Why can't we use only science to prove/disprove God ?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by plakhapate, Oct 4, 2008.

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  1. plakhapate Banned Banned

    Is it possible for us to use science to prove/disprove God?

    Probably for that first we need to define What is God?

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  3. OilIsMastery Banned Banned

    For sure you would have to define God.

    Some people use science to form their metaphysical opinions and some people don't.
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  5. andbna Registered Senior Member

    Because science prooves nothing*, and most definitions of diety are unfalsifiable (Science has disprooven many falsifiable gods however; Zeus isn't making lightning these days.)
    For those reasons, god tends to be scientificaly uninteresting.

    Of course, one could always delve into psychology and sociology and study religion; god is very interesting to the social sciences, but that isn't a question of its existance.

    *See the works of Karl Popper.
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  7. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

    We can technically prove or disprove the existence of a god using the scientific method. The reason we can't actually is because this requires

    1) provability
    2) falsifiability

    Therefore, because we lack the ability to gain evidence of a god (not just evidence, but the ability to gain it), it becomes impossible.
  8. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    God is to science as "Here be Dragons" was to early cartographers.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The fundamental premise upon which science is based is that the natural universe is a closed system, whose behavior can be predicted by theories derived logically from empirical observation of its present and past behavior.

    The hypothesis that gods exist does not clash with science. Since the hypothesis stipulates specifically that they exist in a supernatural universe which is outside the boundaries of the natural universe, that hypothesis cannot be tested by science, which deals only with the natural universe. So we cannot disprove the mere existence of gods.

    However, religion doesn't stop there. It hypothesizes that those gods meddle capriciously and illogically with the behavior of the natural universe. Now this hypothesis contradicts not only science, but science's basic premise, because by definition external forces cannot affect a closed system.

    The complete set of beliefs about gods that characterize all religions attack and deny science, by claiming to have falsified its fundamental principle. After all, if a god can step off of his celestial front porch in a fit of pique and turn people into salt, raise sea level by several thousand feet in only forty days, or reanimate a corpse, then we can never rely on our empirically-based theories to predict the future behavior of the universe. Science would be virtually useless.

    We cannot disprove the existence of gods. But we can test the hypothesis that the natural universe is a closed system, i.e., we can test the important part of the god thesis by establishing whether or not gods meddle with our universe. In fact we've been doing that for about 500 years, since the start of the Enlightenment. Every time the scientific method is used successfully to help us understand a natural condition or phenomenon. it's one more piece of evidence supporting that hypothesis.

    Since no rigorous, respectable evidence has ever been found to cast doubt on the scientific method, the hypothesis that the natural universe is a closed system has achieved the status of a canonical theory. Of course we cannot be 100% certain that such a piece of evidence might not be discovered one day, we have not proved that the natural universe is a closed system. We have not proved that gods will never wake up from their slumber and start perturbing our universe. But after being tested by thousands of scientists every day for hundreds of years and never failing, we can say that the foundation of science is true beyond a reasonable doubt.

    To assert that science is wrong, that the natural universe is not a closed system, that gods stand ready to part seas, rain locusts on us and resurrect dead heroes, becomes an extraordinary assertion. The Rule of Laplace now kicks in: Extraordinary assertions must be accompanied by extraordinary evidence before we are required to treat them with respect.

    In other words, we've done our homework and we are not required to prove that gods don't tamper with the workings of our universe, whether or not they exist. We have all the evidence we need to assume that gods don't exist, i.e., a natural universe that has behaved as a closed system for centuries.

    The burden of proof is on the theists to provide evidence that gods not only exist, but tamper with the workings of our universe. Until such evidence is presented, we have every right to treat religion with disrespect.

    So go out and enjoy yourselves.

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  10. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Axiomatic and/or mathematical logic are only capable of proving that some statement is consistent with the axioms of the system.

    You cannot prove that something is actually true or false.

    Furthermore, Statements like “God exists” are more in the nature of postulates/axioms than provable conclusions.

    In applying logic or the scientific method to the existence of god, the best you can hope for are cogent arguments for or against the existence of god.
  11. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker, that was a good post. However, that's when we are dealing specifically with the existence or nonexistence of a god; in order to take the idea that a god does exist seriously, we require extraordinary evidence.

    However, as for the actual concept and suggestion, I do think that it has enough basis to be seriously considered. After all, we can observe that intelligence is a force of causation, and therefore it is almost always reasonable to suggest intelligence behind any event. It doesn't mean it is true, but it isn't illogical.

    Especially after events where gaps truly exist and intelligence fits rather nicely, i.e, the origins of the universe.

    If we found an interesting rock formation on venus, according to my logic, we could technically suggest an intelligent cause. However, because we know about weathering and erosion here on Earth, that information (within our enclosed natural universe) can be used to fill in the knowledge gap about the rocks on venus. A logical inference.

    However, the origins of the universe has no such informaton to lean either way, and we don't know if the universe was intelligently caused or "naturally" came to be. The problem is, neither of those suggestions is without basis and therefore we cannot dismiss either of them
  12. Itseemstome Registered Senior Member

    Interesting problem which depends on the old chestnut of 'What do YOU mean by God?'
    A couple of points here. First, 95% of the Universe is missing (astro-physics) so there is plenty of room for other and, maybe, superior intelligences. Maybe in the other 8 dimensions of our 11 dimensional universe (string theory).
    Secondly, DNA is a five digit code that has the same general layout as language and computer language.(Zipf's Law) Hence it would appear to be a 5-digit computer code. It couldn't possibly have appeared by accident in the currently accepted age of the universe so there must have been a creator. Indeed he may still be around.
  13. AmishRakeFight Remember, remember. Registered Senior Member

    Hey there,

    I absolutely agree with Fraggle Rocker's proposition that the gauntlet has been thrown down at the feet of the theists to prove (even if inconclusively) whether or not there is indeed a God.


    And being a theist, I am doubly rewarded to know that he, of all people, will accept rational argument. If it is rubbish, he will simply call it what it is. If it is truth, he will evaluate it to determine if it is, in fact, more aligned with reality than his current belief system.

    Pure science.

    Pure, empirical, objective science.

    Now -- the foundation of my theism is composed of a trivium of equally noteworthy elements. They are, in no particular order:

    I. The Cosmological Argument: If there is a cause, there must be an effect.

    This argument is traditionally projected to state that if there is a creation, there must be a Creator. This, of course, makes the assumption that what we see, what we hear, smell, and taste, are all creations. But to hastily declare that assumption as false with no further research simply does not line up with the empirical world as we know it. Going back to the Venus example a prior member so eloquently illustrated, if we find that unique rock formation on a foreign planet, it is natural to assume that something, or someone, put those rocks there. The effect would be the position of the rocks, while the cause would be the animal, or person, or whatever that placed them in that certain position.

    II. The Teleological Argument: If there is a design, there must be a designer.

    This is a closely related cousin to the cosmological argument, but it is essentially summed up in the simple example of the watch and the watchmaker. If you, being the highly observant scientific human that you are, find a watch lying on the sidewalk, is it not natural to assume that somebody, somewhere, designed the watch? Even if the watch is from somewhere you have never heard of, and even if you have never met the watchmaker, it would be ludicrous to propose that the wide array of individual pieces necessary to make the watch work just accidentally happened to be in the exact same place at the exact same time, falling one by one -- completely on accident, mind you -- with sniper-like precision of a caliber enough to form the watch you found. In my humble opinion, this infinitely complex system we call "the universe" seems to be highly comparative to the watch/watchmaker metaphor.

    III. The Ontological Argument: The greatest necessary being, by definition, must exist. As Aristotle so eloquently puts it, "There must be an unmoved mover."

    The great philosopher's argument for the existence of the unmoved mover (which has been highly developed over the past two millennium from the archaic prototype I'm scratching out right now, mind you) progresses as follows:

    1. There exists movement in the world.
    2. Things that move were set into motion by something else.
    3. If everything that moves was caused to move by something else, there would be an infinite chain of causes. This can't happen.
    4. Thus, there must have been something that caused the first movement.
    5. From 3, this first cause cannot itself have been moved.
    6. From 4, there must be an unmoved mover.

    I could go on and on, but I trust that I've written enough for the intelligent man to understand the rational theist with.

    Have fun!

  14. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

    One must remember that there are scientific questions and non-scientific questions. The existence or non-existence of a non-observable diety, an afterlife, a soul, etc. fall in the latter category. Because these things are not observable (by definition), science has nothing to say about them.

    The correct statement, in my opinion, is that the question of the existence of gods is not a scientific one. In particular, all religions are on equal footing scientifically. The only thing which a scientist can prove or disprove is a particular definition of the word "god", which is what you've shown.

    And in a manner of personal belief, there is no burden of proof. If one could prove or disprove a god's existence logically, then any belief to the contrary would be illogical. In the Christian tradition (of which I am a part---I cannot speak to other belief systems), salvation is obtained through faith and faith alone---thus the suggestion of "proof" that a Christian God exists is contrary even to the character of that belief.
  15. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Falsifiability is definitely among the missing. Someone figured out that if no one could define a thing, they would be unable to prove that it does not exist, or anything else about it. Bang! Religion.
  16. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    In order to analyze the idea of God, we can use a commonly defined version, which is said to be involved personally in our lives. Anything that has an effect on the physical world can be investigated. The kinds of questions science can answer are: Does prayer work? Are religious people more good? Is the universe fine-tuned for life? Is intelligent design a legitimate hypothesis?
  17. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    probably first what we need to do is define science
  18. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

    I would disagree with this definition of what a god is, as it makes assertions.

    The simplest definition is this: influential intelligence.

    Perhaps, but then again we might be able to investigate the effect without being able to investigate what is causing the effect.
    Work to do what? How can science tell when something is prayer and when it is coincidence?
    Science can answer opinions? Wow.
    Science can't answer this question because we don't have any knowledge of other universes in order to determine if ours is unique. The fact that we exist means the universe meets the criteria for our existence. We can't measure if these were artificial or occured naturally.
    It depends on the context. Intelligent design means intelligent design, i.e, an intelligent force of causation.

    I find that a legit hypothesis.

    However, we start getting mixed up when we associate it with creationism, which falls under intelligent design but, unlike intelligent design, makes far too many baseless assertions. Creationism is a form of ID....but we don't know enough, in my opinion, to go beyond the broad ID category. ID just suggest intelligence, which we can observe, to be a force of causation, which we can also observe.

    If we're talking about ID to mean only a suggestion that intelligence is the force of causation, behind our universe or behind human development (i.e, was our evolution guided), then it is a viable hypothesis.

    If we start getting into things like heaven, hell, Christianity, morals, etc, we lose any basis.
  19. sts4567 Registered Member

    Hi, god is great that evary one knows. By using science we can achieve so many things it is helpful to get faith in god also.

  20. draqon Banned Banned

    well in science, a statement exists "nothing is created or destroyed"\

    A God as a belief would not spring up from nowhere, such belief existed before.
  21. draqon Banned Banned

    proving God would be as proving limit to exist in calculus, in a function of life.
  22. scorpius a realist Valued Senior Member

  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    These are all variants of the same old tired argument that religionists have been throwing at us since the Stone Age: "We haven't figured everything out yet, therefore the universe is so complicated that it must be the creation of a supernatural being."

    To say that a god created the universe merely begs the question. If there's something outside what we conventionally call the universe, then that merely means that we were wrong and the universe is bigger than we thought it was.

    Okay, so, for the sake of argument, for the moment we'll work with the hypothesis that there's a god out there. The obvious next question is: Where the fuck did HE come from?

    To say that "there must be an unmoved mover" or some such tripe is merely to be sophomoric and play with words. It's not science and it's not even philosophy. That means it must probably be religion.

    But to go back to your second absurdity: "If you, being the highly observant scientific human that you are, find a watch lying on the sidewalk, is it not natural to assume that somebody, somewhere, designed the watch?" I suppose that might be "natural" behavior for a lot of people, but that does not make it correct. Ignorant people make a lot of erroneous assumptions. For thousands of years, much of the universe appeared so overwhelmingly complicated that our ignorant ancestors felt that the only explanation for all of it had to be the existence of a creator. We have come a long way since then and have already reduced nature to a far more elegant and simple set of laws from which everything else is derived.

    In any case, our ignorant ancestors conveniently ignored the obvious next question: Where the fuck did that equally complicated creator come from? If we "found him lying on the sidewalk," then "is it not natural behavior to assume that somebody, somewhere, designed" the creator? And so on ad infinitum. This is no answer, it's just a game parents play with their children when they want to hide the fact that they don't know the answers to all of their questions. Eventually we stop being children and we recognize this behavior when we see it, and tell those who practice it to stop.


    Humans are inquisitive by nature, and we want answers. If you don't know an answer, that's okay. We'll just keep looking. We certainly haven't got all the answers yet, particularly when it comes to the origin of the universe, or even whether the universe has an origin or simply just IS. But don't make up some preposterous bullshit to hide the fact that you haven't got the answer either.
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