proofs against god disproven or?

Discuss strengths and weaknesses of new pages added to the God And Science website
peter
Acquainted Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:43 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

proofs against god disproven or?

#1

Post by peter » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:31 pm

Hi.

I am new to this forum, but have recently begun debating religion and science on the web. As a science teacher I read a lot of articles on different fields of research, but my passion is with high energy physics and the likes.

I surfed to this website yesterday, and read your arguments concerning the alledged proofs against god. However I feel I have some comments regarding some of those arguments, and this is probably the best place to write them. In order to simplify, I've put the original text in italics, and my comments in normal.

Proof #1: The theodice problem:
The Bible says the universe cannot contain God (1), indicating He must exist and operate in dimensions of space and time other than those to which we are confined. The Bible also says God created time and was acting before time began (2), confirming that God exists in at least two dimensions of time. A single dimension of time (a line) has a beginning point and can only travel in one direction. Two dimensions of time (a plane) has no beginning or ending so that a being existing in such a plane would be free to move to any point along any line of time within that plane.
This is not completely true. Any dimension can curve into a higher dimension, thus becoming endless, but not infinite. A one dimensional time is not restricted to being linear, but might as well be cyclic. I understand completely that in order for your argument to be valid you need a higher dimension, but a higher dimension isn't necessary for time to be endless.

Both of these descriptions of God are confirmed by what we know from science. According to particle physics and relativity, at least nine dimensions of space existed at the creation of the universe.
This is not true. superstring theory and brane theory have not been experimentally proved yet. Particle physics, relativity and quantum physics suggest this as a possible model to explain discrepansies regarding gravity. Besides, all dimension wil come into existance at the same time, which is when energy, and thus matter, come to be. In order for dimensions to exsist, they must exist in something, and in the time absence when BB had not happened, there was to pour best knowledge, absolute vacuum. I have hecked your references, but don't se any mentions of dimension exsisting until BB took place.

The Bible says God was not created, but has existed from eternity past to eternity future.
This doesnt make sennse. presented with infinity, everything breaks down. If god is infinite and has never been created, he must be non existant-? I mean from any logical point of view, infinity is impossible.

The temporary nature of the universe and created beings requires that the universe operate under the law of entropy. If there were no entropy, we could not be tested since we would, by definition, be eternal and not have to face the mortality of our existence.
Why? lack of entropy wouldn't by definition make us immortal er eternal. The same biomarkers we have now, could still be present and let us age and die. I do of course agree, that it is an appropriate emergency brake thet at some point the universe will come to an end,

This would obviously not be a good thing to do. Likewise, death is required in a universe governed by entropy. Without animal death, very soon all the carbon on the earth would be bound in living organisms, with none available for photosynthesis.

Well that problem would sort itself out pretty easily as soon as the food chain breaks down.

Neither pain nor death is evil from a Christian perspective. For example, pain is a necessary function in our lives. If we could not feel pain, we would end up causing serious damage to ourselves. The Christian definition of evil is anything done by one of God's spirit beings (humans or angels) against Him (or His created beings). As such, God is never responsible for evil - only His created spirit beings.

Against him is pretty vague...since pain and death is not evil, then what is 'against him'. However, animals do not have a free will, or what? So an animal would be 'programmed' by god or maybe as a transcendental being, he controls the animals, but the point is animals attack humans, christian or not. On account of animals having no free will, that would actualle be god eating or killing his own people? Again being transcendental he would know this instantly since he exsists everywhere in every time and knows enerything.


I will start with these points since it i sgetting late. I hope to get a response!

- oh and I have a logical argument you have not included, which I have not yet found a good counterargument for. It is quite banal, so you probably have something:

Can god create a rock he cannot by any means move?
if no, then he is not almighty.
If yes, then he is not almighty.

Ergo god cannot be almighty. Can he then be a god?

Sincerely,
Peter

cslewislover
Ultimate Member
Posts: 2333
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:09 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Undecided
Location: Southern California
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#2

Post by cslewislover » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:41 pm

HI Peter. That rock argument is just silly. God is almighty, but it doesn't mean he doesn't choose to not do things. Evil exists, at least in a sense, but He does not do it. That does not make him something less than almighty. It makes him have a will and a choice. If he chose to make a rock big enough that he couldn't lift, that'd be his choice.

There are lots of articles on this site, I mean the main site, that address some or all of your questions. There's also an intelligent design site, Access Research Network, if you want to see their comments and articles about Expelled and the things in it. http://arn.org/

I'm sure some of the mods will come on and give you links to specific articles, and detailed responses too.
Image
"I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." C.S. Lewis

peter
Acquainted Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:43 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#3

Post by peter » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:52 pm

Hi cslewislover(i like those books as well!)

Although you find the rock thing silly, the principle of the question is higly relevant, since it excludes the concept of omnipotens. However I do thank you for trying to respond seriously.

what his chooses to do is not relevant to the question, however, since the question is wheher he would be able to or not. Obviously omnipotens is a paradox using normal logic, but that outrules god. However sin Rich has put so much effort and thought into trying to disproove all these arguments, I pose the question here so as to try and find a decent answer. Also the website Rich has taken most of the statements from, poses this question, yet he has chosen not to print it or discuss it - why?

I'll check out your links as soon as I have the time, but the is som much information, that I must comment on the discrepansies as i find them, otherwise I'll probably forget my thoughts, questions and comments.

Thx for your time so far!

cslewislover
Ultimate Member
Posts: 2333
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:09 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Undecided
Location: Southern California
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#4

Post by cslewislover » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:05 pm

There are a few responses to the same question here: http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 631#p60631

And it does depend on the definition and use of omnipotence. Human logic can never outrule God, so that doesn't make any sense! Just because we make up a word with a definition, does God have to fit it? You are presuming God is false ahead of time.

My dictionary's definition of omnipotent is: "Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful." If by this definition God is all powerful and all authoritative, there is no reason that what I said is illogical. He can choose through his authority to do whatever he wants, and he has the power to do it (even restrain his power).

I really can't speak for Rich (though some mods know more), but I think a lot people here probably think the same as what I just wrote, or something close. It depends on your definitions and if you want to limit God. God isn't limited by our ways of thinking.
Image
"I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." C.S. Lewis

peter
Acquainted Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:43 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#5

Post by peter » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:15 am

thanks for the link - it was very helpful. It brought a lot of light to the question, and I think it brought it to a new level - but didn't solve the basic problem.

If he must use his omnipotence to restrain his power, then he is forced to do it, and thus is not omnipotent. I stil lack an argument solving this paradox. In quantum physics there are plenty of paradoxes, so it is not necessarily a shame if god is inherently paradoxal :)

Whatever we call our words and how we define them, is of course not gods problem. But if we imagine he has powers which are logically selfcontradictory or paradoxal, then we are beyond reason and logic, and assumptions about him are futile. Then the only indication of his exsistance is the bible, and thus no other evidence pro or con regarding god and his creation is valid. So how we define words is, as you say, not important. It is the concept of the word. And if the bible says he is omnipotent, then I believe the definition of omnipotence is crucial - especially since omnipotence in an unlimited meaning, is inherently selfcontradictory.

I must admit that I do not believe in god. My wife does, and I am comfortable with that, but I have been brought up with logic, reason and science. Not religion. As a man of science, I am of course open to the concept of god, and I do not dismiss the possibility entirely. But from a scientific viewpoint I have a hard time hustifying his excistance, so when I read what Rich had written about god and science, I couldn't help exploring it. If some christians honestly claim that god can be proved through science, this would be one of the most important discoveries in the history of the world! Of course nothing can be proved entirely, not even the theory of gravitation, but if gods existance can at lest be scientifically deemed probable, or even possible, that would be quite an achievement. So to answer your question, yes and no. I'm assuming god is false, as the default choice. But I'm open to the possibility of his (its?) existance, provided logical or scientific credibility. Therefore this forum.

Rich has provided arguments which counterargue some of the logical/scientific arguments denying gods existence, but when I see what I understand to be flaws, than it must be commented upon. Because if Rich is right, god and ID might have a justification in science (even though he is only trying to prove the possibility of gods existance so far), whereas if he is wrong, then god can only exist by by bending reality and using imaginary assumptions - and is therefore clearly not of any scientific value and should be kept far awy form scienceeducation along with oec, yec, ID and so on.

peter
Acquainted Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:43 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#6

Post by peter » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:32 am

btw - I see rich has started most threads in here, and they are linked to his articles. Have I started my thread in the wrong forum, or is this the right one?

cslewislover
Ultimate Member
Posts: 2333
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:09 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Undecided
Location: Southern California
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#7

Post by cslewislover » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:04 am

Well, Peter, thanks for your thoughtful response. I think most would view Intelligent Design as a philosophy of science, so I don't know why it can't be taught in schools. It doesn't make sense. The scientists who don't want it taught are making it look like it's something different, as far as I can tell.

I didn't know Rich started so many threads. Do you mean the overall forum topics? You can start your own topic fine. I'm not sure that this was the best place to put your question, but no moderator has moved it, so it must be OK :D

Maybe someone else will end up posting, since I don't keep up on this topic so much. Although I do like it. Have you read anything out of The Discovery Institute (the place all the atheists complain about)? http://www.discovery.org/csc/

Oh, this is a great little essay by a biochemistry professor from Rice: http://www.jmtour.com/?page_id=27

I'll post some more if I get the chance to think about it.
Image
"I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." C.S. Lewis

User avatar
Byblos
Old School
Posts: 5847
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:21 pm
Christian: Yes
Location: NY
Has liked: 86 times
Been liked: 128 times

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#8

Post by Byblos » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:08 am

peter wrote:If he must use his omnipotence to restrain his power, then he is forced to do it, and thus is not omnipotent. I stil lack an argument solving this paradox. In quantum physics there are plenty of paradoxes, so it is not necessarily a shame if god is inherently paradoxal :)
The (rock) argument is inherently self-contradictory. Is there anything you know of that can be and not be at the same time? Can you fathom a round square? Can anything be finite as well as infinite? Those are all self-defeating the same way the rock argument pertaining to God is. This has been discussed ad infinitum on this board and countless others.

As for your other points wrt Rich's articles, I will leave it up to him whether or not to respond but I doubt it. He doesn't engage very often on here so chances are he won't even see it.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

User avatar
Jac3510
Ultimate Member
Posts: 5489
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:53 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Has liked: 137 times
Been liked: 336 times
Contact:

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#9

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:02 pm

peter wrote:If he must use his omnipotence to restrain his power, then he is forced to do it, and thus is not omnipotent. I stil lack an argument solving this paradox. In quantum physics there are plenty of paradoxes, so it is not necessarily a shame if god is inherently paradoxal
Besides what Byblos pointed out (and I've not read the other thread on the same subject--no offense, but it's an old argument that really isn't all that interesting), I wanted to comment on your particular idea here. The idea that God is internally paradoxal is, sadly, not at all a new idea.

Etienne Gilson has written a book titled The Unity of Philosphical Experience. In it, he records the violence done to philosophy by those from other disciplines. For example, he looks at what happened in the early medieval ages when logic, as a formal discipline, was really coming into vogue, and he demonstrated that the inevitable result was always absolute skepticism. The same was true when mathematicians tried their hand at philosophy (hello, Descartes), linguists (Wittgenstein, etc.), and others.

How this relates to your point: in the late middle ages, theologians tried their hand at philosophy as well and invented what Gilson calls theologism. The result was exactly the same as when the logicians, mathematicians, and linguists tried--absolute skepticism. The reason, in all its various arguments, boiled down to this: philosophy necessarily deals with questions of ontology. But such questions necessarily deal with questions of being as well as cause and effect. The theologians of the day, most of whom were good Augustinians, held to an absolute version of God's sovereignty (much as you are asserting an absolute omnipotence). With such a set of given assumptions, the honest, logical result is ALWAYS, whatever path you take to get there, that God is unknowable. Indeed, in some forms of the argument, God is unknowable even by Himself, for to make Him knowable by anyone would be take make Him finite, for once a thing is known, it is conceptualized, and yet no concept can ever be infinite. By extension, in theologism, not only must we be absolutely skeptical about the being we call God, we must also be absolutely skeptical about the natural world (due to arguments relating to causality, in which if God is the ultimate cause of everything, then He must also be the ultimate cause of our knowledge). In such a world, knowledge is impossible. Only the mystical experience is real.

Such was the world of the medieval theologist (not to be confused with the theologian).

To your point, as quoted above, that makes God inherently paradoxical and utterly unknowable. But contrary to what you say, that IS a bad thing. And personally, I find it to be the worst of taste when scientists assert with such confidence quantum mechanics as being paradoxical. Perhaps it is simply not well understood yet, but to state with all assuredness that something really is and not is at the same time is just silly, whether we say that of God or of particles.

But that is precisely the point. The theologists were wrong. Their conclusions were wrong because they had bad methodology. I would like to suggest that your question, though perhaps honest (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt), suffers from the same error that has long plagued philosophers. It is simply one of methodology, and the results are always predictable. We are left with silly notions that if we reject we label as contradictories and if we embrace we label as paradoxical. All that to say, neither the question you ask nor your conclusion is unfamiliar. I don't at all say that to be anything less than informative. If you are a science teacher, I expect you to familiar with science and its method. I don't begrudge you for attempting to approach a philosophical problem in the same manner.

As far as your specific argument went, a simple answer is only this: the term "anything" in the definiton "able to do anything" implies a THING being done. But self-contradictories are not things. A square-circle is not a thing, and therefore, if a person cannot draw a square circle, we cannot say that they can't do anything. An "anything" must be logically possible, that is, it must not be self-contradictory. I believe that is pretty much the standard reply.

God (existent, consistent, and knowable) bless ;)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

peter
Acquainted Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:43 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#10

Post by peter » Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:28 pm

thx for responding.

in regard to paradoxes in science, the most obvoius one is of course the duality of photons, having both particle and wave properties. Basically light is inherently self contradictive, but that has in fact been quite helpful since this property has contributed to the discovery of quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. In the words of Niels Bohr: “How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.”

My point is of course that a paradox or for that matter a self contradiction, doesn't necessarily end a discussion - sometimes it can even be a necessary catalyst for further exploration. Which in a sense is also one of the cardinal points in the resistance against religion in science; the option of allowing a deity in science is in principal the same as accepting that we can not necessarily understand everything - which would defy the whole foundation of scientific method. Also, of course religion and science are more or less antagonymes, and there is no reason to mix them. One might even postulate that religion in science is inherently selfcontradictory ;)

But I'll try to stay off the whole rock thing, since my whole idea in the this thread is a comment to Rich's arguments and not to the ones he hasn't made!

to jac3510 - you respnded while I was writing, so this is in fact a response to what Byblos wrote.

peter
Acquainted Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:43 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#11

Post by peter » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:13 pm

cslewislover:

Rearding ID in schools, you basically give the answer yourself. A philosophy of science is a good thing, and it can be argued that ID is such a thing. Simply put, the problem is if a philsophy assumes god exists, then it is not a philosophy regarding life on earth, but gods existance. Looking in cells, DNA, transitional lifeforms etc. for proof of divine intervention is ultimately a way to try to proove gods existence by scientific means. Irreducible complexity in this context, is a hypothesis which has yet to be substantiated, and if it is, then it has neither proved or disproved evolutionary mechanisms, but instead it has substantiated the hypothesis of god. Furthermore, ID has yet to set up hypothesies which can predict something, and offers no alternative to evolution but divine intervention. As far as I know, ID does not object to the general concepts of evolution, but on their scale of application. So ID is not a scientfic theory in regards to evolution, but rather a scientifc hypothesis in regard to gods existance. I have not studied ID in overwhelming detail, so what I have written is probably simplified, but to my best knowledge, still correct in principal. I must however say that ID serves two good purposes: first, ID stirs up a lot of commotion, and therefore brings a lot of focus on evolution. Second, ID forces evolutionists to be even more rigorous than they already were, and will quickly expose faulty conclusions, thus making the theory of evolution even stronger.

As an example of prediction, it was observed that chimpanzee and human DNA was about 96% identical. However humans have 46, whereas chimps have 48 chromosones. This led to the hypothesis, that two sets of chimp chromosomes had randomly spliced together, and when the scientists looked for endmarkers in the middle of human chromosones, they found them, and could even identify that the 'new' human chromosones consisted of two chromosomes which were present in chimps but absent in humans - thus confirming their hypothesis, and substantiating humans and chimps evolving from a common ancestor.

I will of course check out the links provided. I have previously read a bit on the discovery institute site, but i find a lot of what they write quite annoying since it has been written with quite a condescending tone. So has many articles written by Rich, but I have managed to read them nevertheless, so I will give DI a second try - in all fairness.


JAC3510:

I am awary the argument is old - probably older than the bible itself, but in sense that makes it even more intriguing! However it is, as you imply, very difficult to come up with a truly original thought. But I must emphasize that my points and arguments are on my own account. However it is probably more fruitfull to read some of the arguments regarding this discussion before going further with it. Still I will give a finishing idea for the pondering:

Not being trained in a philosophical thoughtset, I won't pretend I understand what you wrote completely, but I think I get the gist of it. And thank you for taking your time to enlighten me, by the way! In spite of this I ask: if something is sought to be validated through science, would it not be appropriate if scientific methodology was applied to the arguments? If I am am to pursue this line of thinking, I must of course read up on the methodologies (and use a different forum), but if, as you say, a methodology ultimately denies the physical world, then of course it is invalid from a scientfic point of view - and to that point I'll have to take your word for it.
I find it to be the worst of taste when scientists assert with such confidence quantum mechanics as being paradoxical. Perhaps it is simply not well understood yet, but to state with all assuredness that something really is and not is at the same time is just silly, whether we say that of God or of particles.
I agree that quantum mechanics is not well understood, and remembering heisenbergs uncertainty principle, it might never really be. I believe Niels Bohr (again) said something like: "If you claim you have understood quantum mechanics, you have definately misunderstodd everything about it." However, being and not being as matter, at the same time is a property of light. Of course this has to do with some sort of fluctuation between energy and matter, but the paradox is that light is both wave and particle simultaneously and that is contradictory. You are probably right - we haven't understood it completely, therefore we can not deny the possibility af a paradox in our 4 dimensions.

This brings me to my last point: I am not sure about a square or triangular circle, since curvilinear geometry isn't my field, but a straight line can be a curve, when you apply dimensions. Thus a straight line on a 2D surface, is a curve if the 2D surface is curved into 3D. So if you draw a triangle on a ball, the sides are in fact convex curves when viewed 3 dimesionally. If you are unaware by the way, the definition of a straight line, is the shortest distance between 2 seperate points. I am not sure what use this argument is, but mathematically a curved figure with straight sides is possible, so applying the interdimensoional idea to filosofy could give fresh food for thought! Also think about how the Möbius strip ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_strip ) has only one edge and one surface - a 3D strip, warped to a 2D object!? The concept opens many possibilities.

Oh well, I will take the rock thing to a more suitable forum, if the need arises. Thanks for your time, and I hope the rest of my initial points will in time be adressed.

cslewislover
Ultimate Member
Posts: 2333
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:09 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Undecided
Location: Southern California
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#12

Post by cslewislover » Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:20 pm

The problem I have with the sciences and what you state is that so many scientists talk as if they have all the answers - in a sense. If they don't have them now, then they will, and so there is no room for God. What's dismaying is that so many scientists seem to be threatened by a discussion of God. Why should that be? As human beings, we need to discuss all things about our existence, even in science, because science is discussing just that. It does no one any good to dismiss discussions like ID just because many IDers have God in mind as the creator of cells and whatever else. Just because science can't prove God exists, doesn't mean it shouldn't be discussed. Kids grow up thinking there is no God since He can't be discussed in schools. It leads to what has come to pass: the idea that people who believe in God must be uneducated. So I disagree with you. Philosophy of science can and should be discussed in science classes. It's just matter of how you think and how integrated you want all information. Life is NOT science, yet science covers so much of life. Science just seems to put everthing into little informational boxes, to classify and categorize, and people start believing that that's all there is. People need to be more well-rounded.

I'm just writing this now, so I'm not sure that it's very good. Maybe I should find an article that conveys what I'm trying to say.
Image
"I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." C.S. Lewis

peter
Acquainted Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:43 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#13

Post by peter » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:24 pm

I partially agree with some of the principles you describe. I think what you have written is fine, and I believe I understand the intention in what youre saying.

but I do - as you might have expected - have some differing opinions. Science as a field describing the universe and all in it, as far as can be measured and observed etc. On the basis of observations, scientists deduce, hypothesize and perform experiments to confirm their hypothesies. If they get positive results which can be reproduced by other scientists, then their initial hypothesis might become theory, since it explains certain mechanisms or events. But this means science is objective and only deals with observable or measurable phenomena. A scientific theory can never be proven - only observations can be factual. So a scientific theory is mankinds best explanation in its field. But science doesn't work with subjective phenomena. Beauty, philosophy, good, evil etc. are all beyond the realm of science, and this is how it should be.
IMHO god doesn't have a place i science, because he is beyond science - he is based on faith. Whether this is because he does not exist or because he has made it so, is beside the point. In order to learn facts, we must ignore belief. Yes scientists can be very condescending - as can people of faith. I can't find it just now, but just check Rich's rebuttal of Dawkins critique of the eye. Condescending people are condescendant as persons, not as scientists or theists. However I put it to you that many religions are condescendant, claiming they hold the only truth, and all other religions are fools, as well as science is blind. Think about the whole muhammed incident. Respect is one thing, but insisting local laws have jurisdiction in strange sovereign countries because of religious dogma is absurd. In principle science claims to hold the very best explanation for what it can examine. No more, no less. However scienists are human and fallible, but the blame should not be put on science per se - give a better explanation, and the old theory is cast away. Newtons theory of gravity, for instance. It didn't fit the observations, Einstein came up with the theory of relativity and whoops, Newtonian gravitation is no longer the 'correct' theory. We still use it, but only for approximation.

As jac3510 explained, different methodology doesn't mix well, and apparantly leads to paradoxal and selfcontradictory solutions. So trying to bring faith into science, would, as far as I understand his arguments, be a leap back to the middle ages. Personal belief is one thing, but science must be objective, otherwise it is not science. In Denmark where I come form, we have a class called religion. It is mandatory in all 10 years of basic school, and even muslim pupils are required (formally at least) to attend. However religion class is not missionary, it is informative. We have religious freedom, and the point of religion class is to give the children an overwiev of the worlds religions and what they are, and then let the children make an informed decision. Ultimately no one can decide to believe in god - you do or you don't. It is a question of upbringing and parental guidance. If you must learn to believe something, you must have prooveable facts or well documented theory, and I havent found that in any religion. This is of course all meant in general terms. Individuals may change from atheism to christianity or vice versa but that is personal development, no something you can teach in a classroom lest it be indoctrination.

I think scientists can be unsettled by the idea of god is exactly because of the above mentioned reasons. Belief and science are fundamentally different. One does not excluded the other, but one is contrary to the other - and it is crucial to our technology and thus civilisation that they do not mix. Einstein, for instance, he was a christian. But he did not let that interfere with his science. Our communication technology is largely based on his theory, and would have been completely impossible had he been content that time was absolute.

well - it is late, and im tired...to be continued :)

User avatar
Jac3510
Ultimate Member
Posts: 5489
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:53 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Has liked: 137 times
Been liked: 336 times
Contact:

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#14

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:03 pm

Peter,

I don't want you to take from my argument a point I didn't intend. I'm not saying that there is a you can't mix science with faith because the two have different methodologies. The issue of the interrelationship between science and faith is a different one entirely, and one, might I add, that I suspect we would politely disagree on. Without going into detail there, you seem to follow Gould's idea that there are (at least) two spheres of reality, in which science covers what is "real" and "observable" whereas religion would cover what is "subjective" and "moral." In such a scheme, the two disciplines address completely different questions (to put it simplistically, "how?" and "why?", and thus, can never contradict). I would simply disagree, and there I find an unsuspecting ally in Richard Dawkins. So much for that.

Let me be more clear in my argument (or at least try to be).

There are different types of facts. There are mathematical facts, historical facts, scientific facts, theological facts, philosophical facts, etc. The proof for this is very simple. Can you give me a mathematical proof that George Washington was the first president of the USA? No, you would have to give me a historical fact. And can you give me a scientific proof something cannot be and not be in the same sense at the same time? No, that would require a philosophical fact. And so it goes.

Now, the question you asked, "Can God create a rock so big He can't lift it? No. However, it is argued that God can do anything. Therefore, since God cannot create a rock so big He cannot lift it, He cannot exist as so defined." What kind of "fact" or question is this? It isn't mathematical, historical, or scientific. It really isn't even theological, in the proper sense of the word. It is a philosophical question, and as such, it requires a philosophical approach.

So what is the philosophical approach, and how does it differ from the scientific approach? Obviously, I can't give the answer to such a large question in a single post, but I could try to (over)simply it this way: science starts with individual observations and moves "up" to form general theories to explain them. It is a "bottom up" way of reasoning. Philosophy, however, does not, and when you try to do that, you end up with a philosophy like Descartes that, taken to its logical conclusion, means you can't know ANYTHING.

Philosophy doesn't start, like science, with the question, "What do I see?" That question is a question of perception. It is a question of knowledge. Philosophically, it is an epistemological question, and you absolutely cannot start with epistemology if you want to get a good philosophy. You have to start with ontology (aka metaphysics, that is, the study of what things are). On the assumption that reality exists, we start with the premise: There is reality. Then, we ask the question, "What is reality?" That is ontology. Next, we ask, "What do I know about reality?" That is epistemology. And it goes on from there.

At the first stage, ontology, it is very important to define terms, the most important of which include such ones as "being", "thing", "existence," etc. The study of being is very interesting in and of itself, and it extends not only to real things, but also cognative things, processes, nonreal things, etc. The underlying thought in ALL of this, however, is this: a thing cannot be what it is not. Or, put differently, a thing cannot not be what it is. And from there you build your ontology and move on to your epistemology.

Your question ignores the first step. It thinks itself clever by suggesting a scenario that would supposedly disprove the claim, and while such a method is acceptable, your suggestion is wrong at the most fundamental level. If a thing cannot be what it is not, and if God is defined as the being that can accomplish any thing, then it is silly, indeed self contradictory, to suggest that a thing then could be more powerful than God. In doing so, you are simply denying your definition of God, and you've negated nothing. Your question amounts to this:

Could God, defined as the most powerful being in existence, overpower a being more powerful than He?

Clearly, such a question is absurd on its face. It is bad philosophy.

That's all. :)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

User avatar
Kurieuo
Technical Admin
Posts: 9709
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2004 6:25 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Progressive Creationist
Location: Qld, Australia
Has liked: 595 times
Been liked: 618 times

Re: proofs against god disproven or?

#15

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:34 am

peter wrote:btw - I see rich has started most threads in here, and they are linked to his articles. Have I started my thread in the wrong forum, or is this the right one?
Peter again, you really should be contacting Rich via the website. That is, if you really are seeking a response from him.

Further, I believe in a God of sense, not nonsense. An all-powerful God may fail nonsense questions such as whether he is able to create a rock so big he can't lift (which is nonsense as it treats God as two rather than one), but that just goes to show we Christians worship a God of sense and not nonsense.

Post Reply