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

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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:25 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
There's also the fact that every single testable god has been shown to be fictional. Allowing for the posibility of a god because we don't know everything is a bit too "god of the gaps" for my taste.
Ooo, I like that. I shall add it to my argument where it fits.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:49 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I think the conclusion of science is NOT "We followed the evidence and found there is no god".

It is more like "We have no evidence to follow, so an entity like god is superfluous: It's just not something that needs to be included in our hypotheses."
Yeah, it's basically Occam's razor that is excluding gods.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:21 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
How do you "hold a lack of belief"?
I meant that as "hold a belief" or "lack a belief".

What you're saying may be true but it's trivial. In my opinion it renders the word "atheist" useless. You'll have to come up with another word to describe people that are aware of God beliefs and dismiss them (i.e. people who don't believe in God)
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:25 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
There is no need for a god or gods in science. It's non-theistic.
Anyone who thinks science is atheistic or theistic really shouldn't be let near a test-tube.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:27 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by joobz View Post
science is as atheistic as chairs.
Exactly right. Anyone who thinks you need a religious belief to make chairs is clearly deluded. That doesn't mean that making chairs turns you into an atheist.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:34 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
Exactly right. Anyone who thinks you need a religious belief to make chairs is clearly deluded. That doesn't mean that making chairs turns you into an atheist.
I find that a very good point.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:44 PM   #47
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I said no. If there was a god, science would be able to find him out, sooner or later. So far it did not find him. It does not mean god does not exist (unfortunately). Science is about finding truth, without presuming the output.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:53 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by slingblade
I find that a very good point.
I don't. After all,
Originally Posted by Dinwar
There's also the fact that every single testable god has been shown to be fictional.
Making chairs doesn't question the fundamentle truths about reality. Science does. The two are incomperable. We've proven that Zeus isn't responsible for lightning, that Poseiden isn't responsible for ocean waves, that Apollo doesn't move the Sun. These are all gods that have been shown, beyond any reasonable doubt, to not exist. Making chairs doesn't have any means of proving gods don't exist.

In other words, science and engineering are different fields for a reason.

Originally Posted by Dr.Sid
Science is about finding truth, without presuming the output.
Not really. Check out Strong Inferrence sometime. The trick is to acknowledge the biases when you presume the outcome, and to establish firm criteria for evaluating whether you're right or not. After all, every time we test a theory or hypothesis we presume the output--otherwise, there'd be no test.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:06 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Humes fork View Post
From here:
To some extent I have to agree with Joobz: "science is as atheistic as chairs." Means, it does not really apply.

On the other hand, I do not see what inherently stands against the notion that Gods might be scientifically scrutinizable. Sure, there is a lot of talk from mainly religious people that God is beyond science, or some such, but that is just talk that lacks any kind of basis. I have seen no good argument for why that is so.

Tallying up gives a clear "No, science is not inherently atheistic."



(ETA: De facto, science may be pretty atheistic. But that does not cover "inherently".)

Last edited by Lord Emsworth; 2nd May 2012 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:36 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
Are we talking about science, Science, or scientists here?

Science, big S, the guiding philosophical outlook with which science is ideally practiced, I would argue is inherently atheistic at this time.
Science, big S, the guiding philosophical outlook with which science is ideally practiced, has nothing to do with belief at all.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:37 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by westprog
Science, big S, the guiding philosophical outlook with which science is ideally practiced, has nothing to do with belief at all.
Right--it just opperates on the assumption that gods don't exist, explicitely rejecting any suggestion of supernatural causes in favor of a naturalistic worldview. Science doesn't reject gods; Science merely demands that if they exist, they be less consequential than the smallest insect, less meaningful than the most average quark, that they have less impact on the universe than a volume of pure vaccuum.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:47 PM   #52
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Quote:
Is science inherently atheistic?
Let's rephrase the question: does God impart a tangible, measurable force on the physical environment? Many theists believe so. And if God's impact is observable, it can be observed and measured. Perhaps we couldn't account for God in our scientific theories, but if God's existence is empirically verifiable, its not possible, by definition, that science is atheistic.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:49 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Right--it just opperates on the assumption that gods don't exist, explicitely rejecting any suggestion of supernatural causes in favor of a naturalistic worldview. Science doesn't reject gods; Science merely demands that if they exist, they be less consequential than the smallest insect, less meaningful than the most average quark, that they have less impact on the universe than a volume of pure vaccuum.
That involves a total misunderstanding of what the naturalistic assumption means.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:54 PM   #54
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If a person were located that had never been exposed to any religious belief at all, and was completely ignorant of the concept of the supernatural, would we call them Atheistic ?
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Old 2nd May 2012, 04:05 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
If a person were located that had never been exposed to any religious belief at all, and was completely ignorant of the concept of the supernatural, would we call them Atheistic ?
Depends on the definition, and defining atheism is sort of 15000 page past-time on forums like this
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Old 2nd May 2012, 04:50 PM   #56
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Old 2nd May 2012, 04:56 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
If a person were located that had never been exposed to any religious belief at all, and was completely ignorant of the concept of the supernatural, would we call them Atheistic ?
It would be fine to do so because they would be a person who is capable of holding or not holding a belief. I think to say that something that can't have a belief by default doesn't have it is silly. I see it as a way of injecting the word "atheist" into areas that it doesn't belong or trying to make it a default position to get some sort of upper hand in some debate.

ETA: it would be interesting to see if that person has some sort of God belief though.

Last edited by Peterson; 2nd May 2012 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 05:16 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
If a person were located that had never been exposed to any religious belief at all, and was completely ignorant of the concept of the supernatural, would we call them Atheistic ?
Ever heard of Pern?
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Old 2nd May 2012, 05:27 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
Exactly right. Anyone who thinks you need a religious belief to make chairs is clearly deluded. That doesn't mean that making chairs turns you into an atheist.
However, nobody says that science turns everyone into atheists. That is clearly false.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 05:27 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by westprog
That involves a total misunderstanding of what the naturalistic assumption means.
Or, you know, I DISAGREE WITH YOU. I mean, unless you're claiming omniscience. Are you? Because there's a word for that.

Originally Posted by Distracted1
If a person were located that had never been exposed to any religious belief at all, and was completely ignorant of the concept of the supernatural, would we call them Atheistic ?
No. Supernaturalism is hard-wired into humans. We look for agency even when there isn't any (ie, we assume that things which do stuff do it intentionally or because something intentionally caused it to do that stuff, whether there's any way for them TO do it intentionally or not), we see faces at the smallest provocation (paradolia), etc. Superstition is the default setting, because those who weren't superstitious tended to get eaten by saber-toothed cats and short-faced bears in the Pleistocene.

Odds are they'd be animistic (animalistic? a follower of animism). That's what most truly primitive cultures (ie, Pleistocene aged peoples) were, far as we can tell. Rational atheism--not believing in gods because there's no proof for them--is actually quite an advanced concept, because in order to understand that there's no proof for gods you have to have a pretty good handle on how the universe works.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 05:37 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Lord Emsworth View Post
....
On the other hand, I do not see what inherently stands against the notion that Gods might be scientifically scrutinizable. Sure, there is a lot of talk from mainly religious people that God is beyond science, or some such, but that is just talk that lacks any kind of basis. I have seen no good argument for why that is so.

Tallying up gives a clear "No, science is not inherently atheistic."



(ETA: De facto, science may be pretty atheistic. But that does not cover "inherently".)
I'm in agreement with this. I tend to go for the, science finds gods are mythical, but that is what the evidence supports. The scientific process is following the evidence but it doesn't create the evidence, it only leads to conclusions based on evidence.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 02:37 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Or, you know, I DISAGREE WITH YOU. I mean, unless you're claiming omniscience. Are you? Because there's a word for that.
I didn't notice any "In my opinions" or "I don't really know for sure but this is what I think" in what you wrote. You seemed omniscient as heck.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 03:08 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
As noted before... If there were evidence pointing to something..."Supernatural", then perhaps it would be explored. Say, we find an odd fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum that appears to be "grace"....
At present, nothing of the sort has been detected....
Indeed, adding "through God" or something similar is precisely one step (1) less parsimonious than a model or explanation lacking this qualifier. Therefore, there is at least a potential room for the supernatural (whether this term includes God or not), in the same way that some phylogenies are seen as "more reasonable" than the most parsimonious one. The reasoning behind accepting the second most parsimonious explanation, if this includes the supernatural, would have to be almost infinitely well supported, however.

---
(1) Not all steps are of equal length, of course. This one is a huge step.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 03:19 AM   #64
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Westprog, do you actually have a point, or do you just get a boner out of pointlessly splitting hairs about what some words taken out of context suggest to you?

Because the blog post linked in the OP explains exactly what it means by it, and where that discussion about doing science and theism/atheism comes from. More specifically, he doesn't claim that science itself holds any belief, that's your own strawman. And, really, you don't even have to click on a link, because enough is quoted in the OP to make it clear exactly what is meant.

So exactly what's the point in turning it into some irrelevant derail about basically how you read a cluster of words if you take it out of context?

Last edited by HansMustermann; 3rd May 2012 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 03:31 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Science seems to be naturally agnostic. Whether god or gods exist, or not, seems to be a question that can not be answered by Science, empirically. So, it just doesn't know.
I don't think science is agnostic. If gods existed in a meaningful fashion, i.e. answered prayers, dabbled in the affairs of mortals, all the things gods are said to do by god-botherers, then there would be evidence of gods, and that would be part of science. You could hypothesize that one sort of prayer or another would be more effective, or that god prefers one sort of burnt offering over another, or that one race gets their prayers answered more often, that sort of thing. Then you'd design experiments, run tests, and get answers. God isn't part of science because when they overlap, god loses. One defense is the god of the gaps; stick your little deity into the places science hasn't gone yet, and hope to avoid notice for another decade or two, until science closes that gap too, and god has to move into crummier digs yet again. The other defense is to hypothesize an invisible god, who does nothing of relevance. That's where science says 'don't know', but at that point science might just as well say "who cares?" since an invisible nonparticipant god might as well not exist.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 04:24 AM   #66
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I just love how the question of the existence of God gets hair split down to such nuclear levels.

If you ask is the sky blue no one runs into the conversation waving their hands over the head screaming "Wait! Wait! What do you mean by that!? Do you mean is the sky blue? Do you mean can you prove the sky is blue? Do you mean that color of the sky isn't a factor in your life? Do you mean ya ya da word salad wall of texts Obi Wan Kenobi Speak..."

And I detest the "You have to apologetically tack on 'my opinion' modifiers onto arbitrary statements" mentality.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 05:23 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
Exactly right. Anyone who thinks you need a religious belief to make chairs is clearly deluded. That doesn't mean that making chairs turns you into an atheist.
Which was never the argument being made but in any case your rebuttal is a silly one.

Going to church is inherently theistic, but going to church won't make you believe in God.

The Humanists are inherently atheistic but joining the Humanists won't make you an atheist.

Doing any action X won't necessarily change what you think or believe. Even when the action is inherently at odds with your beliefs.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 05:53 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin View Post
I don't think science is agnostic. If gods existed in a meaningful fashion, i.e. answered prayers, dabbled in the affairs of mortals, all the things gods are said to do by god-botherers, then there would be evidence of gods, and that would be part of science.
Not only that, but some tenets of science would really be untenable.

E.g., if you believed that there is a God who interferes in whether your actions are successful or not, based on how devout you are, then insisting on reproducibility would make no sense. And for that matter, falsifying would be just about impossible impossible. Then if that guy says he got cold fusion, while several attempts at reproducing the experiment verbatim show no such thing, how would you know if his theory is wrong, or he's simply more devout than you and God rewarded him with cold fusion? Or maybe it's just a part of God's plan? Or he's testing you? Etc.

As soon as you let a whimsical and meddling god in, that's exactly that kind of unpredictability that starts being expected, and that kind of rationalizations that make every claim unfalsifiable.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 06:16 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Ever heard of Pern?
Unless you are referring to the Novels of Ann McCaffrey ( of which I am not a fan)- No.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 06:26 AM   #70
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Inasmuch as a system of investigation (science) can have a belief, I think science is Athiestic.

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

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

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

If I leave the "God did it" hypothesis out of the testing- it is an Atheistic test because it presumes that "God did it" is not an option.
Since Scientific inquiry leaves "God did it" out of all testing, science is Atheistic.

Last edited by Distracted1; 3rd May 2012 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 08:14 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by westprog
I didn't notice any "In my opinions" or "I don't really know for sure but this is what I think" in what you wrote. You seemed omniscient as heck.
This is a cheap rhetorical trick and you know it. In a discussion, unless someone cites a source you can assume it's their opinion. I'm a scientist, so my opinion should carry more weight than, say, that of an accountant, but it's still just my opinion. If you expect me to put "In my opinion" or "I don't really know for sure" in front of everything I say your only possible justification is to place an undue burden on me, in order to shut me up. For example, I notice that in all our conversations, you rarely put "In my opinion" before your posts. No, it seems you only demand that those who disagree with you preface their posts that way.

It's a tactic I'm very familiar with, and I have absolutely no patience with it. We're adults here. Let's act like it.

Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles
Doing any action X won't necessarily change what you think or believe. Even when the action is inherently at odds with your beliefs.
True. It's always funny to read about atheistic priests.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 08:24 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Unless you are referring to the Novels of Ann McCaffrey ( of which I am not a fan)- No.
.
Anything can occur in a novel.
Keeping it real universe is more better for this thread.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 08:30 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Not exactly. Try, "we followed the evidence and it supported the conclusion gods are fictional human inventions. No evidence led anywhere else."
Perhaps it depends on what one means by "god".

If someone is trying to define God in an empirical manner, your statement is correct. The evidence seems to indicate that all empirical "evidence" purported to be of god, so far, can better be explained (empirically) as an act of human invention (or, less politely, delusion).

However, if someone is trying to define God as some sort of inherently non-empirical entity, then almost by definition, it would be outside the realm of science.


Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
...This is a bit stronger than merely "they're superfluous"--black holes are superfluous to paleontology, but they're still worthy of consideration, however.
Black holes might be superfluous to paleontology, but not to cosmology or fundamental physics (theoretical or otherwise).

The concept of God, (as a non-empirical entity), would be superfluous for every science! That's what I like to say.

Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Yeah, it's basically Occam's razor that is excluding gods.
That's another way of putting it.

Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin View Post
I don't think science is agnostic. If gods existed in a meaningful fashion...
So, perhaps you agree with my response to Skeptic Ginger?
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Old 3rd May 2012, 08:38 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger
Black holes might be superfluous to paleontology, but not to cosmology or fundamental physics (theoretical or otherwise).

The concept of God, (as a non-empirical entity), would be superfluous for every science! That's what I like to say.
Right, which is more or less my point. A hypothesis can be superfluous to a particular field of inquiery but still be critical to another. If a hypothesis is superfluous to ALL fields of inquiery the thing the hypothesis deals with does not, for any rational sense of the word, exist. And when a whole school of thought is built on the assumption that a particular hypothesis is superfluous to all its subordinate fields of inquiery, we can say that that school of thought rejects that hypothesis.

Quote:
If someone is trying to define God in an empirical manner, your statement is correct.
Every god that CAN be tested HAS been tested and has been shown to be non-existent. WIth that track record, it's not unreasonable to assume that the rest are of equal validity.

Quote:
However, if someone is trying to define God as some sort of inherently non-empirical entity
....then they're engaging in word-games to salvage a concept that's essentially disproven. Scientists shouldn't bother with semantics arguments.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 08:47 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
...
However, if someone is trying to define God as some sort of inherently non-empirical entity, then almost by definition, it would be outside the realm of science.
Look, I get to use it already. You are describing a god of the gap god. Or maybe that's not quite how to word it. I shall have to work on it.


I'm not talking about making up an invisible unicorn/garage dragon/deist god and contemplating my naval. In the magical universe of fiction gods of all kinds exist.


Your post suggests you're missing my point. The only evidence of gods that can be found is in fictional stories and texts. I'm saying that is the evidence we should look at and there is no reason to contemplate the possible existence of anything and everything one can imagine including fictional gods other than as an intellectual exercise.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 11:05 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Peterson View Post
I meant that as "hold a belief" or "lack a belief".
But if it doesn't hold a belief, then it lacks belief. What do you think "lack" means?

The absence of belief is not something. It is the absence of something.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 11:17 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not talking about making up an invisible unicorn/garage dragon/deist god and contemplating my naval. In the magical universe of fiction gods of all kinds exist.
Agreed. Probably the worst thing about being anti-woo is having to deal with all that metaphysical, solipistic, quasi-philosophical hair splitting that ironically enough the woo apologist love to engage in more so then even the woo slingers themselve, although they are not above it.

The level conversations about woo almost always get dragged down would just be so obviously absurd in any other discussion. In no other discussion is the distinction between "Don't think it exists" and "Think it doesn't exist" ever even an issue. In no other type of discussion does anywhere ever run in and shut down the discussion with some pretentious appeal to reality denial. There is no equivilent to agnostic in other discussions. In no other discussion is not having an opinion seen as an opinion.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 11:34 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I'm not talking about making up an invisible unicorn/garage dragon/deist god and contemplating my naval. In the magical universe of fiction gods of all kinds exist.
Do you ever wonder how many sailors can dance in your naval?
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Old 3rd May 2012, 11:35 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I think the conclusion of science is NOT "We followed the evidence and found there is no god".

It is more like "We have no evidence to follow, so an entity like god is superfluous: It's just not something that needs to be included in our hypotheses."

On the contrary, there is a vast mountain of “evidence”. None of it suggests a God (ie Biblical or Koranic). Most if not all of it seems to be entirely incompatible with any such God.


Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Science seems to be naturally agnostic. Whether god or gods exist, or not, seems to be a question that can not be answered by Science, empirically. So, it just doesn't know.

Oh, I think it was answered by science long ago. The answer is that as far as we can tell, from all known evidence, the God does not exist (and never has).


If you were expecting science to be able to decide the God question, or any other question, as a matter of absolute literal 100% certainty, then the scientific answer appears to be that absolute literal certainty of that sort doesn’t exist for anything.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 11:52 AM   #80
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Normal Conversations:

Bob: Ted is there a chair in this room?
Ted: Well Bob I don't see a chair, so I'm gonna say no.
Bob: I agree. No chair.

Bob: Ted is there a chair in this room?
Ted: Yes there is Bob.
Bob: I don't see a chair.
Ted: It's over there Bob, behind the couch.
Bob: Ah now I see it.

Bob: Ted is there a chair in this room?
Ted: Yes Bob there is a chair.
Bob: Where? I don't see a chair.
Ted: Ah you are right. Upon closer look I was mistaken, there is no chair.

Woo Conversations:

Bob: Ted is there a chair in this room?
Ted: Well I see no evidence that there is a chair, but I also see no evidence that there isn't a chair, so I'm going to remain chairnostic.
Bob: Errr what? What possible evidence could there be that there isn't a chair in this room other then there not being a chair?
Ted: Well I don't know, but I simply don't feel comfortable saying "The chair doesn't exist" until the somehow someone proves the chair doesn't exist.

Bob: Ted is there a chair in this room?
Ted: I don't see a chair Bob.
Bob: Right, neither do I. So we agree, there is no chair in this room.
Ted: Whoa, whoa, whoa Bob. I didn't say anything about there not being a chair in this room. I just said I don't see a chair. It's possible I'm a butterfly's brain in a jar dreaming I'm a man chained to Plato's Wall in the Matrix.

Bob: Ted is there a chair in this room?
Ted: I don't see a chair Bob.
Bob: Right, neither do I. So we agree, there is no chair in this room.
Ted: Don't you mean "It's my opinion that there is no chair but I could be wrong?"
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