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What Will finaly prove or disprove that there is a God (in any religion)?


Izzy_Bee
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Nothing. There will always be definitions of "god" that are unfalsifiable.

 

And this is true for a "specific" god as well, such as the God of the Bible. For example some interpret the Bible literally while others treat it largely metaphorically, and these camps often have various different ideas of what God is like.

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Truth, I think the problem with your question is the multiplex of "Gods" out there.

 

Turn your question on its head for a minute.

 

If science proved beyond a doubt that the Universe was a created thing, would that prove the existence of "God"?

 

The only real answer is "Which one?" Would it prove the existence of the christian God of the West more than the existence of the crocodile God of Upper Whertheheckarwe?

 

If so, why? and if not, why not?

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Many individuals already feel that they have proof of God. Many of those feel "you'd have to have been there" to get it, and understand it's a personal proof instead of general proof. If I saw Big Foot that would be proof to me that he exists, but I wouldn't expect everyone to take my word for it.

 

In that sense we need to narrow down "prove or disprove" though I assume you mean some tangible conveyable proof that can reliably be shared between people.

 

 

That brings us to the next problem - the definition of God. It may be possible to prove/disprove specific Gods of specific religions when the religion makes a tangible claim directly tied to the God in question. If a religion believed that a giant pitch black snake lived in the sky, and that the moon was his eye - we can go there and prove this is not the case. While the "proof" may be acceptable to most (there are Flat-Earthers out there and moon-landing deniers) it is doubtful that the majority of the worshipers of that God would change their behavior. Most would either believe the evidence was a deception, or that the Scriptures were misinterpreted somehow - but not doubt the presence of their God.

 

So really, it becomes very difficult when the subject being investigated can change the definition of the subject to suit any new evidence that is presented.

 

 

On the "proof positive" side, I don't think it's possible to prove. Consider the most personal proof a person can get - their God pops out in front of them, tells them they are God, and performs superhuman miracles. That would be a huge boost to a person's faith to have that kind of hard, tangible evidence - but what if their God then tells them to do something entirely contrary to their religion and nature? The first thought the person will have is "What if he's an Impostor?" There's all kinds of stories of demons and devils that can pull that sort of thing off - is it God or a fake? If there is no God, there would be no one to stop the Impostor, who could probably get away with the deception.

 

In short, I'm quite certain it's impossible.

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And this is true for a "specific" god as well, such as the God of the Bible. For example some interpret the Bible literally while others treat it largely metaphorically, and these camps often have various different ideas of what God is like.

 

I mean the only difference I do see is the 'Rules' of 'God' and the image people say 'God' portrays.

Would it ever be possible everyone agree on a 'ultimate God'.

 

Truth, I think the problem with your question is the multiplex of "Gods" out there.

 

Turn your question on its head for a minute.

 

If science proved beyond a doubt that the Universe was a created thing, would that prove the existence of "God"?

 

The only real answer is "Which one?" Would it prove the existence of the christian God of the West more than the existence of the crocodile God of Upper Whertheheckarwe?

 

If so, why? and if not, why not?

 

I understand what you say maybe I worded it wrong but I did say 'in any religion' summing up any 'God' any one would want to talk about.

I am sure science will one day give the answer. I just wondered on everyones else's opinion.

Thank you for your reply.

Truth

 

Many individuals already feel that they have proof of God. Many of those feel "you'd have to have been there" to get it, and understand it's a personal proof instead of general proof. If I saw Big Foot that would be proof to me that he exists, but I wouldn't expect everyone to take my word for it.

 

In that sense we need to narrow down "prove or disprove" though I assume you mean some tangible conveyable proof that can reliably be shared between people.

 

 

That brings us to the next problem - the definition of God. It may be possible to prove/disprove specific Gods of specific religions when the religion makes a tangible claim directly tied to the God in question. If a religion believed that a giant pitch black snake lived in the sky, and that the moon was his eye - we can go there and prove this is not the case. While the "proof" may be acceptable to most (there are Flat-Earthers out there and moon-landing deniers) it is doubtful that the majority of the worshipers of that God would change their behavior. Most would either believe the evidence was a deception, or that the Scriptures were misinterpreted somehow - but not doubt the presence of their God.

 

So really, it becomes very difficult when the subject being investigated can change the definition of the subject to suit any new evidence that is presented.

 

 

On the "proof positive" side, I don't think it's possible to prove. Consider the most personal proof a person can get - their God pops out in front of them, tells them they are God, and performs superhuman miracles. That would be a huge boost to a person's faith to have that kind of hard, tangible evidence - but what if their God then tells them to do something entirely contrary to their religion and nature? The first thought the person will have is "What if he's an Impostor?" There's all kinds of stories of demons and devils that can pull that sort of thing off - is it God or a fake? If there is no God, there would be no one to stop the Impostor, who could probably get away with the deception.

 

In short, I'm quite certain it's impossible.

 

 

This is good reply to my question you understood it for what I was asking thank you.

 

If 'God' was proved then I am sure there would be some one claiming the 'Devil' must also excist. This would open a whole neew kettle of fish, and terror, and worry. So they try to disprove the 'Devil' in some cases. I believe this is wrong.

I for one think 'God' is a persons own belief,and groups almost share their beliefs and then publicly share them and other who feel they need to be a part of something join. And that is how a religion is made.

I am certain if I got enough people to say 'Oh the mighty gold fish will save us all' I would slowly form a new religion/group.

I also think 'God' to people is what they wish him/her (or what ever) to be. We all have something we aspire to live for, mine is to become a molecula biologist.. So where is my 'God'? (retorical).

Its large area to get around and I am just saying;

- 'God' is like a invisible friend (like imaginary ones some kids have when little) And people when they feel they need someone more then they have they turn to this 'greater power' Yet I am sure they don't really know what it is, but its the idea you are not alone. And people rely on this. Its juat an idea.

Thank you for you reply.

Truth

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I have a possible scientific way to address this. For the sake of argument, let us assume God is an abstract thought. According to other topics in this site, language is the foundation needed for humans to think or one needs language to think. If we assume God is an abstract thought, the level of language needed to express a God abstraction would need to be fairly advanced.

 

Unlike tangible things like dog, walking, triangle, which only require a single word, an abstraction like god would need more language, since it would not be provable by direct experience. One would need more advanced language to help skate around the lack of sensory input and transfer the abstraction, fully. The scientific study would be to compare language development in early man, to time of the inception of a viral god abstraction, to see if there was enough language at that time express this abstraction. If language was too thin, there would have been the need for something tangible.

 

For example, we can train an ape sign language. He/she might be able to understand boy, girl, simple math like 1,2, triangle, square, verbs like run, talk, and adjectives like red, blue etc. We might even give it a toy shovel and sign the word dig. But is that enough language to abstract the concept god? If we pointed to a statue or photo of a God, since this is tangible, even the simple chimp sign language would be enough. But without anything tangible, how much language would the ape need to know to abstract a non tangible like the concept of god? If early man had only a simple language, not enough for such a viral abstraction as god, this would have required a tangible experience. The "word" god would then become the simple language term for this experience.

Edited by pioneer
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I have a possible scientific way to address this. For the sake of argument, let us assume God is an abstract thought. According to other topics in this site, language is the foundation needed for humans to think or one needs language to think. If we assume God is an abstract thought, the level of language needed to express a God abstraction would need to be fairly advanced.

 

Unlike tangible things like dog, walking, triangle, which only require a single word, an abstraction like god would need more language, since it would not be provable by direct experience. One would need more advanced language to help skate around the lack of sensory input and transfer the abstraction, fully. The scientific study would be to compare language development in early man, to time of the inception of a viral god abstraction, to see if there was enough language at that time express this abstraction. If language was too thin, there would have been the need for something tangible.

 

For example, we can train an ape sign language. He/she might be able to understand boy, girl, simple math like 1,2, triangle, square, verbs like run, talk, and adjectives like red, blue etc. We might even give it a toy shovel and sign the word dig. But is that enough language to abstract the concept god? If we pointed to a statue or photo of a God, since this is tangible, even the simple chimp sign language would be enough. But without anything tangible, how much language would the ape need to know to abstract a non tangible like the concept of god? If early man had only a simple language, not enough for such a viral abstraction as god, this would have required a tangible experience. The "word" god would then become the simple language term for this experience.

 

 

Thats a really good answer to be honest. Made me think about it more. Thank you.

Truth.

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Nothing. There will always be definitions of "god" that are unfalsifiable.

 

Could you give me the grammatical intrepretation of unfalsifiable?

 

Just curios to know what you all think will prove or disprove that God is really out there.

Science? Or not...

Ideas..

 

Even with a wall covered with Doctorates and Phds, a persons hypothetical inclinations may still question many things as something other than absolute fact.

Edited by rigney
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Consider an alternative perspective on this question: I assert that I am writing this comment by concentrating my thoughts into mystical forces which can move the keys on the keypad of my personal computer. If I refuse to give anyone a demonstration of this ability or to explain further how I just did it, there will never be any evidence to prove or disprove that that was indeed how I wrote this computer message. But would you then go around scratching your head and seriously wondering, "How can we now ever prove or disprove whether Marat really wrote that message by thought waves?" Would you for the rest of your life declare yourself a 'Marat typing comments by mystical thought-waves agnostic,' simply because you could not prove or disprove whether what I just claimed was true?

 

The problem with the statement is that no conditions can be specified to test it, so in positivistic terms it is just a meaningless assertion which should not detain our inquiries nor induce us to carve out a space in our minds to be 'agnostic' about whether this ever happened or not. It is not a real problem, just a compilation of words which appear to state a real problem, as Wittgenstein might say.

 

Can we ever prove or disprove that Zeus prefers eating cabbage to sipping soup? Is Hercules a Republican or a Democrat? Does Poseidon support the Israelis or the Palestinians? Does Apollo want Charlie Rangel to resign? Does God exist or not? All these questions suffer from the same defect of being essentially untestable while yet seeming to state real issues.

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An unfalsifiable statement is one which, if false, would be impossible to prove it is false.

 

Did you mean to say: An unfalsifiable statement is one which, if true, would be impossible to prove false, or did I miss the point completely?

I'm too old to be sure of anything anymore, so set me straight.

 

It's a must that I get a new dictionary. Three years old and fifty bucks shot; you'd think it would come with a built in bullet proof update? Thanks. I'll try using google from now on.

Edited by rigney
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Did you mean to say: An unfalsifiable statement is one which, if true, would be impossible to prove false, or did I miss the point completely?

I'm too old to be sure of anything anymore, so set me straight.

 

It's a must that I get a new dictionary. Three years old and fifty bucks shot; you'd think it would come with a built in bullet proof update? Thanks. I'll try using google from now on.

 

He meant what he said. An unfalsifiable statement cannot be proved false, whether it is true or false. An example would be Nostradamus' "predictions" of the future. These "predictions" are vague and metaphorical, so that you could never see for sure whether it happened or not. If something happens that is more or less a close match to his "predictions", a certain class of people will proclaim that Nostradamus has predicted that event. However, were that particular event not to have happened, they would not have proclaimed his predictions false. And that is the problem -- it becomes a one-sided thing, where only evidence "for" would count but there can never be evidence against. At this point, a scientist would say that the evidence "for" cannot count -- it is not real evidence -- if there cannot be evidence against.

 

If I say "in the year of the great winter, the dragon shall attack from the north" then to measure how well I predict the future you would have to know how likely that is to happen and how likely not to happen. So someone will attack someone in the winter, no time limit. This can never be proven wrong since it could happen 1000 years from now, for example, and then if someone still remembers those words they might act all surprised and say I predicted the future. Whereas a scientist would say the statement was unfalsifiable and so meaningless.

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There are important differences in the notion of 'unfalsifiable' which bear on the issue of God's existence being incapable of proof or disproof. The theoretical work on the foundations of mathematics in the first third of the twentieth century demonstrated that any reasonably sophisticated mathematical system would contrain a number of statement which though true would necessarily not be provable within the system of rules describing that mathematics. The culmination of this is Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem (1931). But this kind of unfalsifiability does not make the assertion of these truths empty, because at least their truth insofar as we can trace them can be demonstrated. The only limit is that we cannot prove them true for all numbers (e.g., Fermat's Conjecture, Goldbach's Theorem, etc.) because the system of numbers is infinite.

 

But with the God hypothesis things are different, since we have no empirical evidence justifying our seriously worrying about whether it is true or not in the first place, such as we do have for those 'unprovable' mathematical hypotheses. If we say we cannot prove either that Vishnu is a Lakers fan or not, we are not even making a coherent statement worth worrying about, since we have one thing entirely empty of empirical content, X = Vishnu, and we are trying to investigate what type of empirical criteria would have to be satisfied for attributing to it some actual empirically testable predicate, i.e., 'is a Lakers fan.' So the phrase, 'X is a Lakers fan,' is meaningful only if we have something with empirical definition on both sides of the equation so that we can seriously specify the criteria for attributing the predicate to the subject. Fretting about whether we can prove whether God exists or not is like worrying about whether the color blue is a Brazilian citizen.

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If 'God' was proved then I am sure there would be some one claiming the 'Devil' must also excist. This would open a whole neew kettle of fish, and terror, and worry. So they try to disprove the 'Devil' in some cases. I believe this is wrong.

I for one think 'God' is a persons own belief,and groups almost share their beliefs and then publicly share them and other who feel they need to be a part of something join. And that is how a religion is made.

I am certain if I got enough people to say 'Oh the mighty gold fish will save us all' I would slowly form a new religion/group.

I also think 'God' to people is what they wish him/her (or what ever) to be. We all have something we aspire to live for, mine is to become a molecula biologist.. So where is my 'God'? (retorical).

Its large area to get around and I am just saying;

- 'God' is like a invisible friend (like imaginary ones some kids have when little) And people when they feel they need someone more then they have they turn to this 'greater power' Yet I am sure they don't really know what it is, but its the idea you are not alone. And people rely on this. Its juat an idea.

Thank you for you reply.

Truth

I am not so certain that people would look unto Gold fish for salvation, but I think in general you are correct. In light of how you defined the situation above, do you think it is possible to prove or disprove God? The natural follow-up question seems to be "Prove it to whom?" and the concept of generalized proof breaks down.

 

 

This topic actually got me thinking a bit about how we all as humans address philisophical issues. It seems to me, they are a combination of testable logical constructs (at least, to the point of whether the logic works or not, and how convoluted it may become) and - most importantly - very personal feelings on the matter. It's as sticky of an issue as "What is a worthwhile way to live life?" since, really there is no answer that doesn't require subjective axioms. In the end we each try to answer "What do I think is a worthwhile way to live life?" and while we may meet people that we share common views with, it is inherently personal. We can talk about worthwhile endeavors, about ethics and morals and all kinds of well structured and reasoned views but only if they are based on similar axioms. We don't even always know what axioms we use, and end up fighting over logical arguments that are incompatible from the start. If we can recognize different axioms, we can probably understand varying positions more easily in a non-adversarial manner.

 

I honestly suspect that many theists underestimate how much time and energy atheists put into understanding their own personal feelings on these sorts of matters, and visa-versa. I often find theists expect atheists to avoid the issue altogether, while atheists often view theists as adopting a "fixed religion" as a way to avoid those concepts too. I'm sure that is true for some people within both groups, but I think both sides put a lot more thought and diligence into these things than either side may generally be aware of.

 

I think Pioneer had a great point about language - which honestly makes it all the more fun. I'm sure there are people who study these topics with a much broader vocabulary on the subject than I, but the process of finding how to convey and communicate such topics with the requisite degree of nuance is something I really enjoy. I find the more I increase my "abstract vocabulary" to understand concepts I couldn't previously conceptualize clearly has a very beneficial impact even in the most general ways I think about all topics.

Edited by padren
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Consider an alternative perspective on this question: I assert that I am writing this comment by concentrating my thoughts into mystical forces which can move the keys on the keypad of my personal computer. If I refuse to give anyone a demonstration of this ability or to explain further how I just did it, there will never be any evidence to prove or disprove that that was indeed how I wrote this computer message. But would you then go around scratching your head and seriously wondering, "How can we now ever prove or disprove whether Marat really wrote that message by thought waves?" Would you for the rest of your life declare yourself a 'Marat typing comments by mystical thought-waves agnostic,' simply because you could not prove or disprove whether what I just claimed was true?

 

The problem with the statement is that no conditions can be specified to test it, so in positivistic terms it is just a meaningless assertion which should not detain our inquiries nor induce us to carve out a space in our minds to be 'agnostic' about whether this ever happened or not. It is not a real problem, just a compilation of words which appear to state a real problem, as Wittgenstein might say.

 

Can we ever prove or disprove that Zeus prefers eating cabbage to sipping soup? Is Hercules a Republican or a Democrat? Does Poseidon support the Israelis or the Palestinians? Does Apollo want Charlie Rangel to resign? Does God exist or not? All these questions suffer from the same defect of being essentially untestable while yet seeming to state real issues.

 

 

Yes I agree most of them are untestible, but you would think with todays modern technology you would be able to prove or disprove some of them. Thats what gets me most..

 

I am not so certain that people would look unto Gold fish for salvation, but I think in general you are correct. In light of how you defined the situation above, do you think it is possible to prove or disprove God? The natural follow-up question seems to be "Prove it to whom?" and the concept of generalized proof breaks down.

 

 

This topic actually got me thinking a bit about how we all as humans address philisophical issues. It seems to me, they are a combination of testable logical constructs (at least, to the point of whether the logic works or not, and how convoluted it may become) and - most importantly - very personal feelings on the matter. It's as sticky of an issue as "What is a worthwhile way to live life?" since, really there is no answer that doesn't require subjective axioms. In the end we each try to answer "What do I think is a worthwhile way to live life?" and while we may meet people that we share common views with, it is inherently personal. We can talk about worthwhile endeavors, about ethics and morals and all kinds of well structured and reasoned views but only if they are based on similar axioms. We don't even always know what axioms we use, and end up fighting over logical arguments that are incompatible from the start. If we can recognize different axioms, we can probably understand varying positions more easily in a non-adversarial manner.

 

I honestly suspect that many theists underestimate how much time and energy atheists put into understanding their own personal feelings on these sorts of matters, and visa-versa. I often find theists expect atheists to avoid the issue altogether, while atheists often view theists as adopting a "fixed religion" as a way to avoid those concepts too. I'm sure that is true for some people within both groups, but I think both sides put a lot more thought and diligence into these things than either side may generally be aware of.

 

I think Pioneer had a great point about language - which honestly makes it all the more fun. I'm sure there are people who study these topics with a much broader vocabulary on the subject than I, but the process of finding how to convey and communicate such topics with the requisite degree of nuance is something I really enjoy. I find the more I increase my "abstract vocabulary" to understand concepts I couldn't previously conceptualize clearly has a very beneficial impact even in the most general ways I think about all topics.

 

 

The gold fish was a fun example.

And I see what youa re saying, but another thing that really grinds me is O.K so we all have a hench that 'God' or thie 'higher power' is out there. But if for instance I went of around my town screaming 'God' had talked to me it wouldn't be long until some authoritie came and removed me physically. I see it happen all the time. People trying to get people to believe and help in 'Gods work' and when they do they are pretty much tagged as mad. Who can prove that some one suffering from a disorder where they swear they see something.. God, are not seeing this, what about when people say they see an angel or the devil or a ghost... they get locked up and drugged up like the goverment are trying to keep us quiet.. It really F's me off.

 

Thank you for you wonderful reply.

Truth.

 

An unfalsifiable statement is one which, if false, would be impossible to prove it is false.

 

 

Nice way of putting it. Higfive to you.

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Yes I agree most of them are untestible, but you would think with todays modern technology you would be able to prove or disprove some of them. Thats what gets me most..

 

"Unfalsifiable" generally does not change with technology level.

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I think proving that we had no free-will would do it. I have no idea how you would go about that though.

 

Maybe you should think about it see if you crack this open

Thank you for replying Truth

 

"Unfalsifiable" generally does not change with technology level.

 

I see. Thank you.

Truth

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I think proving that we had no free-will would do it. I have no idea how you would go about that though.

 

How would that prove that every religion is wrong? (And what definition of "free will" are you talking about?)

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How would that prove that every religion is wrong? (And what definition of "free will" are you talking about?)

 

You are right. I was being quite restrictive in my definition. It would disprove any religion with a sentient god, but if your religion was "there is no such thing as free-will" I suppose you would be fine ;)

 

By "no free-will" I mean that placing the person in an isolated environment where the initial conditions are exactly known, the observer could in principle predict every action taken by the person (no matter how small) for the rest of time.

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Ah, so you just mean proving that the universe is deterministic. How does that rule out a sentient god?

 

If you have no free-will, you are not sentient. Also, a god with no ability to do what he wants seems in contradiction to most views of god.

Edited by Severian
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