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-   -   Are gods like "invisible dragons in the garage"? (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=342588)

psionl0 11th March 2020 09:52 PM

Are gods like "invisible dragons in the garage"?
 
Every time I dare to post in this section, others immediately try to change the topic of the particular thread to "invisible dragons in the garage" regardless of the actual topic nor what I have posted.

I thought that I would create this thread so all of those arguments can be dealt with once and for all.

I would rather that the comparison be with "undetectable entities in the garage" but I understand that everybody wants to sillify the discussion.

Venom 11th March 2020 10:21 PM

It just sounds like they're trying to make a mockery of the whole subject.

Sort of like the "I identify as an attack helicopter" shots thrown at transgender advocates.

ynot 11th March 2020 10:49 PM

Are gods like "invisible dragons in the garage"?

Yes!

ETA - Dragons are as much "undetectable entities" as gods (why do you hate dragons?).

smartcooky 11th March 2020 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ynot (Post 13017349)
Are gods like "invisible dragons in the garage"?

Yes!

Indeed

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017324)
Every time I dare to post in this section, others immediately try to change the topic of the particular thread to "invisible dragons in the garage" regardless of the actual topic nor what I have posted.

I thought that I would create this thread so all of those arguments can be dealt with once and for all.

I would rather that the comparison be with "undetectable entities in the garage" but I understand that everybody wants to sillify the discussion.

I see what you are doing here as a blatant attempt at a general poisoning of the well. You don't like or want people making the "invisible dragons" argument because its undermines your points.

The fact is that "invisible dragons" IS a valid corollary for any argument against accepting claims without evidence, and the existence of god, or for that matter, any gods, IS a claim without any supporting evidence.

psionl0 11th March 2020 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smartcooky (Post 13017363)
You don't like or want people making the "invisible dragons" argument because its undermines your points.

No, it's because it is invariably a deliberate thread derail which is a clear rule 11 violation.

That is why I have created this thread so give it your best shot. (BTW "you are an idiot" is not your best shot).

psionl0 12th March 2020 12:20 AM

There are two problems (probably more) that I have with this analogy:
  1. "in the garage"
    This implies that the discussion is only about whether there are gods on Earth. This does not allow for the possibility that there may be gods elsewhere in the universe that choose not to have any interaction with this planet (despite what the believers might say). Then we would never know if they existed or not.
  2. "dragons"
    If the discussion was about a specific entity (eg Buddha) then "dragon" might be fair enough. But is you are only discussing gods in general, then it would be more apt to compare that with invisible entities in the garage.

sphenisc 12th March 2020 12:35 AM

No, they have different definitions.

Darat 12th March 2020 12:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sphenisc (Post 13017385)
No, they have different definitions.

That's not usually the case, one is actually defined, one isn't. Without a stated definition for the word "god" any discussion or "arguments" are meaningless.

xjx388 12th March 2020 01:06 AM

I donít think you are grokking the analogy.

The way I think of it: If I say thereís a dragon in my garage, you might want proof. I will keep on adding properties to the dragon that make it undetectable to your tests for its existence. At what point do you conclude there is no dragon in my garage?

And so it goes for gods.

Itís really simple and I donít see a good way around it.

HansMustermann 12th March 2020 01:12 AM

Actually, I'd say it gets even better than some people realize, because in China the Dragon King is worshipped as an actual god. If you ever wondered what's with the Chinese dragon processions in China, yeah, that's about that one specific god.

So essentially even if one wants to wiggle their way out of the analogy by some kind of "we were talking about gods, not dragons", well, I just proposed a dragon god. Now where is the evidence for the bearded guy in the sky, if you need evidence for my water dragon god.

psionl0 12th March 2020 01:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13017401)
I donít think you are grokking the analogy.

The way I think of it: If I say thereís a dragon in my garage, you might want proof. I will keep on adding properties to the dragon that make it undetectable to your tests for its existence. At what point do you conclude there is no dragon in my garage?

And so it goes for gods.

Itís really simple and I donít see a good way around it.

What if you say there is a dragon outside your garage?
What if you say there is some undefined invisible entity in your garage?

psionl0 12th March 2020 01:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HansMustermann (Post 13017403)
Now where is the evidence for the bearded guy in the sky, if you need evidence for my water dragon god.

They should be both subjected to the same scientific standard if we are looking for proof.

At least we got out of the garage.

sphenisc 12th March 2020 01:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 13017395)
That's not usually the case, one is actually defined, one isn't. Without a stated definition for the word "god" any discussion or "arguments" are meaningless.

They both have definitions, as can be found in pretty well any dictionary.

sphenisc 12th March 2020 01:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13017401)
I donít think you are grokking the analogy.

The way I think of it: If I say thereís a dragon in my garage, you might want proof. I will keep on adding properties to the dragon that make it undetectable to your tests for its existence. At what point do you conclude there is no dragon in my garage?

And so it goes for gods.

Itís really simple and I donít see a good way around it.

At two possible points. Either where there is no dragon in your garage by definition, or where the additional property means that the concept described no longer meets the definition of 'dragon'.

HansMustermann 12th March 2020 01:31 AM

I don't see how or why the garage is a problem, really.

Most arguments for God typically go in this order:
1. reversing the burden of proof (well, how do you show there ISN'T a god?), and invariably
2. faith in faith (yeah, but look how much happier and better person I am after I found god)

At least with the first one, limiting it to a garage instead of the whole universe and even outside the universe, is just showing how unreasonable that kind of reversal of the burden of proof is anyway. Even if I meet you half-way, so to speak, and limit the space where you need to look for the undetectable dragon to 10 cubic metres or so, it's still not a reasonable request.

THAT is the point of the garage. (Well, it would be to store the car, but now it won't fit in because of the bloody dragon;))

And it works in a pinch for the second argument too. You found Jesus? Well, I found a dragon. In fact, I'll even tell you where I found it. It was in the garage all the time :p

Now how do you know my dragon isn't making people even better? :p

psionl0 12th March 2020 01:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HansMustermann (Post 13017419)
At least with the first one, limiting it to a garage instead of the whole universe and even outside the universe, is just showing how unreasonable that kind of reversal of the burden of proof is anyway.

How is limiting God to a specific region demonstrating that?

If somebody claims to have discovered God in a different galaxy are you going to say that it doesn't count because it's not on Earth?

Deadie 12th March 2020 01:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017405)
What if you say there is a dragon outside your garage?
What if you say there is some undefined invisible entity in your garage?

The garage itself, or whether something is inside it or outside of it is completely irrelevant. This thing being a dragon or something else, invisible or otherwise is also irrelevant.

Carl Sagan's point when he wrote about it, was as a thought experiment concerning the burden of proof and where it ought to lie and how unfalsifiable propositions can easily dodge attempts at scrutiny. Invisible dragon in his garage is literally an entire chapter in Demon haunted world.

edit: wrong book title..:boggled:

psionl0 12th March 2020 02:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deadie (Post 13017437)
The garage itself, or whether something is inside it or outside of it is completely irrelevant. This thing being a dragon or something else, invisible or otherwise is also irrelevant.

Carl Sagan's point when he wrote about it, was as a thought experiment concerning the burden of proof and where it ought to lie and how unfalsifiable propositions can easily dodge attempts at scrutiny. Invisible dragon in his garage is literally an entire chapter in Demon haunted world.

edit: wrong book title..:boggled:

Saying that apples are bad because oranges are bad isn't valid reasoning.

You need to compare like with like before you can make any reasonable inferences.

The Great Zaganza 12th March 2020 02:17 AM

would explain the scratches on the side of the car ...

Deadie 12th March 2020 02:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017444)
Saying that apples are bad because oranges are bad isn't valid reasoning.

Non-sequitar?

You don't seem to understand the thought experiment. I would recommend reading that chapter if you have the book.

"Now what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon that spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there is no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so."
-Carl Sagan

Darat 12th March 2020 02:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sphenisc (Post 13017414)
They both have definitions, as can be found in pretty well any dictionary.

Actually they don't in terms of being able to use the words in an argument. For example most gods people claim they believe in do not claim to have created the universe. Such gods are a small subset of gods, so if you want to use the creation of the universe to make an ontological argument as PsionIO has done in the past you need to define your god for it to have meaning. Sadly as with all such arguments that ends up as being circular logic. This is why PsionI0 fights so hard to not define what they mean by god as they know as sooner as they define it their arguments fail.

Darat 12th March 2020 02:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 13017449)
would explain the scratches on the side of the car ...

Hadn't thought of that. What a great excuse, no I didn't scrape the car, the dragon did it... Hang on that's the argument a lot of believers in god use as well "goddidit".

psionl0 12th March 2020 02:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deadie (Post 13017454)
Non-sequitar?

You don't seem to understand the thought experiment. I would recommend reading that chapter if you have the book.

"Now what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon that spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there is no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so."
-Carl Sagan

Not a single word about garages in that quote.

Deadie 12th March 2020 04:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017465)
Not a single word about garages in that quote.

Ok, you are clearly being deliberately obtuse at this point.

smartcooky 12th March 2020 04:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017370)
No, it's because it is invariably a deliberate thread derail which is a clear rule 11 violation.

Rubbish.

Any discussion about the existence or non-existence of god/gods, it always comes down to a case where the believers are making unsubstantiated, evidence-free claims.

Its is NOT a Rule 11 violation to used the "invisible dragons" argument to back the "gods/god do/does not exist" position because it is making the same exact argument.

Sagan's statement was "Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists?"

You can paraphrase this, replacing references to the dragon and what it does, with references to God what what it is claimed he does, and not only does it make sense, it shows that the invisible dragon argument IS a valid refutation of the existence of a real god.

"Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating God who invokes fire and brimstone and no God at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that God exists?"

Crossbow 12th March 2020 05:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017324)
Every time I dare to post in this section, others immediately try to change the topic of the particular thread to "invisible dragons in the garage" regardless of the actual topic nor what I have posted.

I thought that I would create this thread so all of those arguments can be dealt with once and for all.

I would rather that the comparison be with "undetectable entities in the garage" but I understand that everybody wants to sillify the discussion.

Sure thing.

Gods are indeed like "invisible dragons in the garage".

But then again, since god/gods can mean whatever one wants them mean, then this definition of gods is just as valid as any other definition of gods.

JoeMorgue 12th March 2020 05:52 AM

Oh my God are you still butthurt about this?

Yes it's the same thing. The fact that you refuse to see it as the same thing is LITERALLY THE GODDAMN POINT.

DuvalHMFIC 12th March 2020 06:03 AM

If a god could be anywhere or be anything, who's to say that god isn't a dragon in JoeMorgue's garage?

I'd say it could be in my garage but there's no room-we horde stuff in there. Even hang the bikes from the rafters to free up more room. A dragon wouldn't fit.

Belz... 12th March 2020 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017324)
Every time I dare to post in this section, others immediately try to change the topic of the particular thread to "invisible dragons in the garage" regardless of the actual topic nor what I have posted.

Ok, let me help.

Analogies are used in discussions in order to illustrate a point or evaluate whether the logic of an argument works. It allows us to verify whether our states principles or criteria hold across similar scenarios, and to test the strength of our arguments.

In this case, yes, invisible garage dragons, being undetectable, magical and silly all at once, are an excellent analogy to gods, who are considered not silly by their believers.

Glad to have cleared that up for you.

Belz... 12th March 2020 06:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017405)
What if you say there is a dragon outside your garage?

It still works: in this case, that means that there are no dragons in the garage.

If you want to make a case for a god defined to vaguely or so uniquely that we can no longer say there is a god to the universe we inhabit, have fun with that.

carlitos 12th March 2020 06:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017370)
No, it's because it is invariably a deliberate thread derail which is a clear rule 11 violation.

That is why I have created this thread so give it your best shot. (BTW "you are an idiot" is not your best shot).

You are lecturing people about poisoning the well, and rule 11 violations, and you introduce a quotation "you are an idiot" that no one has said. Not your best shot, either, I guess.

Belz... 12th March 2020 06:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carlitos (Post 13017580)
You are lecturing people about poisoning the well, and rule 11 violations, and you introduce a quotation "you are an idiot" that no one has said. Not your best shot, either, I guess.

To be fair I think he was just anticipating the "shot", rather than commenting about its previous use.

carlitos 12th March 2020 06:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 13017449)
would explain the scratches on the side of the car ...

Mrs carlito and I share both a Kindle account and a garage. I may have to delete Sagan from both.

JoeMorgue 12th March 2020 06:27 AM

Okay to break it down to bare maths levels.

We are presented with two scenarios. God and an invisible, undetectable, fire breathing dragon in my garage.

Both scenarios are equally explainable, are equally immune from counter claims (both being essentially built out of nothing but special pleadings), and equal reasons to be even asking the question "Is the thing in question there?" in the first place.

That last point is key. Carl Sagan's "Dragon in my Garage" is not, shocker, an attempt to start an actual intellectual discussion about the existence of a dragon in anyone's garage.

It's get someone to explain to us why we're asking the God question in the firstplace.

So this is now we're in a callout thread where we're still asking for someone to answer that question.

Cavemonster 12th March 2020 06:40 AM

Are you having a problem with the whole idea of a thought experiment?

The particular objects and setting of thought experiments are generally picked for a few reasons.

1) To focus on a more or less narrow question and carve away parts of real world cases that are irrelevant to that narrow question. In this case the question is epistemological, how should we treat a claim that can't be evidenced?

2) To create some distance from habits, traditions and (irrelevant) emotional investments around a subject. For this purpose it's actually sometimes advantageous for the subject to be quite different from the real world subject being addressed, so long as it retains enough similarity to satisfy focus on the narrow question.

3) To be clear and memorable. And just from human nature they tend to be more memorable if they're a little entertaining.

It does not have to be a dragon in the garage, just like it does not have to be people tied to trolley tracks or acat in a box, or a famous violinist it my grandfather's axe. These are all simply formulations made to address these particular philosophical questions that do a pretty good job if filling the criteria above.

They could all easily be replaced by new thought experiments, but the originals are well formulated, so why reinvent the wheel?

psionl0 12th March 2020 06:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deadie (Post 13017525)
Ok, you are clearly being deliberately obtuse at this point.

Well the garage seems to be an important part of the analogy to a lot of other people in this thread.

Leaving that aside, Carl Sagan's assertion that "Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless" could easily apply to the concept of alien life. It could even apply to the idea of aliens being present but having technology that is sufficiently advanced that they can avoid detection by human technology.

Is there any reason why we must focus on a silly made-up example rather than a slightly more plausible but equally untestable example?

JayUtah 12th March 2020 06:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017370)
No, it's because it is invariably a deliberate thread derail which is a clear rule 11 violation.

I don't see how. And, apparently, neither do the people who made the rule. Besides, in another thread you tried to analogize reasoning about belief in gods to reasoning about belief in very intelligent aliens. So if you're allowed to draw analogies but your critics aren't, where does that put us in terms of allegations of rule violations?

The real theme of this thread doesn't seem to be about gods. It seems to be you complaining that your critics always argue unfairly and inappropriately. And from what I've seen so far, you seem to be baiting them into making only the type of arguments that you can portray as unfair and inappropriate. I wonder if the dictionary has a word for that activity.

Loss Leader 12th March 2020 06:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psionl0 (Post 13017376)
There are two problems (probably more) that I have with this analogy:

"in the garage"
This implies that the discussion is only about whether there are gods on Earth. This does not allow for the possibility that there may be gods elsewhere in the universe that choose not to have any interaction with this planet (despite what the believers might say). Then we would never know if they existed or not.


Okay. I accept your argument at face value. There are gods elsewhere in the universe that choose not to have any interaction with this planet such that no person could ever know if they existed or not.

I'm not sure what "god" means in that scenario. It's certainly less than the omnibenevolent entity interfering in human affairs.

However, granting your definition, so what? What would such gods have to do with us? They cannot be proven or disproven and have no effect on us. So, are you satisfied this this as a definition of god? Is this the god whose existence you want to defend? You've already said it's unknowable. Thus, its indefensible.

Just to be sociable, though, I'll take your word that such entities exist.

That was step 1. What's your step 2?


Quote:

"dragons"
If the discussion was about a specific entity (eg Buddha) then "dragon" might be fair enough. But is you are only discussing gods in general, then it would be more apt to compare that with invisible entities in the garage.


Okay, I'll take your word. I'm not sure how the label "god" differs from "dragon." They're both just nouns with an arbitrarily assigned value. However, if you would be more comfortable if I argued there's an unprovable "entity" in my garage, I am down for it.

So, that's step 1 of that. What's your step 2?

Thermal 12th March 2020 06:48 AM

L'Advoquette de la Deville:

A being that created time and space would not logically be bound by it, or be found within it. It would be beyond both.

The garage, of course is a small area fully bound and searchable. What is the comparable search area for a being that created the entirety of the universe? Have you searched it?

The garage argument is certainly straw, ascribing local boundaries of the search to the area created by it's creator, who probably wouldn't be there. If I bake a cake, you wouldn't look for me inside the ******* cake.

Darat 12th March 2020 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DuvalHMFIC (Post 13017568)
If a god could be anywhere or be anything, who's to say that god isn't a dragon in JoeMorgue's garage?

I'd say it could be in my garage but there's no room-we horde stuff in there. Even hang the bikes from the rafters to free up more room. A dragon wouldn't fit.

A very small dragon? Or one that stands outside our reality....


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