Empirical Evidence of God

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Bowser, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Like Jan, it sounds like you're another one who doesn't really understand how evolution works.

    It's not a matter of conscious planning or something "conceiving" of something. The cuttlefish is the result of a long sequence of evolution from other living things. The apparatus and ability to change colour has increased over time, through different species.

    Think back to how this would have started. Suppose that one of the ancestors of modern cuttlefish developed a spot on its skin that could change colour to match the background colour, even if only slightly. That cuttlefish would, on average, be a little harder for predators to see than its fellow non-colour-changing cuttlefish. Therefore, that cuttlefish would be just a bit more likely to survive long enough to pass its genes on to the next generation, thus also passing on the colour-changing trait. Over many generations, those cuttlefish that developed better colour-changing abilities (by random variation) would tend to be selected by evolution and would come to dominate the cuttlefish population, all else being equal.

    Again, understanding is not required. Those plants that, by chance, balanced their pumping systems better than their competitors for the same ecological niche, would preferentially survive to the next generation, passing on the superior-pumping genes.

    See how it works?
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  3. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    So there is no evidence for God.
    I looked on the Net as Jan suggested and all I found was evidence that there is no evidence for god however there is volumes of evidence suggesting theists are dishonest and make all sorts of unsupported claims in favour of their unsuppprted god stories and misrepresent the fact that science rejects intelligent design.
    You would think religious folk would not tell lies but generalising they seem to depend on lies to stop their nonsense being exposed as crap...why lie if you have the truth...why lie if you have the truth...you lie because you know you have been conned and cant face the fact you have been conned.

    Theists are the indeed an unfortunate group fighting to support an unevidenced notion of a god and an unbelievable god story that has a god preoccupied with original sin and a plot that is simply beyond reason or credibility...and why...well they have been fed such crap since birth and have an unhealthy fear of death and presumably such shitty lives that they must wish there is something better after they die...you die you fools so get over it...if there was a God would he only reveal himself to a few bronze age folk in one very very small part of the world....sure...if you beloeve that you will believe any crap...well of course you do but if you thought about it you see that god waz made up by superstitious folk which is ok but today you still buy it...are you crazy...really are you crazy?

    think it thru and ask does any of it make a bean of sense or are you just so scared of dieing you will pervert all of your thinking skill to accept any nonsence that holds a fairy tale promise of another life.

    How stupid do you have to be to accept such a lie..

    None of it makes any sense.

    The Universe can only be eternal and so needs no creator but if you demand a creator realise by your logic of everything must have a cause then god also needs a cause..god also needs a creator ( he has one of course superstitious folk from the bronze age is his creator)...finding a creator only demands you find a creator for the creator and a creator of that creator...if you stop at god the problem of cause, the one you set out to answer, goes unanswered...your whole reason for cause goes unanswered..dont you get that? Even a creator needs a creator...but in anyevent you still die and become atoms with no meaning or feeling or memory...just think about that for a while the truth is you die and there is no more..its over and wihing that you go to god is unsupported make believe ...too hard to accept for your average sook and so they suck their thumb and ckaim there is a god who will fix it...nonsense...your irrational fear of death has sent you crazy.

    Now before anyone dare reply know that before you present your claim I wont even acknowledge your post unless you back up your god claim...so I know there will be no reply.

    There is no evidence of god that is a fact...no evidence of god whatsoever...live with that and know in the absence of evidence you are just pretending that the made up bronze age fairy tales are nonfiction when clearly they are fiction ..if you claim otherwise provide evidence.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Or perhaps more accurately, no evidence that you accept or that convinces you. I'm not convinced that the same thing is true for everyone.

    A great deal depends on how we conceive of 'God'. If we think of 'God' as whatever performs the sort of metaphysical functions suggested by 'first cause', 'ultimate ground of being', 'source of cosmic order' and so on, then the existence of an existing, ordered and causally evolving reality would seem to be evidence that those metaphysical functions are indeed being performed, somehow, by something. That's the line that natural theology takes.

    I'm not convinced that these unanswered metaphysical questions are evidences of divinity in any conventional religious sense, but I do think that they remain profound mysteries. They are exceedingly strong evidence (in my opinion) that science isn't even close to having all the answers.

    Another class of evidence for the reality of God might be religious experience. I'm not prepared to totally dismiss religious experience (which comes in a variety of forms) even if I feel that it presents a host of epistemological difficulties.

    And history is littered with stories of miracles. These are interesting since they seem to occupy a middle ground between the kind of evidences that I mentioned above, occupying the borderline between objective and subjective phenomena. The huge collection of reports of miracles would certainly seem to be a body of evidence, even if we consider it bad evidence and are inclined to dismiss it.

    Miracles (in some violation of the natural order sense) may or may not occur in objective reality (I'm exceedingly skeptical) but it's hard to deny them subjective reality (many people believe in them and believe they've experienced them). That would transform them into a class of religious experience and subject them to the sort of epistemological difficulties that plague that category. But if atheists want to dismiss the evidence of miracles, they probably need to produce a better response than merely sneering them into oblivion.

    So it would seem to me that there's abundant evidence for 'God' (just as there is for UFOs and ghosts and whatnot). Thousands of reports made over thousands of years. That's far more accumulated evidence than there is for quantum field theory, dark energy, cosmic inflation and many other items of our contemporary belief system. The problem isn't lack of evidence at all, it's that none of the evidence rises to some standard that we've set for what will succeed in convincing us. We don't consider it good and satisfactory evidence.

    The rest of Xel's post deleted since it was just a rant that doesn't require a thoughtful response from me.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    But there are standards of evidence for the existence of anything else. Why should gods get a special standard?
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure how the word "standard" can apply to a singular, unique, unprecedented and peerless event in all creation.

    Even if I worked in hair design for ten years, and quit and went into spaceship design, it would all be unprecedented, but I'd still have some context with which to develop a standard for, say, quality control.

    The question of God literally has (or had, or will have) no possible second data point.

    I think I'm finally beginning to understand agnosticism...
  10. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I have yet to have any evidence presented at all ...none, zip, as in total and complete absence of anything of any nature.

    So I have not been able to even consider something that is claimed as evidence.

    No one has ever said to me for example that god talks to them or they experienced a miracle that they attribute to God.

    Having said this I agree that I would indeed demand a standard of evidence that I consider reasonable but I very much doubt that I will have to determine the quality of presented evidence as none is ever offerred.

    You assume there must be a something.

    Perhaps the first place to start is to establish that there is indeed a something and offer evidence to support the notion of something.

    Arguements for something are arguments from ignorance.

    An eternal universe does not need something.

    Can anyone show the universe is eternal or not?

    Even the big bang suggests something before but that is speculation at this point.

    A universe with a start does not need something to start it.

    All we have is an understanding that we do not know...we do not know... which hardley offers foundation for a claim that "there must be a something".

    Yes it is a mystery and speculation upon those mysteries is interesting but the problem starts here as folk speculate and then conclude their speculation is indeed reality.

    It is not reality...it remains speculation.

    Science can not manage these questions because of lack of evidence and observation that would enable rational assessment.

    Science cant investigate speculation and happily admits that it can offer no input...it can only say what is a fair determination ...We dont know.

    Some folk demand and must have an answer and to accept an answer other than "we dont know" does not offer them truth but turns speculation into a lie...to present speculation as a fact will always be a lie.

    Great we may have something we can test.

    Select your best miracle...one will do.

    Step one.
    Look at our best one miracle.
    Determine that it is in fact a miracle which would perhaps mean a situation where the physical laws we know and trust have somehow been suspended or changed for a specific moment such that observers must conclude the event was entirely un natural.
    Perhaps a clear definition of a miracle is in order...but assume we can agree that we have a miracle...

    Step two.
    Determine why this miracle occurred.
    Show a link between what it is claimed provided the miracle and the event claimed to be a miracle.

    Saying we have a miracle therefore God did it does nothing for me. That is a mere unsupported claim.
    If you claim God is involved then support that claim with something...anything...

    And so often we are offerred a miracle and its because of God and yet believers fail to draw a conclusion that if God can interact on this occassion to help why is it he has been so selective.

    So a soldier has a bullet shell enter his helmet and run around his head to exist leaving him unharmed..A miracle...isnt God wonderful..sure so why did he let millions upon millions die of bullet wounds...it does not add up.

    One person is found alive in rubble of an earth quake after weeks alive...a miracle proving God...sure well if you have proof of Gods ability to help can you explain why he failed to save the thousands who died in the earth quake.

    Saving thousands would get my attention.

    No they dont.

    If one makes a claim one needs to support the claim.

    It is not encumbant upon an athiest to show why miracles are not acts of God.

    If the claim is that miracles are the act of God that claim needs evidence in support by those making the claim not evidence to reject the claim by those who are unimpressed.

    So there are great numbers of miracles...what a wonderful pool of events in which the claim is that God is involved so it should be no problem to prove God given so many events...so go ahead.

    If anyone wants to prove God select a miracle and prove your point but dont expect anything more than ridicule if the presentation contains a childish demand "well prove me wrong".

    No. If there was evidence you would be specific...name one thing..just one...

    Reference to a collection of non specific events is not even a hint at evidence...not even a hint.

    Something specific may be considered evidence good or bad but what you suggest does not cut it.

    So we have a huge accumulation of evidence over a long period that must mean that the quality of evidence ranges from poor to excellent I expect.

    So lets just take the best evidence available...say three or four..
    even just the best one and start there.

    How do you eat an elephant ..one little piece at a time.

    So what can we start with...what is one little piece we can look at and ask if we should even bother to look at exhibit number two.

    Certainly its the same with ufos...oh there are thouhdands of reports ..sure so lets look at the best one and see where that takes us.
    Until we can establish the universe was created we can not introduce a creator and if we introduce a creator we need to establish the creator of the creator.

    Without such a starting point everything on the matter is mere speculation and any claim that such speculation is truth without evidence is a lie irrespective of what the reality maybe.
    The whole post was a rant reflecting my frustration with the lack of support for all claims made by all religions both now and throughout history a frustration that could be eased if humans could shake off their dependance on unsupported superstition from the bronze age and enjoy the benefit of the enormous body of work enabling us to describe reality without unsupported speculation and the promotion of lies.

    Religions appear to do good things but I say it is good people who do good things in spite of religion and good people deserve to live with truth even if that truth is the reasonable addmission that we probably will never know the truth.

    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I intuited where you were going, but after some reading on gnosticism and agnosticism, it becomes clear that agnosticism is actually a higher order of spiritual skepticism than atheism, as a real conceptual belief system.
    As I understand it, gnosticism proposes;
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism
    Thus agnosticism does not seem to deny the existence of a lower Aeon, named God. (by humans). It denies that an even greater God exists which is host to Aeons, lower level gods, which includes the concept of (the human) God.

    The plot thickens. Seems God does have a precursor according to gnosticism and by creating the universe (human) God has demonstrated Evil.... woohaa....

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    Now I am conflicted between atheism, simple denial, and agnoticism, which, instead of being neutral actually seems to go even further and deeper than atheism.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member


    Agnosticism: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

    To be clear, I am not agnostic; I see insufficient evidence of God, and I believe (though do not assert) that God does not exist. That is atheist.

    However, I am beginning to see some logic in agnosticism.

    While I think it's possible that God could be verified (if he so chose), but not falsified (because you can't prove a negative) -

    - it really comes down to whether or not it is possible - even in principle - to determine if God created the universe.
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I understand the common interpretation. As I do with Theism, and Atheism.

    I just did an actual literal comparison between Gnosticism and Agnosticism.
    Now take a natural opposition to any or all 5 conceptual propositions. It gets strange.

    Hence "the plot thickens"...

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    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I only saw as far as word #4: "evil" before Woo-Block kicked in. Everything thereafter is just blocky pixels.
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    It's supposed to be 5 tenets of gnosticism. I agree with the woo part. Does that make me agnostic?
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    W4u, agnosticism has never been related to the meaning of Gnostics. To relate the term, as you are doing, is disingenuous and a red herring. It has no mileage beyond upping your post count.
    Agnosticism is purely one's view on whether God is, or can be, known/knowable.

    If you want to go down the path you are, take it to the linguistics thread, as that would be the only place it is relevant (discussion of meaning of seemingly linked words etc).
  17. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    I rarely ever call myself agnostic but prefer the term to atheist mostly for political reasons. The last time I called myself agnostic was when I was sitting under a tree on a hot day just off of campus. A man walked up to me with a religious pamphlet looking to convert me to something and mentioning some bible verses. Rather than potentially stirring up semantics in a dichotomy of atheist/theist I said I was agnostic. Indicating that there are things I do not know and possibly never will in my lifetime. We know that the "world" is not heliocentric. Newton didn't but no one would say he was willfully ignorant. We learn and experience things as time goes on; I believe it's close to what Feynman was saying: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts".

    Or, IOW calling myself agnostic is like my way of saying: "F-off and leave me alone as I don't want to hear your religious crap".
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    You're confusing yourself. Agnosticism in the sense we are using it, when contrasted with theism, atheism (and a variety of metaphysical positions) has little to do with that mystical sort of Roman era 'Gnosticism'.

    The only connection is that both names are derived from the Greek word 'gnosis', meaning 'knowledge' (of the intellectual sort, distinguished from practical knowledge like how to ride a bike, which had another word).


    In the ancient Roman period the Gnostics (in your 'Gnosticism' sense) were known as (or promoted themselves as) 'Those who Know'. But 'gnosis' ('knowledge') remained a perfectly fine Greek word used in many other contexts.

    Thomas Huxley coined the word 'agnostic' in the 1800's. The occasion was his becoming a member of England's 'Metaphysical Society', a club of individuals interested in philosophy. As he tells it these individuals would proudly proclaim the positions they had chosen for themselves (materialist, idealist, theist, atheist, pantheist...) much as a fox displays its tail. Lacking a tail himself, Huxley thought....

    "When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure that they had attained a certain "gnosis"--had more or less successfully solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble...

    So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic". It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant; and I took the earliest opportunity of parading it at our Society, to show that I, too, had a tail, like the other foxes."
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
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  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Point taken. Agnosticism is not the opposite of Gnosticism. Please note my previous expression of confusion about that.....

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    English is my second language and it is natural for me to relate the (a)xxxxxx opposite of a word to the original word. Seems logical.

    But I guess that's just one more point of confusion about spiritualism, the opposite of a word does not necessarily mean the opposite of the word itself.
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  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I think most words beginning in a- do mean not-. The thing about Gnosticism is it is about specific knowledge of God, I.e. that revealed to the Gnostics. It is capitalised as well. Agnosticism is a much more recent coinage, a word referring to knowledge in general about God (or whatever the subject matter might be), and is not capitalised.
    So one can be agnostic about anything. But Gnosticism is a fairly specific religious position.
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  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Clearly not. Among those who are interested in evidences for God, I think the most commonly accepted kind evidence is the appearance of design in the natural world. For many, I think, the argument from design is also an argument from ignorance - "I can't imagine how it could have got like that. Therefore, God did it."

    Yes. It's important to note, as you do, that this kind of thing is hardly the focus of mainstream religion. To go from metaphysical ideas about ultimate grounds of being and sources of cosmic order to a personal God with human-like attributes who cares about and perhaps intervenes in daily life, is a significant leap.

    Like all the longest-lasting philosophical ideas, at least some of those ones probably have no final answer that we can discover.

    It isn't really within the purview of science to answer the deepest philosophical questions. Science is concerned with what can be examined, tested, probed. It is concerned with the empirical and the physical, not the metaphysical and the ontological.

    My own inclination is to regard science as, fundamentally, model-building. The aim in science is to develop the most accurate mental model of the world that we can observe.

    It is undeniable that people have experiences that they interpret in the context of religion. The big question is whether any such experiences relate to anything supernatural.

    The main issue with miracles is the evidentiary one. Miracles mostly seem to happen in the past. They happen anecdotally. The harder you look into them, the more insubstantial they become. The word "miracle" tends to get tossed around rather freely, too. Often it turns out to mean little more than an occurrence that has no currently-known or definitely-known explanation.

    There are no grounds for assuming a supernatural cause purely on the basis that the cause is unknown (which, incidentally, applies equally to that "ultimate ground of reality" stuff above).

    They've experienced something. They call it a miracle. But that should be the start of the investigation, not the end.

    And they do! Regularly. Some religious types tend not to take too kindly to having their miracles "explained away", however. A common response is "I don't care what anyone says! What happened to me is a miracle."

    It's not just a matter of quantity. Quality is important too.

    Take quantum field theory, for example. As it happens, that theory produces one of the most accurate predictions in the whole of science. The gyromagnetic 'g' factor for the electron can be calculated from the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and it is found to match the measured value to 12 decimal places (which is the best current accuracy we have on the experimental measurement). Put another way, the theory predicts the correct value to one part in a trillion. This is one reason we are confident that quantum electrodynamics is correct (at least to this level of accuracy).

    There is no doubting that people have made "thousands of reports over thousands of years" of religious experiences, but what do they all add up to? For me, they add up to: a bunch of people had a bunch of experiences that they (and at least some of those around them) interpreted as messages or acts of God/gods/spirits/etc. But there's no smoking gun there. There's no God to the 12th decimal place.

    When it comes to UFOs, while it is a relatively recent phenomenon (which in itself ought to ring alarm bells right there), there's a long and not-so-distinguished history of outright fakery and lying. Add to that all that is known about the fallibility of human perception, thought and memory and we're not left with much evidence of any quality. Rather, what remains tends to be on the borderlines of perception: vague, fuzzy photos of supposed objects at a distance, videos of unidentified lights in the sky, the odd piece of grass that looks like it has been flattened by something, and so on.

    Just because lots of people believe something, it doesn't make it true. That applies to UFOs, ghosts, astrology, ESP, gods, spirits, devils and demons, sasquatch... the list goes on and on. Reality isn't a popular vote.
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    "we create our reality as much from the inside out as from the outside in", (Anil Seth)

    Our brain tries to create a reliable mirror image of sensory input and after it has formed it's internal mental image it verifies it against the object we are observing.
    If everyone agrees with each other's mirrored perceptions, we call that reality.
  23. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    You just proved that agnosticism means not knowing and gnosticism means knowing.

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