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Please help me or I may not be able to sleep tonight tonight

  1. Sep 16, 2009 #1
    I was just reading this article on the WSJ online entitled "Man vs. God". Well surprise, surprise I'm a Christian and happen to understand enough about physics to be a computer Engineering major.

    My question is, is there proof of the non-existence of "God". i.e is it right to say there is no such thing as God? Is there physical proof?

    Does evolutionary theory explain the start of the universe? Some theories state that the universe "always existed".

    Personally, I find the article very offensive because it is asking me to have faith that there is no such thing as God. The irony.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2009 #2
    Okay, after a bit of thinking my conclusion is that there can never be an answer. Evolutionary theorist would never be satisfied with any proof of a God as that "being" would simply be a more evolved species. The being could walk on water, wake people from the dead, or be at multiple places at the same time. Still he would only be superhuman and not supernatural.

    This whole debate is starting to sound like an endless loop.
  4. Sep 16, 2009 #3


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    Well, the essence of faith is to believe in something without reason or proof. This is where the quality of faith lies within, unconditional belief. What would the value of faith be if you saw God every day? It wouldn`t require more faith of you to believe then than to believe in the very chair you are sitting on. And of course, it isn`t considered very faithful to believe in earthly objects we experience every day.

    To your question: No, there does not exist any physical evidence of God`s non-existence, because God, in any reasonable definition, is a transcendent being - i.e. outside of this world.

    Evolutionary theory has nothing to do with the beginning of the universe, it is a theory of the origin of species.

    Theories state whatever is required to keep the theory consistent with itself, and with observed facts together with occams razor. Because the standard model "predicts" that the universe started in a Big Bang does not make it the one physical Truth, it is simply what observation currently are telling us - and that is a great motivation for a theory. Moreover, many theories - despite their possibly nonintuitive postulates - are extremely accurate in their predictions when compared to observations. And this is really the purpose of a theory, to describe the world as it is - i.e. how we percieve it.

    Faith is a matter of personal opinion. Many find it very rewarding - emotionally or otherwise - to believe in religion. Also, it might be part of the tradition of the culture you have grown up in, and thus is something shared within a society. You shouldn`t base your opinion on God on the lack of evidence, it`s the very lack of evidence that makes you faithful!

    Personally I find the "battle" between atheists and theists to be quite ridiculous. There shouldn`t be a reason to force your opinion on anyone else.
  5. Sep 16, 2009 #4
    I too was Christian until a couple of months ago, I found it quite disturbing when I realized that I couldn't really believe in Christianity, now I'm deistic.
  6. Sep 16, 2009 #5
    Oh dear. Religion.

    Believe whatever you want mate. No point in getting upset by anything anyone says about it. Yes its a loop and we could all be here forever arguing about it and get precisely nowhere.

    Which is exactly the reason that Religion is on the 'shaky topic' list on the guidelines.

    You've got to be careful how you phrase that, as many would take 'origin of species' to mean 'origin of life' itsself.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  7. Sep 16, 2009 #6


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    This is just not true. It's precisely because we don't find things like unicorns or centaurs that we know evolution is the correct process.
  8. Sep 16, 2009 #7
    I don't follow. Even if we found a unicorn, it would not disprove evolution.
  9. Sep 16, 2009 #8

    God I miss having photoshop, paint sucks.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  10. Sep 16, 2009 #9


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    If every animal was a freakish chimera, it pretty much would. But that's not what we find.

    At the very least there would be evidence for an alternative process.
  11. Sep 16, 2009 #10
    I was just saying that a one horned horse would not disprove evolution. But yes, if every creature was a mix and mash, then evolution would need a revisal. Dr. Moreau perhaps.
  12. Sep 16, 2009 #11


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    Please don`t make this into a theory of evolution clash, let`s keep that in the science forums. The best way to settle these conversations is apparantly NOT through discussion.
  13. Sep 16, 2009 #12
    As far as I am aware the theory of evolution only really disproved the teleological argument for the existence of God. That still leaves the cosmological argument, the moral argument and the ontological argument to name a few. Evolution may also be in contradiction with some of the facts and dates written in the Bible, which is a problem for literalists. Anyway, if I believed in God (which I don't), I don't think the theory of evolution would be enough to convince me otherwise.
  14. Sep 16, 2009 #13


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    There is no scientific "proof" of the non-existence of anything, and it's a waste of time and resources to try to construct one. If you can construct a testable hypothesis about your beliefs, and design a rigorous examination (including observations and analysis), then you are OK. If not, you are in the realm of faith. If I tell you that there are fairies living in my cellar, perfectly ripening my cold-stored winter squash, and eating only waste heat from my ground floor, can you disprove that? Would you even bother considering it?

    Every year around late December, there are posts dedicated to "proving" that Santa Claus cannot exist because he and his reindeer (and the toys) would have to massively violate the laws of physics. These are tongue-in-cheek exercises, of course, but to some extent similar arguments can be made against any extraordinary/supernatural claims.

    For some background, when I was about 12-13 I had decided that Roman Catholic teachings could not be reconciled with my experiences, though it took me another year or two to convince my parents not to keep putting me through the indoctrination. I had already decided that humans cannot know some things, though at that age I had not been adequately exposed to the concept of agnosticism, and didn't know that I wasn't all alone.
  15. Sep 16, 2009 #14
    Who cares?

    Either he/she/it exists or he/she/it doesn't. Neither side will ever convince the other.

    And to the OP. How on earth can you get offended by some words that someone wrote about some subject that is contrary to what you believe? The article asks opinions both sides. I'm assuming you get 'offended' at Dawkins' part of the article, a man who is well known for regulally bashing religion.

    Just what did you expect with a title such as Man vs. God anyway?

    If you really are that thin skinned about anything contrary to your opinion of god's existance, i'd suggest you choose the articles you read more carefully.
  16. Sep 16, 2009 #15


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    Well, since the OP didn't link to the article in question, I had to find it to prove that it doesn't "[ask] me to have faith that there is no such thing as God". Here's the article:


    I've read the entire thing. Nowhere does it ask you to have faith that God doesn't exist. The only place the article mentions God's non-existence is in this sentence: "A divine designer is all but ruled out by the consideration that he must at least as complex as the entities he was wheeled out to explain." That's an obvious fact, not a baseless statement.

    The reason I was skeptical about the OP's claims is that most atheists agree that God cannot be disproved. They would also agree, as I'm sure you would, that the Invisible Pink Unicorn, Russel's Teapot, and Flying Spaghetti Monster are also impossible to prove or disprove. That doesn't mean they exist; they're still imaginary beings made up by random people saying random things.

    Lastly, can I ask you not to be offended whenever your beliefs are contradicted? Instead, consider the possibility that you may be wrong and keep an open mind about subjects you don't know about. It's clear that you have no idea what evolution is or how it works, so your proper first reaction should be to learn about it, not to get offended.
  17. Sep 16, 2009 #16


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    Fun Fact: Israel literally means "He has striven with God"
  18. Sep 16, 2009 #17
    I think there is another reason why should not be able to sleep, probably more important : you have not understood enough about your faith to realize that it has nothing to do with what science has to say.

    Science and religion can not conflict each other, or it means at least one of the two and probably both are misconceived. It would be foolish to claim "but this measurement must be wrong, because it contradicts my faith".
  19. Sep 16, 2009 #18


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    It would be equally silly to say something like "I am Christian, but I am skilled in landscaping", or "I am Christian, but I can tweak high-compression NASCAR engines". These are not mutually-exclusive qualities, at least in the limited realm that I operate in.
  20. Sep 16, 2009 #19
    Don't worry about me guys. I only worded the title and question in such a way as to get serious replies.

    I just wanted to make sure that people like Richard Dawkins are not real scientists. To my understanding (and please correct me if the logic is flawed) people like him are trying to claim that there are no fairies living in your cellar. I think the scientific answer is that no one knows "for sure". Well maybe only you.
  21. Sep 16, 2009 #20


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    Staff: Mentor

    This isn't philosophy.
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