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Brethren, unite against the thought police!

  1. Jun 24, 2012 #1
    I've been debating (In a pub, where all of life's problems are solved) with a friend of mine, who's planning on becoming a priest after he finishes university, on his justification for believing in a god. He admitted that he had no proof for the existence of a god that isn't anecdotal, but that since we can't know anything absolutely for certain other than that thoughts exist, my belief in the existence of a universe is just as unfounded as his belief in a god, that they were both equally valid theories.

    I'm a mere Mathematics student, so I'm not that well versed in philosophical arguments and I was unable to counter him, but something about his point dosn't sit right with me. I was wondering if any of you had counter arguments, or wether his point was valid.

    Why was this thread ruled out of court? The protagonists are intelligent, well-educated, and philosophically unsophisticated; precisely the kind of context which ought to interest us most. This is a philosophical issue par excellence. The question raised is fundamental and important. Perhaps the moderators momentarily lost sight of the fact that "everything we think we know about the Universe is only an approximation" (Feynman). Perhaps they lost sight of the fact that we continue to use the theories of Newton and Einstein, not because they are correct - they aren't - but just because they work better than anything else anybody can come up with for the moment..

    Religious twaddle is twaddle because it posits certain knowledge without scientific basis. Scientific twaddle is no less twaddle because it posits tentative knowledge on the basis of imperfect evidence. Given another century, we may learn to sneer at relativity theory, in the same way that we sneer at Aether theory today.

    And I might add, when I was a graduate student, most of our best tutorials took place in the pub after the 'official' tutorial was finished...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2012 #2


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    Arguing with religious people is utterly pointless and is not encouraged on this site.

    I take serious issue with your statement

    I think a more reasonable comparison would be between Newton's "law" of gravity and General Relativity. No serious scientist sneers at Newton even though Einstein showed that his "law" of gravity is only applicable in limited circumstances.

    Thus, I believe that your comparison of religion and science is specious.
  4. Jun 24, 2012 #3
    Religious threads are not allowed in this forum.
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