evidence that would convince
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12-11-2011, 10:44 PM
 
evidence that would convince
Hi everyone, first time posting here, I actually posted this on another forum but received no replies yet, so I thought I'd bring this here, seeing how big this community is and all. It's always good to hear what more people have to say.

Anyway, I’ve got two questions that I would like to hear your views about…..

I was talking to a christian friend about the lack of evidence that God exists. He replied asking – what amount of evidence would be able to convince me of the existence of a god (not necessarily the christian one for that matter, you could take any supernatural deity). He said that given any unexplained phenomena, people would just try to find a naturalistic answer to it : a pillar of fire could be a bizarre weather anomaly, a vision could be a hallucination of the mind – people would explain it away. A bush that started burning spontaneously could be the result of extreme dry weather. Flipping heads ten times in a row could be pure chance, or a biased coin.

i know what kind of evidence it might take to convince me of the existence of extraterrestrials, for example, someone comes to me showing an anti-gravity particle beam device the aliens gave him unlike any technology on earth, combined with extensive videos of the aliens interacting with humans, multiple reliable eyewitnesses with their own unique footage, the encounter leaving substances not naturally found on earth, the aliens provide toenail clippings and tissue samples that lab tests show are genetically unrelated to terrestrial life....etc, such evidence is easily testable and would be pretty conclusive.

in short, question one – what kind of EVIDENCE would convince you that a God (again NOT necessarily the christian one) indeed exists? Or rather, If you were a God, how would you try to prove your own existence to your rational beings?

second question – how would you approach a(another) person who staunchly believes that God actively speaks to him (indeed he probably believes so himself, having no incentive to lie). obviously I do not share his experience, and it is subjective to him so there is no way to disprove it, how would you go about convincing such a person, if he values his experiences more than scientific evidence? (He really, really believes that God speaks to him daily, he claims to have experienced a kind of personal connection with God). He is familiar with scientific explanations does admit that science does not agree with the bible, but all he cares about is his own experience.

Hope someone can provide their insight to these two questions.

Cheers
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13-11-2011, 05:23 AM
RE: evidence that would convince
(12-11-2011 10:44 PM)hch Wrote:  He said that given any unexplained phenomena, people would just try to find a naturalistic answer to it : a pillar of fire could be a bizarre weather anomaly, a vision could be a hallucination of the mind – people would explain it away. A bush that started burning spontaneously could be the result of extreme dry weather. Flipping heads ten times in a row could be pure chance, or a biased coin.

I've got a friend who argues this exact line. Consider, how do you know your friend exists? He talks to you, interacts with you, responds to what you have to say. He doesn't talk to you in your mind, or randomly cure diseases, or inspire other humans to write strange books. Very unlike God. If God's omnipotent then he surely can do these things. That's the kind of thing that would convince me that *something* was there. Though if he then claimed to have created me and a whole bunch of other shit I'd be inclined to check if he was lying.

Quote:second question – how would you approach a(another) person who staunchly believes that God actively speaks to him (indeed he probably believes so himself, having no incentive to lie). obviously I do not share his experience, and it is subjective to him so there is no way to disprove it, how would you go about convincing such a person, if he values his experiences more than scientific evidence?

Well, don't try to convert him Wink He must find the answer out of his own curiosity or dissatisfaction. I just try to shake my friend's confidence a bit, to try and get him to be a bit curious. Ask a question and point out the flaws in his logic. Such questions are trivially easy to generate. Ask him about the talking snake, or Jonah and the fish. Or whether Jesus' poo was holy crap. This used to be the subject of theological debate if you can believe it. The fact that such *easy* questions to ask require pages of faffing for Christians to answer seems to me to point out that their entire philosophy is based on a very shaky foundation.

Also, make him aware that his experience is subjective. Say "well, God's never talked to me, no voices in my head".
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13-11-2011, 07:06 AM
 
RE: evidence that would convince
(12-11-2011 10:44 PM)hch Wrote:  Hope someone can provide their insight to these two questions.

Very good question, hch -- and welcome to the Forum! Smile

As a perfect illustration of my attitude in this regard, I have to copy in an excerpt from Richard Feynman's book, “The Meaning Of It All”, in which he gives a delightful account of how he would investigate someone’s claim of being a mind reader (I have posted it in another thread already but it fits perfectly here).

Quote:This fellow comes to me, and he says, "I will demonstrate this to you. We will stand at the roulette wheel and I will tell you ahead of time whether it is going to be black or red on every shot."

So from other experience and general knowledge, I have a strong prejudice against mind readers. Million to one.

Now we begin. The mind reader says it's going to be black. It's black. The mind reader says it's going to be red. It's red. Do I believe in mind readers? No. It could happen. The mind reader says it's going to be black. It's black. The mind reader says it's going to be red. It's red. Sweat. I'm about to learn something. This continues, let us suppose, for ten times. Now it's possible by chance that that happened ten times, but the odds are a thousand to one against it. Therefore, I now have to conclude that the odds that a mind reader is really doing it are a thousand to one that he's not a mind reader still, but it was a million to one before.
….
Now suppose that we go to another club, and it works, and another one and it works. I buy dice and it works. I take him home and I build a roulette wheel; it works. What do I conclude? I conclude he is a mind reader.

it is possible to conclude, by a number of tests, that mind reading really exists. If it does, I get extremely excited, because I didn't expect it before. I learned something that I did not know, and as a physicist would love to investigate it as a phenomenon of nature. Does it depend upon how far he is from the ball? What about if you put sheets of glass or paper or other materials in between?

To be prejudiced against mind reading a million to one does not mean that you can never be convinced that a man is a mind reader. The only way that you can never be convinced that a man is a mind reader is one of two things: If you are limited to a finite number of experiments, and he won't let you do any more, or if you are infinitely prejudiced at the beginning that it's absolutely impossible.”

As Filox said before:

(29-09-2011 12:45 AM)Filox Wrote:  Think about it, theists "believe", if they had proof, they would stop believing and they would know it for a fact, but then again, so would we and all others. Then religion stops existing as it is today and God becomes something natural, not supernatural anymore.

You see, If god did exist, then it would be a natural phenomenon, to be studied with our minds, based on data we acquired from our senses and our instruments.
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13-11-2011, 07:19 AM
RE: evidence that would convince
Let’s say we get gods email and phone number.
Full and total discloser of who he is and what he’s been playing at all this time.
Total and utter proof, indisputable 100% factual and utter proof.

So?
If this all powerful deity is real and right now chilling in a lounger on a beach sipping vodka and lime so what?
So he’s real, the massive losses humanity has suffered in his name from the loss of knowledge with the burning of the Great Library through the crusades and the inquisition right through to today with the ongoing wars and destroyed research by the people who are working in his name then he’d be too ashamed to admit to who he is.
And so he should be to let it continue.

If he turns up on my door tomorrow I won’t be dropping to my knees and begging for forgiveness.
With what he has let happen, as he is all knowing etc, then he should be begging for our forgiveness.

If he is the farther then he is a very neglectful parent.
The human race should be put into care and kept away from him as he has shown very little concern for our wellbeing.

So if he is real and you can convince me of it don’t expect me to change.

I think this is what gets under my skin with religions, it’s not bad enough that they speed so much time, money and effort chasing a myth; it’s the myth they chase that is the destructive force behind so much pain and suffering.

As Epicurius said:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

So to answer your first question, it’s not a question of proof as I would not accept him as he is a poor god regardless on what his fan club says about him.
And there is plenty of proof of that.

As for the second question, I get a voice in my head from time to time, it says things like “Karl you dick head, this is going to hurt.” And “Well that was clever wasn’t it?”
But it’s my voice… Sarcastic bastard that I am…
As for the voice in his head I dunno, you’ll have to clime in there and poke about.

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. Friedrich Nietzsche
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13-11-2011, 08:22 AM
RE: evidence that would convince
What it would take to convince me: direct experience.
This isn't the standard of proof that i apply to scientific theories; for those, i accept the reasoning and calculations of experts in their various fields of study. The reason for the different approaches is the difference in the assertions:
Science is objective and inanimate; it promises me nothing and requires nothing of me: i require nothing of it, but plausible explanations of the physical world.
Gods are supposedly living entities with the power to bestow favours and demand obedience: an intimate, personal relationship.

What i would say to someone who talks to a god? Nothing: i'd cross the street to avoid them.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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13-11-2011, 09:55 AM
RE: evidence that would convince
(13-11-2011 07:06 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  As a perfect illustration of my attitude in this regard, I have to copy in an excerpt from Richard Feynman's book, “The Meaning Of It All”, in which he gives a delightful account of how he would investigate someone’s claim of being a mind reader (I have posted it in another thread already but it fits perfectly here).

Feynman for the win Smile He's such a hero.
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13-11-2011, 10:35 AM (This post was last modified: 13-11-2011 10:39 AM by houseofcantor.)
RE: evidence that would convince
There is no evidence of god but god. I mean, what is "evidence?" Cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) is indicative of the singularity (BBT), but if one wanted to be 'fluffy' about it, one could say CMB is 'evidence' of omnipresent god.

It comes down to that 'necessary/sufficient' clause in philosophy; that anything less than god - must be something else. Wink

Second one is easy-peasy. God doesn't "speak." That'll blow yer head apart - jeez, doesn't anybody read that book? Mohammed dealt with Gabriel, Moses dealt with YHWH; the common link can be found in Ezekiel: Holy Spirit.

What is Holy Spirit? tao. The rhythm of the universe. Plenty of people get a sense of tao, don't get all "preachy" about it. Why? Humility, a key element in the tao te ching; distinctly lacking in the words of the prophets. One who is humble in the ways of tao sets an example rather than set examples over others. There is no eternal damnation in the tao.

In modern terms, considering a "speaking god," it is simple bandwidth. Voice is incredibly inefficient in terms of compression, that'd be almighty dumb, for a god to use this faulty, easily misinterpreted form of communication. Nah, scholars agree, if one does the research; vision from god is the telex. Wink

When does a human have a vision from god? In the terms of tao, daily. Anything inspiring, creative, new; whenever the mundane is illuminated with a previously unseen light, that is the spirit component of Adam. But in terms of god as Agency? Nah. Spin em. Big Grin
(13-11-2011 09:55 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(13-11-2011 07:06 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  As a perfect illustration of my attitude in this regard, I have to copy in an excerpt from Richard Feynman's book, “The Meaning Of It All”, in which he gives a delightful account of how he would investigate someone’s claim of being a mind reader (I have posted it in another thread already but it fits perfectly here).

Feynman for the win Smile He's such a hero.

...and an asshole. Smile

Watched that vid from Kim yesterday, one can see in is tone; there's a guy, wants to beat somebody with a stick, getting "god" in his physics. Love the guy. Eternal, in this mind. Wink

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13-11-2011, 11:07 AM
 
RE: evidence that would convince
(13-11-2011 10:35 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
Quote:Feynman for the win Smile He's such a hero.
...
...and an asshole. Smile
... Love the guy. Eternal, in this mind.

I am slowly building up a dictionary for translating Cantor.

Here is a new addition:

"asshole" = "real cool guy"

Big Grin
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13-11-2011, 12:52 PM
RE: evidence that would convince
What kind of evidence would convince me God exists? Good question.

Here's an answer. (Not original: It's based on ideas from the web site whywontgodhealamputees.com )

Gather 50,000 amputees into a stadium--people who have lost arms and legs to disease, accident, war . . . Suddenly an ineffable light fills the sky and a booming but beautiful voice is heard:

"Ladies and gentlemen, it's me, God. I do exist! And to prove it to you, I'm going to heal all of these amputees."

And miraculously, all the missing limbs start to grow back! Right then and there. Takes no more than a minute. And everybody's arms and legs are restored, good as new.

God could do it, right? After all, He is omnipotent. He can do anything.

Heck, I'd even settle for ONE instance of a healed amputee.

Why do I think it's never gonna happen?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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13-11-2011, 01:01 PM
 
RE: evidence that would convince
Of course, we would never know if it was a god or a "wormhole alien" (ala Deep Space 9)!

One person's god can always be another's alien with unbelievable powers.

(Have watched too many Star Trek episodes to believe in any human-invented god).

Odo was a god for the Worta, he was a security chief for Sisko, and an incredible lover for Kira Nerys. Big Grin
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