Could there be a God?

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I say they are improbable due to the complete lack of adequate evidence that scales appropriately with the extraordinary nature of the claim.

The lack of evidence is not evidence against. Something you will learn in science friend.

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I'm frustrated that you're being so unnecessarily evasive and petulant, but I'm hardly angry.   I knew up front what you likely meant when referencing Einstein. You're not the first, nor will you

The lack of evidence is not evidence against. Something you will learn in science friend.

Sure, there "could" be a god. There "could" also be microscopic garden gnomes living in your armpits and singing songs accompanied by tiny fiddles.

I never claimed that lack of evidence was evidence of lack. I just said the complete lack of adequate evidence that scales appropriately with the extraordinary nature of the god claim makes the existence of god(s) extremely unlikely. The point is that the default position should be one of skepticism, and that nonbelief is the most reasonable stance until adequate evidence has been presented to justify an acceptance of the god conjecture as true and valid. I learned that in science, friend.

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You are arguing it seems, that a total lack of evidence makes a God improbable. As a basic argument, I find it... unsubstantial. It sounds almost like your are justifying your position by a lack of evidence, which is why I said what I said.

There can be loads of reasons why we have no direct evidence of God, if one exists. Just as much as I don't know what color of bra the pop singer Madonna wore at the weekend.

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I deal in real science. Science is about possibilities. Not once in science should one say anything is for certain and nowhere in these posts have I entertained the idea that a God is certain. What I have said and will continue to say, God is a possibility - one you guys as real scientists need to wake up to...

Sounds like you are certain a God must abide by the rules of quantum mechanics.

If a God truly exists, he must abide by the rules of quantum mechanics.

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You are arguing it seems, that a total lack of evidence makes a God improbable.

So you DO get it! In science, we don't draw conclusions about what we don't or can't observe.

As a basic argument, I find it... unsubstantial. It sounds almost like your are justifying your position by a lack of evidence, which is why I said what I said.

oh... so you don't get it.

As iNow said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Lack of evidence allows you to draw no conclusions about those claims. So yes, the probability that there is a God is low PRECISELY because there is no evidence.

There can be loads of reasons why we have no direct evidence of God, if one exists. Just as much as I don't know what color of bra the pop singer Madonna wore at the weekend.

But what claim are you making about Madonna's bra? That the color was red?

The thing is, even if you can't observe Madonna's bra, anyone who's been to a department store knows that red bra's exist. In fact, you could even count the frequency of red bras divided by total bras for a rough probability estimate that Madonna's bra is red (under the assumption that she picks her bra at random). It would be a reasonable estimate, but only because its an estimate based on observations and reasonable assumptions.

In order to make a similar estimate about the probability that God exists you'd have to observe multiple universes and calculate the relative frequency at which God exists in all observable universes. I don't think this study would be funded by the NSF.

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Sounds like you are certain a God must abide by the rules of quantum mechanics.

Am certain that the universe is ruled by uncertainty. Just knowing the location and trajectory of a particle would involve great amounts of energy. It would cause an inherent instability of the vacuum. In science, we can be sure to some great degree of the things we can measure and test.

To be honest, what you have said only adds to the evidence that we cannot be sure a God does not exist.

So you DO get it! In science, we don't draw conclusions about what we don't or can't observe.

oh... so you don't get it.

As iNow said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Lack of evidence allows you to draw no conclusions about those claims. So yes, the probability that there is a God is low PRECISELY because there is no evidence.

But what claim are you making about Madonna's bra? That the color was red?

The thing is, even if you can't observe Madonna's bra, anyone who's been to a department store knows that red bra's exist. In fact, you could even count the frequency of red bras divided by total bras for a rough probability estimate that Madonna's bra is red (under the assumption that she picks her bra at random). It would be a reasonable estimate, but only because its an estimate based on observations and reasonable assumptions.

In order to make a similar estimate about the probability that God exists you'd have to observe multiple universes and calculate the relative frequency at which God exists in all observable universes. I don't think this study would be funded by the NSF.

What are you on about? I am quite aware of the methods of science, which is why I am disappointed in you and others being so dogmatic in your ways enough to say God is ''improbable''. Why should God be measurable? God is in the leagues of parallel universes. We may never be able to measure them directly but we still theorize on their possibilities and we hardly say things like ''they are improbable.'' I think most of you need classes again in the world of science where keeping an open mind is invaluable.

And my claim about the bra, is that I can't tell you what color it was, but I'm not going to say its improbable that she even wore one.

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And my claim about the bra, is that I can't tell you what color it was, but I'm not going to say its improbable that she even wore one.

And my point was that we know women wear bras. We can observe bras. We can observe them in different colors. We can observe women with no bras. What can you observe about God?

What are you on about? I am quite aware of the methods of science, which is why I am disappointed in you and others being so dogmatic in your ways enough to say God is ''improbable'.

what's your definition of im/probable? As in, what is your probability estimate that god exists. Give an precise number between 0 and 1 (or a range).

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Well, let us base some statistics on the probability let us say, on the chance of a simplest enzyme required for life. The probability, which was first calculated by Hoyle came to about 1 in $10^{40,000}$. If this kind of life really is by chance, the question truly is, what are the odds there is no intelligent hand behind ''the world''?

And my point was that we know women wear bras. We can observe bras. We can observe them in different colors. We can observe women with no bras. What can you observe about God?

Well I don't get to see the woman often, so next time you see her, can you please ask her for me whether she even wears one

Edited by Aethelwulf
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Well, let us base some statistics on the probability let us say, on the chance of a simplest enzyme required for life. The probability, which was first calculated by Hoyle came to about 1 in $10^{40,000}$. If this kind of life really is by chance, the question truly is, what are the odds there is no intelligent hand ''the world''?

You've managed to both avoid the question and be redundant. The probability that there is no god is simply 1 - p(God exists). Please give an actual answer.

if you're saying that the probability that God exists is less that $\tfrac{1}{10^{40,000}}$, then I agree (though even that's higher than what I'd say). The only question is why you wouldn't consider this as being highly improbable. This number is far below the precision of most modern computers and will default to exactly zero for any calculation.

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(And whoever keeps making negatives to my posts, grow up.)

These ''counting systems'' for the quality of posts are childish. It just shows you can't have a reasonable discussion without showing stupid emotions over something. I'd understand it if I have said something amazingly thick.

You've managed to both avoid the question and be redundant. The probability that there is no god is simply 1 - p(God exists). Please give an actual answer.

if you're saying that the probability that God exists is less that $\tfrac{1}{10^{40,000}}$, then I agree (though even that's higher than what I'd say). The only question is why you wouldn't consider this as being highly improbable. This number is far below the precision of most modern computers and will default to exactly zero for any calculation.

A safe estimate, would possibly be, what is the statistical chance of single universe coming into existence. Now, one can argue a number of different ''routes'' to this question.

One can argue that the universe is highly improbable - that the appearance of a single universe required just the right conditions that it was 1 in an infinite amount of conditions it could have arose in. These are amazingly fantastic odds, but true if one takes into consideration the laws of quantum mechanics.

However, one could argue that the universe was highly probable due to a very high potential which occurred around the same time our universe came into existence.

...so my conclusion is, if one was going to make a statistic on God, one cannot be definite one way or another. It's hard to base a statistic on something where odds like even a single universe is obscured by chances which... are either based on the first account or the latter.

But it certainly does not make them, improbable.

''same time'' sorry. edited.

Edited by Aethelwulf
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I'm not sure if its just 2:30AM, if english isn't your first language or if you're just naturally incomprehensible, but this is how I'm reading your statement.

you don't want to give an estimate about God existing because either:

1) the universe as it exists today is just one of many highly improbable possibilities that we can observe through physics

2) the universe as it exists today was pre-ordained.

Point 1 makes sense and is pretty much what I and others have said.

Point 2 makes little sense, but I'm just assuming that by "high potential" you mean god directing the universe's creation. This point is pretty much what I'm asking you to estimate.

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I'm not sure if its just 2:30AM, if english isn't your first language or if you're just naturally incomprehensible, but this is how I'm reading your statement.

you don't want to give an estimate about God existing because either:

1) the universe as it exists today is just one of many highly improbable possibilities that we can observe through physics

2) the universe as it exists today was pre-ordained.

Point 1 makes sense and is pretty much what I and others have said.

Point 2 makes little sense, but I'm just assuming that by "high potential" you mean god directing the universe's creation. This point is pretty much what I'm asking you to estimate.

Yes and no. First of all, making a statistic on whether a God exists is unwise. I will get back to this in a moment.

You seem to be saying that factor 1) is that it is what you and others have said because it is an improbable possibility that we can observe through physics. This is a wrong statement. The very first instant of the universe, and following, cannot be directly measured by any being on Earth. No one can and will be able to measure this moment because nothing will let us live within that era. I will leave you to answer within yourself why.

Factor 1) actually adds to the realization a God can exist. The improbability of a universe coming from nothing, or out of an infinite amount of states it could have arose from, adds to the conjecture arguably that a something intelligent was behind its creation. You can't argue one way or another whether this ''improbability'' adds or takes away the argument for a God. Factor 2) is the same. If you have a really high potential, (the kind of potential like $\frac{m}{2}\phi$) and is dictated to be high for a universe to appear to be arguably again, in the favor of a design - that something was capable of making this potential be real and physical.

Making a statistic on God is useless.

And enough of the ad hominem insults about whether English is my first language. I am English.

Edited by Aethelwulf
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ok, so problem solved... you're just incomprehensible. Seriously, this isn't meant as an ad hom in the sense that your argument should be rejected because you, as a person, are flawed. But your argument is just not clear. Your language is vague and muddled and your grasp of physics seems to be confused at best (in fact, physicists have made very careful inferences about the universe at the beginning of time - though that's off topic) If there's a logical flow, rhyme or reason to your arguments, I cannot detect it.

You've responded negatively to other members claims that the existence of God is "improbable" but when asked to clarify your exact position on what your own estimate about the existence of God is, you've completely avoided the question. To me, this indicates that you either have no clear position on the subject (and then why make this thread?) or you have not [or are not willing or able to] think this question out clearly.

I ask you one last time: please clarify what your position is. What do you think the probability that God exists? Clearly, you don't think the answer is somewhere 'more likely than "improbable"', so I ask, what evidence do you have that God does exist. You seem to like to argue from lack of evidence so: what is your probability estimate that there are invisible lawn gnomes trying eating my face?

If you fail to answer these questions clearly and succinctly or if you attempt to further obfuscate, I'll certainly be flagging this thread for mod review (I'd do it myself but I'm obviously no longer impartial)

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My grasp of physics seems muddled?

LOL!

Come back to me when you are ready to debate this without the silly insults. I have years of understanding physics. I say the things I say because I have studied these things for a long while. Perhaps as a better come-back, you could actually challenge the physics and show what you know.

Personally, also I don't understand how anyone can flag this post because I am incapable of giving a statistic to God. I am very confused by such an attitude. I'd be even more confused if any action is brought upon it.

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I'm asking you to give an estimate, not a measured statistic. As in, to the best of your knowledge and incorporating your beliefs and observations, how likely do you believe that God exists. And, again, what is your probability estimate that there are invisible lawn gnomes trying eating my face?

The reason I give that this thread should be flagged is not because you don't have the answer to life, the universe and everything, but that you have not responded directly to any post made on this thread.

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If I admit I can't, which I have now about three times, how can you honestly flag this thread? You are persecuting me for not being able to adhere to your request.

If any moderator takes this flag seriously, I will take it as a biased decision based on you being a mod. How about those statistics?

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If any moderator takes this flag seriously, I will take it as a biased decision based on you being a mod. How about those statistics?

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Moderator Note

Think what you like.

Firstly, ecoli didn't report this thread (yet) and even if he did, I've in fact had it open for a few hours ready to add a mod note when I had a spare moment between reactions.

Secondly...

The reason I give that this thread should be flagged is not because you don't have the answer to life, the universe and everything, but that you have not responded directly to any post made on this thread.

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Moderator Note

...what ecoli said.

You shot yourself in the foot by placing this thread in the Speculations forum (although it doesn't really belong anywhere else, I'll admit). As it happens, it has an additional set of rules. I would like to draw your attention to the following:

Speculations must be backed up by evidence or some sort of proof. If your speculation is untestable, or you don't give us evidence (or a prediction that is testable), your thread will be moved to the Trash Can. If you expect any scientific input, you need to provide a case that science can measure.

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Moderator Note

You have an obligation in this forum to support your speculations or explain how it could be tested. You have an obligation to respond and answer the questions asked of you by other members. You also have an obligation not to insult members or get narky while attempting to do so.

Failure to comply will result in this thread being closed.

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tested?

Perhaps your observational skills are lacking somewhat, because no one has asked me to provide evidence to how ''God'' can be tested. If they had, I would have laughed in this thread and said if I knew that, I would be a nobel prize winner.

The question, indeed was, what are the statistics of a God to exist. I have answered him, three times now, that I cannot provide a statistic for God. Such a thing if it is possible would require a complete knowledge of the universes statistics involving such a being. I don't have that knowledge. What more do you want from me than the response you people are so insidiously trying to make out I have intentionally avoided?

Your actions here as a mod are somewhat lacking. I haven't avoided anyone, I certainly have replied to every question and I certainly am not advocating anything more than within my own capabilities. All I have stated in the OP, is that if a God exists, quantum mechanics places considerable limits on what his own existence might include.

Close the thread if you are so hungry for a power trip.

[[if I had said, without any doubt he exists, and was outside of physics, I think you would have had more problems with this thread. So far, I have seen nothing wrong in my actions.]]

Edited by Aethelwulf
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Moderator Note

If you wish to debate a mod note, you know the appropriate channels.

But, for the sake of completeness:

You've spent the entire thread evading this question:

What specifically are you suggesting Einstein knew? As a follow-up to that request for clarification, how is that remotely relevant?

You did in fact respond to this, but unfortunately, it was equally as evasive with a bit of added ad hom:

And a scientific theory needs to be testable. How did you plan on testing for the existence of God, exactly?

And despite all his patience, you still haven't answered this:

And my point was that we know women wear bras. We can observe bras. We can observe them in different colors. We can observe women with no bras. What can you observe about God?

what's your definition of im/probable? As in, what is your probability estimate that god exists. Give an precise number between 0 and 1 (or a range).

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Moderator Note

You see, all answers are replies, sure, but not all replies are actual answers. We want answers, not evasive and insulting replies.

Whether or not you said it's testable is not the point. The rules of this forum, which I both linked and quoted in my above post, dictate that what you present here has to either have evidence to support it or has to be in some way testable by current science.

If you have any more issues with mod actions, please use the report feature or PM an available member of staff. Please do not continue to derail the thread by debating this note.

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!

Moderator Note

If you wish to debate a mod note, you know the appropriate channels.

But, for the sake of completeness:

You've spent the entire thread evading this question:

You did in fact respond to this, but unfortunately, it was equally as evasive with a bit of added ad hom:

And despite all his patience, you still haven't answered this:

!

Moderator Note

You see, all answers are replies, sure, but not all replies are actual answers. We want answers, not evasive and insulting replies.

Whether or not you said it's testable is not the point. The rules of this forum, which I both linked and quoted in my above post, dictate that what you present here has to either have evidence to support it or has to be in some way testable by current science.

If you have any more issues with mod actions, please use the report feature or PM an available member of staff. Please do not continue to derail the thread by debating this note.

I didn't evade that question, I simply forgot about it.

In reply to this question, simply read this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinozism - I cannot word it any better.

And I can't answer questions like ''how do you test God''? This is not the nature of the OP to tackle that question. Especially of course for the fact that I can't. If God is nature itself, then how can one test a nature of nature? Just look around you in this world, you ask yourself whether God can be tested. It's like asking a fish to describe land.

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And I can't answer questions like ''how do you test God''?

Then how can you make a scientific claim purporting that he exists? I can make all the claims I like, but if I can't devise a way to test those claims, they're not science.

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If I admit I can't, which I have now about three times, how can you honestly flag this thread? You are persecuting me for not being able to adhere to your request.

If you can't provide an estimate for the probability that god exists, how can you possibly reject claims like this:

You [iNow] are arguing it seems, that a total lack of evidence makes a God improbable. As a basic argument, I find it... unsubstantial.

I interpret this to mean that you believe the existence of god is "probable" (since you rejected iNow's argument that his existence is improbable). Further, since you've detailed the scientific details of a hypothetical God, I take that to reinforce that you believe God's existence is probable. The very title of this thread is "Could there be a God?" But, when I ask you to be explicit and semi-quantitative about this very same question, all the sudden you are unable to answer?

I take this to mean that you are unable or unwilling to evaluate the likelihood of your own claims in the original post.

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If you can't provide an estimate for the probability that god exists, how can you possibly reject claims like this:

I interpret this to mean that you believe the existence of god is "probable" (since you rejected iNow's argument that his existence is improbable). Further, since you've detailed the scientific details of a hypothetical God, I take that to reinforce that you believe God's existence is probable. The very title of this thread is "Could there be a God?" But, when I ask you to be explicit and semi-quantitative about this very same question, all the sudden you are unable to answer?

I take this to mean that you are unable or unwilling to evaluate the likelihood of your own claims in the original post.

Because as I said, just because you can't observe God does not make it improbable. That's a cop-out. As for what I believe I have clearly told you what that is - is that a God is not outside of the realms of possibilities.

Some of the greatest minds in science believed in God.

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Because as I said, just because you can't observe God does not make it improbable. That's a cop-out. As for what I believe I have clearly told you what that is - is that a God is not outside of the realms of possibilities.

Some of the greatest minds in science believed in God.

And some of the greatest minds of mathematics believed in Allah. So what?

Belief is evidence of nothing, so why does it matter what some of the greatest minds in science believed?

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Because as I said, just because you can't observe God does not make it improbable.

Ah I think I finally see what you're saying.

You're still arguing from 'lack of evidence' here but you've made a key error. In probability theory, absence of evidence IS evidence (though not proof) of absence. While its true that there are real causes which refuse to admit evidence of that cause, the probability of observing evidence of that cause is far less likely if that cause doesn't exist. Therefore, continued lack of observation makes it less likely that the cause doesn't exist.

In formal terms:

if

P(G|E) > P(G) (if the probability of God existing is greater given the condition of observing Evidence - which is true)

then

P(G|~E) < P(G)

The probability that god exists given absence of evidence decreases that probability.

In probability there's this little thing called 'conservation of probability.' Since observing evidence must increase our prior belief/estimate about the hypothesis (God exists) observing no evidence must equally cause us to downgrade that belief. The confusion arises, I think, because observing strong, powerful evidence increases that probability estimate swiftly and drastically, while observing no evidence decreases that estimate slowly and in smaller increments.

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