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Can someone critique my reasoning here?

  1. Jul 25, 2005 #1
    I have been debating with an atheist about the possible existence of a god. I wrote this as an explanation but I don’t know if it's a very reasonable explanation. Perhaps someone could read it over and give me some comments.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2005 #2
    Moving the "first cause" to an earlier level ("what created us?" will lead you to ultimately ask "what created God?") gets you nowhere. Don't start that road at all. You need, at some point, to say "I am incapable of comprehending this." You can do that with human existence; invoking God does not ultimately solve the problem of understanding all the "is-ness" in existence.

    Science doesn't ask the question. Science measures the physical universe. Faith is a separate thing and not subject to scientifc inquiry. Scientists recognize this.

    Not scientifically. Scientifically, you don't invoke a "God of the gaps." Scientifically, you describe what you can in the physical usniverse, and admit that everything else lies in "I don't know" land. You don't attempt to describe a matter of faith, with science.

    "Equal probabilities" is also flawed. An opinion is not the same thing as evidence. The pope has no evidence of God. He has an opinion and a life's worth of indoctrination. That is not "equal" in terms of weight, for discussing whether there is reason or not to believe in God.

    Thus, the above is a straw man.

    I agree, but not on a scientific basis. Ditch the scientific approach.

    Wrong. There is no *reason* to invoke a God. Only faith. All your argument does, does is move the need for the "creator" of "God," one step further back.

    You're re-iterating yourself, but the premise is still wrong..... And the rest of the post sort of goes off into speculation based on the previous stuff.

    I agree with you, that we do not understand why we are here. There may be a God, or there may not be. But, there is nothing to be gained by trying to prove that there is - as that simply moves the argument back one step. Also, if God is not "physical" then he will not be subject to physical measurements - a mainstay of science.

    The desire of the christian fundamentalists to introduce creationism into the science classroom is close to my heart. I am a scietist, and a teacher, and my *training* in science and my wrestling with the "meaning of life" have shown me in very conclusive ways, that to try to pigenohole "God" into a logical argument will not work.

    Religion is based on Faith. There is nothing wrong with Faith. It is arguably more important than science. If God exists, I expect he is "big" enough to be outside the limits of science. I suggest you shift your argument to a more philosophical stance, rather than one based on coin flips and probabilities and reason.
  4. Jul 25, 2005 #3
    Thanks....I guess I was looking to find something that would just make it harder for him to argue with me.

  5. Jul 25, 2005 #4
    Sorry if I let my button get pushed. The creationists want me to teach Genesis in science. It ain't science.

    He can't argue your position, if it's a position of faith. Any good atheist knows that.
  6. Jul 25, 2005 #5

    Oh....perhaps I need to clarify a bit...I don't have faith at all...I am totally agnostic. I don't know what to believe. He is contending that there is no god. I am only trying to convince him that the chances of there being a god are about as good as there being no god. We cannot know anything for sure.

    Either way...the errors in my argument make it invalid.

    But thanks for taking the time to respond and help me see that.

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2005
  7. Jul 25, 2005 #6
    Most died-in-the-wool atheists I have spoken with (a handful), seem to believe "There is no God worthy of worship." These particular atheists recognize you can't prove the non-existence of God.

    I tend to agree, that if there is a God, events on Earth would indicate that he isn't really worth worshiping. There's too much chaos, pain, etc. I also believe that you can't *prove* it one way or the toher. The clause in bold, above, makes a world of difference in what a person means by "atheist" to my way of thinking. Maybe your atheist friend has beliefs more similar to your own, than you realize. Or maybe not.
  8. Jul 26, 2005 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is a really touchy area so please stick to the logic and science only. Religious discussions are not allowed. :smile:
  9. Jul 26, 2005 #8
    Sorry...I just wanted some other opinions....
  10. Jul 26, 2005 #9
    I think your reasoning is very sound, and your critique was very much on the mark.
  11. Jul 27, 2005 #10
    I agree fully.

    I wish you good luck. That's very touchy.
  12. Aug 4, 2005 #11


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    Fortunately, the courts recognize the difference between science and religion. Unfortunately, many politicians and school boards do not.
  13. Aug 4, 2005 #12
    Reasoning about the natural world will not lead to sucessful arguments
    for or against the existence of God.

    For example, [as pattylou points out] the prime mover argument you started with will be turned
    against you and the origins of God will be questioned. When you reply
    that he is without cause, you will have used your own argument against

    Evolution vs creation is a dead end as well. God may have created
    everything through evolution or not. We don't know enough and
    probably can't know enough. Future technological advances won't
    clarify it either. Maybe God created the first life personally- but that
    doesn't mean that it couldn't have come about on it's own.

    The whole debate is pointless. You either choose to execise faith
    or you don't. That's the way it will always be.

    I was an Atheist myself until personal experiences showed me that this
    was untenable. I am not lucky enough to have come to this conclusion
    through faith. Would that I were.

    But my days as an Atheist taught me not to look for God under a quark
    or in a tensor or a fossil. He ain't in there.

    Edit: Pattylou is right about something else too- as long as people try to
    justify their faith via science, they are doomed to fail and have only
    emperilied their faith. Because science is always expanding it's realm
    of description. If you relegate God to the gaps in this description you
    are doing both him and yourself a HUGE disservice.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2005
  14. Aug 22, 2005 #13
    Genesis isn't creationism. Genesis states: "God said let the earth bring forth...and the earth brought forth..." Creationists claim that God specifically made everything fully developed which isn't the same thing. I'm not sure where they get the idea but it isn't consistent with Genesis which indicated that God only initiated the process to produce life.
  15. Aug 22, 2005 #14
    I see this as a debate that pretty much won't really go anywhere as each person is gonna refute claims and try to prove otherwise but as alluded to, there isn't enough scientific methods to get down to the nuts and bolts and probably will never be. I believe that alot of the questions asked are kinda beyond human understanding as well. Scientifically, from your standpoint I guess I'd use biogenesis and abiogenesis in your claims and we all know the main arguing points to evolution as the fossil record if that's the road you want to take. If the angle is to prove the Bible correct or what not, I guess you can use historical proof, detailed prophesies that have come true and things in the Bible that have been found like Noah's ark on the Mountains or Ararat in Turkey. But again, this kinda would get off topic because you're going straight to the Biblical God and not just a God. and with prophesies one can always say that eventually they would have to be fulfilled or what not and there isn't a way to make a certain probability for them. I guess the best way is to gather all the scientific evidence available and then going from there but you know that if it becomes an evolution thing, that the common rebuttal on most scientific evidence supporting a God is gonna be that we just haven't found it yet, like the missing links or what not. Anyway, good luck on your quest and let us know how it goes.
  16. Aug 22, 2005 #15
    I do have to disagree with Pattylou that science is not a good way to support the existence of a God. From my personal experience, which still is probably not as expansive as most of the people here, I have come to the conclusion that science actually does better proving the existence of a God than proving no God. I also don't think its like a science vs. God issue but that science should be used in conjunction with the debate, not as an opponent. Like Pattylou said though, Faith is more of a deciding factor though. It really is a touchy subject though and are gonna be many different opinions on sciences role in the debate and most likely all can prove themselves right and all can prove the opponents view is wrong and both are right and wrong at the same time.
  17. Aug 22, 2005 #16


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    That reminds me of a story I heard. A physicist and a priest seat side by side in a party. The physicist says:
    'I have been educated in the scientific method. Can you prove me scientifically that God exists?'
    The priest answers:
    'I have been educated in the theological method. Can you prove me theologically that the atom exists?'
  18. Aug 23, 2005 #17
    The story is obvious fiction: neither physicists nor priests get invited to parties.
  19. Sep 19, 2005 #18


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    I will agree that the atheists are right about the non existence of God when they can explain which of my cells believes in the existence of me.

  20. Sep 19, 2005 #19


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    That doesn't make any sense.
  21. Sep 21, 2005 #20
    It may seem that way but really only because you can't prove a negative. This one is tricky too since it seems like you can prove a negative. Example: You might say that you can prove Elephants aren't pink. To some degree you're right. What you're really doing though is proving that they come in grey, black, and white and none have been observed that are pink. You're not proving a negative but a positive (Elephants are grey, black, white, ect.) and this discounts the theory of pink elephants because there is no evidence to support it. If you can not prove that elephants are some colour other than pink then you can't say they aren't pink.
    In this way science does not disprove god but rather proves better explinations for those things that are said to be evidence of god's existance.

    If I'm wrong someone please explain but this seems to make sense to me.
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