical necessity IF there is a creator God.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Hmm. I think I see what you're getting at. I guess there are two main things that contribute to my lock into this form of logical thinking: 1. I actually am going into theoretical physics, so the scientist side of me could lead to some sort of bias that I'm unaware of, despite being very unbiased in pretty much any situation. 2. I don't believe the existence of a deity is possible, for the most part. It may be possible, but according to Dawkins' chart, I'd be a 6; There could be a god, but I'm so strongly set on it as an impossibility that I'm going to go about life on the assumption that there isn't one. I simply can't use "God" as an excuse for anything. And to me, it seems like for something supernatural to occur, there would need to be some sort of deity. Regardless, to me it seems as if that very logic would almost cancel the possibility of a deity. For such a thing to exist, it would have to break the laws of nature itself. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Well, regardless, I think I understand your examples. They don't really change my line of thinking, but I'll have to ponder over this tonight. The soccer example does make sense, theoretically, but it just doesn't come through logically. Maybe after a night of consideration, I'll understand; but to me, it seems as if the referee was just biased. Tongue
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19-04-2012, 09:24 AM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
Hey, bub.

I feel like Wolverine when I say that. Snickity snickit!

Going into theoretical physics? That's awesome. I've always loved physics but I despise math, so there you go. Figure out how this crazy universe works for me!

I dig your belief. On the Dawkins scale, I'm a devout 4 Cool I don't know that the supernatural requires a deity, but I feel ya. Breaking the laws of nature doesn't make sense to me either. It's illogical. I'm a prisoner of the natural universe same as you. But although I can't comprehend the impossible, I accept that it may in fact be possible. If I was an old school robot I'd say "does not compute" and then my head would explode Cool

Continue right on with your line of thinking. I'm not trying to get anyone to believe in the supernatural because I don't believe it myself. Nor do I disbelieve it. But I do consider it within the realm of the possible and I enjoy explaining my logic.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-04-2012, 03:16 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
(19-04-2012 09:24 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, bub.

I feel like Wolverine when I say that. Snickity snickit!

Going into theoretical physics? That's awesome. I've always loved physics but I despise math, so there you go. Figure out how this crazy universe works for me!

I dig your belief. On the Dawkins scale, I'm a devout 4 Cool I don't know that the supernatural requires a deity, but I feel ya. Breaking the laws of nature doesn't make sense to me either. It's illogical. I'm a prisoner of the natural universe same as you. But although I can't comprehend the impossible, I accept that it may in fact be possible. If I was an old school robot I'd say "does not compute" and then my head would explode Cool

Continue right on with your line of thinking. I'm not trying to get anyone to believe in the supernatural because I don't believe it myself. Nor do I disbelieve it. But I do consider it within the realm of the possible and I enjoy explaining my logic.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Ah, now I think I can make some sense out of what you were saying. For almost anything, I generally apply the the idea of "it's impossible, or at least improbable, to prove or disprove." So I can agree that it might be possible, but the concept of the definition itself just doesn't make a lot of sense when taken into deep consideration. But who knows? Certainly not us.

Also, I'll make sure to figure out the universe for you. Wink
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19-04-2012, 04:20 PM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
(17-04-2012 04:17 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Bub.

Your logic is sound (and articulated well). But there is a bias involved that you may or may not be aware of.

(This is my understanding. Please feel free to take it or leave it. I'm just trying to directly respond to your post.)

Your logic stems from a bias that most people don't discuss. The notion that everything in the universe has a material explanation is a philosophy, not a scientific fact. It cannot be proven empirically. But it's a philosophy that science must adopt to be effective. Science is based on a notion called methodological naturalism; basically, we're going to proceed as if everything has a material explanation even though we can't prove it. With that bias in place, if something appears to violate natural law, then the automatic thought is, "Well then the natural law must be wrong because there MUST be a material explanation." So to the die hard scientist, if Jesus flew down from heaven on a flaming pie and gave all the women in the world 40DD breasts, their first thought would be, "How was that possible? What was the material explanation?" What isn't even considered, what is eliminated as a possibility because of the methodological naturalism bias, is that there isn't a material explanation.

The thing about the supernatural is that all supernatural phenomena are, by definition, impossible. If they were possible, if there was a material explanation, then they wouldn't be supernatural. This is of course a very real possibility, naturalism may very well be correct; however, it cannot be determined empirically.

If supernatural phenomena do exist, then, by definition, they are impossible. That means that assuming that there is nothing wrong with our understanding of the limitations imposed on reality by natural law, something occurred that was impossible.

Here's the big difference. What is true under natural law is ALWAYS true. 2+2=4 and it can never equal anything else. But supernatural phenomenon occur UNIQUELY. By that it means they do NOT correspond to natural law and can be dissimilar to themselves if they occur once or if they occur infinite times. For example, say, one day, 2+2=5. Just once. Then it goes right back to =4. 2+2=5 SHOULD be impossible. We go back and check all of our calculations and all of our data and we confirm, 2+2 should = 4 and it does. Under methodological materialism, two things are possible. Either the data was wrong and 2+2 didn't = 5, or the equation 2+2=5 is false. But again, if we assume that our understanding of natural law is not flawed, then something impossible occurred. There was a phenomenon that was NOT bound/limited by natural law. It operated above or outside of natural law, ie, it was SUPERnatural.

Here's another example. Every day you wake up and you're a day older. But what if you woke up one day and you were negative 3 000 years old. The next day, you were a day older again. That's impossible. I can't even imagine what that would mean. But it never happens again. Not to you or to anyone else. That can't be tested empirically. And there's nothing wrong with the natural law. In every other case in every other test, every single human being wakes up every day and is a day older. That's the thing about the supernatural. It must VIOLATE natural law to be considered supernatural in the first place.

Now I'm not saying that the supernatural exists or that it doesn't. What I am saying is that IF it exists, then in order for it to be supernatural then it must operate outside of natural law. If it operates within it, then it's natural, not supernatural.

The bottom line is, none of this is verifiable. We cannot prove naturalism and we cannot prove the supernatural. So when asked if God's existence has been disproved, the only correct answer is no. Because it hasn't been disproved.

The dilemma is philosophical. There is no room for God in the worldview based on methodological naturalism. There is no room for strict naturalism in the worldview based on the existence of God the Creator. So the two philosophies are at odds because their premises are not compatible.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Your philosophy on the supernatural is flawed. You cannot prove that even the most seemingly impossible events were supernatural. You can only say that it is paranormal at best. By the very definition, we cannot EVER explain the supernatural therefore it is impossible to prove/disprove as such we cannot prove/disprove a deity's existence.

Paranormal is an event that is not readily understood by known natural laws. It COULD be supernatural, but it could also be outside of our current knowledge about the natural world.

The fact that scientists consider there to be a natural explanation to all occurrences in the world is not a philosophy. How could it be? Natural laws and events is all we have to go by and they explain everything else that's understood. To go against all current knowledge of the Universe and posit the supernatural is the real philosophy.

To say science based on natural laws is a philosophy is doing it a gross injustice.

I liken that to calling a dollar bill "money" is a philosophy since it could actually be something that violates natural laws.

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson
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20-04-2012, 07:32 AM
RE: Hasn't god been disproved?
Hey, Noah.

No, your critique is flawed. I never said one could prove the existence of supernatural phenomena. I actually said the exact opposite. It cannot be proven. I was explicit. I am not promoting the position that the supernatural exists nor am I promoting the position that the supernatural does not exist because neither position is provable empirically. That's also why I am an Agnostic. I am simply outlining what properties the supernatural would have to have if it existed.

Good point about the paranormal. It's a good way to classify those 'we're not sure' cases.

Methodological natualism is a philosophy. It is a choice to assume naturalism despite the fact that it is not possible to prove it empirically. If you have knowledge about an experiment that someone did, anyone, that empirically proves naturalism, I'd love to hear about it. But it doesn't exist. Admitting that methodological naturalism is a philosophy doesn't bring all scientific discovery into question, so don't feel threatened. It's no gross injustice. It's just a fact. Nothing more. And facing fact is what science is about.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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