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Disproving God using science?


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I hate to burst your bubble, but there exist perfectly plausible scientific explanations for the "origin" of the universe that are far more rational than god-did-it. The urge to opt for the latter, i.e. a supernatural creator, actually complicates matters as is evident from the endless scientific and philosophical debates surrounding this topic from the watchmaker analogy, the cosmological argument, intelligent design to various others. I trust that science will eventually resolve it once and for all, hence the reason why I regard such a notion to be short-sighted. I am already satisfied that there are sufficient grounds upon which to dismiss the far-fetched idea of a supernatural creator, which is why I (personally) perceive it as superstitious.

I hate to burst your bubble, but that doesn't relate to the point I made at all. There are multiple possibilities, even scientifically, for the origins of the Universe that remain and until the uncertainty of which one is true that uncertainty remains.

 

However, that point remains separate from the fact that the quote states that the existence of a creator contradicts science rather than stating the argument you present.

 

The problem with that has just been illustrated in the way you reacted to my quotes. I attempted to pick highlights from Wright's essay in order to create some sort of summarised narrative, but by doing so I exposed the argument to being nit-picked out of context.

I fail to see how they are nit-picked out of context until you actually address how it is made out of context.

 

For that matter, it gave us nonmodern religion. Whenever we look at a “primitive” religion, we are looking at a religion that has been evolving culturally for a long time. Though observed hunter-gatherer religions give clues about what the average religion was like 12,000 years ago, before the invention of agriculture, none of them much resembles religion in its literally primitive phase, the time (whenever that was) when religious beliefs and practices emerged. Rather, what are called “primitive” religions are bodies of belief and practice that have been evolving—culturally—over tens or even hundreds of millennia. Generation after generation, human minds have been accepting some beliefs, rejecting others, shaping and reshaping religion along the way.

So to explain the existence of “primitive” religion—or for that matter any other kind of religion—we have to first understand what kinds of beliefs and practices the human mind is amenable to. What kinds of information does the mind naturally filter out, and what kinds naturally penetrate it? Before religion appeared and started evolving by cultural evolution, how had genetic evolution shaped the environment in which it would evolve—that is, the human brain?

At the end of this quote, it seems that it is speculative rather than set in stone.

 

So to explain the existence of “primitive” religion—or for that matter any other kind of religion—we have to first understand what kinds of beliefs and practices the human mind is amenable to. What kinds of information does the mind naturally filter out, and what kinds naturally penetrate it? Before religion appeared and started evolving by cultural evolution, how had genetic evolution shaped the environment in which it would evolve—that is, the human brain?

Is there a continuation on this point or is there an end to it?

 

 

 

Our beliefs in fallacies came about as an unintended by-product of evolution (a spandrel)...that is the argument. And many believers do believe in fallacies, don't they? They believe that that they will be protected or cured by supernatural intervention, they believe in an internal life for their souls and you can easily see why they want to believe that. That is survival instinct at its best...only in reality there is no proof that something like that can, or will happen...it is just a belief, a hope. So, do you see how our species invented ways to avoid accurate perception in order to "stay alive"? And it is fallacious because it assumes that humanity here on planet earth is somehow unique or different to the rest of our vast eco system (admittedly not all religions assume this) whereas evolution has taught us that we are not.

Therefore, our perception of reality, even science, can be a fallacy?

 

 

 

I WOULD HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE REST OF THIS RESPONSE SEPARATELY AS THE REPLY-FUNCTION HAS SEEMINGLY CEASE TO OPERATE IN A NORMAL FASHION. LET ME RATHER POST THIS BEFORE IT GETS LOST. TO BE CONTINUED.

 

Until then, I would like to see what work you are referring to of De Waal.

 

 

 

Fortunately, for some of us, we can thank the age of enlightenment and science for our ability to be able to think more critically about certain matters...or let me be more scientific in saying that the dynamic interactions between our ever-changing genes and our ever-changing environments have brought us to a better insight (and will continue to do so). You erred in your assumption that the collective of everything that we have learned through the ages and that we know today would remain constant and unfiltered. Scientific facts and theories, for example, are hardly fallacies.

The original idea resulted in the assumption that the belief in fallacies was best for survival, but a changing environment would result in fallacies no longer being necessary? How would a changing environment result in the belief in fallacies no longer being for our benefit?

 

The age of enlightenment did bring about intellectualism, but it also brought about political upheaval. However, this does not suggest that the view of fallacy, hypothetically present before, ever changed if such a case was true.

 

 

 

You keep on drumming up the idea of a "creator" so by your logic there must be a supernatural start and a supernatural end, right? Science is, however, unmoved by assumptions such as "creation", "start" and/or "end", but allow me to throw in the idea of nature being its own designer, creator, sustainer and/or destroyer..?

I'm merely challenging your points that you present. My beliefs are not relevant in this matter.

 

Science is unmoved by assumptions of philosophy, but it is moved by the assumptions of mathematical axioms.

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The mods here sound like they might be theists.   LOL Or at least the mod who posted the above warning about the YouTube video disproving God. I mean, hey, I'm new here but is not deciding the val

Science can't prove or disprove God. 100% proof does not exist in science.

I find this constant harping on the Miller-Urey experiment to be frustrating, distracting and misguided. I do not refer to you specifically Rob, but to almost everyone who quotes it in fora such as th

It seems to me that you are debating something for the sake of having a debate.

 

The original idea resulted in the assumption that the belief in fallacies was best for survival, but a changing environment would result in fallacies no longer being necessary? How would a changing environment result in the belief in fallacies no longer being for our benefit?

Like this rather silly and ignorant question. I would be repeating myself, so figure it out for yourself.

Edited by Memammal
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It seems to me that you are debating something for the sake of having a debate.

That's called promoting discourse for the evolution of ideas.

 

 

Like this rather silly and ignorant question. I would be repeating myself, so figure it out for yourself.

Thank you for your enlightenment.

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When I read your various comments in your previous post (#102) it became clear to me that we have reached an impasse (which is far removed from any intention to "promote discourse for the evolution of ideas"). I apologise for being rude about it, but those particular questions that you raised (that I referred to in my previous post) were nonsensical in light of everything that I have already conveyed to you. Surely there should be no reason for having to repeat myself, or for having to further explain/expand on something that should have been understood already. Hence my reaction, which, in retrospect, was perhaps uncalled for.

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In the spirit of continuing the evolution of ideas and furthering positive discourse, perhaps Memammal you'd be willing to restate your position in a new way in case some things you felt were previously clear have not been accurately received?

 

Worst case scenario: You waste a few minutes and land right back where we are. No biggie, really. More likely, though, you and other participants get a richer understanding of the topic and of each other.

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The original idea resulted in the assumption that the belief in fallacies was best for survival, but a changing environment would result in fallacies no longer being necessary? How would a changing environment result in the belief in fallacies no longer being for our benefit?

 

The age of enlightenment did bring about intellectualism, but it also brought about political upheaval. However, this does not suggest that the view of fallacy, hypothetically present before, ever changed if such a case was true.

 

In response to iNow's request above, let me for now just deal with this one part that Unity+ might have misunderstood. Unity+ somehow concluded from earlier quotes that we evolved to generally believe in all kinds of fallacies and kept on with this line of reasoning notwithstanding my correction as well as earlier and subsequent explanations that our species had once believed in many fallacies (or superstitions), that according to Wright (and the referenced Wikipedia article) it came about as a result of a spandrel or unintended by-product of evolution, that some of us still believe in the supernatural (where I argued that some of the exact same underlying motives/factors are likely still present) and lastly, that seeing that our species has since evolved further by virtue of the ever-changing genetic/environmental interactions and through the gathering of scientific knowledge, some of us have in fact become sceptical and critical of anything akin to the supernatural. It is NOT, as he put it, changing environments that resulted in the belief in fallacies no longer being for our benefit. It is because of the ongoing and ever-changing gene/environment interaction (including the age of enlightenment and thus a more open-minded, more receptive society, scientific progress, etc.) that we now (dare to) have more insight and knowledge and less superstition.

 

In an attempt to shed some further light on Wright's original line of argument, let me copy an even wider extract from that essay (which is why it would have been much easier if the referenced source was read the first time around). Anyway, here it is:

 

"So to explain the existence of “primitive” religion—or for that matter any other kind of religion—we have to first understand what kinds of beliefs and practices the human mind is amenable to. What kinds of information does the mind naturally filter out, and what kinds naturally penetrate it? Before religion appeared and started evolving by cultural evolution, how had genetic evolution shaped the environment in which it would evolve—that is, the human brain?

To put the question another way: What kinds of beliefs was the human mind “designed” by natural selection to harbor? For starters, not true ones.

At least, not true ones per se. To the extent that accurate perception and comprehension of the world helped humanity’s ancestors get genes into the next generation, then of course mental accuracy would be favored by natural selection. And usually mental accuracy is good for the survival and transmission of the genes. That’s why we have excellent equipment for depth perception, for picking up human voices against background noise, and so on. Still, in situations where accurate perception and judgment impede survival and reproduction, you would expect natural selection to militate against accuracy."

 

Wright then continued under the sub-heading Truth and Consequences to refer to something that is known as the Stockholm syndrome and raised the following points:

 

"Hearst’s condition of coerced credulity is called the Stockholm syndrome, after a kidnapping in Sweden. But the term “syndrome” may be misleading in its suggestion of abnormality. Hearst’s response to her circumstances was probably an example of human nature functioning properly; we seem to be “designed” by natural selection to be brainwashed.

Some people find this prospect a shocking affront to human autonomy, but they tend not to be evolutionary psychologists. In Darwinian terms, it makes sense that our species could contain genes encouraging blind credulity in at least some situations. If you are surrounded by a small group of people on whom your survival depends, rejecting the beliefs that are most important to them will not help you live long enough to get your genes into the next generation.

Confinement with a small group of people may sound so rare that natural selection would have little chance to take account of it, but it is in a sense the natural human condition. Humans evolved in small groups—twenty, forty, sixty people—from which emigration was often not a viable option. Survival depended on social support: sharing food, sticking together during fights, and so on. To alienate your peers by stubbornly contesting their heartfelt beliefs would have lowered your chances of genetic proliferation."

 

I trust that this will help.

Edited by Memammal
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While we do have many stable and evidence-rich theories about the beginnings of the Universe, there yet remains mystery. That mystery keeps alive the belief in a creator in many. I would argue, however, that the discussion of God should be left in philosophy rather than science since the existence of what is not tangible has no place in science.

 

The mystery might keep alive people's belief, but of the alternative possibilities the default should not be a creator deity: the default should be 'we don't know'.

 

While science may not be able to comment on an intangible, unknowable 'something', it can comment on specific claims made in the Quran, Bible, Bhagavad Gita etc. This demonstrates that science can provide a useful framework in discussions about god(s), because it gives limits on claims about the characteristics/properties of such imagined beings.

 

I could accept something like the Toa: the only characteristic ascribed to it is that it is unknowable. We can't know anything about it, and Taoists are generally happy to leave it at that. Theists of other traditions often want to have the 'unknowable' and ascribe to it certain (often suspectly human) characteristics. Most theists attempt to ascribe characteristics, but i get the impression, Unity, you would be happy not to ascribe any?

The only problem with this approach is that god(s) is then such a nebulous concept as to be useless.

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I don't know much about Unity's convictions in regard to this matter. It may be deistic rather than theistic (?), but as he explained earlier his personal beliefs were not relevant to the discussion. I respect that and I regret the way that I reacted yesterday in response to his post #102. Who knows, he might have simply played devil's advocate in a pursuit to "promote discourse for the evolution of ideas", or simply to challenge and test the intellectual rigor of my argument. My initial impression (right or wrong) on said post was that he was clutching at straws in an attempt to keep the debate going beyond a point of rationality. That being said, it was no excuse for the way in which I reacted. It is not easy to use what is essentially somebody else's properly constructed, well-researched and well-written argument to substantiate one's own without exposing it to out-of-context interpretations and scrutiny.

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The thread will go no where until someone defines god in a way that all find acceptable. The challenge with that, of course, is that every single person has their own unique view of god on to whom they project parts of themselves and god remains little more than an ill defined three letter word.

 

As I noted three months ago:

 

Define "god" in a way that doesn't rely on ambiguous wishy washy wish thinking and woo.

 

Until you do so in a clear, consistent, falsifiable way then you may as well be asking if science can disprove wakkernupps or befelflumps or some other invented meaningless term that means different things to different people.

 

Without a clear shared definition you're essentially talking nonsense, science has nothing to say (unless perhaps we are talking about psychology and/or sociology), and rightly so.

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You're really asking for Phi or Swansont to swing the almighty ban hammer aren't you....... Censorship has a purpose, that is to protect the innocence of people who should not know about gruesome and explicit things, such as children. It also preserves the power of a word such as @$%@ or @&*! that you claim to be so fond of using. I think it's time that no matter how old you are, you do a bit of growing up.

 

How does one type out the sound of kissing? A kiss?

 

Would it be......pppfppmoi?

 

Good enough.

 

Guess what the context and whose body parts are involved there?

 

Hint..I'm not in the equation. It's between you and one of those names you mentioned in your post.

 

I won't elaborate, and leave the rest to the imagination.

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