25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (Part 13)

Do we live in a world with a god? It doesn’t look like it (read part 1 of this series here).

Let’s continue our survey with the next clue that we live in a godless world.

25. Because God is hidden

God knows that if we don’t understand and get on board with his plan, we will go to hell. He doesn’t want that, but rules are rules, right? So what does God do to give us the basic information we need to know that he simply exists?

Nothing.

Christians might point to basic facts in nature—happy things like sunsets and puppies—but they ignore unpleasant things like tornadoes and cholera. Sunsets and cholera point to the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or Satan) as much as they do the Christian God.

Or the Christians might quote Bible passages (“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities . . . have been clearly seen . . . so that people are without excuse,” Romans 1:20), ignoring that the Bible is not binding on non-Christians.

A popular Christian response is to say that God’s making himself known would violate our free will. As C. S. Lewis said in Screwtape Letters, “[God] cannot ravish. He can only woo.”

Nonsense. This is one of the weakest Christian apologetic responses in a vast arsenal of substandard responses. Our request is an unapologetically reasonable one, for God to make his existence (and properties) known to all. That he doesn’t is just one more reason to think we’re not living in God World.

Some meta thoughts

What got me started on this long blog post series was a Christian commenter at an apologetics blog last December. He asked what evidence I’d need to be convinced that God exists. He said he needed to know what a convincing argument would look like so he could work on providing one.

I said that our positions were similar with respect to non-Christian religions. I don’t think that Scientology or Islam or Hinduism are correct, and neither does he. I played up that symmetry of our positions by saying that I’d probably need the same kind of argument that he would need to convert to a foreign supernatural worldview. An argument for Hinduism (say) with a high enough standard of evidence to convince him would get my attention as well. Give me that same quality of evidence for Christianity—as a minimum, I’d need that.

So the answer to his question is: tell me what you’d need. I’d probably need something like that.

He wasn’t satisfied (no, I couldn’t figure out why), so I made more good-faith attempts to comply with his request before I realized that he wasn’t making his request with the goal of it being satisfied. He was asking questions to avoid having to answer questions, attacking so he wouldn’t have to defend. He was sealioning (h/t Ignorant Amos), interrogating with the goal of asking questions to drive the antagonist away. And it worked.

But that got me thinking. The reason I’m an atheist is because of all the clues that we live in a non-God world. You want to know what I need to know that God exists? Show me that I live in a world where God doesn’t have the traits that he does.

Show me that we don’t live in a world where the God is omniscient but also needs (or tolerates) praise and worship (reason #3).

Show me that we don’t live in a world where Christians feel so insecure in their faith that they want to strongarm the government to support them (reason #7).

Show me that we don’t live in a world where all-powerful God is so fragile that he gets praise but can’t handle blame (reason #9).

Show me that we don’t live in a world where perfect God’s perfect message is so confusing that Christians need thick books with rationalizations for Bible difficulties (reason #15).

In short, show me that I don’t live in the world that I live in.

The apologist might respond that this approach makes atheists unconvinceable. That might be true, though not necessarily because of atheists’ closed-mindedness. It’s because there is so little intellectual reason to favor the Christian view of the world. To justify the atheist position, I offer the Earth vs. Gaia comparison to explain why skeptics are obliged to hold their skepticism (find that in the second half of this post).

And now, over 10,000 words later in this post series, I have 25 positive, pro-atheistic reasons that I can offer a Christian apologist to explain why I don’t think that God exists. Seen another way, these are the obstacles that prevent me from seeing this as God World. These are obstacles that the apologist must remove.

The Christian commenter who prompted me to collect these arguments won’t be satisfied with this list, because I’m sure he’s made his position unfalsifiable. However, my job is not to satisfy him, it’s to honestly follow reason and the evidence.

Though we have reached the promised 25 reasons, there are many more to come! I will revisit this topic periodically. Share your own reasons in the comments if I have missed any.

It must be obvious to even the most casual observers
that I get the answers to life’s difficult questions
from the screaming voices in my head.
— David Letterman

.
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  • Kevin K

    Yeah, the hiddenness problem is a big one for those gods who are expected to work in the real world. The bible says that Yahweh answers prayers…moves mountains (without giant earth-moving equipment, even). And yet, that’s not what we see in the real world.

    Having Jesus ascend bodily into heaven (so that not even his bones could be pointed to and venerated) is the thorniest issue presenting Christianity. Once resurrected, why would he need to go anywhere other than Pilate’s office to say “get out, I’m in charge now”? Any solution offered by Christians is merely a confession that 1) the events never happened, or 2) the god in question has extremely limited powers in the here-and-now.

    Or you could blame Henry Ford, mass producing all those iron chariots.

    • Bob Jase

      Especially as Jesus supposedly ascended to a non-physical realm, at least its non-physical now that we know there is no dome of the firmament a few miles up.

      • Kevin K

        I’ve often wondered what Jesus eats up there, and whether we have to worry about heavenly poop.

        • Jim Jones

          > … whether we have to worry about heavenly poop.

          Well, there is Trump.

        • carbonUnit

          Well, I guess he does stink to high heaven…

        • Bob Jase

          Nah, it burns up in the atmosphere.

    • Greg G.

      Or you could blame Henry Ford, mass producing all those iron chariots.

      Jesus’ best work these days is inside stainless steel toasters. Checkmate, Athiests!

    • Jim Jones

      Bad guy in Jail: Who was that masked man?
      Law enforcement officer: I don’t know. I’ve heard him called the Lone Ranger.

    • carbonUnit

      Once resurrected, why would he need to go anywhere other than Pilate’s office to say “get out, I’m in charge now”?

      Seriously, what sort of answers would the apologists give for the long delay?

      • Pofarmer

        That the good news has to be distributed to the whole world.

        • Bob Jase

          Okay, then deliver it to those who haven’t heard it and stop annoyuing the 99.9% of us who have.

        • If God existed, he could get his message out all by himself.

        • epicurus

          For everyone who hears it and converts over thousands of years, millions are born who will wind up in hell. Not a good ratio.

      • My answer used to be something like “Obviously the prophecies didn’t mean that, otherwise he would be king now”.

        But I now think 2 Peter 3 shows they were already wrestling with that question in the NT. It talks about “scoffers” who will say “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (v4), and responds with the explanation “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (v9)

        And now believers can cite this “inspired” apologetic text as the clear reason for Jesus’ delayed return.

        • Ficino

          Yes, it’s obvious that the failure of the prophecies was a problem that required spin back in NT times. And from the many condemnations in the NT of those who went out from among us, who were not of us, and dogs returning to their vomit, and cauterized consciences, etc., it’s clear that there was a “retention problem” from the very first.

          [This is not to deny the many things that made Christianity attractive during the Roman period.]

        • Greg G.

          2 Peter 1:16 is a clue that they were being accused of following “cleverly devised myths”. To counter that claim, 2 Peter 1:17-18 offers Matthew’s version of the Transfiguration, one of the most obvious “cleverly devised myths”.

        • Also in that chapter: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

          2 Peter is very late (and not written by Peter). This (late) idea that God is a Time Lord is damage control, yet another reason to see the Bible as make-believe.

        • carbonUnit

          What would be the meaning of time to a Supreme Being? Why all these stretches of time in the Bible? What’s God waiting for? What’s he doing in the meantime? Why allow billions of beings to suffer the cruel world instead of getting on with the fix? (And of course, why wasn’t done right in the first place!!!??)

        • The interesting thing is that this “Time Lord” explanation conflicts with the standard cosmological argument trying to establish that the cause of the universe (“God”) is outside space and time. Not that he is simultaneously present everywhere inside space and he interacts with time differently from us.

        • carbonUnit

          So “he ain’t slow, he’s just givin’ us more time to repent” is the excuse?? More like giving time for more people to be born into Adam’s sin and be tormented here and, if they fail to reach repentance, in the beyond.

        • Greg G.

          That is my thought, too. If the delay was to accommodate Jesus’ prayer from John 17:20-23 that everybody would come to Jesus, it was a failure when the first person died before the prayer was fulfilled.

          John 17:20-23 (NRSV)20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

          It has only gotten worse and worse.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Yeah, that statement in the Bible does seem to appeal to peoples’ selfishness. Essentially: Jesus is giving whoever is currently reading this time to start putting their money in the box’a!!!- fuck other people in other places and times!

      • It’s always Opposite Day for Christianity. Jesus was crucified? That’s a good thing. Jesus didn’t kick the Romans out? That’s a good thing. I suppose Jesus not bringing in the End in a few years of his prophecy is also a good thing.

        • carbonUnit

          I continue to get this feeling of people being puppets, playing out a role necessary for the whole story to unfold “correctly” by doing things that seem irrational. Things like the Israelites turning to false gods while Moses goes up to talk to God. Hadn’t they seen the miracles in their escape from Egypt? Yet they turned. People’s actions seemed to be forced too around the crucifixion, the actions of Pilate and others didn’t make sense, if I understand correctly. But Jesus had to die, so everyone played their part. Just so stories from the Bible.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The trope is called the Idiot Ball: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdiotBall

        • Greg G.

          It’s always Opposite Day for Christianity.

          Israelites killing Canaanite babies? It was wonderful because they went straight to heaven.
          What about the Canaanite adults? Think of the poor soldiers who had to cut the Canaanite throats.
          Elective abortion would send babies straight to heaven. The doctor and the mother should die for that crime.

        • Hmm. I’m seeing the outline of a blog post.

        • Greg G.

          Christians should offer emotional support for the doctors and the women because of all the emotional trauma involved. They could at least cover the expenses of the procedure and celebrate the zygotes getting a free pass to heaven.

    • Pofarmer

      Yeah, an all powerful risen God should have summarily kicked the Romans ass.

      • Ignorant Amos

        And fulfilled prophecy right there and then, instead of all this ongoing bullshit for nearly two millennia, causing untold deaths and suffering.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Yeah, kind of like Dill Harris’ Dad in To Kill A Mockingbird.

        Always talked about, big, but never seen.

    • sandy

      “Or you could blame Henry Ford, mass producing all those iron chariots.” One of the best comments ever! I’m stealing that.

    • It’s hilarious when Christians explain how prayer is supposed to work.

      Don’t they read the Bible? Jesus makes clear how it works: God is indeed supposed to act like a genie.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Silly atheists, not reading it correctly….so they say.

        For believing eejits, when something in the scriptures causes concern on a plain reading, then the antithesis is to be considered on how it is to be interpreted… the text is then off the hook…simples.

      • Kevin K

        And he demonstrated that himself by healing people everywhere he went, destroying demons, feeding the multitudes (TWICE!!!). Heck, there was an unintentional miracle where someone just touched his robe and was healed! Jesus was a Vegas slot machine set to a 100% “win” rate.

  • Bob Jase

    Frankly if humanity was the most perfect creation I could come up with I’d hide too.

    • Jim Jones

      Just another failed experiment.

    • carbonUnit

      A significant portion of the angels too!

    • “If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.”
      — Woody Allen

  • Halbe

    My response to the “what would be convincing evidence for you” question in an earlier comment thread:

    From my Christian upbringing I have a fairly good idea what the world would look like if the Christian God existed. We would most certainly see many cases where prayer actually positively affects the outcome of certain events. We would also see that Christians on average morally behave better than non-Christians. Furthermore, post-Christian countries would be worse places to live than countries where people cling to the Christian faith in very large numbers. For all these three cases we actually rather see the opposite.

    When it comes to more general theistic claims: A theistic god is a god that plays an active role in the universe and in human affairs. You would need to show me evidence of phenomena that can only be explained by the presence of an interventionist god in order to convince me that such a god exists. So far, I find the evidence for such an interventionist god severely lacking. That is not a “tacit theistic claim”, it is just following the evidence wherever it leads.

    • Bob Jase

      “what would be convincing evidence for you”

      Well, if Jesus had returned within the lifetime of his contemporaries and established his perfect kingdon on Earth about 1900 years ago as the bible says he said he would do that would have been good evidence.

      • epicurus

        It’s the elephant in the room -or at least should be – that Christians, just like many other failed apocalyptic movements, ignore.

      • Halbe

        What would this perfect kingdom even look like? Christians have wildly different ideas about it, so most Christians would probably not even recognize or like this kingdom if they saw it.

        • That’s an interesting one. I recently realised that most of the visions I had of the kingdom came from the Old Testament, not the New Testament. Particularly if you have nice fluffy visions like lion and lamb living together, or sitting under vine and fig tree in peace, or great prosperity, or long life (not immortality) they come from the OT, and to me now it shows the kind of things the nation of Israel thought important then. Similarly for having Jerusalem at the centre of the world dispensing judgement and law to the rest of the world. Great nationalistic vision, but how well does it apply to Christianity? (intended to spread the appeal to all nations). And do we moderns have the same vision of the good life as the ancient Jews? (seriously, I want chocolate, not vines and fig trees

        • Halbe

          I guess all Christians see themselves and their peers at the top of the food chain in His kingdom. That’s also why White Jesus™ is so very important to white evangelicals. They just cannot see themselves living under the rule of a non-white king (see also: president Obama). If Jesus really returns I hope the Liberation Theology christians were right 🙂

    • Ignorant Amos

      From my Christian upbringing I have a fairly good idea what the world would look like if the Christian God existed. We would most certainly see many cases where prayer actually positively affects the outcome of certain events. We would also see that Christians on average morally behave better than non-Christians. Furthermore, post-Christian countries would be worse places to live than countries where people cling to the Christian faith in very large numbers. For all these three cases we actually rather see the opposite.

      Northern Ireland is predominantly Protestant Christian, Southern Ireland is predominantly Roman Catholic Christian….loads of Christians are going to be a bit pissed off at the Christian God for not being a bit less ambiguous…}8O)~

    • carbonUnit

      Show me we don’t live in a world where prayers go unanswered.

      If prayers were answered, the result would stick out like an actuarial sore thumb. (The people most aware of it would be the insurance industry.) As most prayers are for well being, those of the proper belief would suffer very few setbacks in life. Their houses would rarely burn down or be damaged by storms or earthquakes. Crashes of vehicles containing believers would be very rare. (Consider some of the horrendous airliner crash(es?) of planes carrying pilgrims to/from Mecca. Also the stampedes. ) They would do amazingly well recovering from injuries. Why, they might even grow new limbs and come out of comas where their brains had been turned to swiss cheese. Oh wait, they would rarely be injured in the first place if they or someone else prayed they have a safe journey, or whatever…

      As @Jim_Jones_1:disqus points out, prayers are “answered” with a success rate that seems to be no different from no god being around to answer them.

  • RichardSRussell

    What got me started on this long blog post series was a Christian commenter at an apologetics blog last December. He asked what evidence I’d need to be convinced that God exists. He said he needed to know what a convincing argument would look like so he could work on providing one.

    It sounds as if your interlocutor couldn’t tell the difference between evidence and an argument.

    Here’s my answer regarding the “evidence” part: Every person on Earth, simultaneously, sees a blinding flash of light in the sky, and out of the dazzle emerges the image of a 100-metre tall old guy with a flowing white beard. He opens his mouth to speak, and everyone hears what he has to say in her or his own native language. The message he delivers is that half of them will be completely incinerated in 5 minutes, but not to worry, because 24 hours from now they’ll all be completely reconstituted, complete with all their memories, only in a different country, where they’ll have to learn to get along with each other in order to find their respective ways back home. And that, if we don’t clean up our acts, he’s gonna keep doing it. And then it actually happens just the way he said.

    Might not be the Christian God (way too merciful and respectful of diversity), but close enuf to convince me that it deserves to be called a “god”.

    • Jim Jones

      > He asked what evidence I’d need to be convinced that God exists.

      Remove itself from the universe while letting us see what changed as a result.

      • nathan

        I’m stealing this Jim Jones. Great response.

    • Priya Lynn

      Hear Hear! That’s the sort of answer I give for “What would convince you god exists”. I can go on pretty much non-stop with things such as this that would convince me god exists.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Lucky you!

    • Ignorant Amos

      I really don’t know of any evidence that could convince me, that couldn’t be explained by a more rational explanation.

      But I know this, an omniscience would know, and an omnipotence could do it, and an omnibenevolence would’ve done it already.

      We should start at the beginning first though. Define what the god thingy is that we need evidence for, first. Believers struggle to do this without creating a logical contradiction.

      An immaterial mind outside time and space for example, doesn’t cut it, creating stuff is a temporal activity.

      • an omniscience would know, and an omnipotence could do it, and an omnibenevolence would’ve done it already.

        Eloquently stated!

    • You have a far better experiment for encouraging brotherly love than the useless stories in the Bible.

      (Hmm … maybe there is a god. One vote for Richard Russell.)

      • RichardSRussell

        Full disclosure: “My” experiment was a drastically scaled-down version of Philip Jose Farmer’s “Riverworld” tetralogy, so you should transfer your vote to him.

        • Nah. What the heck–you still get my vote. You’d certainly be a lot better god than the one we’re supposed to believe in.

        • RichardSRussell

          Well, I do thank you for setting the bar low enuf that a millipede could clear it.

        • Greg G.

          How do we know RSR isn’t God? Have you ever seen them together? Perhaps he has given everyone a subtle warning that half of us will be incinerated and rematerialized elsewhere? But we may be long gone before it happens. A thousand years is like a second so five minutes is like 300,000 years.

        • I’ve always known that Richard Russell moves in mysterious ways, so yeah.

    • carbonUnit

      The message he delivers is that half of them will be completely incinerated in 5 minutes, but not to worry, because 24 hours from now they’ll all be completely reconstituted
      Just means the aliens have good holographic and universal translator capabilities. Their transporter tech needs some improvement to get rid of that annoying incineration bit and the long transit time.

      • RichardSRussell

        A good case for God = Gene Roddenberry.

        But, as I said, “close enuf”. I don’t want to seem dogmatic. Heck, I’d accept Thor or Zeus or Green Lantern as gods, too, even with their limited superpowers. I find that it disarms the TBs when you forthrightly admit that your mind isn’t completely closed to the very idea of gods.

        “Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.”—Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptic Society

        • carbonUnit

          A good case for God = Great Bird of the Galaxy = Gene Roddenberry.
          FIFY 🙂

      • Greg G.

        Their transporter tech needs some improvement to get rid of that annoying incineration bit and the long transit time.

        Buffering lag.

  • Jim Jones

    > … but they ignore unpleasant things like tornadoes and cholera.

    And Cymothoa exigua – Wikipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymothoa_exigua

  • Ctharrot

    Hmm. What would I find convincing? A direct, personal, lucid experience for which the only reasonable explanation was miraculous (or supernatural, or some such adjective).

    Our youngest son spontaneously reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Old High German while we’re out fishing. New teeth sprouting to fill the proliferating gaps in my dad’s easy smile. Digging up a stone tablet in our garden that reads, “Dave Armstrong is right. God exists, and Catholicism is the Most Correct Religion.”

    Absent something along those lines, I’m afraid I’m quite difficult to persuade when it comes to miracle claims. People are astonishingly, incorrigibly creative. We dream, imagine, exaggerate, marvel, believe, elaborate, gossip, tell tales, and plain old make shit up. We do it frequently today, and we did it all the time in antiquity. I’m going to need something much better than translations of copies of copies of narratives of signs and wonders authored millennia ago, during humanity’s credulous adolescence.

    • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

      I would require things that could be confirmed by many other people.

      For example, a perfect cube of diamond or some other kind of crystal (sides equal down to the tolerances of any equipment we could use to measure it) a mile across that suddenly appears in the middle of a desert, or, even better, if there are several of them in different locations around the globe. On the sides would be writing, telling people not to own other people, to treat employees well and give them a living wage, and so on. This writing would be readable by everyone in their own language — not because it’s actually written in several different languages, but the same writing would be readable by anyone no matter what language they spoke. It would even be readable by people who couldn’t read before!

      Unfortunately, even something this dramatic could be the work of mischievous “sufficiently advanced” aliens and not a god, so I would go even bigger. I’m thinking something like a worldwide announcement that in two days, the Andromeda galaxy will be instantly moved to 1/4 of its current distance from us, then two days later, it happens. To me, this would prove that there is a creator god of some sort that can communicate with us, or we live in a simulation that the coders can manipulate at will.

      • Susan

        Unfortunately, even something this dramatic could be the work of mischievous “sufficiently advanced” aliens and not a god, so I would go even bigger. I’m thinking something like a worldwide announcement that in two days, the Andromeda galaxy will be instantly moved to 1/4 of its current distance from us, then two days later, it happens. To me, this would prove that there is a creator god of some sort that can communicate with us, or we live in a simulation that the coders can manipulate at will.

        Well, exactly. This is why I always ask “What are you claiming and how do you support it?”

        There IS no evidence for an omnianything. I’m not even talking about the logically incoherent TRI-omni agent. I’m talking about ANY omni-anything.

        What evidence can possibly support omnipotence? Or omniscience?

        At best, there can only be evidence for a a being that can do more than any human can.. Or that seems to know more than any human can demonstrate they know.

        At best, you can have evidence for a being that exists that has more knowledge or more power than any human can demonstrate.

        “Supernatural” is so incoherent, I don’t even know what they mean when they claim it exists. A hyperdimensional alien could exist that demonstrates all the things people here would accept as evidence. I want to ask “Evidence for what? Would that lead to an omnipotent “supernatural” being? Of course not.

        Most importantly, they have no evidence at all for any agent.

        It’s not our job to explain what evidence would convince us.

        It’s a very simple thing. If you claim something exists, be clear about what you’re claiming and support it.

        They never do that. They repeat the same old terrible arguments (including, ack! the Shroud of Turin as “scientific” support for the “supernatural”) and accuse us of being close-minded, wanting to sin, etc. for asking them to do better. They never do better.

        It’s just humans making shit up. I want them to distinguish their made up human shit from all the other made up human shit.

        If they could have, they would have by now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At best, there can only be evidence for a a being that can do more than any human can.. Or that seems to know more than any human can demonstrate they know.

          Exactly. It creates a paradox. Only another omniscience could know what an omniscience would know…but how would they check…and then how would we know? It’s complete and utter ballix.

          And yet we get fuckwits popping by asserting that no one can know the mind of God…and then the dickheads set about the task of trying to tell us about the wants and needs of this “perfect” entity that no one can know the wants and needs of…and they do it with a straight face ffs.

        • Halbe

          This^! Grimlock’s total demolition of Dave Armstrong’s “the story of Jesus is the strongest evidence for the Christian God” argument was an eye opener for me. Indeed, even if we accept that the NT is 100% true and depicts real historic events incl all miracles performed by Jesus, we still have no evidence for the omnimax God of Christianity. We would only have evidence for a being that could do stuff that can be described as superhuman, but still zero evidence for a God with any of the omni attributes. I almost felt pity for Dave, but that went over quickly when I saw him cowardly retreat from the discussion without ever engaging Grim’s argument. 20 years of study and experience in apologetics and still being demolished in the comment section of your own blog, that must be tough. And it of course speaks volumes about apologetics as a field.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Unfortunately, even something this dramatic could be the work of mischievous “sufficiently advanced” aliens and not a god, so I would go even bigger. I’m thinking something like a worldwide announcement that in two days, the Andromeda galaxy will be instantly moved to 1/4 of its current distance from us, then two days later, it happens. To me, this would prove that there is a creator god of some sort that can communicate with us, or we live in a simulation that the coders can manipulate at will.

        Even then Clarke’s third law applies….or solipsism.

      • But what’s the risk of untold suffering happening from the moving of the Andromeda galaxy?
        I admit it would be impressive…

      • And that seems to be the problem. We can easily thing of actual evidence (not the bullshit that Christians point to) that are far, far, far more convincing than what we have today. But how do you rule out aliens?

        At some point, you’d just say that they’re as powerful as God, so, sure, God would exist in that case.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Our youngest son spontaneously reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Old High German while we’re out fishing. New teeth sprouting to fill the proliferating gaps in my dad’s easy smile. Digging up a stone tablet in our garden that reads, “Dave Armstrong is right. God exists, and Catholicism is the Most Correct Religion.”

      My first thought would be that I’d lost my marbles and go get myself checked out…that, or someone had slipped me a Mickey Finn.

      Like Clint says, I’d need multiple corroboration…and even then, I could come up with much better and more rational explanations.

      • Ctharrot

        Yeah, that’s why I hedged and bit with “lucid.” Being unfamiliar personally with hallucinations (although I had an aunt who suffered from them, and more), I don’t know whether I’d have enough wits to reason out that a convincing “miraculous” experience wasn’t real.

        • Ignorant Amos

          During the early 90’s a dabbled a bit…some of the mad trips seemed as real as anything else, except for the ridiculousness of what it was I experienced, miracles would certainly fit the bill.

        • Greg G.

          I had a waking dream that an intruder had come in the back door. I realized I was having a waking dream because I was paralyzed so I was trying to wake up to fend off the intruder. When I was able to move, the intruder was gone but I still searched the apartment. Only when I noticed the back door was still closed and locked did I realize the intruder was part of the dream.

    • Suggested improvement: have everyone in the world get a similar experience at the same time. That would rule out something weird just in your head.

      • Ctharrot

        That it would, but if I’m being honest about my own (hypothetical) perceptions and reaction, I have to say I wouldn’t need to set the bar as high as global corroboration. Even a personal, fairly localized experience for which I could settle on only a miraculous explanation would probably be enough. (And of course, I could be utterly wrong in those circumstances.)

  • Lark62

    These are probably in your list, but if god were real
    . christians would be “new creations” – they would act noticeably different than other humans.
    . the bible would contain useful information.

    As it is, there is not one word of moral guidance or natural truth beyond the immediate understanding of the authors. Instead we get: Slavery is good. Buying wives (plural) is peachy. Killing neighbors and taking their land is cool. But God forgot to mention that he/she/it created microbes. The heimlich maneuver, CPR and soap making are well within the technical capabilities of iron age tribes, none of these are mentioned.

    Say someone had a time machine. You are given the chance to add three things to the bible, knowing this book will be read and trusted for 3000 years. You have average 21st century knowledge. What would you put in the bible? Now ask yourself, why didn’t the all knowing, all loving deity do that? Mine might be:

    Don’t own people.
    Don’t torture anyone, ever.
    Disease is caused by microbes, weather is caused by air currents, earthquakes are caused by plate movements. None of those things are caused by “sin” or “sinners.”

    • sandy

      I’ve stated this before, “if you were god, how would you make this world a better place?” checkmate.

      • That people have a ready answer to that question makes it clear that they have improvements that didn’t occur to God! (Or at least his human handlers.)

        Yes, checkmate indeed.

        • carbonUnit

          “mysterious ways”….

        • Greg G.

          If God wanted his religion spread throughout the world, why piddle around with over a thousand years of handwritten copies and 500 years of the printing press? Why not start the science and technology revolution in the first century BC and have the world wide web by the end of the second century?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Because knowledge kills faith, so the mob had to kill Hypatia

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia

        • sandy

          Yes, so obvious that god does not exist or….he doesn’t give a shit about us. Either way, not something to worship or waste time on.

        • While we’re speculating…

          Christian apologists often try to make two kinds of arguments–deist arguments (this couldn’t have all happened by chance, so it must’ve had an intelligence behind it) and Christian arguments (that “deity” we talked about = Yahweh). Evidence isn’t really on their side for either argument, but the case is stronger for the first one.

          So what if that was the only argument that actually worked? They’re struggling mightily to prove to us that the supernatural exists, and it does, but the supernatural realm isn’t the cherub-filled heaven that they imagine. They’d have used evidence to open the supernatural door to some other creature. And since this world isn’t particularly good–hardly any omnibenevolent god’s Perfect Plan–what nutty god have they unleashed on us?

          /RandomBrainDump

        • sandy

          Pretty much the same evil god we read about in the bible.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Don’t own people.
      Don’t torture anyone, ever.
      Disease is caused by microbes, weather is caused by air currents, earthquakes are caused by plate movements. None of those things are caused by “sin” or “sinners.”

      3?…that last 1 is a Trinity by itself.

      I know, it’s hard to stop when ya get on a roll….//s

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        just keep adding sub clauses, book length sub clauses

  • carbonUnit

    Christians might point to basic facts in nature—happy things like sunsets and puppies—
    and bananas!

    • Max Doubt

      “… Harry Chapin’s 30,000 Pounds of Bananas…”

      I had the privilege of seeing Harry live in ’75. His brother Tom was the warm-up act. Bananas, certain truck accidents, long descending sections of highways, several things can trigger me to say the title of that song or sing a phrase. My wife thinks I’m weird.

  • Michael Neville

    Divine hiddeness is a strong argument against any gods.

    • Grimlock

      Hmm, you sure? I only use it against interventionist gods. So not deism, for instance.

      • RichardSRussell

        Likewise Loki, Kokopele, Anansi, and similar trickster gods. Also creatures like the angel portrayed by Matt Damon in the hilarious but telling 1999 film Dogma.

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      only against omnimax gods, jerk gods can hide all they like.

      • epicurus

        Another option I like to spin out is a god or being that throws off universes like we lose skin cells by the gazzilon, without realizing or caring about the life contained in them. A god that created us might not know or care that we exist.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          I have no issue with a deist god, i don’t bother them, they don’t bother me

    • Max Doubt

      “Divine hiddeness is a strong argument against any gods.”

      Or proof that they exist. Making themselves appear non-existent is one of the only things gods can do that I can’t do. And they do it with god-like thoroughness.

  • eric

    He said he needed to know what a convincing argument would look like so he could work on providing one.

    IMO there is no silver bullet. No single elegant argument that will do it. Acceptance (for both atheists and theists of different religions) is likely going to take a collective group of consistently reproduced evidence that is most consistent with the Christian theology hypothesis and inconsistent with other hypotheses. One answered prayer won’t do it: it has to work regularly, obviously, consistently, for months or years. Under a variety of controlled conditions and blinds.

    And if this seems unfair or biased against Christianity, rest assured that it’s the exact same standard I’d use if the question was about QM or relativity or some other key theory of science. No single experiment will do it. Many, consistent, reproduced experiments that test a variety of independent factors would be needed to overturn them. You publish a result that indicates FTL neutrinos? Great – now let’s have some completely other group do an independent experiment and show the same thing. And another. And another. Then I’ll start accepting that Einstein was wrong.

    • RichardSRussell

      And even “wrong” is a stretch. Einstein didn’t overturn Newton, he simply extended the laws of motion and gravitation to cover cases (special = speed; general = gravity) not practically accessible to Newton, similar to the way the Pythagorean theorem was simply a limited-case example of the more general law of cosines.

      “There never comes a point where a theory can be said to be true. The most that one can claim for any theory is that it has shared the successes of all its rivals and that it has passed at least one test which they have failed.”—Sir Alfred Jules Ayer (1910–1989), British philosopher, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, ch. 4 (1982)

      • Ignorant Amos

        “There never comes a point where a theory can be said to be true. The most that one can claim for any theory is that it has shared the successes of all its rivals and that it has passed at least one test which they have failed.”—Sir Alfred Jules Ayer (1910–1989), British philosopher, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, ch. 4 (1982)

        That’s mint. And something we unknowingly paraphrase around here quite regularly.

        Creationists really need to take note.

    • It took me years to leave Christianity, and at no point did I determine the one argument that would make me an unbeliever. I just kept running into new facts until I realised that Christianity wasn’t the best fit. In the unlikely case I were to return to Christianity I imagine it would be the same – I would over a long period of time notice new observations and sometime realise that they all pointed in a different direction.

      To me even the idea of specifying it in advance is questionable, let alone doing so to a hostile party. I assume it would be used either to attack me (“Haha, look at how unreasonable his expectations are”) or as a gotcha (“See, I’ve provided the necessary proof, now go on – believe!”)

      No matter how remarkable the occurence was, I would expect to check it out, ask questions, and look for other possible explanations, not just say “Oh, I guess I’m committed to Christianity. Pity I don’t really believe in it…”

  • Michael Neville

    If there was only one god or one group of gods then everyone would have the same religion and practice it the same way. Instead there are myriads of gods and schisms galore in every religion.

    • Max Doubt

      “If there was only one god or one group of gods then everyone would have the same religion and practice it the same way.”

      It’s almost as if everyone who imagines a god imagines it differently. Like as if it’s a character in a book or an orally shared tale, and the only thing people have to go on are descriptions in books and the other people describing how they imagine it. It’s almost as if.

  • skl

    The 25 reasons are nothing new. They’ve been around for centuries, if not millennia.
    But the great majority of humanity continues to believe in a god or gods,
    and a small minority don’t. It’s just the way evolution has made us.

    • sandy

      And that majority is shrinking everyday. If we follow the pattern that is evolving, religions/superstitions will be a thing of the past, relegated to small and insignificant cults.

      • skl

        Or maybe not. You never know. Even evolutionists can’t predict what evolution will do next.

        • sandy

          Wrong. Education and the internet will destroy religion.

        • Susan

          Wrong. Education and the internet will destroy religion.

          I wish I could be so optimistic.

          When I wonder why I waste time here I can’t really afford, it’s because it’s because I’m not completely pessimistic.

          I think it matters.

          I was a lurker once.

          At the same time, Donald Trump is the president of the United States so I’m not sure the internet is going to lead us out of of the darkness.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But at the moment, the internet is the best chance we’ve got…and it is doing the job that nothing else has been capable of so far…at the very least, it is letting individuals know they are not alone, sitting in the dark. And I think it is giving confidence to some of us to open up, rather than sit silently by and suffer fools gladly. I’m thankful for the place to vent given that I’m surround by fuckwits from the top echelons of government down. At the very least my personal safety is reasonably protected.

        • Ficino

          Yes, one has no idea of who is a lurker. Many people come along and say they’ve been lurkers for a good length of time and assimilated things that commentators posted. Though I too wonder whether I just write too many comments.

          And then there’s the problem The Thin Man pointed to when he noted, “This murder is really cutting into my drinking.”

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          just a little light for your darkness, the resistance to Donald trump has successfully stopped him from achieving much of what he claims he wants and it looks more and more like Muller is going to drop enough evidence at his feet that, while they may not want to put a sitting president in jail, the second he no longer holds that lofty position he is in for a very hard time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …while they may not want to put a sitting president in jail,…

          A shame, that is, a very great pity indeed.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          I completely agree, there is one thing to be concerned about tarring the station of POTUS, but i would argue that anyone who could be arrested while holding that position has done that already. Far better at that point to show that no one is above the law and that the system will correct it’s self. That is what will reinstate reputation of the poistion

        • Predicting the fruits of technology is very hard to do, but I think the internet is more a force against religion than for it. Even today, I’m amazed to hear of Mormons who are only now discovering weird things about their religion.

        • Susan

          I think the internet is more a force against religion than for it.

          I agree.

          I’m just less optimistic than I was a few years back because (as should have been obvious to me then), people use the internet to spread lies and misinformation all the time.

          But overall, I agree. Where subjects can be discussed openly and claims can be held accountable, religion doesn’t do very well.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I don’t think there’s any doubt that the internet is bad for religion. People now have access to information against their religion instead of just being immersed in propaganda.

        • sandy

          Stay positive Susan…all is good and we are on the right path and we ARE seeing results.

        • skl

          Maybe you’re the one evolutionist who can predict what evolution will do next!

        • Greg G.

          That’s easy. Life will evolve. Want something specific? A pathogen will become immune to the drug that previously cured it.

        • skl

          And the pathogen will evolve into a …

        • Greg G.

          A different pathogen. Duh!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why do ya bother?

        • I don’t get it. You’re an evolution denier, too?

        • skl

          No. I don’t know why you would say such a thing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Any bullshit that comes out is tenable just as long as he can get to sealion.

        • Doubting Thomas

          You do understand that evolution has nothing to do with the change of religious demographics, right?

        • skl

          No, I don’t. But evolution is changing things all the time.

        • Susan

          Even evolutionists can’t predict what evolution will do next.

          Lol.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Well, yeah, that’s kinda the *point*

        • Greg G.

          I just saw an article on Friendly Atheist that the Catholic Church cannot get or keep young people as priests and nuns.

          Baptist churches in the US are getting new names without “Baptist” in them. They don’t even get that people object to Baptist churches because of their theology but they aren’t changing that.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • I wonder if Ireland is one of the last bastions of widespread Catholic faith.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nah….South America is fairly rife with it.

          Africa is being proselytized too.

          Considering Ireland though…

          Well they have a gay Prime Minister of mixed race.

          They are the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

          They recently binned the restrictions on licensing laws over the Christian holidays that is Easter.

          All but one seminary has closed and the number of priests being produced is practically non-existent.

          The arse has fallen out of Chapel attendance.

          Oh…and they are going to the poll tomorrow to vote on legalizing abortion. And American anti-abortion fuckwits are trying to interfere with the result. Should be interesting.

          Now, there are plenty of Cafeteria Catholics…ya’ll witness that when the Pope visits in August.

          Fun times for sure.

        • And American anti-abortion fuckwits are trying to interfere with the result.

          You’re welcome. (Who’s #1?? U. S. A.!!)

          For their next trick, perhaps they’ll do a Uganda on you and agitate for making homosexuality a capital crime.

        • Halbe

          Ever been to South America?

        • Yeah, good point. The Spanish left a legacy.

        • Halbe

          And don’t forget Poland, where the RCC has struck an unholy alliance with the nationalists that are currently in power there. Poland is more Catholic than Ireland at this moment, and the RCC decline is not so clear in Poland either.

        • Damien Priestly

          S America is going two ways…towards evangelical Protestantism and to secularism…either way the RCC is losing out.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • epicurus

          Poland is a bastion, at least from what I saw in Kracow in 2015 on vacation. Lots of old churches that were tourist worthy were difficult to see (inside) because they had soo many services every day. Nuns everywhere. I wasn’t keeping notes, but I think one church had 7 per day.

        • epicurus

          Services, not nuns.

        • epeeist

          The number of services might be high, but what about the number of people attending and their demographic? According to this article in the Telegraph attendance at church is falling.

        • epicurus

          Well, maybe a still a bastion, but losing some of its grip? I’m really winging it here just basing my take on a week in Kracow and a guide book talking about the high number of Poles who view the church as seeing them through the communist days and still practice today, a very high number compared to other Catholic countries but beyond that I wallow in ignorance.

        • epicurus

          And interesting to compare that to the other two Catholic regions I went on my trip- Czech Republic and Bavaria. Not much action there-the churches were mostly like museums. No problem getting in those.

        • Ficino

          I read somewhere that these days, about 40-something % of the population actually attend mass.

        • epicurus

          Well maybe bastion was the wrong word.

        • Wow–who was going to all those services? Were they for locals or tourists?

        • epicurus

          locals, there were signs adressed to tourists to not enter during those times, which was most of the bloody day and night. Some also had a glassed in viewing area at the back that you weren’t allowed, or at least not supposed to, pass unless going into the service.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          now we have answered many of the more pressing question about the immediate world, and we have forms of government that means small conclaves cannot really force the general population to do their bidding, it is hard to see why we would regress back to primitive superstitious thinking. Most dysotopian futures that involve a theocracy coming to power require something like a world wide plague or war to drive people back into the arms of those who claim they have answers

        • ildi

          “it is hard to see why we would regress back to primitive superstitious thinking”

          I thought this way until Trump got elected and I realized that primitive superstitious thinking is probably still how we mostly roll as a species.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          It is important to remember that the majority, and not by a small amount, voted against trump. and what got him elected was less superstitious thinking as primitive tribalism and toxic nationalism. Unfortunately there is always going to be a decent section of the populace that are open to this kind of rhetoric, authoritarian followers love to be told who to hate.

        • ildi

          I’m categorizing tribalism as a form of superstitious thinking under the definition of “a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge.”

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Fair enough, i see your point but i disagree, tribalism is based on reason, there are valid reason to support the tribe over outsiders, it’s not superstitious in the sense that it has a grounding in reality. Unfortunately humans inherent tribalism can be easy to manipulate, particularly in certain types of people, and that leads to trump.

        • ildi

          I would argue that tribalism is not based on reason but on evolutionary advantage, just like religious belief. Otherwise, when those reasons are no longer valid, then tribalism should be easier to drop.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          If tribalism was not reality based it would not have been an evolutionary advantage. Religion is an extension of tribalism that allows you to tailor the people in your ‘tribe’ more precisely it’s just more in and out grouping. The underpinning belief in god is superstition, you can be a member of a church and believe non of the bullshit as long as conform. people who also believe the bullshit are more dangerous because their world view is now no longer reality based so they open themselves up to all manner of cognitive errors.

          Please bare in mind that is just how i view things i have no qualifications in this area.

    • Brian Curtis

      And those numbers are reversing, another fine example of evolution in action.

  • sandy

    Geography. Another reason why there is no god when your geographic location determines, by most part, what god you believe in.

  • Ficino

    On Bob’s points about unfalsifiability, when you point to evils, you get unfalsifiable claims.

    To Augustine, the Manichaeans objected, certain animals are poisonous, and injurious to man. But there ought to have been nothing injurious to man. Therefore such animals ought not to have been made by the good God. The Bishop of Hippo replied,

    “”If an unskilled person enters the workshop of an artificer he sees in it many appliances of which he does not understand the use, and which, if he is a foolish fellow, he considers unnecessary. Moreover, should he carelessly fall into the fire, or wound himself with a sharp-edged tool, he is under the impression that many of the things there are hurtful; whereas the craftsman, knowing their use, laughs at his folly. And thus some people presume to find fault with many things in this world, through not seeing the reasons for their existence. For though not required for the furnishing of our house, these things are necessary for the perfection of the universe.” On Genesis Against the Manichees, I.16. [quoted from dspriory Summa T]

    Aquinas comments, “…since man before he sinned would have used the things of this world conformably to the order designed, poisonous animals would not have injured him.” ST 1a 72 ad 6.

    Guinea worms and all that …

    • Halbe

      The Bishop of Hippo is right of course, just not in the way he thinks. Modern biology has revealed the intricacies of complex ecosystems in which “harmful” creatures play vital roles. This however has nothing to do with “the perfection of the universe”, whatever that might mean.

      • Greg G.

        Omnipotence should be able to create intricate ecosystems without harmful creatures as easily as those with harmful creatures.

      • Ficino

        At least in Aquinas’ take, “lower” creatures exist for the sake of “more noble” creatures. Humans are more noble because by nature they have rational soul. Guinea worms do not. So, shouldn’t humans usually be eating guinea worms, and not the other way round? Some quality control issues here on Thomism. But then again – how would all the levels of Being be filled w/o guinea worms? And we know in advance how many levels there are.

        • Susan

          shouldn’t humans usually be eating guinea worms, and not the other way round?

          But that is because of the deprivation of the good. Because demons.

          I wonder how Thomas explains prehistoric fleas.

          I’ve had a snootful of A/T metaphysics and can’t bear another word on it but I understand your interest.

          The subject was dealt with in depth at Strange Notions by many atheists but most of the comments were deleted and the commenters banned.

          If you go to Estranged Notions and bring it up on the open thread, I think Andrew G., Josh, Michael Murray and others might pitch up and contribute. Maybe even staircaseghost. I hope so. He’s wonderful.

          The site’s gone quiet for a few reasons but I think the main one is that you can only go around the carousel of empty catholic apologetics so many times before it becomes untenable.

          If you do head over and raise the subject, please provide a link. I would like to read along.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The site’s gone quiet for a few reasons but I think the main one is that you can only go around the carousel of empty catholic apologetics so many times before it becomes untenable.

          Also, EN mostly mirrors SN’s articles, and they’ve been less regular.

          But I’ve just been over to SN for a wee scope after reading yer comment and the latest article is this pile of steaming Thomist horse manure…by a man of supposed high intellect ffs.

          https://strangenotions.com/god-eternity-free-will-and-the-world/

          Dennis Bonnette knows a hell of a lot about the wants and needs of God…he is one of them fruitcakes.

          David Nickol is trying to hold the feet of the OP to the fire, as usual. I particularly enjoyed this comment…

          “It struck me earlier today that God, as he is described in the OP and in Thomist philosophy in general, is far stranger than anything in science fiction. How Jesus could in any way be connected “person” to “person” to the God of Thomist philosophy is difficult to imagine. That God doesn’t in any way sound to me like a “loving Father,” let alone a “dad” or “daddy” (Abba).

          I think that in order to pray or otherwise try to “interact” with God, one has to scrap all the philosophical speculation and imagine him as a “person” within time.

          So here is another case in which Christianity has found something in Hebrew Scripture that actually wasn’t there.”

          https://strangenotions.com/god-eternity-free-will-and-the-world/#comment-3914754885

          I think I need another shower now after that wallow in the muck.

        • Greg G.

          Here’s what they will say about you:

          2 Peter 2:22 (NRSV)22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb,

          “The dog turns back to its own vomit,”

          and,

          “The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…epeeist has quoted GBS at me more than once over the years.

        • Greg G.
        • Ignorant Amos

          Cheers!

        • Kevin K

          Fleas

          Adam
          Had ’em.

          Ogden Nash.

        • Greg G.

          I thought human intestines were fined-tuned for tapeworms.

        • Susan

          I thought human intestines were fine-tuned for tapeworms.

          And as @epeeist has mentioned many times over the years, the universe is fine-tuned for human pubic lice.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…it’s amazing how every single puddle fits the hole it finds itself in absolutely perfectly.

          Intelligent design and fine tuning I tell ya…no other explanation is rational.

        • Greg G.

          When I was 12 or 13, we got a refrigerator with an automatic ice maker. But before that, I was a child prodigy at filling every corner of ice cube trays.

        • Otto

          Automatic ice makers produce inferior ice, the cubes melt quicker and the taste sucks (I think the plastic tubing may be a cause). My fridge has one and I don’t use it.

          I had to teach my wife how to properly fill an ice cube tray…yes I am that asshole.

        • MR

          Oh, Lordy, you people with your “properly basic” theories. Ok, I’ll take the bait. How does one properly fill an ice cube tray?

        • Otto

          Well the tray needs to be actually filled. My wife had a habit of just running the tray under the water quickly which lead to many of the individual ice cubes being anywhere from 20-50% of potential, making small cubes that melt almost immediately.

        • MR

          Oh, okay, that’s less a proper way to fill one than just common sense. Don’t tell her I said that. I thought you had some flow/temperature/angle ratio or something.

        • Otto

          That is step 2…but honestly after she got step 1 correct I figured it was better to just shut up and be happy.

        • Greg G.

          But smaller ice cubes cool the drink faster. If you want to make ice last longer, you would have to make your freezer colder. 20F ice will cool the drink six times as much as 30F ice before melting.

        • Otto

          I keep the freezer cold too…but I like big cubes

        • ildi

          I like big cubes and I can not lie…

        • Greg G.

          Well, lah-dee-dah! Our water was so putrid, chemicals leaching in from the tubing improved the flavor of our water.

        • Michael Neville

          Tell us, Uncle Greg, about how you had to walk uphill barefoot in the snow for two hours to get to the water tap.

        • Greg G.

          It was an even steeper climb carrying those ice cube trays up the hill to the hole in the ground.

        • For me, it’s always the return trip. I must spill half of the water out of the trays.

          Gotta be a better way …

        • Michael Neville

          You’re still married to the same woman? She is a true martyr to your assholishness.

        • Otto

          Well you haven’t met her…let’s just say it is a 2 way street.

        • Greg G.

          I have faith that there are parasites of tapeworms and that the universe is fine-tuned for a particular virus that infects the parasites of tapeworms.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Big fleas have little fleas, upon their backs to bite’em,
          and little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.”

        • Pofarmer

          Good Lord is Dave Armstrong a gullible boob. I mean Jesus must have done all those miracles, no one could have made them up. Fuck me. This is what you’re dealing with. Idiocy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good Lord is Dave Armstrong a gullible boob.

          Rhetorical a know, but for the lurkers that might not get it…”ABSOLUTELY!”

          What is wrong with these eejit’s?

          Can’t they employ a brain cell and extrapolate the ramifications of saying silly shite you paraphrased, like…

          I mean Jesus must have done all those miracles, no one could have made them up.

          Dumb ass moron’s.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude almost makes Longenecker look reasonable. What constructive conversation is to be had with someone that deeply indoctrinated?

        • epicurus

          His website bio lists a lot of conversions to different versions of Christianity. I couldn’t find an article on his site about it, I find it interesting to read about evangelical protestants converting to Catholicism, or at least their reasons.

        • Ficino

          I was a Calvinist and “went over to Rome.” Aargh. At least I didn’t go back to Geneva again.

        • epicurus

          Was it for theological reasons or family reasons (marriage to Catholic spouse etc). Just curious, not trying to start a debate.

        • Ficino

          I had been in a Calvinist seminary, preparing for the ministry. But already, Catholic and Orthodox students I had met previously in grad school were not clearly “not born again.” Meeting them got me asking, what was the justification for the Reformation, anyway? I supposed that it was totally justified and that Rome and those grimy Eastern guys with long beards were just unbiblical. But the more I started looking into the issues, the stronger the RC position appeared to be, and the more the Reformation seemed a false step. The two big things that convinced me were: 1) the principle of sola scriptura does not meet its own requirements in the case, and in fact, “tradition” has a biblical basis; 2) the Lutheran/Calvinist doctrine of imputed righteousness in justification seemed pretty clearly unscriptural, and the doctrine propounded by Trent actually more scriptural.

          It took a few years, but eventually I was received into the Catholic Church.

          Later on, the curtain was drawn back on that, too.

        • epicurus

          Interesting, thanks!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Pope Leo X’s greedy exploitation of his position for starters.

        • Michael Neville

          There was the further point that the renaissance Catholic Church was pretty corrupt. Martin Luther’s original objections were about simony, i.e. the buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges or benefits like indulgences or bishoprics.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s hard to take someone seriously who says that Jesus mithraicism is intellectual suicide but believes that Mary is sitting at the right hand of Jesus listening to our prayers and interceding for us.

        • Cuz Jesus is a little deaf? Or does he fly into a rage so that she has to talk him down? If he’s got a perfect plan, you’d think that Mary’s meddling would be a bad thing.

        • Tan Mike

          Mary is Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) to Jesus’s Hulk.

          JESUS SMASH!

        • Otto

          Hahaha

        • Kevin K

          Heh. I’ve actually made the opposite observation. Humans (actually, all terrestrial mammals) appear to be little more than mobile vats for the propagation and distribution of e. coli.

    • Kevin K

      So, the malarial mosquito is necessary for a perfect universe? The Ebola virus? Smallpox? Well…how dare we interfere with Yahweh’s plan in eradicating it!!

      • Ignorant Amos

        And being the interfering feckers were are, makes us better entities than gods.

        Heck, even the worst human in the history of mankind wasn’t as big a cunt as YahwehJesus is portrayed.

  • Venavis

    What would it take for me to believe in a benevolent and omnipotent god?

    ISIS, Republican politicians, KKK members, anyone who utilizes child soldiers or slaves, and other assorted assholes all being simultaneously struck by lightning.

    • carbonUnit

      Can’t resist:
      “The problem isn’t that there are too many fools.
      It’s that lightning isn’t distributed right.” –Mark Twain.

  • John MacDonald

    Jesus’ Water into Wine miracle (John 2:1-11) was required in order to get the disciples to place their faith in Jesus in the Gospel of John. And yet the same level of faith is demanded of us today without us witnessing miracles (see John 20:29).

    • Halbe

      Jesus’ miracles are evidence only for the fact that he could perform miracles. No more, no less. You still need a giant leap of faith to get from this (alleged) miracle man to Yahweh.

      • John MacDonald

        I’m secular. I was making a joke = We are expected to have faith without having seen Jesus’ miracles, even though the disciples required seeing miracles to believe. lmao

        • Halbe

          I know. Just had to show off this -for me- new counter-apologetics argument I recently saw 🙂

        • John MacDonald

          Yes, even if there was a miracle-working Jesus who walked the earth, this in no way is evidence for the Christian God of Love. Maybe a warrior God sent Jesus as a deception to preach poverty and meekness, backed up with all his miracles for proof of his message. The test was, if you fell for this message of “weakness” preached by Jesus, then you were damned to hell, and if you chose a life of wealth and power despite Jesus’ threats/warnings against these things, you would have proved your warrior spirit and will gain access to the wondrous Elysian Fields in the afterlife. Maybe God was testing us to see if we had the courage to reject Jesus’ call for us to be pathetic, and instead chose to crave the warrior values of power and glory.

        • Tan Mike

          Or Khorne wanted to soften up Rome up for the conquering.

    • And Thomas at least had eyewitnesses to talk to. What we get today is paltry by comparison, and yet we’re punished for not believing the unbelievable? Weird religion.

  • Kev Green

    “A popular Christian response is to say that God’s making himself known would violate our free will.”

    Free will requires full information. God not making himself known is what violates our free will. If we had legitimate free will the only choice we would have to make is whether or not to worship God. Anyone who made the choice to obey God would automatically be saved. But, of course, that’s not the situation in the real world. According to Christian theology billions of people are going to burn in Hell because the circumstances of their birth led them to believe in the wrong religion. That’s pretty much the opposite of God allowing them free will.

    • eric

      A more amusing (IMO) counter to this argument is to point out that, if true, this means the twelve disciples as well as all the other followers of Jesus who witnessed his miracles must be in hell.

      • Greg G.

        My free will has been violated because I have read reports of those Jesus miracles. Who do I sue?

    • Michael Neville

      According to the propaganda, Satan knew intimately about God’s existence but that didn’t stop him from rebelling. So obviously face-to-face knowledge of God is not a handicap to exercising free will.

  • Otto

    Reason #26

    Every single piece of information about God has to be disseminated through some other human being.
    Want to know what Jesus said? You have to rely on some person telling you what he said, Jesus wrote nothing.
    Want to know how Jesus demonstrated his power? You have to rely on the supposed witnesses.
    Want to know how to interpret Scripture? You have to ask a human religious authority.
    Even when some person today claims Jesus appeared to them or helped them with some problem, we are supposed to trust their account and conclusion. God apparently only has the ability to act through other people.

    • Samwise

      Yes. This.

    • Ficino

      The above are observations I saw used by Chabad on a video (can’t find it now) to argue that Judaism is the true religion. Every religion except one, argued the guy on the video, can be traced back to someone who claimed to have received a revelation. There was no way to test the claim. Then the guy, call him “Fred,” gained followers, and the rest was history. But all these Fred religions lack credibility.

      BUT with Judaism that is not so, argued the Chabad guy. Ask your fathers, why do we keep the Torah, and they’ll say, because it’s what our fathers delivered to us as the law of Ha Shem. Go back to THEIR fathers and so on back into time – you never reach a Fred the way you do with Mormonism (J. Smith) or Islam (the Prophet pbuh) or Christianity (Paul) or whatever. You go back eventually to the day when ALL ISRAEL stood at Mt. Sinai and together received and accepted the Covenant from Ha Shem.

      no Fred. No lack of credibility. no way to explain Judaism except “we all believe this because our fathers all saw and heard and passed it down to us.”

      I omit to discuss counterexamples like, say, Hinduism (no Fred). I’ll just note that if the Exodus story is better classified as myth than as history, then the Chabad argument fails.

      • Otto

        “You go back eventually to the day when some guy wrote down that ALL ISRAEL stood at Mt. Sinai and together received and accepted the Covenant from Ha Shem Moses.”

        So it can be traced to someone who wrote the story down…and in the story to Moses. Chabad fails his own test twice.

      • Ignorant Amos

        The pagan religions are Fred-less…or Freda-less too.

        And all those Native American woo-woo belief systems have no sign of a Fred or Freda at the bottom.

        African tribal beliefs have no Freds or Freda’s that can be named either.

        The antipodean tribes are the same.

        Of course there definitely was a Fred or Freda that kicked them of…possibly the same one for many and then the fragmentation started. I say Fred or Freda, most likely a Fred…but since we can’t be certain, Freda has to get a look-in too.

        • Off topic: how did the abortion vote go in Ireland yesterday?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Vote in favor by almost 2-1….yippee…sense prevails.

        • Congratulations!

          Constitutional changes seem like moving mountains (and I suppose that’s appropriate). I’d like to see limitations on money and influence in political campaigns in the US, and that might take a constitutional amendment as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Congratulations!

          This weekend is panning out to be a good one.

          Attended the Game of Thrones Experience last night in Belfast last night. Particularly poignant as it is filmed here. The atmosphere was electric and music was ace. Had pre-concert drinks in Rockies Bar and got talking to the owner who is none other than Canadian Ice Hockey player Jim Graves. We had a lengthy yarn about WW1. His grandfather was a pilot with the Cannuck air force who was injured. The is a display cabinet in the bar full of war memorabilia and he has invited me back to see the full display he puts on in the bar in a few months.

          http://www.rockiessportsbar.com/news/frm_NewsShow.aspx?id=101

          If anything is worth getting stuck into the liquor, it’s the referendum result on abortion, now the wankers in this part of the island just need to get their heads out of their holy rolling arse’s, so with that in mind…

          Heading out in the next hour to watch Liverpool in the Champions League Final against Real Madrid…then a bit of boogieing afterwards into the wee hours. Copious amounts of alcohol will be consumed.

          Hopefully, the good weather we’ve been experiencing will continue tomorrow and the BBQ will get sparked up.

        • It’s Memorial Day on Monday, so things are a bit festive here as well.

        • epicurus

          Queens university in Belfast has a Canada room, or did back in 1994 when I was there. We ducked in for a look after some locals insisted when they found out we were Canadian. There were flags, plaques, photos, etc.

        • Pofarmer

          The Catholics will be dedicating the country to Mary again.

        • Pofarmer
        • epeeist

          http://www.patheos.com/blog

          Yes, I was going to make a comment on his site about this…

        • Pofarmer

          Me too………….

        • As was I. No comments allowed.

          Wow–that’s so weird for a Catholic blog. Normally they’re happy to hear other points of view …

        • Greg G.

          When you know that God agrees with you, you don’t need to read other people’s opinions.

        • Pofarmer

          I still love this Barry Goldwater quote.

          “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get
          control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so,
          it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten
          me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians
          believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t
          compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          No commenting thread on the OP…what’s that all about?

          Running scared methinks.

          I wonder what ameribear has to say on this latest predicament.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…and what is interesting is that much of those walking away from the RCC, are not walking away from the faith, but from the rotten insipid institution and what is wrong with it.

        • epeeist

          The next thing is to improve sex education and provision of cheap and guilt free contraception. The first is unlikely to happen until they start removing schools from Catholic control.

          That’s in the south of course. In the north the next thing is to make provision for abortion at least match that in the South. Not going to happen with the DUP ensuring the .Tory government in the UK doesn’t collapse though. Theresa May can’t afford to offend them,

        • Pofarmer

          You can bet those who opposed the abortion vote will oppose that as strongly as they can, too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          They’ll be a few decades too late then, won’t they?

        • Pofarmer

          Hard to say. That’s just some of the stuff that they are pushing here now under “deeply held religious beliefs”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sorry, I meant that it isn’t hard to say, that’s my point.

          Things have been changing on such issues for a few decades now. It was recently announced that a review of the RSE is to be implemented to bring sex education bang up to date.

          http://www.thejournal.ie/consent-schools-3936874-Apr2018/

          And a bill to prevent religious interference in sex education where it’s been going on, is set to be presented in the Dail.

          https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/latest-sex-education-in-irish-schools-not-fit-for-purpose-835621.html

          Contraception hasn’t been much of an issue since the 80’s law reforms.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraception_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah. I thought we were on the right path too. Let’s hope your’s sticks and we can get our ship righted.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good points.

          The sex education thing in schools has already been instigated…and it is one of the reasons for change.

          Mass attendance began dropping rapidly during the 1990s, as Ireland began its “Celtic Tiger” economic boom. The country was modernizing, urbanizing, and taking on a more global perspective, and the local church was no longer the only nexus of community life. For the first time, the country had a vigorous debate about abortion and began teaching sex education in schools. At the same time, several long-hidden scandals began to emerge. In 1992, the Irish learned that a powerful and beloved bishop, Eamon Casey, had a fathered a son, and that the Rev. Michael Cleary, the “Singing Priest” with best-selling records and his own radio show, had a secret family with his housekeeper. But the biggest seismic jolt came over the last decade, when the priestly sex-abuse scandal horrified the entire country.

          http://theweek.com/articles/445823/everything-need-know-about-irelands-disaffected-catholics

          The Hitch was right about that.

          Contraception hasn’t been an issue for a long time.

          The Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act, 1985[8] liberalised the law by allowing condoms and spermicides to be sold to people over 18 without having to present a prescription; however sale was limited to categories of places named in the act. The Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act, 1992[9] repealed Section 4 of the 1979 act, as amended in 1985, and continued the provision of contraceptives without prescription, allowing sale to individuals over the age of 17. As of 2010, the 1992 Act and the Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act of 1993 are the main Irish legislation on contraceptive and family planning services.

          A law banning sales would be pretty pointless when a nip across the border where sales in the North are completely unrestricted on certain contraceptives. And chemist shops or private clinics will provide more restricted forms of contraceptives.

          As for the North’s antiquated laws on abortions, the Duppers will be forced to reassess their backward stance or suffer the consequences at the polls. The voting base will be dying out in the next 10-20 years, and the youngsters coming up with more secular attitudes won’t stand for their nonsense.

          From the same article…from 2014 btw…

          Northern Ireland, which is part of Great Britain, has seen nearly as steep a decline in weekly Catholic Church attendance, from 90 percent in the 1980s to some 40 percent today. That drop is not the result of the abuse scandal alone. In fact, in Northern Ireland, the official inquiry into priestly abuse didn’t begin until last fall, and it has yet to release its findings. But Northern Ireland was the center of the Troubles, the violence between Protestants and Catholics, and there Catholicism was as much a political identity as a religious one. Once the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 ended the armed struggle, religious adherence began to fade as political polarization eased. Now, overt religiosity is widely seen as backward — as a form of resistance to peace. “There’s no stigma in not going to church,” said William Crawley, a Presbyterian minister in Belfast. “In fact, there’s a stigma to going. Parents need to explain why they are sending their children to church.”

          Then of course, should there be a united Ireland, the issue will become moot. Though a recent poll result concluded that even republicans are not ready to see a united Ireland and the south couldn’t afford it.

          The relationship between May and the Duppers is already on dodgy ground and that is finite in any case.

          The growth of such organisations as BHA Northern Ireland, among others, is heart warming.

          https://humanism.org.uk/2017/05/11/humanists-celebrate-vision-of-a-more-secular-northern-ireland/

          The presentation I attended hosted by Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss in the Ulster University a couple of years back, was to a packed house.

          Interesting times ahead for sure.

        • Phil Rimmer

          “As for the North’s antiquated laws on abortions, the Duppers will be forced to reassess their backward stance or suffer the consequences at the polls. The voting base will be dying out in the next 10-20 years, and the youngsters coming up with more secular attitudes won’t stand for their nonsense.”

          For some weird reason this does not appear to be the case. Here’s recent opinion poll data on abortion in NI. You need to click on each scenario to see the demographic spread.

          http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2016/Abortion/

          The RTE exit poll demographic showed a very steady enlightenment, increasing significantly, with youth from 45% for change at 65+, to 88% for the 18 to 24 yo group. Women led men.

          The NI data is almost flat with age and if anything men lead women.

          It seems a culture treading water.

          Fortunately it is one sufficiently committed to change. But we sure need to see more of those united women knocking some patriarchal heads together.

        • epeeist

          The NI data is almost flat with age and if anything men lead women.

          The major, consistent difference seems to be the religious/non-religious divide with some difference also showing between Catholics and Protestants.

          But I am always suspicious of what people report on surveys. I think this showed in the referendum in the Republic of Ireland which looked as though it was going to be a close run thing based on opinion polls but obviously turned out to be a landslide in the actual vote.

        • Greg G.

          I saw a news report of young Irish women flying back to Ireland for the vote. Perhaps they were not polled.

          Or maybe the Russians hacked the election.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Universities in the UK were paying the travel expenses as long as they were “yes” voters apparently.

        • Phil Rimmer

          Yes. It could be youthful cussedness with pollsters.

          But I proposed a different reason to Ig. I think it suggests more a lack of youthful thought on the matter and perhaps even the value of a really good social media campaign just before voting and its differential access.

        • Ignorant Amos

          For some weird reason this does not appear to be the case. Here’s recent opinion poll data on abortion in NI. You need to click on each scenario to see the demographic spread.

          I don’t know about that. The figure being bandied about in the media is…

          Emma Campbell, co-chair of abortion rights group Alliance for Choice, said the DUP’s political stance is out-of-step with the will of most people in Northern Ireland.

          “Poll after poll has shown in the north, much like it did in the south, that between 62-72% people in every one of the polls is in favour of a change to the law,” she said.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-44271876

          https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/northern-ireland-nearly-34-public-support-abortion-law-change-new-poll-0

          https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/poll-only-29-oppose-reform-of-abortion-laws-in-northern-ireland-35975596.html

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/16/northern-ireland-strongly-backs-abortion-law-reform-survey

          I can tell you that as someone whose on the ground, folk I know favour a change in our antiquated rules on abortion.

        • Phil Rimmer

          The data is there in the survey.

          But what is perhaps going on is that younger folk are busier and have a lot of calls on their attention. I’m suspecting that the huge commitment of the young in the south was precisely because of those last minute entreaties to think the issues through.

          What would be a delight is to see that same startling success driven by the citizens of tomorrow. Not only a mandate for change but a growing mandate for change that implies much wider changes may be possible.

          Now. How can we get Teresa May to put her head in this particular noose?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The data is there in the survey.

          Yes, I see that Phil, it’s just that other polls got different results. It’s like epeeist says, polls in this part of the world have been notoriously unreliable in recent years.

          But what is perhaps going on is that younger folk are busier and have a lot of calls on their attention. I’m suspecting that the huge commitment of the young in the south was precisely because of those last minute entreaties to think the issues through.

          Absolutely. Losing religiosity is another factor. Even those who remain steadfast to the faith, are ignoring the sillier rules, and have been for a while. Homosexuality, contraception, abortion…have all been getting thumbed at by Catholics.

          What would be a delight is to see that same startling success driven by the citizens of tomorrow. Not only a mandate for change but a growing mandate for change that implies much wider changes may be possible.

          Well the tipping point has already been reached.

          More than half of the British public (53 per cent) say they are not at all religious – a figure that has increased by five percentage points since 2015 and by 19 percentage points since 1983, when just three in 10 people deemed themselves non-religious.

          More than seven in 10 (71 per cent) of young people aged 18-24 saying they had no religion in 2016, up from 62 per cent in 2015, the figures show. Four in 10 people aged 65-74 meanwhile said they had no religion – with this figure dropping to 27 per cent for those aged over 75.

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-people-atheist-no-religion-uk-christianity-islam-sikism-judaism-jewish-muslims-a7928896.html

          Now. How can we get Teresa May to put her head in this particular noose?

          She is already coming under pressure from politicians around her in Westminster to implement changes.

          Meanwhile, the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has declared on this evenings news that women in the North will be provided with abortion services in the South on request. That will remove the expense incurred currently by those in Northern Ireland having to travel to England to avail of the procedure.

        • epeeist

          The first is unlikely to happen until they start removing schools from Catholic control.

          I know, I know, responding to my own post.

          However, it looks as though the above might just be starting to happen. According to this NY Times article ‘Catholic elementary schools would be barred from discriminating in favor of children of their own “religious ethos.”‘

        • Ignorant Amos
    • It’s turtles all the way down.

  • It’s amazing how most of these arguments are not even arguments against a god but arguments against arguments for a god, and even then really only the Christian or maybe Abrahamic god.

    • Otto

      When all that is ever provided is ‘arguments for a god’ then of course the response is going to be ‘arguments against arguments for a god’.

      • Cool, but it needs to be recognized that what is being addressed here are arguments against arguments for the CHRISTIAN god, and not arguments for why we don’t live in a world with a god.

        • Otto

          While I can somewhat agree that the title of the piece can be seen to talk about any and every god, the G in God is capitalized which typically refers to the monotheistic God of Abraham. Plus the name of the blog itself should be a giveaway.

        • Well, most of the arguments don’t even work for the Jewish god, and most also only work to knock down arguments FOR the Abrahamic god, rather than arguments against the existence of such a god.

        • Otto

          What definition of the Jewish god are you using that none of these work for? And I disagree that these arguments do not work as arguments against the existence of the Abrahamic god.

        • Well, there are a lot of variations on the Jewish god, but in general strict omni isn’t applied, so the argument from evil fails. For another, Jews don’t really believe in an eternal hell, and not as a form of punishment, so any citation of such a hell is automatically useless for discussions of the Jewish god.

        • Greg G.

          There isn’t much to say about the God of Handwaving. We can discuss gods about which claims are made.

          Describe a god. Provide evidence for it. Without a way do distinguish a real god from an imaginary god, there isn’t much to talk about.

        • > Describe a god. Provide evidence for it. Without a way do distinguish a real god from an imaginary god, there isn’t much to talk about.

          I am not claiming that there is a god, nor do I believe that there is one. I was responding to this article’s failed attempt to show that there are no gods. The argument does not even work for the Jewish god, and I explained why. Jews, in general, do not believe in a hell, let alone a hell used for punishment.

        • Otto

          But they do believe God has (or does) interacted in this world, many points argue against that.

        • For simplicity, would you mind picking one as an example?

        • Otto

          I will just list ones that I think cover what you are complaining about…#2, #3, #4, #5, #9, #10, #11, #12, #17, #18, #20, #22, #23 and #25. While Bob gives Christian specific examples in some of these points the arguments can also be made about Judaism. I count 14 out of 25. I think that should be enough to contradict your statement that “most of the arguments don’t even work for the Jewish god”.

        • Greg G.

          Psalm 77 has a lament that the miracles done by the Jewish God in the old days are not happening at the time of the author. But the times described by the OT texts are shown to never have happened. There were never large numbers of Israelis in Egypt, there was no mass exodus through the desert, and there was no replacement of culture in Canaan, only certain sites had pig bones and some didn’t. So everything regarding Moses to Abraham and on back are myths, the deeds of Jewish heroes like Samson, Elijah, Elisha and others appear to be stories of sun and moon gods made human to adapt to monotheism so the Jewish God is a non-starter as it cannot be distinguished from the imaginary and has indications of being fantasy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jews, in general, do not believe in a hell, let alone a hell used for punishment.

          What does “in general” and “hell” even mean?

          The problem here, is that the early Christian cults, were actually various versions of messianic Judaism. So the concept of Hell as we today know it, as an eternal punishment is, at it’s foundation, a Jewish idea. But the idea is a syncretism of much earlier ideas for sure. Sheol, Hades, and Gehenna…and various Pagan concepts. Early Christian Jews just weren’t all that original or inventive apparently. But it wasn’t the place it is today even in early Christianity.

          From where did Augustine and Dante get their ideas about a never-ending suffering in store for sinners? Is it biblical? It’s true that by the time of Christ, Judaism had incorporated related concepts into its belief system, though in earlier times it did not teach that an ever-burning hell was to be the fate of the unsaved. Nor did the early New Testament Church teach it. The doctrine has its roots elsewhere.

          Dante’s guide through the netherworld was Virgil, the first-century-B.C.E. Roman poet. In his epic poem Aeneid, the hero, Aeneas, is also taken on a tour of hell. Virgil’s graphic depiction of the dismal and macabre place profoundly influenced later artists and writers.

          But the concept of hell as a place of torment predates Virgil as well. A number of ancient civilizations, including those of Mesopotamia, India, Egypt and Greece, held as part of their mythology the concept of an underworld—the realm of the dead. The first-century-B.C.E. Greek geographer and philosopher Strabo discussed the value of such myths, noting that “the states and the lawgivers had sanctioned them as a useful expedient.” He went on to explain that people “are deterred from evil courses when, either through descriptions or through typical representations of objects unseen, they learn of divine punishments, terrors, and threats.” In dealing with the unruly, reason or exhortation alone is not enough, wrote Strabo; “there is need of religious fear also, and this cannot be aroused without myths and marvels. . . . The founders of states gave their sanction to these things as bugbears wherewith to scare the simple-minded” (Geography 1.2.8).

          The idea of a supernatural place of punishment is pre-Christian and Judaism had one too. But the idea of eternal punishment was developed by Christians, but later Christians. In order to get the gullible to fall into line.

          The Idea of Hell as a Place of Torment Develops in the Second and Third Centuries

          Hell did not exist as it is thought of today in the Old Testament, Yeshua’s teaching, Paul, or the earliest days of the church. It was a pagan instrument to keep the rabble in line. But by the second century, the church leaders had adopted it and were beginning to use it to marshal believers. The descriptions of a hell with punishment and torment gradually become more embellished with detail. Until the end of the second century, the penalty was simply eternal fire. The atrocities against those who wouldn’t swear allegiance to Yeshua increased in intensity by the third century.

          http://30ce.com/developmentofhell.htm

          Hell has always been a work in progress. Probably getting as bad as it could get in the medieval period. Now days it isn’t all that big a deal, if ya listen to Catholics that is a mean. The RCC say it just means one is out of compliance with YahwehJesus, no big deal then.

        • > The problem here, is that the early Christian cults, were actually various versions of messianic Judaism. So the concept of Hell as we today know it, as an eternal punishment is, at it’s foundation, a Jewish idea.

          That’s an idiotic statement. That’s like saying that the Constitution is a British idea. Jews do not believe in a hell as a system of eternal punishment. It does not matter if some of their descendants believe in such a thing. Applying that to Judaism because Christianity descends from Judaism is dumb as hell. Here’s an idea. Maybe instead of writing an essay as a reply, you should spend less time writing and more time thinking.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s an idiotic statement.

          Try reading for comprehension ffs.

          If the first Christians were Jews…which they were. And the concept of the Hell originated and developed from those Jews…which it did. Then the Christian concept of Hell had its foundation with Jews.

          And try reading the whole comment in context…it does help, even if cherry-picking and quote mining is your preference.

          https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/heaven-and-hell-in-jewish-tradition/

          That’s like saying that the Constitution is a British idea.

          Whaaa? Poor analogy. The idea of a constitution is not American, nor British. And while the Colony of Connecticut was the first place in the America’s, a British colony, other colonies followed. But let’s not pretend that like the concept of Christian Hell, the US Constitution didn’t have its roots in earlier constitutions and ideas, including the British.

          The United States Constitution, ratified June 21, 1788, was influenced by the British constitutional system and the political system of the United Provinces, plus the writings of Polybius, Locke, Montesquieu, and others. The document became a benchmark for republicanism and codified constitutions written thereafter.

          While the US Constitution differs from other constitutions, it is modeled on the ideas of earlier constitutions…ergo, it’s foundation is earlier. So that’s a fail.

          Jews do not believe in a hell as a system of eternal punishment.

          And since neither I, nor the sources I provided claimed they did, that straw man can be ignored.

          It does not matter if some of their descendants believe in such a thing.

          It does if their ideas can be traced back far enough. Which it can.

          Applying that to Judaism because Christianity descends from Judaism is dumb as hell.

          I realize this makes your argument a load more of a silly pants than it was, and it appears that reading for comprehension doesn’t seem to be a strong point, but the fact remains that some aspects of the Christian concept originate in Judaism.

          Early Judaism had no concept of Hell, although the concept of an afterlife was introduced during the Hellenistic period, apparently from neighboring Hellenistic religions. It occurs for example in Book of Daniel. Daniel 12:2 proclaims “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

          Here’s an idea. Maybe instead of writing an essay as a reply, you should spend less time writing and more time thinking.

          Here’s an idea. Maybe instead of writing anything, you should spend more time thinking.

          Supporting ones claim is not a bad thing, ya should try it sometime.

          And the OP is still about the God of Christianity, try addressing those apples.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I think Virginia might have been the first British colony, fwiw.

        • > If the first Christians were Jews…which they were. And the concept of the Hell originated and developed from those Jews…which it did. Then the Christian concept of Hell had its foundation with Jews.

          Sure, if you want to call Christians “Jews” then it’s a Jewish idea, but essentially no one who identifies as Jewish believes in an eternal hell.

        • Greg G.

          There were Jews who believed there was eternal punishment in Jerusalem before the temple was destroyed. That is what matters.

        • Let me ask you this question. Why aren’t you arguing against the existence of Zeus?

        • Greg G.

          I haven’t met anyone who claimed to have a god by that name.

        • So what you’re saying is that you don’t argue against things that people generally don’t believe? Got it. Well, your argument about the origin of the hell belief does not mean anything, as Jews do not believe in that kind of god, so you are actually arguing against a god that Jews do not believe exists. So either you’re engaging in mental masturbation, or you’re using the argument to further “confirm” your own beliefs.

        • Greg G.

          I already proved to you that Jews in antebellum Jerusalem did believe in hell.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/05/25-reasons-we-dont-live-in-a-world-with-a-god-part-13/#comment-3918293994

          That was posted 25 minutes before the post I am replying to here.

          AIUI, the word “hell” is derived from the Hebrew word “sheol”.

          Please stop projecting your mental masturbation on others.

        • > I already proved to you that Jews in antebellum Jerusalem did believe in hell.

          So you’re arguing against something that people thousands of years ago believed. Okay. Why? A lot of people USED TO believe in Zeus too.

        • Greg G.

          Christianity is a form of Judaism. They think they are the correct ones and that modern day Jews are wrong. The Christians dominate our society.

          Christian Dominionists are in the political realm. They are expecting the Rapture and are willing to prepare for it as if they can force the Messiah to return. This is the same belief that the Judeans had and got them crushed by the Romans.

          Jewish Wars 6.5.2 excerpt
          … A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose on the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises; for when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such his deliverance.

          Jewish Wars 6.5.4 excerpt
          … But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, “about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth.” The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. … But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own destruction.

          Religion is not harmless.

        • > Christianity is a form of Judaism. They think they are the correct ones and that modern day Jews are wrong. The Christians dominate our society.

          I you want to treat it that way, but self labeled Jews generally do not believe what you are trying to argue against, so your point is moot.

        • Greg G.

          The question is about Jews from two thousand years ago. I have provided evidence written by a Jew who was a Pharisee from the period, so my claim is backed up.

          self labeled Jews generally do not believe what you are trying to argue against

          So what? Your use of “generally” shows that you think that some do so my point is not shown to be moot. My point is not about what modern Jews believed but a possible source of Christian belief that goes back about 2000 years.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought we were talking historically? The idea of the Christian version of Hell is a mongrel conglomeration of various ideas…the Jewish concept being part of that make up. The eternal damnation part grew theologically.

          The Jewish beliefs were not a single unified belief system. They had diverse ideals like any other religion.

          Who cares what Jews believe about Hell today. The OP and Bob’s arguments are directed towards the Christian version of the Abrahamic faiths. And what most Christians believe about Hell, both today, and historically.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The US Constitution DOES owe a debt to British law…ever heard of the Magna Carta?

        • Greg G.

          Jews do not believe in a hell as a system of eternal punishment.

          Some Jews did.

          Daniel 12:2 (NRSV)
          2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

          Jewish Wars 2.8.14 excerpt
          They [Pharisees] say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, – but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.

        • MR

          Right. The only reason most of us believe in “a god” is because we started with indoctrination of a specific god, whether that be some form of a Judeo-Christian god, Hindu gods or what have you. Removing belief in a specific god(s) doesn’t mean we should then still cling to “god belief,” that is, that there is any kind of god whatsoever. The whole thing unravels and you have then start from scratch. “Okay, if you believe in some kind of god, show me why and we’ll go from there”

        • Ignorant Amos

          The OP is talking about the Christian god though, version 2.0 of the Jewish god…who has gone through a number of re-writes from the original.

          And not just that, the version 2.0 believed by Christians today, which is multi-omni and is perceived by some believers at least, to destine those who refuse to arse lick, to an eternity of Hell…that being the place of fire and sulfur where a red hot poker is used wantonly to inflicted pain.

          So the Jewish god argument you posit here is a bit of a straw man.

        • epicurus

          There are lots of different gods, which one should we consider?

        • Whichever one it is that you are trying to prove false here. If you want to say that something does not exist, and there are numerous ways in which that something is defined or described, you have to be specific. Any argument to show that a god does not exist, must start by defining what is meant by “god” within the argument.

        • epicurus

          The Judeo Christian God is the one that’s mainly up for debate here, so are you saying that’s not enough and Hindu etc gods should also be mentioned, or are you saying that within the Judeo Christian world there are many different views and they should be addressed. I’m not understanding what your concern is.

        • I’m not even sure the arguments work to show that the Abrahamic god does not exist. At best they act as counter points to arguments for existence of such things.

        • epicurus

          If we put aside the arguments for the existence of a god and did not refer to them, is there anyway we could discuss the existence of a god or gods?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Shifting the burden of proof, are you?

          All we have to do is disbelieve and punch holes in your assertions…since you’re definitely not providing evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whichever one it is that you are trying to prove false here. If you want to say that something does not exist, and there are numerous ways in which that something is defined or described, you have to be specific.

          When we get a believer that pitches up some day that will do that, then we’ll get a better handle on what it is that is being refuted. Until then, there is nothing to do but attack the variety of attributes that a variety of Christians claim they know about the thing they claim is unknowable. In this case, the Jewish god with the Christian attributes stuck on the back of.

          Any argument to show that a god does not exist, must start by defining what is meant by “god” within the argument.

          To some extent, I agree with this point in principle. Which is why I state my position as an igtheist atheist.

          But I don’t have to fully understand something in order to refute its parts. I may not have a comprehensive understanding of the internal combustion engine, but I know that without certain conditions being in place, it ain’t gonna work.

          If a Christian claims his/her God is omnipotent and omnbenevolent, I can say that is nonsense.

          If a Christian claims his/her God is perfect, I can say that is nonsense.

          If a Christian claims his/her God is immaterial, outside space and time, I can say that is nonsense.

          And on we go, taking each claim a Christian presents on its individual merits, or lack thereof, and refuting each with argument, without having a full definition of what is what is meant by “god”. There is no such thing as a definition of what is by “god”, because once the bits and pieces start to be placed on the the frame, incoherence ensues. It’s like loading up “Buckeroo”.

          Theological noncognitivism? But where I draw the line on this is where the claim is made that the conversation can’t be had without a fully coherent definition of what god means. While god talk with believers eventually reduces to incoherent gibberish. Individual claims can certainly be addressed and refuted.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6wjgNhgaNU

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But we’re NOT saying ‘it’s false’.

          We’re saying “We don’t believe you because you haven’t met the burden of proof”

          BIG difference.

    • Jim Jones
      • Greg G.

        With Eric the Chef who makes God-Eating-Magic-Penguin Cacciatore. It is his nature to make it.

        • Jim Jones

          And is countered by Eric the sausage maker who uses only magic chefs as the ingredient.

    • RichardSRussell

      There’s really only one argument against the existence of any deities per se, of whatever description: no evidence.

      There’s a kind of meta-argument that says the very concept is so poorly defined by its adherents as to be incoherent or logically self-contradictory.

      Everything else is, as you say, just shooting down the attempts of the various apologists to rationalize and justify their utter lack of any sensible reason for their beliefs.

      But we work with what we’ve been handed.

      If you’re unsatisfied that Bob’s approach isn’t sufficiently global in scope or abstract for your taste, why, just go right ahead and start a blog of your own that is.

      • > There’s really only one argument against the existence of any deities per se, of whatever description: no evidence.

        That’s not an argument against, that’s just an argument against argument for. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

        • RichardSRussell

          Well, given that the burden of proof for demonstrating the existence of anything is on the person who says it exists, failure of such persons to provide any evidence in support of their proposition is exactly what you’re asking for: an argument that it doesn’t.

          To test this for yourself, ask the question “Is there an elephant in my bathtub?”. Then go look in your bathtub and see what you think.

        • > Well, given that the burden of proof for demonstrating the existence of anything is on the person who says it exists…

          And the burden of proof for demonstrating nonexistence of anything is on the person who says it does not exist.

          By the way, what’s the test number on this page? There’s nothing harmful in the link; don’t worry. http://spiritualanthropologist.info/philosophy/epistemology-this-page-contains-no-harmful-material/

        • Greg G.

          And the burden of proof for demonstrating nonexistence of anything is on the person who says it does not exist.

          We can prove that some things are imaginary. A theist can say their god thingy is omniwhatever, but they have no way of determining any omniproperties so their claim must be from imagination. Even if some existent entity says it is omni-this-or-that, one can only imagine it is true.

        • > but they have no way of determining any omniproperties

          What do you mean?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Only another omniscient entity can know if another omniscient being knows everything. That creates a paradox.

          Entity A only needs to know more than entity B to appear omniscient, but that doesn’t mean it is omniscient.

          How could you check for a claim of omniscience?

        • > Only another omniscient entity can know if another omniscient being knows everything. That creates a paradox.

          You’re saying that there is no test for omniscience? I’m not sure I buy your premise, but even if that’s the case, and we can’t know if something is omniscient, that does not mean that such a thing does not exist. Your statement is not a paradox.

          > How could you check for a claim of omniscience?

          An inability to test a claim is not evidence that the claim is false.

          > Greg’s “you” is not you personally. In informal contexts, we also use “you” to refer to people in general, not someone specific.

          You murder people. I don’t mean you, but rather you.

        • Greg G.

          You’re saying that there is no test for omniscience? I’m not sure I buy your premise, but even if that’s the case, and we can’t know if something is omniscient, that does not mean that such a thing does not exist. Your statement is not a paradox.

          An inability to test a claim is not evidence that the claim is false.

          There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. Even an omniscient being could not know of unknown unknowns and would therefore be not omniscient by definition. An omniscient entity that knows everything but does not know that it knows everything is not omniscient, and therefore can only be called not-quite-omniscient.

          An omnipotent being could give an oyster the sense of being omnipotent and omniscient yet remain hidden from the oyster for ineffable reasons. But the omnipotent being could not be sure that it is not an oyster given a perfect delusion.

          So no claim of the existence of an omni-anything being can be made with certitude even for an otherwise omnibeing.

        • Pofarmer

          A little something you might be interested in. More evidence that the Gospels are both late and fictional.

          https://celsus.blog/2018/01/12/numismatic-evidence-that-corroborates-suetonius-life-of-otho-and-contradicts-the-gospels/

        • Greg G.

          Excellent article. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

          But… but… but…

          Would that coin have borne the likeness of the emperor, and if so, would it have been circulating in such abundance that Jesus could have reasonably expected one to be produced on the spot?

          Proof that Jesus was psychic.

        • Pofarmer

          I saw the article while searching for something else and I started to drive on by but then I clicked and started to skim it and then I was like heeeeyyyyyyyy wait a cotton picking minute here……………..

        • Greg G.

          Hasn’t Matthew Ferguson visited CE fairly recently?

        • Pofarmer

          Now that you mention it, I may remember seeing that name.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re saying that there is no test for omniscience?

          Tell me how a test for omniscience would work?

          I’m not sure I buy your premise,…

          Oh, it’s not my premise. Far cleverer folk than I make the case. I just think they make their case convincingly.

          The first problem ”the paradox of omniscience” is derived from Cantor’s proof that there is no set of all sets. Omniscience, it is said, entails knowledge of the set of all truths. Cantor’s proof, however, demonstrates that there is no such set. As there is no such set, it is argued, there can be no omniscient being.

          http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/arguments-for-atheism/problems-with-divine-omniscience/

          …but even if that’s the case, and we can’t know if something is omniscient, that does not mean that such a thing does not exist.

          Well we can if it is a logical contradiction, that’s the point. But let’s play DA and say you are correct. Why does it matter? If we can’t know if something is omniscient, whether it exists or not, is moot. If we can’t know if a god is omniscient, then omniscience has to be taken of the table. Only things we can know count. Otherwise any nonsense that can be conceived, can be applied to a god. Which is what has happened btw.

          The second problem is the problem of experiential knowledge. Here the argument is that there are certain facts knowledge of which can only be acquired through certain experiences ”knowledge of what it is like to sin, for instance, can only be acquired by sinning” and that some of these experiences, and so some of these items of knowledge, are such that they cannot be had by God.

          This dovetails with Carriers joke with a jibe, that God must’ve enjoyed been maximally gang-banged. Because omniscience demands it, among the knowledge of commiting lots of other nefarious and debaucherous shenanigans.

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/4932

          Your statement is not a paradox.

          I never said my statement was a paradox, I said that it creates a paradox. The paradox of omniscience…twice. See Cantor’s set theory and Grim’s hypothesis.

        • > Tell me how a test for omniscience would work?

          I don’t need to. You have to show that it is paradoxical or that it does not exist.

          > The first problem ”the paradox of omniscience” is derived from Cantor’s proof that there is no set of all sets. Omniscience, it is said, entails knowledge of the set of all truths. Cantor’s proof, however, demonstrates that there is no such set. As there is no such set, it is argued, there can be no omniscient being.

          There are two forms of omniscience, the first being the paradoxical one, but the latter, which is just “knowing that which can be known” which is not paradoxical. So the latter one is not an issue anyway, and the former one is an issue, only if you assume that these god things can be described using a consistent mathematical framework.

        • Greg G.

          There is still a paradox. There could be a god thingy giving an illusion of knowing all that could be known to another entity. The god thingy knows that it exists so that is something that could be known but the other entity doesn’t know anything about it, so it only knows everything in its bubble. But the god thingy is in the same position. The paradox goes all the way up. So the entity does not actually know whether there is a column of ineffable god thingies giving it a delusion or not. The entity cannot know that the proposition that “it knows all that is knowable” is true.

        • You’re starting with the assumption that the entity is not omniscient, or that you’re not using the relaxed sense of omniscience.

        • Greg G.

          No, I began with the assumption that it was omniscient. To know something means have justified true belief for that thing. To be omniscient, it must have justified true belief for everything. But an omniscient entity cannot have justified true belief that there is no other entity capable of hiding from it. A false certainty is not knowledge. Even if it was omniscient yesterday, doesn’t mean that it is omniscient today. It could not know that a being capable of hiding its existence didn’t pop into existence a minute ago.

        • > To be omniscient, it must have justified true belief for everything.

          Everything that can be known that is, as most people do not believe in a god that exhibits strict omniscience.

          > But an omniscient entity cannot have justified true belief that there is no other entity capable of hiding from it.

          I still don’t buy this statement. Regardless, if it cannot be known, then it’s not a problem, because omniscience is generally limited to that which can be known.

        • Greg G.

          I still don’t buy this statement. Regardless, if it cannot be known, then it’s not a problem, because omniscience is generally limited to that which can be known.

          Then all oysters are omniscient because they know all which can be known by oysters. No, if the other entity knows it exists, then it is knowable. If the other entity knows something the supposed omniscience does not know, the omniscience is not omniscient.

          Even if the omniscience knows that it is possible for entities-that-can-hide-from-omniscience can pop into existence, the omniscience cannot know how many exist, though each of those entities knows that it exists. Neither can the omniscience know that it knows that entities-that-can-hide-from-omniscience do not exist.

          So the concept of omniscience is logically incoherent.

        • > Then all oysters are omniscient because they know all which can be known by oysters.

          I didn’t say all that can be known by x, but all that can be known. Oysters don’t know everything that is unknowable.

          > Even if the omniscience knows that it is possible for entities-that-can-hide-from-omniscience can pop into existence, the omniscience cannot know how many exist…

          I don’t see why not.

          > Neither can the omniscience know that it knows that entities-that-can-hide-from-omniscience do not exist.

          Still not sure I buy that, but again, consider the class of statements that can be known. If x is a statement that fits that class, then it is known by the omniscient being.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t see why not.

          Because they are unknowable for the supposed omniscience.

          Still not sure I buy that, but again, consider the class of statements that can be known. If x is a statement that fits that class, then it is known by the omniscient being.

          If an Xsrgb is an entity that come into existence camouflaged from O, the omniscient, then O cannot know that an Xsrgb came into existence. But the Xsrgb knows it exists so the x is in the class of that which is knowable but is not knowable by O. Therefore, O cannot be omniscient.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t need to.

          Then I care not a jot.

          You have to show that it is paradoxical or that it does not exist.

          No I don’t. It’s not my claim that it exists. It is to whoever is making the positive claim that it exists, that I’m saying, “I don’t believe you, prove it”…anyone that claims that because I say “I don’t believe you, prove it”, that I must prove the negative, can whistle Dixie if they think the onus is on me to show why. That I like to engage in such pinhead angel dancing discussions is my choice.

          There are two forms of omniscience, the first being the paradoxical one, but the latter, which is just “knowing that which can be known” which is not paradoxical. So the latter one is not an issue anyway, and the former one is an issue, only if you assume that these god things can be described using a consistent mathematical framework.

          The omniscience under discussion is the the one Christians assign to their god thingy.

          Omniscience of God – God Knows All Things

          The omniscience of God is the principle that God is all-knowing; that He encompasses all knowledge of the universe past, present, and future. In the beginning, God created the world and everything in it, including knowledge.

          That’s the version Bob addresses on this blog…I believe.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          ‘I don’t believe you’ bears no burden of proof.

          Nor does, “you contradicted yourself here vs there”

        • Pofarmer

          And the burden of proof for demonstrating nonexistence of anything is on the person who says it does not exist.

          As with Sagan’s Dragon, this depends on the quality of the claim. If you say you have a dachshund, and I say that your dachshund doesn’t exist, then it might be up to me to prove my claim, although you could just produce the wiener dog. If you say there’s a magical invisible dragon flying around in your garage, and I say that no such things exist, I have no burden to disprove such an outrageous claim.

        • RichardSRussell

          And the burden of proof for demonstrating nonexistence of anything is on the person who says it does not exist.

          Untrue. That’s the default position, no demonstration necessary — as evidenced by anything else you could possibly imagine, such as a giant sphere of liquid sulfur floating in the center of your living room. If I say it’s there and you say it’s not, how could you possibly demonstrate its non-existence to me? No, it would be incumbent on me to demonstrate it to you. And if it really were there, I’d have no difficulty in doing so.

        • > Untrue. That’s the default position…

          This is Religious Rejectionist pseudo-logic. There is no such thing as a default position, in part because there is no logical distinction between claims of existence and claims of nonexistence. Any statement of existence can be rewritten as a statement of existence.

        • RichardSRussell

          I await an example thereof.

        • Greg G.

          Nobody has to prove everything imagined by others is not real. The imaginist must provide some way to distinguish such a thing from the imagination.

        • > Nobody has to prove everything imagined by others is not real.

          You’re right. All you need to do is satisfy burden of proof for claims that you’ve made.

          > The imaginist must provide some way to distinguish such a thing from the imagination.

          No; all claims suffer burden of proof, not just claims for existence.

        • Greg G.

          “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” is the Latin Hitchen’s razor, which is “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

        • Correct. Notice how that there is no provision stating that this statement only applies to claims of existence?

        • Greg G.

          You say, “There could be a god.” The atheist says, “What’s your evidence?” You say, “I have none.” The atheist says, “So what?” There is no burden of proof on the atheist.

          When a theist claims properties of their god thingy that are incompatible, then an atheist can present an argument that no such being exists. For example, the Christian god is often portrayed as omnipotent and omnibenevolent. But those traits are incompatible with the existence of unnecessary suffering. If omnipotent, all suffering is unnecessary, so a moment of suffering anywhere shows a lack of benevolence which eliminates the “omni-” prefix from the benevolence claim.

          The human mind is capable of imagining things that are impossible to disprove. The supernatural is contrived just to eliminate the possibility of empirical inspection. Nobody has to bother with denying such claims so there is no burden of disproof.

        • > You say, “There could be a god.” The atheist says, “What’s your evidence?” You say, “I have none.” The atheist says, “So what?” There is no burden of proof on the atheist.

          No. I say no such thing. First off, I am an atheist, though nobody is interested in my “atheist experience.” I do not say that there could be a god. I do not say that there can’t be a god. I do not say that there is a god. I do not say that there isn’t a god. Why? It’s because I have not been presented with reasonable evidence necessary to draw ANY conclusion on gods.

          Burden of proof exists with ALL claims. That is true for claims of existence AND claims of nonexistence. If you want to avoid burden of proof, then you need to refrain from making a claim, in either direction.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg’s “you” is not you personally. In informal contexts, we also use “you” to refer to people in general, not someone specific.

        • Greg G.

          No. I say no such thing. First off, I am an atheist, though nobody is interested in my “atheist experience.” I do not say that there could be a god. I do not say that there can’t be a god. I do not say that there is a god. I do not say that there isn’t a god. Why? It’s because I have not been presented with reasonable evidence necessary to draw ANY conclusion on gods.

          I don’t care whether you are an atheist or not. I am not arguing against you. I am not arguing against your argument. My argument is arguing against your argument.

          Burden of proof exists with ALL claims. That is true for claims of existence AND claims of nonexistence. If you want to avoid burden of proof, then you need to refrain from making a claim, in either direction.

          Sure, but my argument is that the Opinion A that a claim of existence of Thing B is insufficiently supported is not a claim of the non-existence of Thing B so Opinion A does not have a burden of proof.

          If Thing C is described with logically incompatible properties, then Opinion D can be formed that it is impossible for Thing C to exist.

          The atheist claim is that claims of god thingies are insufficiently supported or they are logically incoherent. The atheist believes the logically incoherent god thingies do not exist and provide the logically burden of proof. It is not necessary to assume the burden of proof for not believing the other class of god thingies as it is not a claim of the disbelief of the existence of those god thingies.

        • > I don’t care whether you are an atheist or not. I am not arguing against you. I am not arguing against your argument. My argument is arguing against your argument.

          You’re trying to, but you’re failing miserably.

          > Sure, but my argument is that the Opinion A that a claim of existence of Thing B is insufficiently supported is not a claim of the non-existence of Thing B so Opinion A does not have a burden of proof.

          Cool. I was responding to the claim that there is no god.

          > The atheist claim is that claims of god thingies are insufficiently supported or they are logically incoherent.

          No; there is no claim in atheism. There are many reasons why one might not believe in a god.

          > The atheist believes the logically incoherent god thingies do not exist…

          No. You’re again over-generalizing and turning atheism into something it’s not.

        • Greg G.

          An atheist is someone who is not a theist.

          An implicit atheist is one who has never considered the existence of a god thingy, such as everybody when they are born. An explicit atheist is one who has considered the existence of god thingies and found insufficient evidence to warrant the belief they exist.

          A strong atheist is an explicit atheist who says no gods exist.

          Most atheists are not strong atheists because they know there is a burden of proof for the strong atheist position. It is impossible to prove the non-existence of anything without the thing being logically inconsistent or if its existence implies apparent evidence that is not apparent.

          I read that a new species of orangutan was discovered. If I had said when I was thirteen that there existed another species of orangutan before I had actually seen one, it would have been imaginary, but that would not mean that it didn’t exist. It would be imaginary because I only imagined that another species existed. Likewise, if I say a god is imaginary, it might be possible that the imaginary thing exists in reality. But if the characteristics make it impossible, then it is nothing but imaginary. To prove it is imaginary, I only have to demonstrate that there is no way of knowing of the existence at the time.

          You seem to be trying to put all atheists in the strong atheist category as if you are informed by theists about what an atheist is.

        • > Most atheists are not strong atheists because they know there is a burden of proof for the strong atheist position.

          I’m not sure how many are strong atheists, but I did a poll once and though it was a fairly limited number of responses, there was an indication that strong atheism is more common than you might think.

          > I read that a new species of orangutan was discovered. If I had said when I was thirteen that there existed another species of orangutan before I had actually seen one, it would have been imaginary…

          I think you use “imaginary” differently than I do: “existing only in the imagination.”

          > You seem to be trying to put all atheists in the strong atheist category as if you are informed by theists about what an atheist is.

          Not at all. I was responding to the specific strong atheist position made in these articles and comments. And I’m not sure what you mean by “informed by theists.”

        • Greg G.

          I’m not sure how many are strong atheists, but I did a poll once and though it was a fairly limited number of responses, there was an indication that strong atheism is more common than you might think.

          How did you phrase the question? How do you know you had a random sample of atheists?

          I think you use “imaginary” differently than I do: “existing only in the imagination.”

          Then you have the burden of proof that the whatever doesn’t exist outside the imagination.

          Not at all. I was responding to the specific strong atheist position made in these articles and comments.

          The god thingy proposed by most Christians is logically incoherent so we take a strong position against it. When you try to argue that it is wrong to take that position, you need to prove that omnipotence and omnibenevolence is compatible with unnecessary suffering.

          And I’m not sure what you mean by “informed by theists.”

          For centuries in western civilization and other places, an avowed atheist’s lifespan wasn’t long enough to get a reasonable definition into the language, so it was defined by theists. A century ago, the definition was the strong atheist position as compared to the theist at the other end, and the agnostic in the middle. The meaning has changed over time just as “mad” now more commonly means “angry”. But the beggars behind the pulpits still accuse atheists of whatever they imagine and the ovine theists hang on the beggar’s word.

        • > Then you have the burden of proof that the whatever doesn’t exist outside the imagination.

          Why would I have burden of proof when I did not claim that a god or “whatever” exists? I was simply responding to the claim of nonexistence. Asking for evidence for a claim, whether that is a claim of existence or nonexistence, does not cause one to suffer burden of proof.

          > The god thingy proposed by most Christians is logically incoherent so we take a strong position against it.

          Well, your argument doesn’t even imply incoherence.

        • Greg G.

          Why would I have burden of proof when I did not claim that a god or “whatever” exists? I was simply responding to the claim of nonexistence. Asking for evidence for a claim, whether that is a claim of existence or nonexistence, does not cause one to suffer burden of proof.

          You said you used imaginary as “existing only in the imagination” as opposed to my use. I made the opposite distinction that one can imagine something and possibly be correct. If you use imaginary to mean “existing only in in the imagination” you are denying it exists in reality, and bear the burden of proof.

          Well, your argument doesn’t even imply incoherence.

          Your argument is incoherent because you do not recognize that there can be a position that neither claims existence or non-existence. The position you do not comprehend does not bear a burden of proof.

        • > You said you used imaginary as “existing only in the imagination” as opposed to my use.

          That’s also the first definition I found when googling the word.

          > If you use imaginary to mean “existing only in in the imagination” you are denying it exists in reality, and bear the burden of proof.

          No; because I am not claiming that a god is imaginary. You are.

          > Your argument is incoherent because you do not recognize that there can be a position that neither claims existence or non-existence. The position you do not comprehend does not bear a burden of proof.

          All claims suffer burden of proof. It’s really that simple.

        • Greg G.

          No; because I am not claiming that a god is imaginary. You are.

          And I just defined my use of the word to demonstrate that my use of the word bears no burden of proof.

          All claims suffer burden of proof. It’s really that simple.

          But making no claim does not bear a burden of proof. If someone makes a claim, they bear the burden of proof. It does not force the person who hears the statement to make a statement regarding it. Until the person provides sufficient evidence, then nobody has to pay any attention. The Null Hypothesis in not a claim, it is the position of awaiting the demonstration of the claim. It is simple but you are not getting it.

        • MR

          I find these can’t-not arguments incredibly disingenuous. As if I have to believe in millions of things that can’t-not be proven. People can just make shit up and say, “Oh, well, you can’t not prove it.” Nobody conducts their lives that way. Let’s have some common sense.

          “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” –The White Queen

        • Greg G.

          I can’t cross the street because I cannot prove that an invisible car isn’t coming, yet I cannot stay on the sidewalk because another one might be coming at me from there.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think there’s sufficient evidence that invisible pink Unicorns exist.

          What’s my burden?

        • ildi

          “No. I say no such thing. First off, I am an atheist, though nobody is interested in my “atheist experience.” I do not say that there could be a god. I do not say that there can’t be a god. I do not say that there is a god. I do not say that there isn’t a god. Why? It’s because I have not been presented with reasonable evidence necessary to draw ANY conclusion on gods.”

          I find it hard to believe that you have zero opinion on whether any of the currently advertised gods exist or not if you’re willing to go out on a limb so far as to call yourself an atheist.

        • Maybe specific god claims, but “gods” in general? Nope.

        • ildi

          So, you have opinions about the veracity of specific god claims. What are you basing those on?

        • Specific details about the god claims. For instance, I don’t believe in a god that is defined in such a way that it cannot exist. If you want to know more, you’ll have to pick a specific god thing.

        • ildi

          I was just hoping you could give a specific example so I could get a better understanding of how you go about it.

        • How do I go about it? Empiricism mostly.

        • Greg G.

          How do you define “gods”?

          The universe probably has life elsewhere and possibly some of greater intelligence than humans but probably not many forms of life that is significantly older than humans. It would take a while for the elemental particles to form stars which would fuse them into heavy elements, then explode to blow them into space. Then it would take a while for the heavy elements capable of allowing some complex chemistry to accrue into planets and new stars. From the evidence on Earth, it seems that the complex chemistry can form reproducing chemistry rather quickly, so there doesn’t seem to be a difficult barrier for life chemistry. It took a while for intelligent life to arise so that may be more difficult judging from one example.

          Our universe is still in its infancy and we are a species that can already observe the distant universe.

          So there are probably other planets with life. How much more intelligent or some other characteristic have to be for you to consider it a god? I would just call it another life form.

        • > How do you define “gods”?

          Generally, a being with agency which is not bound by some fundamental law of nature which binds us.

        • Greg G.

          Superheroes? X-Men? The Justice League? Ninja Turtles?

        • Not sure.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s because I have not been presented with reasonable evidence necessary to draw ANY conclusion on gods.

          Of course you have. Get real.

        • Doubting Thomas

          What evidence do you need to think gods don’t exist. Isn’t no evidence for the proposition enough? What evidence should we see for something that doesn’t exist?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Say better, *objective* claims.

          If you’re going to claim it’s part of objective reality, you have the burden of proof / evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No; all claims suffer burden of proof, not just claims for existence.

          Okay. What method should I use and how do you check it?

          Try Bayes Theorem.

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11868

        • > Try Bayes Theorem.

          Bayes Theorem works well for falsification, but it fails for confirmation. But to use Bayesian inference, you still need to have a detailed enough theory that you can engage in reverse inference.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Just show evidence. problem solved.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bayes Theorem works well for falsification, but it fails for confirmation.

          Nonsense. You clearly don’t know wtf yer talking about.

          Like I said, try thinking before writing. It depends on the phrasing.

          https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology-bayesian/#BayConThe

          But anyway, that’s what you are requiring us to show, how could I otherwise falsify a negation? Other than “Look, there’s no invisible immaterial dragon under your bed regardless of the claim there is”. But you can just come back and claim that there is, it’s invisible, hence ya can’t see it, and it’s immaterial, so ya can’t touch it, smell it, hear it, or even taste it…so demonstrate with evidence it still doesn’t exist. I win a-invisible immaterial dragonist.

          But to use Bayesian inference, you still need to have a detailed enough theory that you can engage in reverse inference.

          Nonsense. Bayes uses whatever information is available. Granted, the more detailed the hypothesis and all the relevant data, the more precise the result. But it only takes one data point to move from a .5 probability either way.

        • > Nonsense. You clearly don’t know wtf yer talking about.

          I do have a degree in mathematics, but here’s why Bayesian inference fails for confirmation: Bayesian inference is brittle. https://arxiv.org/abs/1308.6306

          Essentially, Bayesian inference exhibits chaotic behavior with the choice of the prior probability selection. Unless you know that your priors are reasonably chosen, you can end up with the opposite result than the one you should have. Why isn’t that a problem for falsification? Simple: the theory, if detailed enough, tells you what the initial assumption should be for the priors. Then when you find the posterior probability, using the theory as your guide, you are finding the maximum probability that the theory is true, or the minimum probability that it is false.

          > Nonsense. Bayes uses whatever information is available.

          Again, the reason why you need a detailed enough theory is because you need to be able to properly generate the initial prior probabilities.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m aware that avoiding GIGO is paramount.

          Then when you find the posterior probability, using the theory as your guide, you are finding the maximum probability that the theory is true, or the minimum probability that it is false.

          Which seems to contradict your previous assertion that it fails for confirmation.

          Is it your assertion that BT is unreliable as a tool for demonstrating the probability of a given proposition, either positively or negatively?

          Again, the reason why you need a detailed enough theory is because you need to be able to properly generate the initial prior probabilities.

          Nevertheless, probabilities can be assigned on the merest of information one way or the other, just how much reliance on the resulting probability is a different argument.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Disagree.

          Statements about state of mind don’t suffer burden of proof, being subjective.

        • rationalobservations?

          Evidence of the nonexistence of the nonexistent is nonexistent because the nonexistent is nonexistent.
          Absence of evidence is evidence of the absence of evidence.
          https://freethoughtnaija.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/graveyard-of-the-gods.jpg

        • Circular reasoning. You’re presupposing gods don’t exist, and then using that to “argue” that gods don’t exist. If you need to use circular reasoning to justify your beliefs, they’re probably faith based.

        • rationalobservations?

          Hilarious!

        • Yes; I realize that your attempt at justifying your own faith is hilarious.

        • rationalobservations?

          Your infantile garbage is risable.
          Your self assessment is accurate.

        • You are presupposing that there is no god. That’s all your “argument” relies upon. I get that you need to convince yourself that you’re not relying on faith, but you are.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m beginning to think your reading comprehension sucks. Or maybe you’re just difficult, hard to say. But, that wasn’t a circular argument.

        • Except that it was circular reasoning. The argument starts by assuming nonexistence, and then uses that assumption to throw out the need for evidence.

          > Of course you have. Get real.

          Oh? What evidence?

        • Pofarmer

          Of course you have. Get real.

          Oh? What evidence?

          Just look all around you, etc, etc. Hell, just look, around Bob’s blog for plenty of things that Christians claim as evidence.

        • “Just look all around you…” well that sure sounds like a “religious argument.”

        • Pofarmer

          It is, numbnuts.

        • Okay, so you’re religious. Got it. Well, I don’t take your faith as evidence.

        • Pofarmer

          And on circulatory, your reading comprehension does suck. It doesn’t presuppose there is no evidence . It says that no evidence exists because there isn’t any, and you can’t have evidence of the imaginary. If you can’t get simple little stuff like this, what’s the point? I don’t know if your a poe, or a troll, or just really thick, but you’d be better off to sit back and listen.

        • > It doesn’t presuppose there is no evidence…

          Well, that’s not what I said. It presupposes that a god does not exist.

        • Pofarmer

          No. It doesn’t. Try for less stupid.

        • Good idea. I think I’ll talk to someone else instead of you.

        • Pofarmer

          Face it if the argument presupposes anything it’s that if there were a God we would see evidence for it. Take the car key out of your ear and read it slowly. Everyone here has been monumentally patient with you.

        • One does not see “evidence.” We make observations, and under a specific body of theory, those observations constitute evidence. What’s the theory? What observations would we expect to see under existence? OR what observations do we see that AREN’T expected under the assumption of existence?

        • Pofarmer

          What the fuck man. That’s what this whole blog is about.

        • Except really the blog focuses on one every narrow definition of gods, and most of the arguments are actually just rebuttals against arguments for gods, rather than actually being arguments against gods.

        • Greg G.

          The blog is about one religion: The dominant religion of the society we live in.

        • ildi

          What is the basis of your definition of gods that needs to be taken any more seriously than any other definition? For one, your definition has no predictive value, so I don’t know how you would even test it. For two, the minute your god has any attributes, you have to present evidence for those attributes and then we’re right back to rebuttals against the evidence.

        • Most god definitions do not have predictive value, but it is a definition which captures properties generally found in beings generally considered gods.

          What definition do you suggest?

        • ildi

          “Most god definitions do not have predictive value, but it is a definition which captures properties generally found in beings generally considered gods.”

          The Christian God definition includes answering prayers, so that does have predictive value. Your definition doesn’t capture any properties of beings generally considered gods. Most definitions of gods include some sort of intentionality towards us.

          “What definition do you suggest?”

          I personally have no observations that require a god hypothesis. You seem to, however.

        • Does it? Does that God ALWAYS answer prayers? Also, if you define “god” to mean the Christian one, what are all those other things?

        • ildi

          Exactly! Yet you yourself can’t come up with a better god definition. Even in your paltry definition you go from “gods” to “a power” so you seem to want to hand-wave away polytheism. You have to include the property that this god cares about us in some way in order to really capture what all these god hypotheses seem to have in common, and the minute you make that claim (or hypothesis), you should be able to make predictions about what observations you expect or don’t expect to see based on what those gods expect.

        • I did. The definition that I use fits far more than the Christian god. “Predictive power” is what we want in theories, not definitions. A definition should properly try to classify that which is and is not generally considered to be that which we are trying to define.

          You are basically defining “god” in such a way that almost nobody believes in the thing that you’re trying to disprove, thus making your entire argument a waste of time and pure mental masturbation.

          > Even in your paltry definition you go from “gods” to “a power” so you seem to want to hand-wave away polytheism.

          What?! No; my definition would include polytheism. The only requirements are that (1) a god has agency and (2) it is not bound by some natural law that binds humans.

        • ildi

          Your definition: Generally, a being with agency which is not bound by some fundamental law of nature which binds us.

          Various dictionaries:

          Creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority;
          A superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes;
          Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe;
          A being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship;
          A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions;
          A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality;
          The sole Supreme Being, eternal, spiritual, and transcendent, who is the Creator and ruler of all and is infinite in all attributes;
          The object of worship in monotheistic religions; one of several immortal powers, esp. one with male attributes, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.

          Sounds like you’re trying to capture the properties of ruling and power under “with agency” and the properties of superhuman, more than natural, supernatural and immortal with “not bound by some fundamental law of nature” but it does not capture the properties of perfection, or of requiring worship.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that god always answers prayers. He almost always answers “HELL NO!” That’s a paraphrase of the excuse Christians tell one another.

          But that’s how prayer works no matter what god is prayed to, unless you just want the benefits of meditation.

        • > But that’s how prayer works no matter what god is prayed to, unless you just want the benefits of meditation.

          Citation please. Go ahead and show me that any god would answer any prayer at any time.

        • Greg G.

          That’s another excuse for unanswered prayers.

          Either there are no gods, they are completely disinterested in us, or they have nothing better to do than fuck with us.

        • > Either there are no gods, they are completely disinterested in us, or they have nothing better to do than fuck with us.

          Or they don’t like being tested and so do not involve themselves with prayers being made to test them. When you construct a theory, you have to try to justify the assumptions of your theories.

        • Greg G.

          Or they don’t like being tested and so do not involve themselves with prayers being made to test them.

          That’s what I said. They are fucking with us.

          Why do prayer experiments with poor methodology give positive but a test that eliminates bias shows no effect?

        • > That’s what I said. They are fucking with us.

          That’s not “fucking with us” even. That’s a god saying “don’t fuck with/test us.”

          > Why do prayer experiments with poor methodology give positive but a test that eliminates bias shows no effect?

          Well, if you could provide a systematic review to that nature, please do, but assuming that it is the case, I don’t know. I’m not saying that prayer works, nor am I saying that there is a god. I am saying that you need to properly justify the theory of prayer that you are testing. You have to explain why a god would allow itself to be tested.

        • Greg G.

          Playing Hide and Seek, taking credit for coincidences, and intentionally messing with studies is the epitome of fucking with people.

        • Why? I don’t like people poking, prodding, and testing me. I’m not sure what god would want or why. If you want to show that prayer does not work, through clinical trials, then you need to justify why the intercessor would be okay with being tested.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This is just too much stupid.

          What you are engaging in is religious apologetics in attempting to construct caveats for a gods failures. Perfection doesn’t do failure. That’s why we know YahwehJesus is made up nonsense, it has done failure numerous times according to the book.

          Why? I don’t like people poking, prodding, and testing me.

          Yeah, but then you don’t have the claimed attributes of YahwehJesus. So pah!

          I’m not sure what god would want or why.

          The thing is, Christians drop by here all the time professing to know the want’s and need’s of a God they claim that mere humans can’t know the want’s and need’s of, but apparently arse licking praise via prayer is one of them.

          Perfection needs or wants for nothing. God is therefore not perfect, God is imaginary.

          If you want to show that prayer does not work, through clinical trials, then you need to justify why the intervener would be okay with being tested.

          So asinine with just the one head…an atheist, my arse.

        • Greg G.

          If they don’t mind altering the laws of the universe to answer a prayer, they shouldn’t mind when the results of prayers are tracked. We must acquire, swallow, and process matter before we can do things, and doing things upon request is a burden on the process. What kind of burden does an immaterial whatever have?

          You are doing epistemology all wrong. Science tries to eliminate things that are false and worthless and it has prospered by giving us technology and improved medicine. You are trying to think up excuses to believe things that have no effect on us. Are you just pissed because you are disappointed that your invisible friend no longer hangs out with you?

          About 25% of the stories in the news are problems that can be traced to religion. At most, one religion is true but none of them show any more sign than any other as being the one true religion. If everyone dropped religion, we could have 33% more effort addressing the other problems.

        • > If they don’t mind altering the laws of the universe to answer a prayer, they shouldn’t mind when the results of prayers are tracked.

          I don’t buy that premise, especially if you’re talking about the Christian god, that specifically mandates that you do not test it.

        • Greg G.

          The Christian god mandates nothing. People wrote the caveats because they knew that prayer isn’t answered but if something close enough occurred, it would be remembered more strongly than all the other failures. When you track the effects of every prayer, failed prayers count as much as “answered” prayers and the failure is over-whelming. Take away confirmation bias and answered prayer disappears.

        • Well, the theory that you’re TESTING says differently. Your belief is that there are no gods, etc, and you’re using various straw men and invalid logical analyses to confirm your belief. Again, I’m not saying that there is a god; I’m saying that your reasoning is trash.

        • Greg G.

          My claim is that there is insufficient evidence to support the belief that one or more gods exist. I gave three possibilities for why there is insufficient evidence: they do not exist, they are indifferent to us, or they are fucking with us. You are arguing that they are not fucking with us so the burden of proof is on you to show they exist and are not fucking with us. We can test any theory of gods, but the evidence always comes back as nil.

          Come back when you have sufficient evidence for something. Humans can imagine lots of things that cannot be disproved. We need evidence to distinguish the imaginary from the real. There is no need to bother with what comes from the imagination with no evidence of being real. You are wasting your time worrying about it.

        • epeeist

          Your belief is that there are no gods

          No, you are conflating two statements:

          1. Belief in the non-existence of gods

          2. Lack of belief in the existence of gods

          The two are not synonymous.

        • I’m well aware. I lack a belief in gods, but I do not believe that there aren’t any. However it is clear from the statements in this forum that what is mainly being advocated is the belief that there are no gods. Religious Rejectionism often hides behind the face of simple dismissal, when really there is rejection.

        • Greg G.

          We understand what you believe and that you do not (or cannot or will not) appreciate the Null Hypothesis. Ho hum.

        • > We understand what you believe and that you do not (or cannot or will not) appreciate the Null Hypothesis.

          That’s not how null hypotheses work. Hypothesis testing is nothing more than a statistical version of proof by contradiction, using either p-values or Bayesian inference. Regardless, a null hypothesis is equivalent to the initial assumption used in proof by contradiction. The assumption has no meaning, outside of the test, until the test is successful. If a hypothesis test is unsuccessful, we do not accept the null hypothesis, we just fail to reject it.

          Furthermore, for any statement of the form “x does not exist,” there is a y s.t. “y does exist” implies the former statement. The reverse is also true. Therefore you cannot default to nonexistence, not to mention that nonexistence is not even always the default position. For instance, when a new drug comes out, we assume the drug DOES HAVE a dangerous side effect. We also assume that there exists at least one decision problem in NP which is not in P. Of course, again, the difference between statements of existence and nonexistence are LINGUISTIC and not LOGICAL.

          That you need to create an entire system of pseudo-logical doctrine is interesting. https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/d7hpb/

          Now, since nothing I can say will ever convince you that your understanding of logic is incorrect, I think I’ll leave you at that, UNLESS you explain what would convince you that what I am saying is true. Again, I am not saying that there is a god, nor do I believe in one. I am saying that your argument and use of logic is incorrect.

        • ildi

          You’re skipping several crucial steps here. You only conduct statistical testing of the null hypothesis after you first posit an alternative hypothesis, i.e., one that states there is a statistically significant relationship between two variables. Also, you’re confusing definitions here. Per wiki:

          “A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. Even though the words “hypothesis” and “theory” are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A working hypothesis is a provisionally accepted hypothesis proposed for further research.[1]

          A different meaning of the term hypothesis is used in formal logic, to denote the antecedent of a proposition; thus in the proposition “If P, then Q”, P denotes the hypothesis (or antecedent); Q can be called a consequent. P is the assumption in a (possibly counterfactual) What If question.”

        • Greg G.

          Furthermore, for any statement of the form “x does not exist,” there is a y s.t. “y does exist” implies the former statement. The reverse is also true.

          Perhaps you need a clue-by-4 with this engraving: “There is insufficient evidence to warrant belief in the existence of x” does not mean “x does not exist”.

          I can say that there is no god that wants to have a relationship with me by virtue of its omnibenevolence, knows the minimum amount of convincing necessary to convince me by virtue of the power of omniscience, and has the power to provide such evidence by virtue of its omnipotence because the fact that I am not convinced that it exists refutes the claim.

          Drugs have potential benefits and are worth evaluating in hopes of finding the beneficial ones and eliminating those that do more harm than good. Whataboutery games about imagined creatures in adults might be a diagnosis tool for mental issues.

        • > Perhaps you need a clue-by-4 with this engraving: “There is insufficient evidence to warrant belief in the existence of x” does not mean “x does not exist”.

          Yes; which is why the study cited by IA is not saying that prayer does not work.
          > I can say that there is no god that wants to have a relationship with me by virtue of its

          Well, first off, you’re relying on strict omnis, which is not something a lot of people believe in anyway, and also since they inherently defy consistency, you either reject them outright, which you did not, or you’re basically allowing for inconsistent reality.

        • Greg G.

          I have an idea! Let’s just speculate about solipsism. We can’t prove we are not a brain in a vat or a subroutine in the Matrix. Maybe we are a dream of Vishnu. Maybe we are a cartoon in another reality. If a person detects a glitch in the system, they die.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The study isn’t saying it works either…which if it did work, given God as described, who answers prayers as per the claims, then it would. You are ignoring this detail.

          This is not a study of a medicine where there is no presuppositions prior to the trials.

          Christian multi-omni God is claimed to answer prayers…always…inconclusive or negative results is not an option…and not why religious institutions do the “tests”…they obviously didn’t get your “God doesn’t do tests” memo, otherwise they’d know they were wasting their money.

          You can bet that, doesn’t do test’s, wouldn’t be a problem if the test’s proved God answered prayers.

          Now…inconclusive actually does mean… “There is insufficient evidence to warrant belief in the existence of x” does not mean “x does not exist”.

        • > The study isn’t saying it works either…which if it did work, given God as described, who answers prayers as per the claims, then it would. You are ignoring this detail.

          I’m not saying that prayer does work. But the study does not say that prayer does not work.

        • Greg G.

          The study shows that prayer does not work the way Christians claim it works. Christians have produced several studies that have reached the conclusion that prayer does work that way. But every single one of those studies had methodological flaws that invalidated them. The Templeton project did the same type of experiment to show the effectiveness of prayer without the flawed methodologies. It showed that when such an experiment is done with proper scientific controls to eliminate human bias, no evidence for the effectiveness of intercessory prayer is apparent.

          So the experiment does prove that prayer does not work the way many, and possibly most, Christians say it does, yet those people are still believe that it works. Therefore, most Christians are not completely correct about how prayer works, which means they are wrong about how prayer works.

        • > The study shows that prayer does not work the way Christians claim it works.

          No; it doesn’t. It states that there is insufficient quality evidence to make a decision. Please learn how systematic review works.

        • Greg G.

          It actually did produce sufficient evidence to show that prayer doesn’t work the way many Christians say it does. Many studies that came out positive had sample sizes way too small. This test had a large number of patients to reduce the margin of error.

          Do the math, dude.

        • It didn’t. That was quite literally the finding of the systematic review. There was simply insufficient research to draw a conclusion about the efficacy of prayer. You are confusing inability to show that prayer works with falsification of the theory that prayer works.

          > Do the math, dude.

          I doubt you’d pass a prob & stats course.

        • Greg G.

          They designed the test expecting to see dramatic results. Their results were in the insignificant range though the group who were told they were being prayed for was very nearly at the threshold for prayer having the opposite effect. They presumed that being told they were prayed for made them pay less attention to doctor’s orders.

          If they thought that was the problem, they would have redone it by now.

          I doubt you’d pass a prob & stats course.

          I never took the course but I did help fellow students who did take it. One said I explained it much better than the professor did.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That was quite literally the finding of the systematic review. There was simply insufficient research to draw a conclusion about the efficacy of prayer. You are confusing inability to show that prayer works with falsification of the theory that prayer works.

          Since you are obviously failing to recognize the implications of inconclusive results in a study where conclusive results should be the only one expected…I’ll try a different tact…

          Various broader meta-studies of the literature in the field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that “There is no scientifically discernable effect for intercessory prayer as assessed in controlled studies”.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16827626

        • > Since you are obviously failing to recognize the implications of inconclusive results in a study where conclusive results should be the only one expected…I’ll try a different tact…

          I’m afraid that you do not understand what a systematic review is, how it works, or why. This issue goes back to your conflation between absence of evidence and evidence of absence. Furthermore, these studies fail to justify a number of their assumptions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And yet, you do, but fail to demonstrate in any affirmative measure.

          Talk’s cheap, so far, that’s all you’ve provided. While demonstrating your ignorance in other areas to which you’ve “claimed” a certain level of expertise.

          Whether they fail to justify a number of there assumptions is not relevant. You asked for the studies, they’ve been provided.

          Nobody here is supporting the studies findings. What the question here is, is why is there a need for any studies in the first place?

          Given the NT promise, there should be no question on the efficacy of intercessory prayer…and the medical profession would be moot.

          The claim made in the NT that God promises to answer all prayers on request, is false. Whatever else you want to assert, that part is a fact.

          So when are you gonna give this part of your mindwankery a rest?

        • Greg G.

          Furthermore, these studies fail to justify a number of their assumptions.

          You can stop saying this anytime. The Templeton Study used the claims of Christians and had the same assumptions of all prior intercessory prayer studies that had positive results. They simply eliminated the possible biasing elements of the methodologies by making the assignment to groups random and used the double-blind technique for the evaluations.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Does this asininity come natural, or does it take practice.

          I’m not saying that prayer does work.

          I give zero fucks about what you’re saying, it’s what the instruction manual says that is under query.

          Statement: God promised to answer all prayers.

          Expectation: All prayers will be answered by God. i.e. conclusive: serving to settle or decide a question; decisive; convincing

          Experiments: Inconclusive i.e. not conclusive: not decisive; not convincing

          Where a multi-omni perfect entity is expected to offer up a conclusive result, but fails. It is a data point against that entities existence.

          But the study does not say that prayer does not work.

          And that’s the point. In a study that is meant to demonstrate the veracity of Gods promise, not saying that prayer does not work is not an option…for it to be an option, some questions have not been answered where they should have been, every time, positively. Why inconclusive? Think about it.

        • > Statement: God promised to answer all prayers.

          Likewise god said that it does not tolerate it being tested due to doubt, so we have two conflicting statements, and you ignore the latter. So that’s the problem. How do you resolve the conflict? You don’t. You ignore it.

          > Where a multi-omni perfect entity is expected to offer up a conclusive result, but fails. It is a data point against that entities existence.

          How many Christians believe in a strict omni god? If it’s few to none, then you are arguing against something which is not believed by more than a small fraction of humanity. Why don’t you go around doing studies testing Zeus?

          > And that’s the point. In a study that is meant to demonstrate the veracity of Gods promise, not saying that prayer does not work….

          The thing is, you are doing this: if p then q, not q, therefore not p. Except that the study does not show “not q.” It simply states that there is insufficient evidence to justify q. That’s quite different.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Likewise god said that it does not tolerate it being tested due to doubt, so we have two conflicting statements, and you ignore the latter.

          How many time do you need told that doubt has nothing to do with unfulfilled prayer. Until you can demonstrate why it is, you are blowing it outta yer arse. Another unsubstantiated assertion.

          So that’s the problem. How do you resolve the conflict? You don’t. You ignore it.

          I haven’t ignored it. You repeating I have is you lying. Answering prayer is not a disallowed test like having doubt. You are the one ignoring that point.

          But let’s play DA and agree that there is a conflict…God contradicts itself…there’s evidence that the Christian God doesn’t exist right there.

          How many Christians believe in a strict omni god?

          Who cares? Apparently Gods attributes are fixed. That that causes contention among believers who can’t square the problem of evil with a reasonable theodicy is irrelevant.

          If it’s few to none, then you are arguing against something which is not believed by more than a small fraction of humanity.

          First of all, that’s the fallacy of the argumentum ad populum.

          But good luck demonstrating your ballix of an assertion on the numbers.

          It’s also a non sequitur. What the various believers believe or don’t believe is irrelevant, it’s what the instruction manual says, and what the faiths teach, that counts.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_views_on_God

          Why don’t you go around doing studies testing Zeus?

          Why should that even matter?

          But just for shits and giggles, when Zeus believers get to a position where the cunts are interfering with all aspects of our daily lives, then perhaps I might just start taking more notice of Zeus.

          As it is, it is the Abrahamic god thingy that is causing all the consternation and problems from what I can see. And given my local demographic, the Christian versions in particular.

        • > How many time do you need told that doubt has nothing to do with unfulfilled prayer. Until you can demonstrate why it is, you are blowing it outta yer arse. Another unsubstantiated assertion.

          Again, the test fails to find evidence for prayer, but also uses a poorly constructed theory. You use a poorly designed test with inconclusive results to draw a conclusion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And again, you are talking the biggest load of ballix.

          Again, the test fails to find evidence for prayer,…

          There is no test. How many times already?

          The evidence is the lack on intercession.

          …but also uses a poorly constructed theory.

          There is no theory. It is quite simple. God is supposed to have made a promise in the book to answer prayers when asked.

          God failed to keep that promise.

          Or there is no God there to keep the promise.

          I believe I’m within my rights to make the claim that since God is a no-show, that points more to the probability of no God, given God’s supposed properties.

          If I promise to give you money when you asked for it, then when you ask for it, don’t give you the money. No one in their right mind is going to say it’s your fault and use the excuse that I don’t like tests.

          You use a poorly designed test with inconclusive results to draw a conclusion.

          I set no test, poorly designed or otherwise.

          The results should not be inconclusive, given a multi-omni perfect God that makes silly promises. Inconclusive points to God being a no show. That’s incompatible with God in question.

          Again, I believe I’m within my rights to make the claim that since God is a no-show, that points more to the probability of no God, given God’s supposed properties.

          You are in a hole now, ya Bozo…best ya stop digging before ya disappear outta sight.

        • Greg G.

          The experiment tested one particular claim made by many people: that intercessory prayer was effective. The results showed that if there was an effect, it is telling people they are being prayed for has negative results.

        • Greg G.

          Likewise god said that it does not tolerate it being tested due to doubt, so we have two conflicting statements, and you ignore the latter. So that’s the problem. How do you resolve the conflict? You don’t. You ignore it.

          Christians believe it works. They pray, the forget when it doesn’t work, they remember when it seems to work, so they remember it working. They get the idea that prayer will work from the Bible and why it works from the Bible. The Bible part is irrelevant.

          The Templeton project merely tested whether prayer works the way Christians believe it works, not that their presumptions about why it works is correct. If prayer was as effective as they believed, it would have shown that prayer worked, but would not validate their theology, nor any other theology that says prayer is effective. It could work by ESP without a god if it worked at all.

          It does prove that intercessory prayer does not work the way prayer believers perceive it to work. That is all. Well, that and every theory for why it works the way believers believe it works is also invalidated by showing it doesn’t actually work that way at all.

        • Just to step back a moment, the discouraging side of this is that Christians make a testable claim, it gets tested, it’s shown to be false, and that does absolutely nothing to shake the Christians’ belief. Sure, atheists have infallible brains that do stupid things, too, but it continues to amaze me how deep Christians have dug their hole.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The thing is, you are doing this: if p then q, not q, therefore not p. Except that the study does not show “not q.” It simply states that there is insufficient evidence to justify q. That’s quite different.

          Nope…I’m not. The studies are not even doing that. That’s quite different.

          The premise is God answers prayers. If prayers are not answered, which they are not, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist, but that particular attribute of God is false. Garner enough false attributes of God, then the inference can be drawn that it is all made by the body of evidence demonstrating a pile of false attributes. Christians are then welcome to rescue whatever watered down version of God they want, but I’m not obliged to believe it is a god as loosely defined. You have already demonstrated this fact by asserting that their are Christians that don’t hold to the definition of the omi traits as defined in common parlance.

          What I’m doing is not “if” p then q, but p then q, not q, therefore not p. Insufficient evidence should not be a state of affairs we witness if prayers are answered.

        • MR

          Nobody believes in all the countless gods and legendary creatures that mankind has ever believed in or ever will believe in. Very few even believe in the other guy’s god(s). It’s just a bunch of mental masturbation to imagine that any or all might exist without evidence. It’s being held hostage to other people’s imaginations.

        • epeeist

          However it is clear from the statements in this forum that what is mainly being advocated is the belief that there are no gods.

          You mistake the (justified) belief that there is no substantial evidence for gods with the belief that there are no gods.

          You will find that just about all who post here take the former attitude rather than the latter.

        • > You mistake the (justified) belief that there is no substantial evidence for gods with the belief that there are no gods.

          ” 25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (Part 13)”

          No; I really don’t. You’re just hiding behind the difference between the two.

        • epeeist

          No; I really don’t.

          Then I must admit to bafflement as to your claim that people on this site (and Greg G. in particular) believe in the non-existence of gods.

          Perhaps you could point me to one or two posts where this is explicitly stated.

        • Really? You’re baffled? The whole series of articles attempts to prove that we live in a world without a god. Again, you’re hiding behind dismissal when there is really actual rejection.

        • epeeist

          Really? You’re baffled?

          I note that you are unable to point me at any posts in which the posters explicitly say that the believe in the non-existence of gods.

        • That’s literally what these articles are about. But let’s start with a few comments:

          1. Geography. Another reason why there is no god when your geographic location determines, by most part, what god you believe in.

          2. Either there are no gods, they are completely disinterested in us, or they have nothing better to do than fuck with us. This one isn’t exactly saying that there aren’t any gods, but it is ignoring a hell of a lot of other possibilities, and seems to be working to convince himself that there aren’t any gods.

          3. Perfection needs or wants for nothing. God is therefore not perfect, God is imaginary. Calling god imaginary is the same as saying that there are no gods. Something which is imaginary does not exist in reality.

          So there are a few examples.

        • epeeist

          1. Geography. Another reason why there is no god when your geographic location determines, by most part, what god you believe in.

          The article contains a number of arguments as to why the idea of a god does not stand up to scrutiny. In other words it takes the sceptic position, it says nothing about a belief in the non-existence of gods.

          This one isn’t exactly saying that there aren’t any gods, but it is ignoring a hell of a lot of other possibilities

          No, it says nothing about a belief in the non-existence of gods

          3. Perfection needs or wants for nothing. God is therefore not perfect, God is imaginary. Calling god imaginary is the same as saying that there are no gods.

          The “argument from perfection” was put forward by Thomas Aquinas and there are rational arguments as to why it does not stand up to scrutiny. Again, nothing to do with a belief in the non-existence of gods.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope…the whole series of articles attempts to show that evidence you keep prattling on about that the atheist is duty bound to provide to defend the claim that God aka YahwehJesus doesn’t exist. The weak burden that epeeist alludes to elsewhere.

          This seems to be your major malfunction here. You want to impose your “argument against all gods” schtick on what is going on here, the focus on a particular God with an ever moving set of attributes depending on the individual follower being addressed at any given time.

          Each other proposition of god has to be argued against on it’s own merits. But for the sake of argument, nobody here is interested in that rabbit hole at the moment.

          Now, the interest given God aka YahwehJesus, is a hobby. The evidence for God aka YahwehJesus, and lackthereof, is such that I’m not convinced of its existence, so I live my life accordingly. Other god arguments at that point don’t apply.

          Try and stay focused.

        • The issue is that you don’t even properly argue against the existence of a Christian god, let alone all gods, and I already pointed out numerous points where it has been claimed that there aren’t any gods.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The issue is that you don’t even properly argue against the existence of a Christian god, let alone all gods, …

          So then, enlighten us all on how the non-existence of YahwehJesus should be argued properly? Stop holding back.

          …and I already pointed out numerous points where it has been claimed that there aren’t any gods.

          No ya didn’t. At the very least it can only be any god that we know of, and I don’t even think it was that.

        • Pofarmer

          Look dude. Maybe you are this stupid. I don’t know. I don’t believe in gods. I specifically don’t believe in the Christian contrivance of God. I don’t believe in them because I think the evidence for them is contrived, non-existent, or extremely poor. You are commenting on a blog that examines Christian claims about their God. Now you could interact with the articles and the arguments, or you could continue in the sort of fuckwittery you seem to be all a twitter about engaging in. If you want to actually engage with the arguments, sure, go ahead. But, c’mon, this kind of mental masturbation gets really old and serves no purpose.

        • Cool. I recognize that you don’t believe in gods, but I also recognize your belief that there are none/gods are unlikely to exist (the latter does not absolve one of burden of proof).

        • epeeist

          (the latter does not absolve one of burden of proof).

          No it does not, but it is a different burden to that of the theist. The theist is making an ontological commitment, to the existence of their particular god or pantheon of gods and hence has a strong burden to demonstrate this existence. The atheist is not making an ontological commitment and therefore has the week burden of showing that the theist’s position does not stand up to scrutiny.

        • > No it does not, but it is a different burden to that of the theist.

          It’s really not. In all cases one must find justification for the claim made.

          > The atheist is not making an ontological commitment and therefore has the week burden of showing that the theist’s position does not stand up to scrutiny.

          The weak atheist is not, but the weak atheist has no belief and therefore makes no claim about the existence or nonexistence of a god. That person suffers no burden of proof because of that. The strong atheist who believes that there are no gods actually has an absurdly difficult position to justify, as he or she is arguing against every single god thing.

          > The article contains a number of arguments as to why the idea of a god does not stand up to scrutiny. In other words it takes the sceptic position, it says nothing about a belief in the non-existence of gods.

          Cool, but then the people here go too far and state that there are no gods. Now, there’s no reason to think that there is a god, because it provides no predictive power to do so. But that’s a different matter.

          > No, it says nothing about a belief in the non-existence of gods

          It really does.

          > The “argument from perfection” was put forward by Thomas Aquinas and there are rational arguments as to why it does not stand up to scrutiny. Again, nothing to do with a belief in the non-existence of gods.

          Cool, but this is an example of the fallacy fallacy. The argument for existence of a god was shown to be invalid, but that was then taken as argument against the existence of gods, which this person claimed is the truth. But I see that you continue to dismiss that people are even stating that there aren’t any gods. You’re a bunch of cowards who are too afraid to even admit your own claims.

        • epeeist

          It’s really not.

          It isn’t? Why not?

          The weak atheist is not, but the weak atheist has no belief and therefore makes no claim about the existence or nonexistence of a god.

          One of the major problems here is that your knowledge of basic epistemology is non-existent.

          The weak atheist has no belief in the existence of gods, but she still has both rational and empirical justification for claiming that god-existence claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

          The strong atheist who believes that there are no gods actually has an absurdly difficult position to justify

          It is impossible to prove that no gods exist (does the god of the free-floating, sentient gas bags on an unnamed planet in IOK-1 exist or not) but obviously one cannot therefore infer that some gods may exist.

          Cool, but then the people here go too far and state that there are no gods.

          We are into Bertrand Russell territory here:

          There is exactly the same degree of possibility and likelihood of the existence of the Christian God as there is of the existence of the Homeric God. I cannot prove that either the Christian God or the Homeric gods do not exist, but I do not think that their existence is an alternative that is sufficiently probable to be worth serious consideration. Therefore, I suppose that that on these documents that they submit to me on these occasions I ought to say “Atheist”, although it has been a very difficult problem, and sometimes I have said one and sometimes the other without any clear principle by which to go. When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others.

          It really does.

          Do you ever justify your assertions?

          Cool, but this is an example of the fallacy fallacy.

          No, it isn’t. The argument is specific to a god with the property of perfection, the premisses to which do not stand up to scrutiny. It doesn’t apply to gods without this property. And it still has nothing to do with a “belief in the non-existence of gods”.

          The argument for existence of a god was shown to be invalid, but that was then taken as argument against the existence of gods, which this person claimed is the truth.

          No, again the argument is against gods with a particular property. Gods with other properties require different arguments or evidence.

          You’re a bunch of cowards who are too afraid to even admit your own claims.

          I usually find that when someone resorts to ad hominem it is because they lack an argument.

        • Pofarmer

          Look jackass. My beliefs are based solely on the evidence presented to me. What burden of proof would you have me take on? That I don’t believe that I’ve been presented good proof of gods existence? Ok. Done.

        • epeeist

          He seems unable to distinguish between a lack of belief in X and a belief in ~X.

        • MR

          He seems unable unwilling to distinguish between a lack of belief in X and a belief in ~X.

          FTFY. The dishonesty runs rampant.

        • epeeist

          The dishonesty runs rampant.

          Stupidity might be an alternative hypothesis.

        • MR

          The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

        • Ohh, jackass. Cute.

          > What burden of proof would you have me take on? That I don’t believe that I’ve been presented good proof of gods existence? Ok. Done.

          No; any claim suffers burden of proof. So if a person claims that something exists, he or she suffers the burden of explaining why it exists. If a person claims that something does not exist, then that person suffers the burden of proof showing that it does not exist.

        • ildi

          “So if a person claims that something exists, he or she suffers the burden of explaining why it exists.”

          Not just explaining why it exists, providing evidence for its existence. Given that, do you think the people who say the Christian God exists have met the burden of proof?

        • No, but they also at least admit faith, which more or less shuts things down. The Religious Rejectionist has the issue of relying on faith, but also rejecting the utility of faith. Now, “I have faith” isn’t going to convince the non-believer. But at least it’s an admission that it is only a personal position, and not one that others are going to necessarily accept.

          “There is no god” can be satisfied with “I have faith,” but are you going to admit faith?

        • ildi

          I wouldn’t care if it was just a personal position, but it’s more than that. They say that everybody has to follow what their god decrees because they have more than just faith, they say they have evidence.

          I am willing to take you at your word when you say you’re an atheist. I think it’s fairly insulting on your part that you refuse to accept that I’m not saying “there is no god” but that I have seen no evidence for any gods.

        • > I wouldn’t care if it was just a personal position, but it’s more than that. They say that everybody has to follow what their god decrees because they have more than just faith, they say they have evidence.

          There are fundamentalists, sure, but not even close to all Christians believe or act that way. Generally only when there’s a bastardization between the religion and government do you really have a problem, which is really a flaw of government, not the religion.

          > I think it’s fairly insulting on your part that you refuse to accept that I’m not saying “there is no god” but that I have seen no evidence for any gods.

          Well, maybe YOU are not saying that, but I gave numerous examples of people saying that, in this forum.

        • ildi

          “There are fundamentalists, sure, but not even close to all Christians believe or act that way. Generally only when there’s a bastardization between the religion and government do you really have a problem, which is really a flaw of government, not the religion.”

          I don’t know what country you live in, but that’s not how it is in the U.S. I’m having trouble grasping how it’s a flaw of government when religious fundamentalists impose their god-edicts on a secular society.

          I missed this earlier: “but also rejecting the utility of faith.” What utility do you see faith having?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which definition of “faith” are you applying to the competing positions?

          Christians hold that their faith does good, but other faiths do harm. At any rate, they hold this about the communist faith. What I wish to maintain is that all faiths do harm. We may define “faith” as a firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of “faith.” We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead to strife, since different groups substitute different emotions. Christians have faith in the Resurrection; communists have faith in Marx’s Theory of Value. Neither faith can be defended rationally, and each therefore is defended by propaganda and, if necessary, by war. ~Bertrand Russell

        • ildi

          Dammit, now you made me google Marx’s Theory of Value.

          https://unlearningeconomics.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/reconsidering-the-labour-theory-of-value/
          “Conclusion

          There are a myriad of ways one can object to the LTV, but the idea that is is nonsensical and incoherent is simply based on misunderstandings. One may well disagree with the premise that labour is the source of value (I do, simply because I have no positive reason to believe it). One may also endorse alternative theories over the LTV. But, based on a clear understanding, there is no a priori reason not to develop a comprehensive understanding of Marx’s theory, and treat it in the same way one would treat any other theory in economics.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          There are a myriad of ways one can object to the Resurrection, but the idea that it is nonsensical and incoherent is simply based on misunderstandings. One may well disagree with the premise that coming back to life on the third day after crucifixion is the source of value (I do, simply because I have no positive reason to believe it). One may also endorse alternative theories over the bodily Resurrection. But, based on a clear understanding, there is no a priori reason not to develop a comprehensive understanding of the NT narrative, and treat it in the same way one would treat any other supernatural miracle in the NT.

          Sort of fits. To the sort of thing TSA would say anyway.

        • Pofarmer

          If a person claims that something does not exist, then that person suffers the burden of proof showing that it does not exist.

          Invisible Pink Unicorns do not exist.

          How can this be proven except as an argument against those that claim they do exist?

          I believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one. I know they are Pink because of faith.

          There are tons and tons of things that both you and I do not think exist. If you had/have a burden of proof for each of those it would simply be paralyzing and you could never function. Hell, there are countless thousands of religious beliefs I don’t have that I’ve never heard of.

        • > How can this be proven except as an argument against those that claim they do exist?

          http://spiritualanthropologist.info/religion/arguments-against-anti-theists-and-theists/#Proving_Negatives

        • Pofarmer
        • If you don’t want to learn, then don’t.

        • Pofarmer

          My irony meter just exploded. You’ve had someone here educated in philosophy of science trying to explain this.

        • I am educated in both philosophy of science and science itself. If you’re talking about the person who mentioned the b.s. default to null hypothesis nonsense, I already explained why there is no default to a null hypothesis: the null hypothesis is equivalent to the assumption in proof by contradiction. If there is no successful contradiction, we don’t make any statement about the initial assumption.

        • Pofarmer

          Nope. I’m talking about the particle physicist who also does philosophy of science.

        • Whatever you need to believe I guess.

        • Pofarmer

          So, let me get this straigit. I’ve given specific examples and asked for specific answers and you won’t give them. I’ve mentioned that at least one of our posters here is well qualified toi deal with your nonsense, and has, and all you can do is spew more tripe. If you gave an actual point, make it. If not, you just look like a duplicitous dumbass, frankly.

        • No one here has made any reasonable counterarguments. Sorry. Disagree? Pick one and let’s go over it.

        • Pofarmer

          Counterarguments to What?

          I believe in invisible pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one, I know they are pink because of faith.

          Discuss.

        • Cool. You admit faith. Then we’re done. See? Now can you do that with your god beliefs?

        • Pofarmer

          You really are a disengenuous moron.

        • epeeist

          If you are referring to me then it is “molecular physics” rather than “particle physics”, a massive difference if I may be allowed a pun.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The pun is funny…the difference while significant to you for accuracy, is of minor detail, TSA will still claim his position on the details under discussion are correct without question. He has a degree in math and is educated in philosophy of science, and science itself. Though that’s as far as the claim goes…no elaboration of course…so far.

        • Greg G.

          When someone says “I am educated in … science itself,” it is remarkably common that it is something like the science of homeopathy or some other cargo cult science.

        • epeeist

          When someone says “I am educated in … science itself,”

          Haven’t we been through this one before? No one who has a science background or works in science says they are “a scientist”, they say they are a physicist, run drug trials or work on rockets.

        • Greg G.

          I am a rocket surgeon.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That he is none specific points to nefariousness for sure.

        • Pofarmer

          Well crap.

        • Greg G.

          No; I really don’t. You’re just hiding behind the difference between the two.

          Here is a clue-by-4 for you. We don’t hide behind that. We are agnostic atheists because of it. We live as if there are no gods because there is insufficient evidence to believe in them. We don’t argue that gods do not exist in general because it would unnecessarily assume the burden of proof. We do argue that many popular god thingies cannot exist because of their logical incoherence.

          You are making much ado about nothing but your misunderstanding.

          As for your continual reminders that you are an atheist, the lady doth protest too much.

        • Pofarmer

          the lady doth protest too much.

          That’s where I’ve been for a while.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s not “fucking with us” even. That’s a god saying “don’t fuck with/test us.”

          It’s not a test when the promise to answer prayers was already made by the God according to the rule book.

        • I see that you’re too impatient to wait for a response, thus wasting my time. Read my last reply.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Disqus posts in chronological order and I often read them as such…and engage accordingly…that’s not unusual.

          Your last reply doesn’t address the issue that the God of Christianity made assertions about prayer answering that it failed to live up to…everything else that you, and religious apologist spew….is fluff because of that failure.

        • You have engaged me in at least three separate threads without responding. You are a waste of time.

          I gave you a full discussion of cases where the bible says DO NOT TEST GOD. And yet you still wonder why it might not be reasonable to assume that god would let itself be tested. Hmm…

          Your arguments are idiotic. Your understanding of science is nonexistent. You just want to justify your religious beliefs with pseudo-logic and fallacies. Whatever. Fine. Creationists do the same thing, so you’re no different. But I don’t care for anyone, religious or otherwise, who bastardizes logic to justify their religion. Just admit faith.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You have engaged me in at least three separate threads without responding.

          Or could it possibly be that I missed what it was you expected me to respond to, or was too busy to respond, or just thought you weren’t worth responding too on said occasion, or, or, or…or maybe just haven’t gotten around to it…or, or, or, thought that others have responded adequately for me, or, or, or…whatever.

          You are a waste of time.

          Then don’t feel obliged to engage in discourse ya fuckin’ clown. That won’t prevent me from engaging in replying to your nonsense, for the benefit of the lurkers, and the entertainment of the regulars who might just find it entertaining.

          I gave you a full discussion of cases where the bible says DO NOT TEST GOD. And yet you still wonder why it might not be reasonable to assume that god would let itself be tested. Hmm…

          News flash soft boy, God doesn’t exist. You giving me passages from the same silly book that contradict the passages that promise God answers prayer, doesn’t rescue the failure of the promises to answer prayer. I thought I made that bit clear. You are using a fuckwit book to rescue a different part of a fuckwit book that is contradictory…get this, I’m not impressed.

          Your arguments are idiotic.

          Spoiiing!

          Coming from you, that can be easily disregarded. When the force of numbers of those on this forum for whom I have respect makes that assertion, then I’ll take note and amend accordingly.

          Your understanding of science is nonexistent.

          Possibly, but since science isn’t under debate, how could you know ya Dime Bar.

          You just want to justify your religious beliefs with pseudo-logic and fallacies.

          I don’t have a religious belief ya knuckle-dragging moron…this fuckwit insistence you keep repeating here is evidence that you are a dumb-arse.

          When you can demonstrate my use of “pseudo-logic and fallacies” to justify my non-existent religious belief, and get others to agree with such ballix, I might take stock of the situation, but until such time, you are just spouting verbal diarrhea.

          Whatever. Fine. Creationists do the same thing, so you’re no different. But I don’t care for anyone, religious or otherwise, who bastardizes logic to justify their religion. Just admit faith.

          Unadulterated mindwankery of the highest order. When you start substantiating your rubbish with something of substance, perhaps I’ll take note.

        • ildi

          “Your understanding of science is nonexistent.”

          There goes another irony meter! You’ve made it clear you have no clue how the scientific method works-one big clue is your use of the term theory in place of hypothesis. To recap:
          1.Make an observation.
          2.Ask a question.
          3.Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
          4.Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
          5.Test the prediction.
          6.Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

          Notice the key first step MAKE AN OBSERVATION. What observations have you made when you came up with your “gods” definition? What question are you asking? What is your hypothesis? What are your predictions?

        • ildi

          “You just want to justify your religious beliefs with pseudo-logic and fallacies. Whatever. Fine. Creationists do the same thing, so you’re no different. But I don’t care for anyone, religious or otherwise, who bastardizes logic to justify their religion. Just admit faith.”

          I know that your intention has always been to try to draw the false equivalence that atheism is just another religious belief based on faith (neener-neener) but here is an example of how an empirical approach would work (rough cut):

          1. My observation is that many people believe in a ruling entity or power that is not bound by the laws of nature that bind us that has moral authority over us and requires worship.
          2. My hypothesis is that such an entity exists.
          3. My prediction is that if such an entity exists, then people should experience this entity in the same way and agree on what type of worship is required.
          4. Further observation, however, is that the above definition barely captures how people define and experience this entity and the way to worship it diverges wildly, to the point of often being contradictory or mutually exclusive. Additional observation is that many people claim to have evidence that their experience is the accurate one.
          5. My hypothesis that either people are describing a subjective experience that does not correspond to the existence of an actual entity OR only one of the experiences reflects the entity that exists.
          6. I develop an alternate hypothesis (e.g., involving evolutionary adaptations) and also evaluate the evidence provided for the various gods to show they exist.

        • > I know that your intention has always been to try to draw the false equivalence that atheism is just another religious belief based on faith…

          Not at all. I am an atheist. But I am not a Religious Rejectionist. https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/d7hpb/

        • ildi

          Who is this crank? No wonder you’re so confused.

        • Yes; you are.

        • ildi
        • epeeist

          Who is this crank?

          SocArxiv is supposedly a pre-print server for sociology, but I can’t find any actual papers in sociology journals for a “D.S. Goldman” or a “Daniel Goldman”. You will note that he doesn’t give any institutional affiliation, disclose any funding or conflicts of interest.

        • ildi

          Turns out TSA is Daniel Goldman. Strange to link to one’s own work without mentioning that fact…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unless there is a bit of schizophrenia at work.

          As Greg observed with TSA’s comments to me,…

          Amazing! You went from “Look, you seem like someone who does want to learn, so let’s try to discuss this topic, okay?” to “In any case, you’re a waste of time.” with one post.

          Jekyll and Hyde, or what?

        • epeeist

          There used to be a guy with the moniker futurehuman who posted on the science columns in the UK Guardian. He was forever citing books and papers by an Abdul Malek.

          Here is the Amazon entry for his book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dialectical-Universe-Some-Reflections-Cosmology/dp/9840414445

          Notice that he is a “scientist”, i.e. not a physicist, cosmologist or even a nutritionist. Note also the attempt to give himself some kind of association with a university even if he can’t claim affiliation. Note also that the book is self-published.

          Here is one of his “papers”, supposedly on cosmology – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320281802_THE_FUNDAMENTAL_BASIS_OF_COSMOLOGY

          It turned out that Malek and futurehuman were one and the same person though he never mentioned the fact in his comments.

          There seem to be many similarities between him and TSA.

        • Pofarmer

          What a doofus. Holy cow. And he also missunderstand’s Harris’s work, apparently. I wish I was better at meme posting.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There was another doofus here recently that misunderstood that Harris supported research…research that some seen as flawed. But that’s a different argument.

          That there are believers in religion that register that belief in the same way as a matter of empiricism, is no surprise…to me anyway…after all, “who would die for a lie?”. But believing something is true, and it being true, are two different animals.

          That there are atheists that register the same conviction when it comes to disbelief in gods is also not surprising, after all, they see their position as empirically supported. The believer in YahwehJesus, no doubt believes the same about Xenu as the atheist…and for good reason.

          I don’t understand why there are those that punt to that research and then extrapolate all sorts of nonsense from it.

          When folk really believe something, they believe like 2+2=4…so obviously the same part of the brain is going to light up. But that doesn’t mean that everything one believes is as true as 2+2=4…and no one would claim that believing 2+2=4 is a belief system in the same way as believing Mo rode a flying horse to get god info via an archangel.

          It also appears that the experiment wasn’t as clear cut as some might have us believe.

          But for those of us who yearn for resolution, Harris’s experiments offer a glimmer of hope. While the brains of believers and nonbelievers do not differentiate between beliefs about God and about mathematics, the believers themselves do, a little. Participants retrieved their religious beliefs and their historical facts from the same place and in the same way, but they showed less certainty when thinking about the religious statements. It took them a little longer to push the button, and a part of the brain having to do with uncertainty, or cognitive dissonance, lit up. If even the strongest believers are a little unsure about God, and the strongest atheists are a teeny bit anxious that they might be wrong, there’s room, perhaps, for one person to begin to try to imagine the world view of another, no matter what the brain sees as true.

          http://www.newsweek.com/brain-processes-facts-and-beliefs-same-way-79125

          ETA correct link.

        • Greg G.

          Windows should have a ready folder called My Memes.

        • Pofarmer
        • Greg G.

          Well, if you could provide a systematic review to that nature, please do, but assuming that it is the case, I don’t know.

          That is what the Templeton Prayer Study was attempting. They did it to show that prayer was effective but without the faulty methodology of all previous prayer studies:

          Brief Summary:
          Intercessory prayer is widely believed to influence recovery from illness, but claims of benefits are not supported by well-controlled clinical trials. Prior studies have not addressed whether prayer itself or knowledge/certainty that prayer is being provided may influence outcome. We evaluated whether (1) receiving intercessory prayer or (2) being certain of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with uncomplicated recovery after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

          You have to explain why a god would allow itself to be tested.

          I gave you the New Testament verses that say that prayer will be answered and there are no excuses about being tested.

        • > That is what the Templeton Prayer Study was attempting. They did it to show that prayer was effective but without the faulty methodology of all previous prayer studies:

          I asked for a systematic review, not a clinical study. If you don’t know the difference, I suggest this course. https://www.coursera.org/learn/systematic-review/

          > I gave you the New Testament verses that say that prayer will be answered and there are no excuses about being tested.

          Except I offered numerous verses that said that god does not tolerate being tested because of doubt. So really all you’ve done is convince yourself that your belief is right.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Okay. That one is, and it does not say that prayer in effective; the results are inconclusive. If you don’t know the difference, take a course on systematic review.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jaysus fuck….what do you think it is about the results that they are inconclusive, points to in a world where a god is being claimed to answer prayers, Sparky?

          Let me help, in a world where a god answers prayers, the result from a “systematic review” would be far from inconclusive, I’d expect the results to be overwhelmingly conclusive in the positive. Prayer answering god remember.

          So, yes…I’m aware of the difference between ineffective and inconclusive, your arrogant condescension notwithstanding, but it is a difference of no consequence to the conclusion on this occasion, so pah!

        • > Jaysus fuck….what do you think it is about the results that they are inconclusive, points to in a world where a god is being claimed to answer prayers, Sparky?

          Please learn how systematic review works. Inconclusive results don’t mean “false.” You need to find robust evidence against a claim in order to call the claim false. The results only mean that we cannot make decision about the validity of the statement being tested.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem is the subject matter and what should be expected given the statement “God answers all prayers”.

          The only way to get an inconclusive result is that at least some prayers were not answered.

          If God answers all prayers, then an inconclusive result has ramifications. Because it means that God didn’t answer all prayers. And that means that the either the claim “God answers all prayers” is erroneous, or a God answering all prayers doesn’t exist.

          This is not like counting the number of marbles in a jar…or your favourite comparison of a medical study.

        • Greg G.

          I asked for a systematic review

          I highlighted the part that pointed out that they had done that. An earlier article on the study broke down the previous prayer studies that yielded positive results and cited their shortcomings.

          Except I offered numerous verses that said that god does not tolerate being tested because of doubt. So really all you’ve done is convince yourself that your belief is right.

          Christians don’t cite those verses. If you have contradictory verses then we can dismiss Bible God because such a being is logically incoherent.

          We can also dismiss any gods that are intentionally contrived to be indistinguishable from no god because they are pretend.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Except I offered numerous verses that said that god does not tolerate being tested because of doubt.

          But us observing that a prayer expected to be fulfilled because of a promise made, and when that prayer by the faithful is not fulfilled, has bugger all to do with being tested because of doubt. Doubt is the result of the prayer failure in some cases. It seem’s you can’t grasp that concept.

          And your link also doesn’t support your bullshit, because it actually states that God does do tests. Try reading it again for comprehension…

          https://www.gotquestions.org/test-God.html

          Interestingly, the source for your citation is a book called “Knowing God” ffs.

          God is fine being tested when it suits.

          But here, God throws down the challenge. He dares us to test Him to see whether or not His promise is true. When God dares us to test Him, we would be sinning to refuse (see Isa. 7:10-16).

          https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-9-god-s-dare-malachi-312-12

          Does the promise to answer prayers not count?

        • > But us observing that a prayer expected to be fulfilled because of a promise made…

          Yes; you keep saying that, and yet at the same time, there are numerous verses saying that god does not accept being tested due to DOUBT.

          Well, did god dare us to test it?

          > Does the promise to answer prayers not count?

          Hard to say. How do you reconcile that would god not wanted to be tested, when it is due to doubt of him?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes; you keep saying that, and yet at the same time, there are numerous verses saying that god does not accept being tested due to DOUBT.

          And you keep saying that, and yet at the same time, those numerous verses have nothing to do with his promises to answer prayers in those other numerous verses.

          Where is the DOUBT? Who is DOUBTING?

          Well, did god dare us to test it?

          It is imaginary…it didn’t dare anyone to do anything…it is a story in a book. The writers of the “God answers prayers” bit of the book, didn’t seem to much care about the “God doesn’t like being tested” bit. Probably because it has fuck all to do with DOUBT.

          A promises B, X if asked. B asks A for X. A doesn’t give B, X. Where does DOUBT come into it, other than an apologetic in an attempt to get A off the hook for not giving B, X.

          You do know what a promise is, right? No doubt involved.

          https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Prayer,-God~s-Promises-Concerning

          And where God has made a promise, according to the book, he is okay with testing as demonstrated.

          Hard to say.

          No, it really isn’t. It’s really quite simple for everyone here but you. A promise, is a promise, is a promise. You are trying to weasel around it by attempting to invoke caveats. I’m not buying what your selling, because it is absolute shite. Stick yer DOUBT nonsense up yer arsehole ya dopey clown, it is irrelevant.

          How do you reconcile that would god not wanted to be tested, when it is due to doubt of him?

          I don’t need to, because a promise to answer prayers and not being tested for DOUBT are separate issues.

          If you want to claim God fucked up and shoulda got a better continuity guy to keep the story straight, then that’s fine. But the God promising answering prayers, but doesn’t, is imaginary. A point of evidence it therefore doesn’t exist as described on the label.

        • Greg G.

          How do you reconcile that would god not wanted to be tested, when it is due to doubt of him?

          The Templeton Foundation is a Christian organization. They did not expect the experiment to fail. They expected to be able to show that Christianity and science is compatible. That is their mission. It was not performed with doubt. It was performed with scientific rigor.

          Other prayer experiments lacked scientific rigor and came out positive. The gods don’t mind being tested, they just hate valid tests. Either that or prayer effectiveness is an illusion.

        • Cool. But that does not mean that their theory’s assumptions are properly justified. Please try to understand proper scientific methodology.

        • Greg G.

          No, the proper methodology proves that the assumptions about intercessory prayer were not justified. The assumptions were that intercessory prayer was effective and that the God thingy that responded to prayer would not fuck with a test done with proper scientific methods if it didn’t fuck with tests with invalid methodology.

        • First off, science does not prove assumptions true. If you are trying to prove your theories, you’re going about science incorrectly. Second, a lack of justification FOR intercessory prayer is not evidence against it working. The systematic review simply found that there is not enough research to draw a conclusion.

          Clinical trials test to see if a treatment works, if a drug has any dangerous side effects, etc. A systematic review tests a different kind of theory. It tests whether or not there is really enough research to draw a conclusion. There isn’t in this case. But insufficient research justifying the utility of prayer does not constitute evidence against the utility of prayer.

          Look at this question a different way. Suppose we wanted to determine if a drug was safe, and so we look at all the studies available on the side effects of the drug, including effects on all cause mortality. The study finds that there is insufficient research on the effects on all cause mortality. That does not mean that there isn’t an effect. It just means that the research is too poor to draw a conclusion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You keep punting to the analogy of a medical trial without realizing that it is a false equivalence…so much for your claim to an understanding of science.

          Why are the intercessory prayer studies inconclusive?

          The problem with your analogy is that for the starting point to be similar to the prayer study, the drug being tested is deemed ahead of time to be 100% effective with flaw. That is the expectation. Any result that does not provide that expectation, means the the drug is not what it is supposed to be, whatever else one can say about the drug.

          The expectation on the study of the promises made by a perfect multi-omni God is 100% positive, anything else is unacceptable.

          God doesn’t answer prayers 100%, as per expectation, period. Christians claim prayers are answered at rate comparable to chance, and then it is for stuff that have a natural explanation.

          Your continued nonsense about tests and doubt, don’t hold water, for the simple reason that the Christians that are praying are not engaging in a test involving doubt.

          By your twisted logic, all intercessory prayer must be a test, and since you claim God doesn’t do tests, all intercessory prayer is doomed to failure. Yet that’s not what Christians believe, obviously. They believe the promise to answer prayers in the NT. Why would such a promise be made, if your assertion that the same God would see the fulfillment of those promises as being a test that it would not take. Therefore, the God you invoke, is not the one that Christians are praying to. So you have constructed a straw man.

          You just can’t get around this point. So you waffle on repeatedly the same fuckwiitery ad nauseam which is getting frustratingly embarrassing if you are as you claim.

        • > Why are the intercessory prayer studies inconclusive?

          Dunno. Why? More importantly, why are you confusing a result which does not allow one to take a position with “that position is false?”

          > By your twisted logic, all intercessory prayer must be a test…

          Well, it may be untestable, which makes it unscientific, though not necessarily false. The bigger issue is that assumptions used in a theory need to be justified.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dunno. Why?

          Well they’re not all inconclusive, some say there is no effect, or no discernible effect worth notice. Others state that there is little effect, and more research is needed.

          No effect, some effect, or inconclusive outcome, are not what is expected given the God promise. That’s my point.

          More importantly, why are you confusing a result which does not allow one to take a position with “that position is false?”

          Because an inconclusive result goes against expectations given God. Inconclusive is the antithesis of conclusive. If prayer isn’t answered in any instance or more, resulting in an inconclusive outcome, then the promise has failed. Ergo, the position that all prayers are answered, is false. This isn’t hard. The promise wasn’t that some prayers would be answered, while others not, in an ad hoc fashion. If that was the case, an inconclusive result would not negate the God under examination. But that is not the position being addressed. God promised to answer the prayers of those that believed. He doesn’t, or he does in an ad hoc fashion, and only for things that are not impossibilities…go figure.

          Well, it may be untestable, which makes it unscientific, though not necessarily false. The bigger issue is that assumptions used in a theory need to be justified.

          You are entrenched in this nonsense, aren’t ya?

          This isn’t rocket science.

          If I promise to provide a service to everyone that asks, if asked, then when I’m asked, fail to provide that service, or even provide it to some. Then I’ve failed in my promise. It’s as simple as that.

          I can’t then claim to be that promise fufllier. I failed. Ergo, the position I am, is false.

        • Greg G.

          I can’t then claim to be that promise fufllier. I failed. Ergo, the position I am, is false.

          Or it is possible that you do not exist and people are milking those who believe you do.

        • epeeist

          But that does not mean that their theory’s assumptions are properly justified.

          It wasn’t a theory, it was an hypothesis. Please try to understand proper scientific methodology.

        • > It wasn’t a theory, it was an hypothesis. Please try to understand proper scientific methodology.

          I suggest that you take your own advice. The difference between theory and hypothesis is not the amount of “evidence” but scope. https://ncse.com/blog/2014/08/misconception-monday-hypotheses-theories-laws-oh-my-0015806

        • epeeist

          The difference between theory and hypothesis is not the amount of “evidence” but scope.

          There’s a little more to it than that, but your article is sufficient of a description.

          So, was the Templeton study designed to test the efficacy of prayer in general or was it restricted to a single statistical trial with limited scope, i.e. to prayer to the Christian god? If the latter then of course they are involved with the test of an hypothesis.

        • > There’s a little more to it than that, but your article is sufficient of a description.

          It was incredibly limited, but also made a lot of assumptions that weren’t justified. A study should list its definitions and assumptions, and try to justify those assumptions.

        • epeeist

          It was incredibly limited

          So it was a hypothesis test.

          After the trial was the hypothesis supported by the data? Did the hypothesis even save the appearances? Did it have any level of explanatory power or empirical fit? Does it actually provide an optimal explanation for the results that were found?

          Even before the trial was the hypothesis consonant with theories in other parts of science or broad metaphysical principles?

          Even if it had provided some level of explanation for this particular trial could it have ever provided explanations for other phenomena and not just the ones that it was designed to explain? Would it have had the capacity to account for anomalies as they arose, would it have made novel predictions and enabled new research programmes (in the Lakatos sense)?

          Would it have provided unification of different classes of phenomena over time or brought together domains that were once thought to be disparate?

        • > So it was a hypothesis test.

          Yes. An experiment is a collection of independent variables and their states, along with one dependent variable. A hypothesis is essentially a probability distribution for that dependent variable. A theory is a function which generates hypotheses. A hypothesis test is used to work towards falsifying the theory that generated it.

          > After the trial was the hypothesis supported by the data?

          Science is not a system of support. Been over this.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here we have a prize example of someone trying to teach their granny to suck eggs.

          Question: What is your background in science?

          Warning: Between you and epeeist…there is a doctorate in physics on one side…and I know it ain’t yours.

        • So you’re saying the person received an education in one specific field of scientific investigation, which became more and more narrow with each degree, and yet is somehow an expert on the nature of science? Hmm.

        • Greg G.

          One doesn’t advance to specialties without fulfilling a ton of prerequisites in science.

        • I wish that were the case, but it isn’t necessarily true that a person be well versed in philosophy of science, logic, and probability theory, before going on to train as a “scientist.” Regardless, I explained in detail the issue with the thought process, and cited mathematical proof to justify it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Expert? You are straw manning again. Dumb ass.

          Anyway…

          Duh…hell yes…more of an expert than someone who hasn’t anyway.

          You actually are as dumb as ya come across, aren’t ya?

          You are the one trying to explain science to the guy that has actually got a doctorate in a science discipline, while boasting about having credentials in science, among other things, that doesn’t appear to be on display.

          Answer this…

          Do you think think that someone who managed to get to PhD level in molecular physics and worked on top echelon physics research, did so by not understanding the “nature of science”?

          Tip: either a yes or no answer will make you look the silly cunt ya are…lol.

          I notice you avoided my question. You brought your “expertise” onto the table, remember?

          What is your background in science?

          It’ll need to be more than a doctorate in ANY discipline to be impressive and demonstrate YOUR “expertise”

          Put up, or shut ta fuck up.

        • > Duh…hell yes…more of an expert than someone who hasn’t anyway.

          So what would convince you that I have an understanding of this topic, besides saying things that you think are true?

          > Do you think think that someone who managed to get to PhD level in molecular physics and worked on top echelon physics research, did so by not understanding the “nature of science”?

          Unfortunately a lot of times science education just ends up teaching the motions of scientific investigation without really getting into the detail of what science is, how it works, its limits, etc.

          > It’ll need to be more than a doctorate in ANY discipline to be impressive and demonstrate YOUR “expertise”

          What metric are you using to measure if I have “more than” a doctorate’s worth of education on the topic?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So what would convince you that I have an understanding of this topic, besides saying things that you think are true?

          Answering the question you keep avoiding would be a reasonable starting point.

          Unfortunately a lot of times science education just ends up teaching the motions of scientific investigation without really getting into the detail of what science is, how it works, its limits, etc.

          And just because you can assert ballix in a combox…really?

          That said, epeeist is well read of the philosophy of science too, but that is besides the point.

          But anyway, since you are at least equal to it, you’ll already know…

          Doctoral degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

          ● the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication

          ● a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice

          ● the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems

          ● a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry

          But since you erroneously defined scientific theory already, you’ll have to understand my skepticism that you know what you’re talking about.

          What metric are you using to measure if I have “more than” a doctorate’s worth of education on the topic?

          That one is easy…you’d have outlined it already.

          Then there is this…

          I found the blog run by The Spiritual Anthropologist. He comes off sounding like a scientist (although he has only a BS in mathematics, by his own admission). And if you peruse the articles there, you will see many that seem to take an apologist position in favor of various religious beliefs. But you don’t see anything that is critical of religion. Take, for example, this article defending the idea of a rational soul that is separate from the brain and would survive after the death of the body. It mirrors the unscientific concept of the “brain-as-receiver” that is popular among religionists, and shows no scientific understanding of cognition.

          https://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-atheist-apologist.html?showComment=1527837277972#c5354234591572126383

        • > Answering the question you keep avoiding would be a reasonable starting point.

          Well, I’ve answered your questions, but I also want to get an idea of what I could do to convince you, if anything, so that I’m not just going to end up spinning my wheels here.

          > the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication

          Well, there’s a problem here. Peer review is so damn saturated that a lot of research is pushed aside. Indeed, peer reviewed data is insufficient to draw conclusions in many cases, which is why systematic reviews must look at the grey literature as well.

          > But since you erroneously defined scientific theory already, you’ll have to understand my skepticism that you know what you’re talking about.

          So you are absolutely certain you are correct, which is a problem. Also, if someone solved the problem of induction, then my views of science being a system of confirmation, etc would change. The problem is, while the brittleness of Bayesian inference could be solved if we could make our theories course enough, it is the entire body of theory being tested that we need to make course, not any specific theory.

          > That one is easy…you’d have outlined it already.

          It’s really not. There are a lot of forms of education and education paths.

          > although he has only a BS in mathematics, by his own admission

          No; I never said that I only have a BS in mathematics.

          > Take, for example, this article defending the idea of a rational soul that is separate from the brain and would survive after the death of the body.

          This statement is a misunderstanding of the article. I do not defend arguments for a soul; I do not believe in a soul. I am pointing out errors in arguments against souls.

          > But you don’t see anything that is critical of religion.

          Well, I criticize where it’s necessary, but there are enough atheists going around bashing traditional religion. There are view few who point out the issues of arguments made by other atheists. Still, I do criticize various points of religion, including by arguing that the traditional Christian god is evil.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, I’ve answered your questions,….

          No ya haven’t. You claimed that you are educated in science and the philosophy of science. What is your background in science that allows you to make such a claim?

          It’s fine if you won’t/can’t/are afraid to answer, but then understand why the claim can be ignored, especially when the times you have commented on the topic, you make errors.

          Well, there’s a problem here. Peer review is so damn saturated that a lot of research is pushed aside. Indeed, peer reviewed data is insufficient to draw conclusions in many cases, which is why systematic reviews must look at the grey literature as well.

          Only a problem of your making.

          Are you talking about the same sort of systematic reviews that looked into the efficacy of prayer and that are contradictory?

          You have such a hardon for systematic reviews, don’t ya?

          In what might be one of the worst such failings, a new study suggests that even systematic reviews and meta-analyses—typically considered the highest form of scientific evidence—are now in doubt.

          The study comes from a single author: John Ioannidis, a highly respected researcher at Stanford University, who has built his reputation showing other scientists what they get wrong. In his latest work, Ioannidis contends that “the large majority of produced systematic reviews and meta-analyses are unnecessary, misleading, or conflicted.”

          The Mass Production of Redundant, Misleading, and Conflicted Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses

          Conclusions: The production of systematic reviews and meta-analyses has reached epidemic proportions. Possibly, the large majority of produced systematic reviews and meta-analyses are unnecessary, misleading, and/or conflicted.

          https://www.milbank.org/quarterly/articles/mass-production-redundant-misleading-conflicted-systematic-reviews-meta-analyses/

          There are a lot of forms of education and education paths.

          But for someone who loves to blow his own trumpet, you are very reluctant to reveal the form of education or education path that leads you to make the claim that you are educated in science…why is that?

          No; I never said that I only have a BS in mathematics.

          Right…so you say you said you have more than a BS in mathematics…where?

          I noticed you’ve made the same assertion at TSZ, but don’t support your correction over there either.

        • > No ya haven’t. You claimed that you are educated in science and the philosophy of science. What is your background in science that allows you to make such a claim?

          This question is the only one that I am refusing to answer until you say more about what would convince you of my understanding, and more importantly, what would convince you that your understanding is incorrect. That way you cannot backtrack.

          > Only a problem of your making.

          Well, I wish it was my idea, but I can’t take credit for it. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1420798/

          > Are you talking about the same sort of systematic reviews that looked into the efficacy of prayer and that are contradictory?

          I am talking about all systematic review. The process of systematic review must take into account grey literature, or the consequences could be, and have been, deadly.

          > You have such a hardon for systematic reviews, don’t ya?

          Systematic review is the process by which we test the theory of whether or not current research is robust enough to draw a meaningful conclusion on a specific topic.

          > In what might be one of the worst such failings, a new study suggests that even systematic reviews and meta-analyses—typically considered the highest form of scientific evidence—are now in doubt.

          Nobody ever said that they were without doubt. They just serve a different purpose than normal studies.

          > But for someone who loves to blow his own trumpet, you are very reluctant to reveal the form of education or education path that leads you to make the claim that you are educated in science…why is that?

          Because I don’t trust you to just change your standards the moment you know what my background is.

          > I noticed you’ve made the same assertion at TSZ, but don’t support your correction over there either.

          So is there anything aside from a Ph.D. which would constitute enough education in science? Furthermore, what argument would you accept as justification for your understanding of science being wrong?

        • Ignorant Amos

          This question is the only one that I am refusing to answer until you say more about what would convince you of my understanding, and more importantly, what would convince you that your understanding is incorrect.

          I’m not the one making the grandiose claims about my level of expertise without outlining my grounds for making said claims though am I?

          That way you cannot backtrack.

          Backtrack out of what? Your claim here is that you are superior in intellect with regards understanding of science, than a PhD holder in science, among others. I’m just curious what it is that gives you the big balls to make such a claim. Is your boast just a lot of flatulence, or what?

          Why do you care whether whatever you base your claim on is convincing to me? I’m just a nobody on the internet like you. But if you are not going to support a billy big ballix assertion, then don’t make the claim in the first place…unless you are lying, ya wouldn’t be lying, would ya?

          Systematic review is the process by which we test the theory of whether or not current research is robust enough to draw a meaningful conclusion on a specific topic.

          Apparently not though.

          Nobody ever said that they were without doubt. They just serve a different purpose than normal studies.

          Then who cares? They are not as robust as you have inferred if there is an element of doubt involved. It was you that held them up as being all that over the STEP study. I read three systematic reviews on the prayer argument that gave three contradictory results. No effect, inconclusive, and some effect…which one is to be trusted and why?

          Because I don’t trust you to just change your standards the moment you know what my background is.

          Standards on what? You say you have an education in science and philosophy of science, what grounds do you make that claim? How can anything you say be changed by me? You grounds for your claim are whatever they are, what has anything I have to say on the issue change that?

          So is there anything aside from a Ph.D. which would constitute enough education in science?

          I’m sure there could be. See, here’s the thing, I know epeeist has a PhD, so his level of expertise is established to that level. You have made an assertion without substance, yet you are calling out those here that you are better positioned to know what you are talking about. At this point you are engaging in the fallacy of argument from authourity wherein your authourity has not even been outlined, let alone been established. Or you are lying about implied education.

          Furthermore, what argument would you accept as justification for your understanding of science being wrong?

          What understanding would that be? As it stands at the moment, both our understandings are at the very least equal, but I make no claims about expertise unlike you.

          What I see is you making unsupported, or poorly supported, assertions about science. Others here are countering those assertions a providing more convincing support that you are wrong, So from my assessment, you are the one talking out of your arse and I see no reason to not think you are being dishonest. That, and and just being a contrarian for the sake of it.

          Now, defend your claim, or don’t, but until you do, I’ll take it that you can’t and with that, disregard your continued assertions as the ravings of a lunatic.

        • > I’m not the one making the grandiose claims about my level of expertise without outlining my grounds for making said claims though am I?

          Actually, I made an argument, which means that regardless of my expertise, you have to respond to the argument. Did I ever say that I was correct, because of my expertise? If so, please link to that claim.

          > Then who cares? They are not as robust as you have inferred if there is an element of doubt involved.

          Well, if you want to eliminate any scientific theory that has any doubt, then basically you need to throw out science.

          > I’m sure there could be. See, here’s the thing, I know epeeist has a PhD, so his level of expertise is established to that level.

          His expertise on the body of theory of physics, and really specifically, on whatever research topic he undertook during his program, is not in question. But that expertise does not extend past that topic, which means that you cannot use him as an appeal to authority, when discussing philosophy of science. Furthermore, appeal to authority is no longer valid once an argument has been presented, and I presented one.

          > You have made an assertion without substance…

          Actually, I cited multiple sources, including a paper indicating that unless a model is sufficiently course, Bayesian inference exhibits chaotic behavior with respect to prior probability selection.

          > Now, defend your claim…

          I have, repeatedly. The problem of induction has not been solved. Bayesian inference does not solve the problem because it requires a theory which is clean enough and course enough to apply Bayesian inference. That’s very difficult, considering that we do not work on a single theory, but an entire body of theory, which is used to create a prediction. As an example, every time you test a theory that requires a measurement of temperature, you are also engaging the body of theory which allows us to measure temperature. Many theories have even more layers than that. Climate change models, for instance, not only require the theory of measuring temperature, but also cleaning up temperature data, converting it from point estimates to global temperature.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Defend the claim that you have grounds to assert you are experienced enough to lecture someone with a doctorate in a science discipline on the application of science.

          Until you do, all your silly attempts at obfuscation will be be ignored as an attempt to dodge the question.

        • > Defend the claim that you have grounds to assert you are experienced enough to lecture someone with a doctorate in a science discipline on the application of science.

          False appeal to authority, ad hominem, and also failure to recognize that once an argument is made, authority does not matter. The argument stands on its own. Also, I admit that I do not have a Ph.D. I went for breadth. So if the only thing that will convince you is a Ph.D. then okay, forget it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          False appeal to authority,…

          Unsubstantiated assertion.

          …ad hominem,…

          Unsubstantiated assertion.

          …and also failure to recognize that once an argument is made, authority does not matter. The argument stands on its own.

          More garbage. So while shopping in Walmart, I black-out and when I come to, on my back, there are two people standing over me. One states that I fainted with the heat, the other claims it was something more sinister and that I need to go get checked out at the ER…one has the uniform of a Walmart Shelf Stacker, the other has the uniform of a Paramedic…which authorities argument should I recognize?

          Also, I admit that I do not have a Ph.D.

          No shit Sherlock…I know that already.

          I went for breadth.

          Something not in evidence here so far though.

          So if the only thing that will convince you is a Ph.D. then okay, forget it.

          I’m not interested in being convinced. I’m just curious on what’s your basis you assert an education in science and philosophy of science where you can get off lecturing a holder of a doctorate in a science discipline on the basics of scientific investigation.

          Ya see, when I mentioned Bayes Theorem a while back, you nearly broke your neck to declare your credentials in having a degree as support that you know what you are talking about while attempting to set me straight, such is your arrogance. But all of a sudden, you’ve become shy and coy. Nope…not buying it…I smell a rat, a lying stinking rat. So yeah, forget it would be handy for ya, wouldn’t it?

        • > I’m not interested in being convinced.

          And now we’re getting somewhere. You’re not interested in having a discussion on this topic.

          > Ya see, when I mentioned Bayes Theorem a while back, you nearly broke your neck to declare your credentials…

          Actually, I was simply responding to an attack on my credentials. I do not need to show my credentials because I am not appealing to them. I am appealing to argument and citation. But to answer your question, I do have 243 credits, of which 42 are graduate credits, mostly in STEM fields. I have formal education in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, anthropology, engineering, computer science, probability theory and statistics, etc, etc, etc. https://danielgoldman.us/index.php/curriculum-vitae/

          Now; I get that you think someone who has burned through a program in a single field knows more than a person who has broad experience in numerous fields of scientific and mathematical investigation, and it doesn’t really matter, because I am not appealing to authority. I provided argument to justify my position, but but there you have it. Now I think I’m going to stop wasting my time, because you are clearly too ignorant to even understand what I am saying.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And now we’re getting somewhere. You’re not interested in having a discussion on this topic.

          Correct.

          Actually, I was simply responding to an attack on my credentials.

          There was no attack on your credentials, because up to where you alluded to your credentials they were unknown.

          One can still have credentials and not know wtf they are talking about…it happens all the time.

          I do not need to show my credentials because I am not appealing to them. I am appealing to argument and citation.

          And yet you did…on two occasions at least…just that on one you were very vague. The former occasion was made on a perceived attack on your authority, yet the later, which if anything, was more of an attack on your authority, but still wasn’t, you avoided the question. My inquisitiveness was to know on what basis you made the condescension to someone well versed on science. You went all coy. I wondered why. It’s as simple as that.

          But to answer your question, I do have 243 credits, of which 42 are graduate credits, mostly in STEM fields. I have formal education in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, anthropology, engineering, computer science, probability theory and statistics, etc, etc, etc. https://danielgoldman.us/in

          How hard was that?

          Now; I get that you think someone who has burned through a program in a single field knows more than a person who has broad experience in numerous fields of scientific and mathematical investigation, and it doesn’t really matter, because I am not appealing to authority.

          I think fuck all of the sort. Here’s how it was presented. I know one party has credentials while the other party claimed and education. I wondered what that education consisted of, and asked. You, rather than do what you did here, fucked about rather than just do what you have just done.

          Now, anyone can make online claims about intellectual ability. They can even do a half decent job of bluffing their way through. We get that quite often. We had a fake lawyer here quite a while back, but his understanding of legal matters was dubious. So he was eventually found out.

          I provided argument to justify my position, but but there you have it.

          Nope…that’s what you think you are doing. But it’s so ropey in places that folk doubt your claim to a knowledge in science up to the expertise you proclaim. Not the same thing.

          Case in point…you continually using those irrelevant OT passages that claim God doesn’t do test’s based out of doubt, for why the NT God promises to answer all prayers has failed.

          The definition and your supporting argument and citation on the “hypothesis” issue is another.

          And your argument and evidence that BT as a useless method for confirmation is another.

          Now I think I’m going to stop wasting my time, because you are clearly too ignorant to even understand what I am saying.

          Wtf? You are the one who has been wasting both our time because you don’t understand what I’m saying…whether through ignorance, stupidity, or obtuse contrariness…who the fuck knows. But you are right about one thing, it’s time to give you the banhammer.

        • The one who doesn’t understand the topic is you. And you admit that you have no desire to address any of these topics. You are jerking yourself off. Well, you are an ignorant tool, so that’s not surprising.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whateva…do us all a favour, fuck off and take yer head for a shite.

        • It’s a shame that you weren’t interested in actually having a discussion. I’m also still not sure why you think someone who burned through a single field of science knows more about what science itself is than someone with extensive formal education in numerous fields of scientific investigation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s a shame that you weren’t interested in actually having a discussion.

          You are not interested in discussion though. You are only interested in banging the same mantra repeatedly.

          I’m also still not sure why you think someone who burned through a single field of science knows more about what science itself is than someone with extensive formal education in numerous fields of scientific investigation.

          That’s because that’s the straw man of your own construction and not a claim I ever made.

          See what I mean about repeating the same shit over.

          And you are making a number of assumptions on what variety of knowledge and experience epeeist maintains in science.

        • epeeist

          I’m also still not sure why you think someone who burned through a single field of science knows more about what science itself is than someone with extensive formal education in numerous fields of scientific investigation.

          OK, given that you seem to be discussing me behind my back I don’t see why I should not intervene.

          I took a Ph.D in molecular physics, why are assuming that is the limit of my work within science?

        • > OK, given that you seem to be discussing me behind my back I don’t see why I should not intervene.

          Sure; I’m not the one who keeps bringing you up.

          > I took a Ph.D in molecular physics, why are assuming that is the limit of my work within science?

          Okay, well, if you have publications for extensive education in philosophy of science then we can say that you have expertise in it. All the ignorant one mentions is your degree in physics. Regardless, once an argument is made, appeal to authority is a waste.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are a liar.

          I took exception to your condescending remarks to a forum member attacking his ability to understand basic concepts in science. A forum member with a skill set to understand said concepts, given his credentials to do just that, even as limited as you think they are, while your “claimed” skill set was in the dark.

          I asked a simple question, the answer was simple, as subsequently demonstrated. But you decided to make a mountain out of a molehill. So you have been the one dragging the commenting out. Own it.

          Regardless, once an argument is made, appeal to authority is a waste.

          But you didn’t make an argument, you made an unsupported assertion. So whose authority, is relevant. Especially to a layperson with little of no understanding of the subject matter.

          You were the first one here to appeal to your own authority as far as I’m aware…at least twice. Even linking to your own paper as authoritative, without clarifying that it was your own work.

        • > You are a liar.

          State a specific lie that I have made. Also, you mention a ban. Are you a moderator? It doesn’t show as such, which means that your account is a sock puppet account for an account with moderator privileges. Or are you just hoping that for some reason I would get banned?

          > A forum member with a skill set to understand said concepts, given his credentials to do just that, even as limited as you think they are, while your “claimed” skill set was in the dark.

          Having a Ph.D. in a specific field of science does not make someone an expert on the actual nature of scientific investigation, only specific theory and evidence in that field of study. Furthermore, appeal to authority is useless once an argument has been made.

          > But you didn’t make an argument, you made an unsupported assertion. So whose authority, is relevant. Especially to a layperson with little of no understanding of the subject matter.

          I pointed out that unless a model is known to be coarse enough, Bayesian inference can exhibit chaotic behavior. The problem is that with science, we rely on an entire system of theory, and it is that entire system, used to make a prediction, which is being tested. That makes coarseness very difficult. As an example, unless we know the probability distribution of defective dice, we cannot test the claim that a die is defective, at least not in the sense of verification; we can only rely on falsification in that instance. But knowing the distribution of defective dice requires a theory on that matter.

          > You were the first one here to appeal to your own authority as far as I’m aware…at least twice.

          Link to one of those examples please.

        • Ignorant Amos

          State a specific lie that I have made.

          That you’re not the one that keeps bringing it up. You are as guilty as I am.

          I asked you a question. You didn’t answer it. You replied with a question and in doing so, kept the discourse going where the question kept being asked. Had you answered the question like you finally did, the issue of anyone else’s credentials would not have been an issue. So you kept bringing it up too. Therefore the following is a lie…

          Sure; I’m not the one who keeps bringing you up.

          Having a Ph.D. in a specific field of science does not make someone an expert on the actual nature of scientific investigation, only specific theory and evidence in that field of study.

          So it is your assertion that someone with a doctorate and has been involved in research to PhD level will have no expertise in the nature of scientific investigation? Prove it.

          And it still infers an expertise vis a vis an unknown entity, such that you were at the time you were asked for clarification on your expertise in the nature of scientific investigation, so pah!

          Furthermore, appeal to authority is useless once an argument has been made.

          And yet with all, it is being done all the time in the fields of science. We call it the consensus of experts. It’s useful for the layperson.

          But the irony here, is that you do it too, when you punt to systematic review as the big I am.

          I pointed out that unless a blah, blah, blah,….

          But that doesn’t answer the point. You told epeeist that he needed to take his own advice on him telling you to gen up on scientific methodology in reference to what a scientific hypothesis means.

          At that point, I was aware of one parties expertise in science. You also linked to that Stephanie Keep article as, get this, an authority. An article with a definition of “hypothesis” that is not in keeping with the consensus of scientists as far as I can make out.

          Now, as a layperson, whose authority should I accept as the one who knows wtf they are talking about? The guy that I’ve known for more than ten years on the internet and has demonstrated time and again that he knows what he’s at…the one with the PhD. Or the one I’ve known a few days, who has made an unsupported claim to an expertise not being demonstrated on this forum?

          Link to one of those examples please.

          Are you denying that you pointed out in a comment to me that you had a degree in math? To what purpose?

          Are you denying that you made the claim that you had an education in science and philosophy of science in another comment? To what purpose?

          Are you denying that you linked to a paper on Religious Rejectionism, your own work apparently we later find out, as “evidence” of your assertion? To what purpose?

        • > Are you denying that you pointed out in a comment to me that you had a degree in math? To what purpose?

          Well, let’s go over that comment. Can you link to it?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Notice the first line: “> Nonsense. You clearly don’t know wtf yer talking about.”

          I was responding to an attack on my understanding. You, an admittedly ignorant person, decided to attack my understanding of the topic, and so I responded. You claimed that I made statements about my education, without responding to an attack. You were either mistaken, or since you made that attack to which I responded, you’re just a liar.

          Look, you seem like someone who does want to learn, so let’s try to discuss this topic, okay?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was responding to an attack on my understanding.

          Of course you were, by declaring your math degree credential as giving you an authority.

          What has your math degree got to do with you erroneously asserting that BT fails for confirmation?

          Is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in error?

          You, an admittedly ignorant person, decided to attack my understanding of the topic, and so I responded.

          Yeah…by citing your credentials by means of authority. Does a degree in math mean you know everything? And everything about BT in particular?

          Everyone is ignorant on most things btw.

          You claimed that I made statements about my education, without responding to an attack.

          Did I? Where? All I said is that you punted to a level of expertise to support your authority…and ya did.

          The fact that the statement about Bayesian inference is brittle, was wrong, as has been pointed out, and the paper you linked to, not supporting your position the way you think it did. Supports my original assumption. My ignorance on the subject is therefore irrelevant.

          You were either mistaken, or since you made that attack to which I responded, you’re just a liar.

          It wasn’t an attack, it was an observation in the face of your assertion that BT is useless for confirmation. Which I supported with a citation, a citation you ignored. Nowhere have I denied pointing out that you appeared to not know wtf you were talking about. That seem’s to be still valid, on this point at least.

          So neither was I mistaken, or lying. You asserted your credentials in support of a higher knowledge…that is an appeal to your authority.

          Look, you seem like someone who does want to learn, so let’s try to discuss this topic, okay?

          The regulars here will attest to my want to learn. And I’m not afraid to admit it when I’m wrong either. Unfortunately you have not demonstrated that what you assert can be trusted in any significant way. So I don’t think it a fruitful enterprise in my learning anything, if you are going to fill my head with mince.

        • > Of course you were, by declaring your math degree credential as giving you an authority.

          I never claimed authority. You said that I didn’t understand the topic. I explained that I did. A degree in mathematics is an indication that I UNDERSTAND the topic. In any case, you’re a waste of time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I never claimed authority.

          Holy fuck. Citing your credentials is the claim to authority.

          You said that I didn’t understand the topic.

          No I didn’t…I didn’t know what understanding of BT was, so how could I? Try and stay focused. I claimed that you didn’t know wtf you were talking about when you asserted that BT fails when it comes to confirmation. I supported that claim with a link. You have yet to refute that position.

          I explained that I did.

          No you didn’t. You claimed you had a degree in math. What relevance has your degree in math to the error you made? None. Which doesn’t do anything to demonstrate you know what ta fuck you were talking about when you said BT fails when it is used for confirmation.

          A degree in mathematics is an indication that I UNDERSTAND the topic.

          But a doctorate in a science is not an indication of an UNDERSTANDING of that topic, right?

          Clearly you don’t understand the topic as well as you think you do, when you make statements like…

          “Bayes Theorem works well for falsification, but it fails for confirmation.”

          And then stuff like…

          “I do have a degree in mathematics, but here’s why Bayesian inference fails for confirmation: Bayesian inference is brittle.”

          Then cite a paper that doesn’t actually support that statement.

          In any case, you’re a waste of time.

          So you keep saying, yet here ya are, AGAIN…replying with no substance. Piss of now ya bore.

        • Greg G.

          Amazing! You went from “Look, you seem like someone who does want to learn, so let’s try to discuss this topic, okay?” to “In any case, you’re a waste of time.” with one post.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Also, you mention a ban. Are you a moderator? It doesn’t show as such, which means that your account is a sock puppet account for an account with moderator privileges. Or are you just hoping that for some reason I would get banned?

          Reading for comprehension issues I suppose.

          Asked and answered in the same comment.

        • ildi

          More and more I’m seeing the value of a structured education. You’re like a chicken pecking at feed.

        • First off, there are times where you’re arguing against me, even when what you’re arguing is something that I already said was true. For instance, you were arguing that Newtonian physics was falsified. Yes; that was my position. You apparently couldn’t tell who was talking. Second, you’re not really qualified to determine whether or not my education, which included a lot of normal structure, which was complemented by additional course work, was successful, are you?

        • ildi

          “For instance, you were arguing that Newtonian physics was falsified. Yes; that was my position.”

          If you re-read my answer to that, you may have stated that was your position, but from other statements you made (set theory? really? bock, bock bock, bock, bowwwwk), it’s clear you don’t understand what that means. Which, btw, is pretty much typical of a lot of your statements. That right there is evidence that your education failed you.

        • Translation: I believe you’re wrong, even when you agree with me.

          You’re warped.

        • ildi

          “Translation: I believe you’re wrong, even when you agree with me.”

          (sigh) No, that’s not the right translation, my duck! What I’m trying to tell you is that the reason you can’t make a convincing argument is because you yourself don’t seem to understand the concepts you base your arguments upon.

        • What would convince you, aside from saying things that you believe are true, that I do understand the concepts on which I base my arguments?

        • ildi

          You’ve had 10 days of interactions with commenters in this thread that convinces me of your core lack of understanding of how the scientific method, formal logic, mathematics, and the philosophy of science interrelate so I don’t think you can at this point.

        • I’m not sure anything could have anyway. I’ve already decided that certain people are right and therefore anyone who disagrees is wrong. I get it, you’re not equipped to understand these topics, so you just rely on a bunch of comments by almost purely, if not purely, anonymous people to judge reality.

        • ildi

          “I get it, you’re not equipped to understand these topics, so you just rely on a bunch of comments by almost purely, if not purely, anonymous people to judge reality.”

          Whatever gets you through the day! I do notice that you ran away from a lot of our discussions, including the definition of gods, how one tests the hypothesis that gods do not exist (once that definition captures overarching characteristics common to most concept of gods), what claims require the burden of proof, why you chose an idiosyncratic definition of “hypothesis” from a science educator with an agenda rather than the NAS definition, what does it mean when a theory is falsified…

        • I actually haven’t run away from any of these discussions. I’ve explained my points, in detail. In any case, since I can tell that you lack the foundation necessary to understand these points, there’s no point in continuing, especially since you admit that there is nothing that can be said to change your mind, thus making your statements mental masturbation rather than actual discussion.

          Of course, if you find a solution to the problem of induction, such as a way to harden Bayesian inference, let me know.

        • ildi

          “Of course, if you find a solution to the problem of induction, such as a way to harden Bayesian inference, let me know.” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3428725f0bb3bcc8ff8c979a7e4b42bc502651c8e07f67d6dba73f5307c499d.jpg

        • Then again, if you do, I think you’ll win a rather nice prize in mathematics. I’m thinking that it could be hardened by relaxing another condition: logical consistency. It would be a really odd form of science though. Current scientific investigation can never falsify. If hardening Bayesian inference can be done by accepting that reality may not be logically consistent, then we would get a form of science where we have confirmation, but a theory could be true, and yet also false at the same time. Weird huh?

        • ildi

          Bless your heart for still trying…

        • Greg G.

          Won’t hardening Bayesian inference make it more brittle?

          If you make it better, Bayesian inference will be falsified. You will need a new name for the new and improved Bayes.

        • ildi

          Peanut?

        • Greg G.

          Thanks. Now I am craving peanut brittle after not thinking about it for years.

        • Susan

          This just seems to be a couple of days of someone using the “you can’t prove some incoherent agent doesn’t exist” mixed in with a lot of bullshit references that don’t pan out under scrutiny.

          That is: “I’m not a theist but all you non-theists have a burden of proof because I say so.”

        • Greg G.

          TSA was making that claim, that someone saying “I don’t believe you” bears a burden. I have seen him saying today that he doesn’t have to prove his statements of his state of mind.

        • Ignorant Amos

          D-K at work?

        • Greg G.

          Other-Atheists-Are-Wrong Syndrome and SIWOTI Syndrome.
          https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

        • Ignorant Amos

          A legend in his on lunchtime.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s exactly what it is Susan.

          Not forgetting the bit about his hypothesis and books that no one is picking up on about Religious Rejectionism…except to ridicule. A term it would appear to be misappropriated from earlier psychology.

          His misuse of the findings of the research done by Sam Harris et al as support for this nonsense is nothing short of brutal for a so-called intellectual.

          Given that his paper has only recently been put up…I avoid the term “published” as it gives it too much undeserved gravitas, it will be interesting to see what happens going forward.

          Like someone else has pointed out…for someone with such a high number of credit units…he hasn’t really amounted to too much in the grand scale of things…apart from his own narcissistic trumpet blowing, which is not that surprising given his performance here.

          But that’s just this “ignorant one” talking. Wtf do I know?

        • epeeist

          Given that his paper has only recently been put up…I avoid the term “published” as it gives it too much undeserved gravitas

          Anyone can put papers up on pre-print sites such as ArchXiv or SocArchXiv, or on things that pretend to be academic like ResearchGate ore Academia.edu but are really just social networking sites

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip…they might as well be, because all it is, is a blog post with delusions of grandeur.

          Because it is presented as an academic paper, doesn’t mean that’s what it is…the owner of the Skeptic Zone seems to have his measure too. TSA is doing what creation “scientists” do, making data force fit his conclusion. Or lying about it by omission.

          https://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-atheist-apologist.html?showComment=1528126722743#c4994957411833044473

        • Ignorant Amos

          Think of how fattening it is….

        • ildi
        • Greg G.

          Now my mouth is watering.

        • Pofarmer

          I think what we have here, is a prime example of what my Grandfather would have called an “educated idiot” Or maybe a multiply half educated idiot.

        • Greg G.

          Over-educated for any job requiring a Bachelor’s degree and under-educated for anything requiring a Master’s degree.

        • epeeist

          But ideally educated for a job as a petty bureaucrat.

          Or possibly as a professional stamp or sticker collector.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I watched an article recently where an expert had worked out that to fill the World Cup 2018 Panini Sticker Album it takes a spend of up to nearly £800 worth of sticker packs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Plenty of time to take multiple courses though. Either unemployable due to character, or lack thereof…or a spoiled rich kid using education as a pastime.

        • Greg G.
        • Ignorant Amos

          Someone at the Wikipedia page didn’t get the memo about transferring credits…

          SUNY Orange, or Orange County Community College, is a two-year college in the State University of New York (SUNY) system offering almost 40 associate degrees and certificate programs. As SUNY Orange is a part of the SUNY system, students from SUNY Orange may “seamlessly transfer” their credits to any other SUNY institution to continue towards other degrees, including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and master’s degrees. SUNY Orange also has many articulation agreements with four-year institutions outside of the SUNY system. The college has two campuses in Middletown, New York and in Newburgh, New York. The college also offers additional courses at satellite campuses in Warwick, Port Jervis, and Central Valley.

          …or, or, or,….?????

        • Ignorant Amos

          That SUNY college is at it with misrepresenting the courses they offer too?

          Mind you, everyone is at it in TSA’s eyes.

          His latest OP is about taking the NAS to task on misrepresenting ToE as fact.

          http://spiritualanthropologist.info/philosophy-of-science/email-to-the-national-academy-of-sciences-why-evolution-is-not-fact/#more-576

          Though he has no such compunction in not trying to educate Stephanie Keep on her myopic and unpopular definition of “hypothesis”…he is some piece of work.

          I now have a good idea why SUNY is fucking him about, have you?

        • Greg G.

          Sometimes the anonymity provided on the internet can show a worse side of a person. But maybe it filters out the worst, too.

        • Uh, no–polymath. It says so right there.

          We’re in august company.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8bb1758f2385eb508782f9e54472f2c51e7f57847bdbb04e12f7873087290a4a.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          Another example of him lying then…

        • Ignorant Amos

          He missed his calling…he should’ve been an army officer.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol.

        • ildi

          You may want to initiate some discussion with professors Gelman and Shalizi about the problem of induction: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1006.3868.pdf

          Philosophy and the practice of Bayesian statistics Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University and Cosma Rohilla Shalizi, Statistics Department, Carnegie Mellon University, Santa Fe Institute, 27 June 2011

          Abstract

          A substantial school in the philosophy of science identifies Bayesian inference with inductive inference and even rationality as such, and seems to be strengthened by the rise and practical success of Bayesian statistics. We argue that the most successful forms of Bayesian statistics do not actually support that particular philosophy but rather accord much better with sophisticated forms of hypothetico-deductivism. We examine the actual role played by prior distributions in Bayesian models, and the crucial aspects of model checking and model revision, which fall outside the scope of Bayesian confirmation theory. We draw on the literature on the consistency of Bayesian updating and also on our experience of applied work in social science. Clarity about these matters should benefit not just philosophy of science, but also statistical practice. At best, the inductivist view has encouraged researchers to fit and compare models without checking them; at worst, theorists have actively discouraged practitioners from performing model checking because it does not fit into their framework.

        • Yeah. Sounds like a criticism of induction.

        • ildi

          Sounds like? Alrighty-then!

        • I’m sorry, but what is your position on the problem of induction?

        • ildi

          You spend a lot of time apologizing!

        • True; I shouldn’t waste my time being polite with you. So again, what is your position on the problem of induction?

        • ildi

          Pivot!

        • epeeist

          I do notice that you ran away from a lot of our discussions

          Add in to your list, what the difference in errors is between classical/QM calculations, justification for claiming “is” is the same as “could be” when it comes to the reading of a particular paper, methods for producing hypotheses, whether the observation of electron diffraction confirms De Broglie’s hypothesis about matter waves, a whole stack of stuff on the Templeton study on the efficacy of prayer as to its status as a scientific theory, the question of what kind of burden of proof the sceptic has (if any). And this is only in exchanges with me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          … justification for claiming “is” is the same as “could be” when it comes to the reading of a particular paper, …

          Which the liar is continuing to assert btw.

          From his latest blog post.

          Bayesian inference seems to solve the problem of induction, but the issue with Bayesian inference is that it is brittle: it exhibits chaotic behavior with respect to the selection of priors. Falsification does not have this issue. That is because falsification is simply a statistical form of proof by contradiction, whether using the p-value approach or the Bayesian approach. We start by assuming that our theory is true, and that assumption gives us everything we need to take observations and estimate the probability of a theory being true. However, because we started with the assumption that the theory is true, stating that it is so is simply circular reasoning. Thus it is only valid to say that we have found a maximum probability of truth, or minimum probability of falsity, based on the observations recorded to date.

          http://spiritualanthropologist.info/philosophy-of-science/email-to-the-national-academy-of-sciences-why-evolution-is-not-fact/#more-576

        • epeeist

          Which the liar is continuing to assert btw.

          TSA behaving like a creationist, I’m shocked I tell you, shocked.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jack of all trades, master of none?

        • ildi

          More like jack all…

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know that I’d be real excited about 243 credits with only a BS in mathematics. Shows a lack of focus, imho.

        • Greg G.

          the other has the uniform of a Paramedic

          That reminded me of a story I can’t resist sharing… again, probably.

          A young woman was pulled from the ocean unconscious. She was life-flighted to the hospital. As they were coming in for the landing, she woke up and started fighting with the paramedics and they were trying to restrain her. When they landed, they removed their helmets.

          She said, “Oh! You’re human.”

        • ildi

          “Unfortunately a lot of times science education just ends up teaching the motions of scientific investigation without really getting into the detail of what science is, how it works, its limits, etc.”

          Funny you should pick Stephanie Keep as your role model for science education, then. She’s called out for using a definition of hypothesis that is fairly idiosyncratic, i.e.,: “A theory or a law is not better or somehow more substantiated than a hypothesis, and individual hypotheses cannot become theories or laws, no matter how much evidence supports them.” Her response when it is pointed out that she’s not using the NAS definition is interesting. Rather than cite her source and say why it fits better, she just says: “But, I think you’ll find that these are not universal definitions. So, I think setting operational definitions is fine, and can even be helpful!, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone is not reading from the same playbook. So, the public and students need to build up some amount of resiliency to not get tripped up when they see the terms used in different ways.”

          She never elaborates on this, but it sounds like what she is trying to avoid teaching is the more complex notion that while science is by its nature contingent, (as the commenter who brings up the NAS definitions in the first place says) “In science, certainty resides on continual testing and observation, and theories and laws, having been tested usually for decades or more, are as certain as we can be about anything in the natural world. For all intents and purposes, they are ‘facts’.”

          Another commenter supports this view, saying “I think one of the most important aspects of science is that it is tentative and dynamic. As a teacher I feel that it is imperative that my students understand that point; especially since I teach in a highly christian and republican area. When changes are made to existing theories such as evolution or global warming I do not want my students to say “ha, I knew it was wrong and science did not work here”. I want them to say “ha, science is working exactly as it should and ideas are tweaked as necessary as new data is gathered” (or something along those lines). I will continue to teach my students as I have in the past (they are more resilient than I think Stephanie believes they are).”

          Stephanie Keep is condescending to her audience which is not the mark of a good science educator.

        • epeeist

          A theory is a function which generates hypotheses.

          I rather suspect that Paul Feyerabend (Against Method) wouldn’t agree with this. Even someone more strait-laced like Karl Popper (The Logic of Scientific Discovery) would claim that is a very partial view.

          Science is not a system of support.

          And we are back to unsubstantiated assertions.

          Let’s take an example. In 1924 Louis De Broglie raised the hypothesis that just as light has both wave-like and particle-like properties so should entities that were then regarded purely as particles.

          In 1927 Thomson and Reid produced a paper in which they showed electrons producing a diffraction pattern.

          Are you actually saying that this does not provide support for De Broglie’s hypothesis?

        • epeeist

          but also made a lot of assumptions that weren’t justified.

          And what assumptions would they be? For some reason you neglect to say.

          A study should list its definitions and assumptions, and try to justify those assumptions.

          You know I think there might just be one or two books and a fair number of papers on the subject. My small library is probably a little out of date but this book gets good reviews.

        • Greg G.

          Did you read the comments section of your link? A respondent named Gregory Mead takes her to task by pointing her to the National Academy of Sciences definition, which she admitted she had never seen before.

        • Why does someone at NAS know more than her?

          Now, science does not support, confirm, prove, or verify. That form of science requires a solution to the problem of induction. Neither the p-value method or the Bayesian approach allows for support of theory.

          The difference between a theory and a hypothesis is specificity. In seduction, a theory is used to generate a hypothesis, and then observations are made. In falsification, that observation is then used to update the maximum probability that the theory is true.

        • Greg G.

          Why does someone at NAS know more than her?

          Oh my. You don’t know what the National Academy of Sciences is and you didn’t think you needed to find out.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Academy_of_Sciences

        • I am quite familiar with them. The point is that both are expert sources, and now since I’ve provided argument, you cannot validly appeal to authority to dismiss my position.

        • ildi

          “The point is that both are expert sources, and now since I’ve provided argument, you cannot validly appeal to authority to dismiss my position.”

          Statements like these are evidence that, contrary to your assertion, you are not educated in science. I studied mathematics and statistics before becoming trained as a scientist, and it is clear from a myriad of your statements and assertions that Google U has not served you well.

        • First off, it’s “myriad x” not “myriad of x.” Second, here’s my partial C.V. , not that it matters. THIRD, an appeal to authority is only valid of (1) the source is an authority and (2) there is no counter argument already presented.

          Maybe you’re the one who graduated from Google U.

        • Greg G.

          First off, it’s “myriad x” not “myriad of x.”

          It depends whether it is used as a noun or as an adjective. ildi used it as a noun, thus correctly.

        • Greg G.

          She was upstaged in her comments section.

        • So you say, or maybe not. Regardless, appeal to authority is no longer valid once a counter argument is made, so you cannot appeal to NAS’ position, at least not without committing a fallacy. NOW, respond to my argument, or admit that you are incapable.

        • Greg G.

          I Googled the phrase from the page you cited with quotation marks:

          “Hypotheses and theories are explanations for phenomena that differ in breadth, not necessarily in degree of evidentiary support”

          It got “About 9 results.”

          I Googled the entire definition for “theory” from the comments section with quotation marks:

          “Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses”

          It got “About 1,160 results.”

          I Googled a portion of the quote from the comments that was only slightly larger with quotation marks:

          “”Theory: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world”

          It got “About 1,130,000 results.”

          It looks like the whole world considers the NAS to be the preferred explanation. Only eight other pages use that definition and one of the eight is from the same site. An overwhelming disparity shows you are barking up the wrong tree.

        • Appeal to Google Search? Wow…

        • Greg G.

          Google search a quick, more importantly, cheap, and, most importantly, objective measure of how the information resonates in society.

          Of the nine results returned for the quote from your page, one link is dead (inpwhzwncmp.cf ), two go to EssayAssist pages (https://dlmbrxcawbg.gq/513-jiredwori-a-scientific-hypothesis-can-become-a-theory-if.html , http://eventsbymilkandhoneyfarm.com/theories-vs-hypothesis.html ) which charges for help with essays, three are for cookie cutter type pages that use similarly formatted urls ( http://tenremarta.jkub.com/2946-can-a-hypothesis-be-jocipecacecip-proven-1561.php , http://erroxuare.faqserv.com/2506-can-a-hypothesis-be-proven.php , http://scisexchanta.ninth.biz/1918-can-a-rxegecgo-hypothesis-be-proven.html ), one is for the article itself, another is a defense of the article at the same site, and the best reference to the article on the entire internet is a lesson plan for sixth grade ( http://www.cpalms.org/Public/PreviewResourceLesson/Preview/152833 ).

          You cherry-picked one oddball reference that hasn’t been referenced by any scientist outside its own website as an authority to stand against the National Academy of Sciences, then criticize me for defeating your non-sense with a Google search. Wow…

        • Appeal to consensus, popular opinion, etc. None of your arguments are valid. I provided a detailed argument, explaining your misunderstanding of scientific investigation, and you respond with “google search.”

          Appeal to authority is no longer an option for you. I provided an argument. Now you have to respond to that argument.

        • Greg G.

          You cited an authority. I cited a different authority. I proved your cite was not authoritative and that mine was.

          Was your argument:

          Why does someone at NAS know more than her?

          If your argument was:

          Now, science does not support, confirm, prove, or verify. That form of science requires a solution to the problem of induction. Neither the p-value method or the Bayesian approach allows for support of theory.

          The difference between a theory and a hypothesis is specificity. In seduction, a theory is used to generate a hypothesis, and then observations are made. In falsification, that observation is then used to update the maximum probability that the theory is true.

          I don’t disagree with that so much. I might state it in a different way but you tend to argue semantics.

          AIUI, a scientific hypothesis is based on observations and makes predictions of things not yet observed. If the predictions are confirmed, then it is called a theory. I think that is what you mean by “specificity”, that is, it is not the amount of evidence but a subset of evidence that was predicted before being observed that distinguishes a hypothesis from a theory and an ex-parrot ex-hypothesis.

        • > You cited an authority. I cited a different authority. I proved your cite was not authoritative and that mine was.

          Authorities are generally authorities, though a website does not constitute an authority over an individual per se. Regardless, I then continued to provide an argument. You ignored it and appealed to a Google search.

          > AIUI, a scientific hypothesis is based on observations and makes predictions of things not yet observed. If the predictions are confirmed, then it is called a theory.

          That is incorrect. Why? For one thing, confirmation does not exist in science. For another, labeling it that way removes the ability to label the actual hypothesis. Let me give you an example.

          Theory: all swans are white.
          Hypothesis: the next swan I see will by white.
          Observation: I see a black swan.

          The idea that a hypothesis becomes a theory comes from the bastardization of science which shoves together inductive and deductive reasoning, while failing to understand that there is no current mechanism by which we can drive up the probability of a theory being true.

        • Greg G.

          That is incorrect. Why? For one thing, confirmation does not exist in science. For another, labeling it that way removes the ability to label the actual hypothesis. Let me give you an example.

          Are you deliberately misreading or actually unable to comprehend? I did not say anything about the hypothesis being confirmed. You are arguing to be arguing, taking up positions against positions not held by others.

          A prediction can be confirmed. (That confirmed prediction may well confirm a hypothesis. See below) Einstein’s equations predicted that the path of light could be curved by gravitation. Some astronomers realized that during a solar eclipse, a certain star would be behind the sun, but if the equations predicted that the star would be visible. The astronomers made the observations and the star was observed precisely where the equations predicted it would be observed. The prediction of the equations was confirmed.

          That is incorrect. Why? For one thing, confirmation does not exist in science. For another, labeling it that way removes the ability to label the actual hypothesis. Let me give you an example.

          Theory: all swans are white.
          Hypothesis: the next swan I see will by white.
          Observation: I see a black swan.

          Make it:

          Hypothesis: All swans are white.
          Prediction: I will not see a swan that is not white.
          Observation: a black swan.

          The hypothesis is disconfirmed by showing that a prediction implied by the theory is false.

          Hypothesis: Not all swans are white.
          Prediction: Non-white swans can be observed.
          Observation: a black swan.

          So we have hypotheses that make different predictions. A single observation confirms one prediction and confirms the hypothesis while it disconfirms the prediction of theother hypothesis and refutes that hypothesis by disproving it.

          Hypothesis: All swans are white.
          Prediction: I will not see a swan that is not white.
          Observation: millions of white swans and no swans of any other color.

          The observation supports the prediction but it does not absolutely prove the prediction or the hypothesis. If you observe 5 million white swans and no other colors out of a population of 10 million swans, the prior prediction that there is one swan of a different color is still 0.5 probability. For the prediction of two of them, the probability is 0.25. For the prior prediction of 10 of them, the probability is 1/1024. That observation does imply that non-white swans are probably very uncommon. It shows there is less than a 0.1% chance that non-white swans are as common as one in a million.

          Since we are forced to make inferences from limited observations, assume axioms for our logic, rely on a memory system that is known to be faulty, and die before all possible observations can be made, we can never be absolutely certain of anything.

        • Except that’s not correct. Tell me this: what is the justification for calling a “hypothesis” which has made an apparently correct prediction a “theory?”

        • Greg G.

          Except that’s not correct. Tell me this: what is the justification for calling a “hypothesis” which has made an apparently correct prediction a “theory?”

          There is no ceremony for graduation. There are no rules. Different hypotheses could be melded together if they complement one another. There could be multiple hypotheses making some of the same predictions and some different predictions. As some of the predictions are able to be tested, some fall by the wayside if disproved by observation. A hypotheses might be subsumed into a larger theory.

        • So you’re saying that there is no actual defined distinction between the two, as you use them. Got it.

          > A hypotheses might be subsumed into a larger theory.

          Define “theory.” Explain exactly how one would determine if something is a theory or not.

        • Greg G.

          Define “theory.” Explain exactly how one would determine if something is a theory or not.

          Already done. Hint: NSA.

        • epeeist

          Now, science does not support, confirm, prove, or verify.

          Nonsense. While science doesn’t provide proof theories can certainly be confirmed or verified (think of Popper’s idea of “verisimilitude”).

          Neither the p-value method or the Bayesian approach allows for support of theory.

          Nonsense, see something like Colin Howson’s paper Bayesianism or Alan Hajek and James M. Joyce’s paper Confirmation for details of how Bayes theorem can be used for confirmation within science.

          If you want to see how Bayes theorem is used within particular domains of science then Bayesian Methods in Cosmology (Michael Hobson et al) is a good, if technical, example.

        • > Nonsense. While science doesn’t provide proof theories can certainly be confirmed or verified (think of Popper’s idea of “verisimilitude”).

          By what mechanism?

          > Nonsense, see something like Colin Howson’s paper Bayesianism or Alan Hajek and James M. Joyce’s paper Confirmation for details of how Bayes theorem can be used for confirmation within science.

          Bayesian inference is brittle: it exhibits chaotic behavior wrt the prior probability selection. How do you know you’ve selected the correct priors?

          > If you want to see how Bayes theorem is used within particular domains of science then Bayesian Methods in Cosmology (Michael Hobson et al) is a good, if technical, example.

          Again, how do you know you’ve selected the correct priors?

        • epeeist

          By what mechanism?

          Have a look at Popper’s ideas on hypothetical-deductive schemes, eliminativism and predictivism, Hempel on confirmation, Lipton and inference to the best explanation and finally the huge literature on Bayesian confirmation.

          Bayesian inference is [My emphasis] brittle:

          Compare your sentence here with this one from the abstract of the paper:

          We report new results suggesting that, although Bayesian methods are robust when the number of possible outcomes is finite or when only a finite number of marginals of the data-generating distribution are unknown, they could be generically brittle when applied to continuous systems

          I presume you can demonstrate why we should accept your claim, which is much stronger than the paper you are citing.

          Again, how do you know you’ve selected the correct priors?

          The book I referenced deals with objective rather than subjective Bayesians. The priors will therefore come from either the parameters or the models.

        • > Have a look at Popper’s ideas on hypothetical-deductive schemes, eliminativism and predictivism, Hempel on confirmation, Lipton and inference to the best explanation and finally the huge literature on Bayesian confirmation.

          Let’s start with Bayesian confirmation. I’ve already pointed out that Bayesian inference is brittle, so confirmation is a problem.

          > I presume you can demonstrate why we should accept your claim, which is much stronger than the paper you are citing.

          Actually, that’s enough. There’s no reason to think that Bayesian inference is not brittle, and the paper has indicated that small perturbations in prior probabilities can be used to flip outcomes of Bayesian inference. The “could be” comes in to play with the types of models. Very course models do not suffer from this problem as much. The issue is determining courseness of the entire system of theory being used.

          Remember, theories do not exist in isolation. Usually a whole body of theory is used to make a prediction in an experiment, and therefore it is the whole body of theory that is being tested. And our priors are usually a result of that already existing body of theory, and its history, going back to the priors that were developed through our own evolutionary history.

          > The book I referenced deals with objective rather than subjective Bayesians. The priors will therefore come from either the parameters or the models.

          They come from the model being tested?

        • epeeist

          I’ve already pointed out that Bayesian inference is brittle, so confirmation is a problem.

          A claim which is at odds with the paper you cited.

          Actually, that’s enough.

          No, not going to accept your attempt to hand wave the whole thing away. Justify your claim or withdraw it.

          Remember, theories do not exist in isolation.

          No shit Sherlock. I never knew that…

        • > A claim which is at odds with the paper you cited.

          It isn’t. The paper admits that if a model is coarse enough, accuracy can be sacrificed for stability.

          > No, not going to accept your attempt to hand wave the whole thing away. Justify your claim or withdraw it.

          So we have reason to doubt Bayesian methodology for confirmation, etc, but you want to ignore that.

          > No shit Sherlock. I never knew that…

          Great. Then it makes it very difficult to identify the coarseness of the system of theory and ensure that it can allow for stability of Bayesian inference.

          You didn’t answer my final question.

          > The book I referenced deals with objective rather than subjective Bayesians. The priors will therefore come from either the parameters or the models.

          They come from the model being tested?

        • epeeist

          It isn’t.

          Either you really can’t see the difference between “is” and “could be” or you are being intentionally dishonest.

          So we have reason to doubt Bayesian methodology for confirmation, etc, but you want to ignore that.

          No, what I want is for you to actually justify your claim rather than indulge in hand waving and unsubstantiated assertions.

          Great.

          I really didn’t think I needed to include a /s tag. As it is given your posts I rather suspect that I know a lot more about theories, their development and requirements than you.

          You didn’t answer my final question.

          Tell you what, you fulfil your obligations and then I’ll answer your question.

        • > Either you really can’t see the difference between “is” and “could be” or you are being intentionally dishonest.

          First off, if there is no justification for the stability of Bayesian inference, and there is evidence against its stability, guess which assumption we select. Furthermore, “could be” is wrt whether or not the models being tested are coarse enough to sacrifice accuracy for stability.

          > Tell you what, you fulfil your obligations and then I’ll answer your question.

          I have. The analysis indicates that if a model is not sufficiently coarse, Bayesian inference will exhibit chaotic behavior. The question of “could be” comes into play when we ask whether or not a theory is sufficiently coarse. I understand why you won’t answer my final question though. You realized why your statement is silly. You suggest that the model that we’re testing can be used to generate the priors used in a test which, according to you, could potentially confirm that model. Clearly that’s silly.

        • epeeist

          First off, if there is no justification for the stability of Bayesian inference, and there is evidence against its stability

          Let’s go back to the quotation I made from the abstract of the paper shall we:

          We report new results suggesting that, although Bayesian methods are robust when the number of possible outcomes is finite or when only a finite number of marginals of the data-generating distribution are unknown, they could be generically brittle when applied to continuous systems

          What is being said here? Firstly that Bayesian methods are robust in some circumstances and could be brittle in other circumstances. Not that they are brittle in all circumstances.

          In other words you are over-egging the conclusions that the authors of the paper have drawn.

          I have.

          No, you really haven’t. All you have done is made a series of assertions. You don’t appear to know the difference between “It is raining in Pensicola” and “It could be raining in Pensicola”.

          I understand why you won’t answer my final question though.

          No you don’t. The simple reason that I haven’t answered your question is because I am cheesed off with someone who will not fulfil their obligation to justify their claims.

        • > What is being said here? Firstly that Bayesian methods are robust in some circumstances and could be brittle in other circumstances. Not that they are brittle in all circumstances.

          I never said that they are brittle in all circumstances, but scientific theories are not necessarily coarse enough to be immune to the problem identified in the paper. Given that scientific theories are intricate systems involving numerous assumptions, we have no reason to believe that they are immune to the chaotic behavior identified in the paper.

          > In other words you are over-egging the conclusions that the authors of the paper have drawn.

          No; a pathology was identified and there is no evidence, as of yet, indicating that scientific theories are immune to that pathology, especially since reality isn’t constrained by tons of arbitrary assumptions about conditions. Suppose we want to know if a die is biased. How many different probability distributions are associated with that die? The answer is that there is an infinite number of probability distributions associated with that die.

          > No you don’t. The simple reason that I haven’t answered your question is because I am cheesed off with someone who will not fulfil their obligation to justify their claims.

          No; you said that we could get the priors from the model. Well we can’t. Because to do that, we have to assume that the model is true. But then we cannot use that assumption to identify how likely that model is to actually be true. That would be circular reasoning. The only way we could use the model to generate the priors is if we’re trying to falsify it, because that would just be statistical proof by contradiction:

          Your suggestion: assuming that theory T is true, use data to show that the approximate probability of T being true is p. That’s invalid because we already assumed T is true.

          What works: assuming that theory T is true, use data to show that the minimum probability of T being false/MAXIMUM probability of T being true is p.

        • epeeist

          I never said that they are brittle in all circumstances

          Your exact words were:

          I’ve already pointed out that Bayesian inference is brittle, so confirmation is a problem.

          In other words, no qualification as to the circumstances.

          No; a pathology was identified and there is no evidence, as of yet, indicating that scientific theories are immune to that pathology

          Really? Are theories continuous or discrete in nature, because it is only if they are the former that they could be brittle.

          No; you said that we could get the priors from the model.

          “It’s no good you making a noise, gentlemen. The Dean ain’t a-coming down tonight.”

          Fulfil your obligation to show that “Bayesian inference is brittle” rather than “Bayesian inference could be brittle” and then I will answer your question. Until you do so I see no reason to follow your squirrel.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I read this guest post update on an earlier guest post by the authors…and some comments in the comments section. From my “ignorant” understanding, limited such that it is, I don’t think they are being as assertive as smart alec thinks they are, but I could be wrong. I very often am.

        • epeeist

          I don’t think they are being as assertive as smart alec thinks they are

          That’s my reading as well. All I think they are doing is warning against the unthinking use of a currently fashionable technique. It is effectively saying “Don’t try to drive that screw home with a lump hammer”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But, but, but, TSA is a science guy…surely you’re not suggesting….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Citation please.

          So you’ve not read the NT gospels then?

          https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/God-Answers-Prayer

          Go ahead and show me that any god would answer any prayer at any time.

          The old “God is not a vending machine” gambit in apologetics.

          YahwehJesus is supposed to have attributes including perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence. Why would a god that could answer any prayer at any time, not?

          It only takes the example of one to refute your mindwankery.

          According to some Christians, YahwehJesus answers all prayers, just not always they’d want them answered. We call the latter, not answered at all…because the God being asked, is imaginary. The prayers that believers think are getting answered, is exactly the same as chance for things that occur naturally.

          Impossible stuff never seems to happen though, like amputee’s spontaneously growing a limb, or even just regrowing a limb.

          http://godisimaginary.com/index.htm

        • > So you’ve not read the NT gospels then?

          I’m relatively familiar with it. The bible says not to test this god thing when it is with respect to doubt: https://www.gotquestions.org/test-God.html

          So we have a theory which is not exactly justified by the belief of those who think it is true, or even by biblical teachings. That means that the theory was constructed without properly justifying the assumptions of the theory. Now, it’s still a falsifiable theory, but not one that pertains to questions that people generally have. All it seems to do is satisfy the strong atheists’ belief that there are no gods.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The bible says not to test this god thing when it is with respect to doubt: https://www.gotquestions.or

          Yes, the Bible is chock full of contradictions, we know. Another reason why it is a parcel of shite and why God is imaginary.

          So let me get this straight. God promises to answer prayers positively when made. God fails in that endeavor, setting up the doubt of the prayer, then you think that it is God being tested? Wise ta fuck up.

          So we have a theory which is not exactly justified by the belief of those who think it is true, or even by biblical teachings.

          Whaaa? What is this “theory” you are now wittering on about? That God answers prayers is a justified belief, because the book that they believe is the word of the God declares that the God will indeed answer all prayers. That is the problem for those of us that haven’t got their heads crammed up their arse.

          That means that the theory was constructed without properly justifying the assumptions of the theory.

          Well, if the theory is that God answers prayers, but doesn’t…then yes, the fuckwits that constructed the theory on behalf of their God, didn’t think it through, or didn’t even care. The carrot and the stick still works for the gullible. That still doesn’t help the overall veracity claim for the existence of their God.

          Now, it’s still a falsifiable theory, but not one that pertains to questions that people generally have.

          What people? Don’t you think think things would be much different if indeed, all prayers were answered? If the question regarding the efficacy of prayer was not one that people generally have, then why has there been studies pertaining to just that question?

          All it seems to do is satisfy the strong atheists’ belief that there are no gods.

          It’s one of the many nails in the coffin, sure, why wouldn’t it be. If Joe Bloggs was claiming that he could fly, but failed to do so repeatedly, would you conclude that he couldn’t fly, or just hated being tested?

          Perfect beings don’t fail.

        • Greg G.

          If a god were willing to do what a person wants, why make them beg? Why are those who beg never surprised when they don’t get what they asked? Why are most answered prayers things that were likely to happen anyway?

        • You’re shifting burden of proof. You’re developing the theory that you then are using to falsify the existence of these god things. It’s on you to justify the validity of the assumptions used in your theory. I make no claims about the existence or non-existence of gods, at least not in general.

        • Greg G.

          I have given evidence that gods do not answer prayers so any claim of a god that answers prayers has evidence against it. The fact that those who pray are not surprised by prayer that is not answered shows that they understand it at some level. There are people who are told that it requires strong faith for answered prayers blame their weak faith for the failed prayer. It is most unfortunate when they prove how strong their faith is by letting a child die instead of taking the child to a doctor.

        • But you have not justified the position that a god WOULD answer.

        • Greg G.

          If a god is imagined to answer a prayer, then it is refuted by prayer studies. All of the evidence we have for answered prayers from credible studies is that there are no gods that answer the type of prayers theists believe are answered by various gods. It doesn’t rule out non-prayer-answering-gods. But we have no evidence for them so there is no need to consider their existence.

        • > If a god is imagined to answer a prayer, then it is refuted by prayer studies.

          Only if you assume that a god would allow itself to be tested, which is not necessarily the case, based on biblical teaching and the other related beliefs of those who believe in this god thing. You want to make a supposition that isn’t necessarily valid based on the context of the question.

        • Greg G.

          Here is what the New Testament says about the Bible god on prayer:

          Matthew 7:7-8 (NRSV)7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

          Matthew 17:20 (NRSV)20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

          Matthew 18:19-20 (NRSV)19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

          Matthew 21:21-22 (NRSV)21 Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”

          Mark 11:24-25 (NRSV)24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.25 “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

          Luke 11:9-13 (NRSV)9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

          John 14:12-14 (NRSV)12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

          John 15:7 (NRSV)7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

          John 15:16 (NRSV)16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.

          John 16:23-24 (NRSV)23 On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

          James 5:15-16 (NRSV)15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

          1 John 5:14-15 (NRSV)14 And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

          There are lots of excuses written in but none about keeping a non-biased record causing the failures. It’s like they were talking out of their asses knowing prayer will fail most every time so don’t count on it.

          There is no excuse for believing prayer is effective without confirmation bias.

          Edit: Change “bible” to “New Testament” in first sentence.

        • Also have shown you passages where god says “don’t test me.” (Paraphrasing mostly)

        • Ignorant Amos

          So which of the things this god you lack belief in should we accept? And why? The one’s about not testing, that you assume, for the sake of your argument? Hilarious.

          You seem to be doing that thing which you accuse the rest of doing…a tad hypocritical.

        • Bob Jase

          Y’know, for a guy like TSA who says he doesn’t have a god he sure seems to know everything about that god.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There seems to be a number of self proclaimed atheists commenting here recently that are crazier than the average believer.

        • Bob Jase

          And the really odd thing is they all seem to be into Christian apologetics, but they ain’t Christians, no siree!

        • Greg G.

          Some miss the singing during the services. Some miss the social interaction of church. But what kind of nut misses the apologetics?

        • Ignorant Amos

          His fuckwittery has been observed and blogged about elsewhere.

          Over at The Skeptic Zone blog.

          https://theskepticzone.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-atheist-apologist.html?showComment=1527770710856#c6841757462146847550

        • epeeist

          https://theskepticzone.blog

          Aargh – Tim O’Neill alert.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anno…soz about that…and he takes up most of the comments with irrelevant nonsense too.

        • epeeist

          he takes up most of the comments with irrelevant nonsense too.

          SOP for him, almost as bad as Breuer.

        • Pofarmer

          What is it about O’Neill that makes him just so damned annoying? Is it that he has a Masters in Midevil literature and is a mid level hiring manger posing as a historian? Is it his acidic nature? Is it his general non-inquisitiveness? I’m sure the lest could be expanded.

        • Pofarmer

          You noticed that too.

        • Greg G.

          I went to a half dozen websites with verses about answered prayer. Some of these were common to all but none had all of them so I may have missed some. But none of these say that testing will invalidate prayer. They have premises like “if you abide in me” (whatever that means – it could be interpreted as anything as an excuse for failed praying) and “if two of you agree”, but those cannot be construed as testing causing failure.

          Several years ago, there was a drought in Texas. They had two state-wide days of prayer plus churchloads of people praying for rain continuously all summer. When it was too late in the fall to be a good thing, they got torrential rains and flooding. If there was a god, he was fucking with Texas. Sure, if you keep praying long enough for rain, it will be answered but it shows that praying for rain is a joke.

        • Bob Jase

          Forget it Jake, its Metaphortown.

        • ildi

          “Only if you assume that a god would allow itself to be tested, which is not necessarily the case, based on biblical teaching and the other related beliefs of those who believe in this god thing.”

          Hmmm… sounds like you’re making an argument for a narrow definition of god, not your original definition.

        • > Hmmm… sounds like you’re making an argument for a narrow definition of god, not your original definition.

          Not at all. I actually cited biblical verses stating that god does not want to be tested. So… yeah.

        • ildi

          Your definition of “Generally, a being with agency which is not bound by some fundamental law of nature which binds us.” does not include anything about whether this being wants to be tested, so, yeah, you are now defending a narrow definition of god (that you don’t believe in). Funny, that.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          … based on what theists let pass as evidence that they say makes them think there are actual beings we could call Gods. The conclusion remains a tentative one that has remained unfalsified far longer than any of us have been alive. Not even supposed “natural theology” expert philosopher William Lane Craig could say what the fuck anyone could be talking about, when they talk about “Gods”, when questioned by Cosmologist Sean Carroll:

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wqKObSeim2w

        • Joe

          Kir has a very odd, childlike understanding of ontology, epistemology, pretty much everything really.

        • Pofarmer

          If it’s Kir, that explains a lot.

        • Joe

          It is.

        • Ryan M

          Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

          Consider modus tollens.

          1. If P, then Q.
          2. ~Q.
          3. Therefore, ~P

          Evidence for a proposition is anything we’d expect to see if the proposition is true. Since modus tollens is a valid form of reasoning, we know that for any true material conditional, the strict absence of a consequent implies the strict absence of the antecedent, i.e., strict absence of Q being that we know that Q is false.

          What about probabilistic cases? Well suppose we have two urns, A and B, and A and B have the following stats:

          Stat 1 – Urn A contains 10 balls, 8/10 are white, 2/10 is black.
          Stat 2 – Urn B contains 10 balls, 8/10 are black, 2/10 is white.

          In selecting 2 balls at random from the same urn, evidence for urn A being selected would be finding two white balls whereas evidence for urn B being selected would be finding two black balls. What then would be an absence of evidence for urn A being selected? Absence of evidence would be finding two black balls since this would be evidence for Urn B being selected (it would NOT be what we’d expect if Urn A was the randomly selected urn). Does this absence of evidence for urn A provide evidence of absence that urn A was selected? That is, does the lack of data supporting the urn being urn A provide evidence that the urn is urn B? Yes, as the basic rules of probability would show.

          Let’s clarify “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” to be more accurate.

          Interpretation 1 – It is never the case that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

          Interpretation 2 – It is sometimes the case that absence of evidence is evidence of absence AND it is sometimes the case that it is not the case that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

          Interpretation 1 is false since absence of evidence is sometimes evidence of absence, i.e., for any claim of the form “It is never the case that P, we can refute the claim by finding one counter example where it is the case that P.

          Interpretation 2 is weaker than interpretation 1, and interpretation 2 is true since absence of evidence is sometimes evidence of absence but it is not the case that absence of evidence is always evidence of absence, e.g., we might expect particular things to be the case given a murder but fail to find the data due to a conspiracy.

          Unless you advocate interpretation 2 over 1, then you advocate something false.

          With respect to there being no arguments against theism in the OP, we can certainly construct what is clearly implied reasoning:

          Argument 1:

          1. If God exists, then we’d find revealed information by God in the world.
          2. It is not the case that we find revealed information by God in the world.
          3. Therefore, it is not the case that God exists.

          Argument 2:

          F = we find revealed information by God in the world
          ~F = negation of “F”
          T = theism
          ~T = atheism

          1. The Probability of F is greater given T than ~T
          2. If the probability of F is greater given T than ~T, then the probability of ~F is greater given ~T than T.
          3. Therefore, the probability of ~F is greater given ~T than T.
          4. It is the case that ~F.
          5. If it is the case that ~F, and the probability of ~F is greater given ~T than T, and all else is equal, then ~T is more probable than T.
          6. All else is equal.
          7. Therefore, ~T is more probable than T.

          Extrapolating the above sorts of arguments from the OP is reasonable given that Bob says God not revealing itself is reason to think God does not exist. Clearly then there is more than arguments against arguments for theism since there are arguments against theism itself to be taken from the OP.

        • Ignorant Amos

          C’mon Ryan…TSA has a degree in Mathematics don’t ya know…allegedly? Yer teaching granny to suck eggs. //s

        • Ryan M

          Flaunting the credentials seems suspect IMO. It seems to me to likely be a tactic to confuse people into questioning what is obviously reasonable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…hence my sarky moji. I know you two have a wee bit of history.

          I don’t see any level of third level educational competence being displayed so far.

          Of course, a degree from what institution is another question?

        • Ryan M

          Definitely Bovine University.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I believe Clown University is also a real thing and must be a contender?

        • Ryan M

          He’s probably making a mashed potato circus right now and where else could he learn such a skill?

        • > 1. If God exists, then we’d find revealed information by God in the world.

          Why? What relevant information? There are lots of cases where we have yet to find information. You see (1) is not valid.

          > 1. The Probability of F is greater given T than ~T

          Based on?

        • epeeist

          There are lots of cases where we have yet to find information.

          Let’s ignore the fact that, once again, you are making a bare assertion. In this case you are also begging the question in that you are assuming that such information actually exists.

        • Greg G.

          > 1. The Probability of F is greater given T than ~T

          Based on?

          If theism is true, there is a possibility that we could find evidence that it is true. You can guess that it is as small as you can imagine but you cannot logically rule out the possibility, so there is a non-zero chance. If theism is not true, then there is exactly zero possibility of finding evidence for it. A non-zero chance is greater than zero.

        • > If theism is true, there is a possibility that we could find evidence that it is true.

          Possibility of finding evidence. The thing is, EVIDENCE is not a thing by itself. An observation constitutes evidence or not, wrt to a given claim.

          > If theism is not true, then there is exactly zero possibility of finding evidence for it. A non-zero chance is greater than zero.

          Well, not really. One problem is that you’re confusing truth with ability to find truth.

        • Greg G.

          Possibility of finding evidence. The thing is, EVIDENCE is not a thing by itself. An observation constitutes evidence or not, wrt to a given claim.

          There can be evidence that is found and evidence that is not found. There can be found evidence that is misinterpeted and some that is correctly interpreted. Therefore, if theism is true, there is a non-zero chance of finding evidence and a non-zero chance that it will be interpreted correctly. If theism is wrong that there is a god or god thingies, then it is impossible to find evidence for them and interpret it correctly. IOW, there is a zero chance. A non-zero chance is greater than a zero chance.

          Well, not really. One problem is that you’re confusing truth with ability to find truth.

          You are confused. We are talking about the possibilities of finding and interpreting hypothetical evidence that could establish a truth.

          Have you been up all night? Have some coffee. Your brain needs a jump start.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Have you been up all night? Have some coffee. Your brain needs a jump start.

          I was thinking there was an extra bit of metaphorical mad eye twitching myself.

        • Ryan M

          Validity applies to arguments, not sentences on their own nor groups of sentences that are not arguments. Calling sentences “Valid” when one means “true” is confusing and ought to be avoided as a result.

          I am not endorsing the above argument(s). You claimed Bob did not make an argument against theism, but instead only made arguments against arguments for theism. The arguments I posted are clearly ones Bob is implying in his post (they are not explicitly made, premise by premise, but we can see he intends to communicate something like the arguments I made).

        • Ryan M

          I’m surprised you decided to challenge premise 1 of that mock argument.

          Remember what the terms mean:

          F = we find revealed information by God in the world
          ~F = negation of “F”
          T = theism
          ~T = atheism

          1. The Probability of F is greater given T than ~T

          Given the meaning of the terms, premise 1 says that the probability of there being revealed information by God in the world is greater given the truth of theism than the truth of atheism. This is odd to dispute.

          For any P, if P implies Q, then the probability of Q given P is 100%, otherwise said to be “1”. Suppose P implies Q, but it’s not the case that the probability of Q given P is 100%. Then we’d find that it is possible that P be true but Q is not true. But we said P implies Q, so whenever P is true, Q is true. As a result, P implying Q implies that the probability of Q given P is 100%.

          So how does this relate to premise 1? Well suppose F is true. If F is true, then we find revealed information by God in the world. There can only be revealed information by God in the event that God exists, thus if F is true, then T is true. Since F implies T, ~T then implies ~F (Simple contrapositive. The contrapositive of P implying Q is that ~Q implies ~P). Since ~T implies ~F, the probability of ~F given ~T is 100%. Since the probability of ~F given ~T is 100%, it must be the case that the probability of F given ~T is 0%.

          So what do we have here? Premise 1 says the probability of F is greater given T than ~T. If Premise 1 is false, then either the probability of F is greater given ~T than T, or the probability of F given T is equal to the probability of F given ~T. Since the probability of F given ~T is 0%, it cannot be the case that the probability of F given T is less than the probability of F given ~T (Since probabilities cannot be lower than 0). Consequently, if premise 1 is false, then the probability of F given T must be equal to the probability of F given ~T. Thus, since the probability of F given ~T = 0%, then if premise 1 is false it must be the case that the probability of F given T is 0%. But it’s not the case that the probability of F given T is 0%, thus it’s not the case that premise 1 is false.

          It’s not the case that the probability of F given T is 0% since it is possible that God reveals information to humanity. As a result, even if we figured that it is very improbable that God revealed information to humanity, e.g., .00001%, it would still be the case that such phenomena would be more probable given theism than atheism (since the probability would be precisely 0% given atheism).

        • Michael Neville

          Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

          This is a standard apologetics argument trying, vainly, to pretend that the complete and utter lack of reasonable evidence for any god (note that’s any god, not just the one you appear to favor) is not actually evidence of their absence.

          If I’m looking for my car keys and I check my pants pockets and don’t find them there, that is evidence of absence of my keys from my pockets. Likewise if I examine the major arguments for the existence of gods and find them either fallacious or inconclusive, that’s evidence that gods do not exist.

        • I am not wasting my time on arguing with you in multiple threads. Evidence is an observation. Not seeing something in not an observation.

        • Michael Neville

          I see, I make a comment and you whine that I’ve made comments elsewhere. So fucking what? You made a claim HERE and I rebutted it HERE. So instead of whining why don’t you answer my rebuttal?

          Evidence is an observation.

          There are other forms of evidence besides observing something. I leave it as an exercise to the student as to what other types of evidence occur.

          Not seeing something in not an observation.

          Non sequitur. Try again, this time considering that negative evidence does exist.

        • There’s direct logical argument as well. But scientific evidence is, by definition, observational.

          Evidence of nonexistence exists, but that evidence is observation which is unlikely to occur, under the assumption of existence, NOT so called absence of evidence.

        • Greg G.

          TSA’s version of time management is to waste his time arguing with you in only one thread.

        • Greg G.

          Not seeing something in not an observation.

          Look under your bed. Do you see that elephant? No? What does that observation tell you?

        • Actually, it’s what I do see that indicates there’s no elephant.

        • Greg G.

          You do not see an elephant. You do not observe an elephant. Absence of evidence where there should be evidence is evidence of absence.

        • No; I see things which contradict the existence of an elephant under my bed. There’s a difference. Those observations can be recorded and shared. NOT SEEING SOMETHING cannot be.

          Please record and share blindness.

        • Greg G.

          How do you know there isn’t an invisible elephant under your bed?

        • > How do you know there isn’t an invisible elephant under your bed?

          I don’t know, but I use scientific methodology to come to the conclusion, which is the only thing that I can do. But scientific methodology does not rely on absence of evidence, but observation contrary to the assumption being tested.

          In any case, you’ll continue to use your pseudo-logical doctrine to justify your beliefs, and there is nothing that I could say that would change your mind, and so be it. Also, to change my mind, just show a solution to the problem of induction and justify the assumptions in the model that was being tested .

        • Pofarmer

          The Dunning Kruger is strong with this one. What an utter doofus.

    • Ryan M

      even then really only the Christian or maybe Abrahamic god

      Focusing on the Christian interpretation of monotheism, or the Abrahamic version in general is not really amazing given that; 1. Most monotheists subscribe to some variant of the Abrahamic version of God, 2. Most people here are likely to be Westerners and consequently interested in the concept of God predominant in their area/culture.

      If anything, it would be amazing for Bob or others here to focus on interpretations of monotheism which they would not likely ever interact with, e.g., tackling Eastern monotheism such as Hinduism. Given that Bob is from Seattle (If I’ve read correctly), it makes perfect sense that he tackles the sort of God that would be believed by almost every theist around him in his geographical area and his cultural history.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Depending on the tradition of Hinduism and the Hindu one is talking to of course. Many Hindu’s would claim henotheistic belief for example…just sayin’…before TSA makes it a point of pedantic obfuscation.

        • Ryan M

          It’s hard enough to keep the thousands of types of Christians straight so maybe I shouldn’t bring up Hindus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anno….think of the number of Hindu gods we don’t believe exist that he’ll be demanding we demonstrate non-existence of, with evidence ffs…that’s a Pandora’s Box no one wants opened.

      • Sure, but it should still be specified, and quite honestly, it seems that they use this view as a straw man against all gods. Furthermore, the arguments don’t even work for the Abrahamic gods, in general, or even many understandings of the Christian god.

        • Greg G.

          Sure, but it should still be specified

          The name of the blog is “Cross Examined” and is on a religion-based blogsite. It should not be difficult to work out that it is examining Christianity from the word “Cross”. People with a sense of humor and recognition of word play see it immediately. Since it is in the Nonreligious section, it should be obvious that it is not approaching Christianity from the assumption that it is true.

        • > The name of the blog is “Cross Examined” and is on a religion-based blogsite. It should not be difficult to work out that it is examining Christianity from the word “Cross”.

          Sure, but even still, it seems clear that there is an attempt to confirm the belief that there are no gods.

          > There can be evidence that is found and evidence that is not found.

          Sure, if you want to say it that way. Now show me that there is no unfound evidence. But there are a lot of things which constitute evidence for a potentially true theory, which ends up not panning out. For instance, there was a ton of evidence justifying Newtonian mechanics, but eventually it was shown to be false. But those previous observations are still evidence justifying Newtonian mechanics. It’s just that other evidence outweighed it. So to say that if something is false, there is no evidence for it is just not quite right.

          More importantly, there really is no such thing as evidence FOR a theory. That’s not how science works. There is only evidence against it, or insufficient evidence against it.

        • Greg G.

          Sure, but even still, it seems clear that there is an attempt to confirm the belief that there are no gods.

          So what? The nature of a blog is to talk about lots of things. You don’t get to dictate your anal retentive categories on others.

          > There can be evidence that is found and evidence that is not found.

          Sure, if you want to say it that way. Now show me that there is no unfound evidence.

          Of course I put it that way. It is not my job to prove there is no unfound evidence. My position is there either is such evidence or there is not. I am saying we cannot rule it out beforehand. If you want to rule out the non-zero chance that it exists, then it is up to you to prove there is no unfound evidence.

          More importantly, there really is no such thing as evidence FOR a theory. That’s not how science works. There is only evidence against it, or insufficient evidence against it.

          No, evidence can refute a theory or support it but it cannot prove the theory. When scientists realized they could test one of the implications of Einstein’s theory as it predicted that the path of light could be affected by gravity because an upcoming eclipse would occur when a certain star would be behind the sun yet would be visible if the theory was correct. When they made the observation, the star was seen precisely where the theory predicted it would be detected. The evidence supported the theory though it didn’t prove it anymore than Newtonian calculations are accurate within the error margins that humans can measure the to fill in the variables, as long as the speeds and gravitational fields are not too extreme.

        • Greg G.

          Sure, but even still, it seems clear that there is an attempt to confirm the belief that there are no gods.

          Actually, we asked for evidence for deities all the time but we never get anything remotely convincing. That is not the blog community’s fault.

        • > Actually, we asked for evidence for deities all the time but we never get anything remotely convincing. That is not the blog community’s fault.

          Cool. I’m not not saying that there is a god. I am pointing out that your arguments are flawed.

          > Christians believe it works. They pray, the forget when it doesn’t work, they remember when it seems to work, so they remember it working. They get the idea that prayer will work from the Bible and why it works from the Bible. The Bible part is irrelevant.

          Great, but that doesn’t mean that it is justified in believing that it will work when you are testing god because you doubt its existence.

          > They designed the test expecting to see dramatic results.

          Great. But that doesn’t mean that the theory was well developed. I’m not surprised.

        • So what are you saying? That there’s a better test for prayer that has yet to be conducted? That Christians’ model of prayer actually makes sense? You’ve lost me.

        • I’m suggesting that the reasoning used in some of these articles and by many of the people here is flawed.

        • Pofarmer

          Then interact with the articles rather than just being a douche.

        • I have interacted with the articles and the people commenting.

        • Pofarmer

          You appear to be doing standard apologetics.

        • If by that you mean I’m pointing out erroneous arguments, then sure.

        • Greg G.

          That is not what “standard apologetics” mean and you are not pointing out erroneous arguments.

        • Oh? What does it mean?

        • Greg G.

          Standard apologetics is not about pointing out erroneous arguments. You figure it out.

        • So then I’m not engaging in standard apologetics.

        • Pofarmer

          No. I mean your parroting Christian apologetics tropes

        • Nope. Also, define apologetics.

        • Pofarmer

          Then why are you quoting bible verses that you should know are contradicted? Why won’t you interact with the examples given in an honest fashion? Why doi you straw man what people say?

        • I’m only quoting bible verses to point out the issue with the lack of justification for the assumptions in the theory being tested. A lack of justification for assumptions in theories is a common issue with scientific discourse.

        • Pofarmer

          Uh huh. What about the bible verses that disagree?

          What about my original example that you punted?

          I believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one. I know they are pink because of faith.

          As an unbeliever, what is your burden?

        • > Uh huh. What about the bible verses that disagree?

          Did you even read this thread? I gave a number of verses which says that god does not want to be tested when it is because of doubt in its existence.

          > What about my original example that you punted?

          What about it? Pretty sure I dealt with it.

          > I believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one. I know they are pink because of faith.

          Okay. So you admit faith. You’re not going to convince me, but at least you admit faith.

          > As an unbeliever, what is your burden?

          Burden of proof only exists when you make a claim.

        • Pofarmer

          By your denial you claim that invisible pink unicorns don’t exist.

        • No; I make no such claim. I do not make ANY claim about things for which I have no evidence. I’m sure you’re smart enough to know the difference between refusing to accept something as true and claiming that it is false.

        • Pofarmer

          Obviously you are just denying the evidence all around you. Invisible pink Unicorns are the reason for the universe existence. Their breath is power and their farts are matter.

        • Well, yeah. Where else would matter come from?

        • > Obviously you are just denying the evidence all around you. Invisible pink Unicorns are the reason for the universe existence. Their breath is power and their farts are matter.

          Evidence is determined by a detailed theory.

        • Pofarmer

          What do you mean? The entire universe is held together by constant acts of the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

        • I get that you’re slow, but saying that all claims suffer burden of proof does not translate to “you can make any claim you want without justifying it.” I assumed that you weren’t a complete moron. But I guess you know what happens when you make assumptions.

        • Pofarmer

          Obviously you’ve never heard of the Unicornists 5 ways. Your denial makes you blind to the truth.

        • Me: All claims suffer burden of proof.
          You: GREAT! I can make any claim I want and not have to suffer burden of proof.

          I guess you’re either a complete moron or a total troll.

        • Pofarmer

          No, jackass. I’m trying to get you to demonstrate what you have been talking about in a reasonable way. Demonstrate your burden of proof since, obviously, you don’t believe my claims.

        • Since I did not say that your claim was false, I do not suffer burden of proof. Remember. I said that all claims suffer burden of proof. Now, I can just say “I don’t believe you; show me.” That is a claim, but one is considered an expert on one’s own belief.

          Now, had I said “no there are no such unicorns” THEN I would have suffered burden of proof, just like someone does when they say “there is no god” rather than just “I don’t believe you; show me.”

        • Pofarmer

          This is what weve been telling you, exactly this, and you’ve wasted days with this stupidity.

          But even then, by your formulation you are denying my evidence for Invisible Pink Unicorns.

        • > But even then, by your formulation you are denying my evidence for Invisible Pink Unicorns.

          Present evidence and we’ll talk.

        • Pofarmer

          “It is certain, and evidence to our senses, that some things are in motion. Now
          whatever is moved is moved by another. …If that by which it is moved be itself
          moved, then this also must needs to be moved by another, and that by another again.
          But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and,
          consequently, no other mover, seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as
          they are moved by the first mover: as the staff moves only because it is moved by the
          hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moved by no other; and this
          everyone understands to be Invisible Pink Unicorns.”

        • > Now whatever is moved is moved by another…

          I’m not sure I buy that.

          > But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover…

          Why does there have to be a first mover?

        • Pofarmer

          Not sure I dealt with this.

          Why does there have to be a first mover?

          Because nothing moves itself.

        • > Because nothing moves itself.

          1. Not sure I buy that.
          2. Not sure that leads to there needing to be a first mover.

        • Pofarmer

          So do you accept my evidence or not?

        • I already said that I don’t buy those axioms.

        • Pofarmer

          So what? The Burden is now on you to prove the Invisible Pink Unicorn is not the source of the Universe.

        • Susan

          I already said that I don’t buy those axioms.

          Nor do I. But when someone claims something called a “god” exists, some of them use those axioms.

          Like other people, when they claim a “god” exists, insist that it’s because it responds to intercessory prayer.

          Whatever “god” claim that is made, the justifications for those claims are not sufficient to support the claims.

          That is why I always ask “What are you claiming and how do you support it?”

          There are many christians who claim that “God” answers intercessory prayers and that is why they believe it exists.

          It turns out that their examples are inseparable from white noise, so far.

          So, their claim that their “god” exists is indistinguishable from my claim that Immaterial Snowflake Fairies exist.

          Or that the god of epeeist’s freefloating gas bags exists.

          But there is always someone else manipulating the term “god” to shift the burden where it doesn’t belong.

        • > Nor do I. But when someone claims something called a “god” exists, some of them use those axioms.

          Okay.

          > Like other people, when they claim a “god” exists, insist that it’s because it responds to intercessory prayer.

          It might; I already pointed out that there is a conflict in scripture used to justify the efficacy of prayer in these trials.

        • Greg G.

          It might; I already pointed out that there is a conflict in scripture used to justify the efficacy of prayer in these trials.

          Other studies had the same assumption of prior studies that had positive outcomes for prayer. This study eliminated the methodologies that might have affected the findings with bias.

          Many Christians believe that intercessory prayer is very effective. They get the suggestion from the Bible but the nature of human memory has confirmation bias so they may think prayer works from their remembered experiences with a bias toward the positive.

          The Templeton study dispelled all of that about prayer. Any connection to the Bible is a step removed.

        • > Other studies had the same assumption of prior studies that had positive outcomes for prayer. This study eliminated the methodologies that might have affected the findings with bias.

          Cool, but again, assumptions should be justified, as much as possible. The failure to explain the resolution between conflicting scripture is problematic. Part of this resolution could be a survey of beliefs to see whether or not people believe that a god would avoid being tested, because of doubt. While it does not completely resolve the issue, it at least would mean that the theory can be applied to the beliefs held by the largest portion of the population possible.

        • Greg G.

          Cool, but again, assumptions should be justified, as much as possible.

          It doesn’t matter what you assume about how a feather will fall in a vacuum. Experiments consistently show that feathers fall at the same rate in a vacuum that a steel ball bearing falls in a vacuum.

          It doesn’t matter what assumptions were made before the Templeton experiment. The assumptions must be adjusted to conform with the results. They set the ranges to standard deviations that would indicate significance. The only result that approached significance was the negative result of those who were told they were being prayed for. They wrote that off to patients assuming the prayers would benefit them more than strictly following doctor’s orders.

        • Susan

          Okay

          The point is that when people claim an agent exists, the support they provide for the existence of that agent doesn’t pan out logically or evidentially.

          I already pointed out that there is a conflict in scripture

          “Scripture” seems to be full of conflicts. That is, it makes opposite claims. One second there is the claim that one only has to ask an agent for healing and it will be provided. And the same “scripture” will say that the agent doesn’t like to be tested which lets it off the hook for never seeming to do any actual healing that is distinguishable from all other cases of healing.

          I could make the same claims about my cat and you couldn’t disprove its supernatural powers.

          My cat is a little further ahead on actually existing, though.

        • MR

          And we all know how cats love to be worshipped.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          And his punting to one part of scripture, to defend a none prayer answering God in another part of scripture where promises has been broken, is both erroneous because that’s not what the scripture actually does, and it is nothing short of a Christian Apologetic. And we know how they’ve continually failed?

          Here is just such a contortionist aopolgetic…basically, most Christian’s are doing it wrong…who’d have thought.

          The bit that cracks me up, is that TSA actually defends the Bible, like if it wasn’t for the his so-called contradictory passages, the promises would be fulfilled and all prayers would be answered. God has tied his own hands in the OT, then talked out the side of his immaterial mouth in the NT without thinking it through. Like he was a silly human…or something. TSA is away with the fairies.

          Blessed be the cat. In it’s eye.

        • epeeist

          So do you accept my evidence or not?

          Amusing isn’t it, that someone as smart as TSA doesn’t seem to be aware of the arguments of Aristotle or Aquinas.

        • Pofarmer

          When that someone is a disengenuous Weasel( no offense to Weasels) it’s hard to know what to think.

        • epeeist

          Not only a weasel but by the look of it completely out of his depth.

        • epeeist

          Might be amusing to try the cosmological argument given the nice article here – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2018/06/03/the-kalam-on-time-craigs-inconsistent-appeals-to-science/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Got evidence?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m not sure I buy that.

          Evidence to support that claim?

        • You know, you sound like a creationists, who is trying to turn arguments against creationism around to attack evolution.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just showing the asininity of your own nonsense by example.

        • Not at all. We generally accept that statements of our own beliefs are true: we are experts in our own beliefs, though not necessarily the truth of those beliefs.

          Therefore, unless there is evidence to to contrary, if someone says “I believe x” or “I don’t believe x” we take that as true.

        • Pofarmer

          You have to be kidding me.

        • Not at all. It’s rare that we do not accept statements of that form.

        • Pofarmer

          I mean in relation to your response to me which was basically identical.

        • Except that they weren’t, and also that’s like saying the response by creationists, calling evolution a religion, is the same as the response by scientists calling creationism a religion.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t believe in gods. I specifically don’t believe in the Christian contrivance of God. I don’t believe in them because I think the evidence for them is contrived, non-existent, or extremely poor.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/25_reasons_we_dont_live_in_a_world_with_a_god_part_13/#comment-3924816794

        • Okay, and?

        • Pofarmer

          So do you believe my argument for Invisible Pink Unicorns to be true?

        • No. I don’t. And I don’t believe arguments for gods either. I have shot down the unmoved mover argument by Christians many times.

        • Pofarmer

          Then how can you not understand that “I don’t accept those axioms” is identically equivalent to “I think the evidence for them is contrived, non-existent, or extremely poor.”

          How do you not understand that our statements are about beliefs, and have been formulated as such, and we’ve given the reasons why?

          Oh, and you’ve made a claim. You’ve claimed that my Invisible Pink Unicorns don’t exist by your denial of my argument. Now, exercise your burden of proof.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I understand the concept of the burden of proof.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy)

          You seem to think that no one here is accepting the burden for their claims when that is exactly what this site is all about. It’s called counter-apologetics for a reason.

          There would be no negation of the claim that God exists, if there was no positive claim that God does exist. This site is managed on the understanding of countering the arguments for the proposition that God exists made by the various flavours of Christianity..

          Now, you are here criticizing the nature of the arguments against the existence of God, and in the couple you have engaged in, you’ve made a poor approximation of yourself. So pah!

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently Bob’s not doing atheism right – or something. I dunno, it’s hard to say. Maybe there really is some nuance we are missing. But I kinda don’t think so. I know there a whole shit ton of nuance that TSA is missing. Maybe it’s because of deviousness, maybe it’s because of defect. I’m not sure and I don’t think I care any more.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya mean something like believers claiming to believe that sinners will go to hell, while all the time sinning…that sort of evidence?

        • Sure. That doesn’t mean that the beliefs are true, but we are assumed to be experts on whether or not we believe something.

        • Greg G.

          Your tactics are being used against you.

        • You think that they are, but I already explained why we can accept one’s claims about one’s beliefs and doubts.

        • Pofarmer

          1. Whenever something undergoes change, it is caused to do so by
          something.
          2. Nothing can be the cause of its own change, since something
          cannot have a quality both potentially and actually at the same
          time.
          3. Whenever something changes, this change must have been brought
          about by something other than that thing. (follows from 1,2)
          4. The chain connecting things which change and things which
          initiate the changes cannot be infinite.
          C. There is a first mover, which initiates change but is not itself
          changed. (follows from 3,4)

        • > 2. Nothing can be the cause of its own change, since something
          cannot have a quality both potentially and actually at the same
          time.

          I’m not sure if that’s true.

          > 4. The chain connecting things which change and things which
          initiate the changes cannot be infinite.

          Why not?

        • Pofarmer

          Because actual infinities don’t exist.

        • Citation please.

        • Pofarmer
        • Still don’t see any argument for why infinity does not exist, or why infinite regress is impossible.

        • Pofarmer

          it is often asked why there can’t be infinite regress, with no
          first being. Infinite regress is perfectly acceptable in mathematics: negative
          numbers go on to infinity just as positive numbers do. So why can’t time
          be like the number series, with no highest number either negatively (no
          first in the past) or positively (no last in the future)? The answer is
          that real beings are not like numbers: they need causes, for the chain of
          real beings moves in one direction only, from past to future, and the future
          is caused by the past. Positive numbers are not caused by negative numbers.
          There is, in fact, a parallel in the number series for a first cause: the
          number one. If there were no first positive integer, no unit one, there
          could be no subsequent addition of units. Two is two ones, three is three
          ones, and so on. If there were no first, there could be no second or third.

          http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/first-cause.htm

        • ildi

          “I said that all claims suffer burden of proof. Now, I can just say “I don’t believe you; show me.” That is a claim, but one is considered an expert on one’s own belief.”

          What a bizarre justification. It’s still a claim and by your own standards still suffers the burden of proof.

        • Yes, and we are assumed to be experts on whether or not we believe something.

          > “A superseded, or obsolete, scientific theory is a scientific theory that the mainstream scientific community once widely accepted, but now considers an inadequate or incomplete description of reality, or simply false.

          Newtonian physics was superseded.

          > I’m no physicist, but I think that by even asking “how many modifications before it’s a new theory” you’re showing your lack of understanding: Newtonian physics has been falsified. There are no more predictions made based on Newtonian physics. That theory is dead for the purposes of advancing our knowledge. HOWEVER, it is still useful.

          Are you misunderstanding what’s happening in this thread? I understand that Newtonian physics was falsified, which is exactly what I have been trying to point out all day. It is Pofarmer and epeeist who are demanding that it wasn’t falsified.

        • ildi

          “Yes, and we are assumed to be experts on whether or not we believe something.”

          That has zero to do whether you’re making a claim or not. When you say “I don’t believe you” that is not occurring in a vacuum-someone has made claims that you are reacting to, and you have reasons for not believing those claims. Nobody says “I don’t believe you-show me” except in your straining wish to pretend to not be making a claim. People say “I don’t believe you, and x and y reasons are why not.”

          “I understand that Newtonian physics was falsified, which is exactly what I have been trying to point out all day. It is Pofarmer and epeeist who are demanding that it wasn’t falsified.”

          If you understand that, you would not be making the statements I quoted: “For instance, there was a ton of evidence justifying Newtonian mechanics, but eventually it was shown to be false. But those previous observations are still evidence justifying Newtonian mechanics. It’s just that other evidence outweighed it.” It didn’t outweigh it, it falsified it.

          “Sure it was. It is inconsistent with reality. But a new theory took its place, which is a MODIFICATION of the old theory. Exactly how many modifications to a theory need to be made before it’s no longer the same theory?” Why are you saying modified if you understand it to be falsified?

        • Pofarmer

          You need to actually read the next paragraph of the wikipedia entry you lifted that quote from that you didn’t attribute.

          In other cases an existing theory is replaced by a new theory that
          retains significant elements of the earlier theory; in these cases, the
          older theory is often still useful for many purposes, and may be more
          easily understood than the complete theory and lead to simpler
          calculations. An example of this is the use of Newtonian physics, which differs from the currently accepted relativistic physics by a factor that is negligibly small at velocities much lower than that of light.

          In reading a few threads on physics forums, it was noted that you needed Newtonian physics to explain relativistic physics.

          Two reasons.

          First, I strongly recommend Asimov’s essay Relativity of Wrong that explains very concisely and clearly why questions such as this one are more wrong than Newtonian physics.

          Second, the concepts of Newtonian physics are necessary for
          explaining pretty much anything in physics, including general relativity
          and quantum mechanics. These explanations usually go like this: “Take
          Newtonian physics and slightly modify this parameter (for GR) or that parameter (for QM)”.

          https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/154788/why-are-we-still-teaching-newtonian-physics-if-its-false

          Asimov, The relativity of Wrong

          http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm

        • ildi

          I was going to direct TSA to the Asimov essay but I decided it wouldn’t help.

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, I’m pretty sure it won’t help.

        • ildi

          I was glad to rediscover it during my forays into Google U. I forget what a great popular science writer he was, up there with Sagan.

        • Uh… what? I didn’t link to Wikipedia, ildi did.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I guess you’re either a complete moron or a total troll.

          There goes a years supply of irony meters ffs.

        • Pofarmer

          IKR?

          And on a highly Ironic note, I’m arguing Aquinas first way.

        • Greg G.

          Knocked the ones that are still in the original packaging.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah…but that’s all we are doing here too. I make no such claims that gods don’t exist. The claim is that gods with specific properties don’t exist.

          I do not make ANY claim about things for which I have no evidence.

          So, in the latest example. A god that answers all prayers when asked, doesn’t exist. You ballix about tests and doubt is irrelevant. A God that has promised to answer all requests made via prayer doesn’t exist, because all requests made via prayers are not answered. End of.

        • > Ah…but that’s all we are doing here too. I make no such claims that gods don’t exist. The claim is that gods with specific properties don’t exist.

          Well no. The claim goes further than that. This series of articles is an attempt to justify a belief that there are no gods. If YOU don’t claim that there aren’t any gods, then great. You don’t suffer burden of proof if you don’t make a claim.

          > So, in the latest example. A god that answers all prayers when asked, doesn’t exist.

          You would have to add in “specifically as asked” but sure. That seems to be the current position based on the data.

          > There goes a years supply of irony meters ffs.

          If I am a moron then I am quite a hard worker.

        • Pofarmer

          The claim is that gods with specific properties don’t exist.

          The claim is that the evidence presented doesn’t support the existence of such a God or gods.. C’mon man.

        • > The claim is that the evidence presented doesn’t support the existence of such a God or gods.. C’mon man.

          Except that it’s not. If that were the end of it, I would not be having this discussion right now.

        • Pofarmer

          If that were the end of it, I would not be having this discussion right now

          .I wish that were true.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well no. The claim goes further than that. This series of articles is an attempt to justify a belief that there are no gods.

          Well no. That’s the straw man you are intent on trying to burn to the ground, so knock yerself out. The rest of us are pishing ourselves laughing at your silly pants antics.

          You have been told by lots of folk here on more than one occasion, that the series of article here are an attempt to counter a set of specific arguments that Christians continually use to defend the existence of a particular god, the one with a varying set of qualities depending on which Christian one talks to, the one with the big “G” in it’s name, aka YahwehJesus.

          Your reading for comprehension must be abysmal. At this point there is only one explanation for your position, you are a dishonest liars with the reset button set on automatic.

          If YOU don’t claim that there aren’t any gods, then great. You don’t suffer burden of proof if you don’t make a claim.

          Few, if any here, don’t claim there aren’t any gods. Again, this is your straw man. How can anyone make that claim? What is being claimed, is that any given god with attribute X doesn’t exist for reasons A, B & C.

          My claim is that for any god that has been suggested and defined to me that I’ve taken an interest in researching, the evidence, or lack thereof, is of a nature that I find totally unconvincing, therefore, I live my life as though it is non-existent. That position is subject to change. A god thing would know how.

          You would have to add in “specifically as asked” but sure.

          Why? The NT passages make no such distinction.

          That seems to be the current position based on the data.

          But that is only for uniformity across a research study. Joe Bloggs on his knees beside his bed before turning in for the night, is under no such constraints.

          I’m reminded of the Emo classic…

          When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me. ~Emo Phillips

          If I am a moron then I am quite a hard worker.

          Well the two are not mutually exclusive, but that is irrelevant. You are obviously not a moron in everything. I have no doubt that there are plenty of subjects where if I were to open my gob, plenty would think me moronic.

          Your inability to recognize and acknowledge the problems inherent in your position here, up to this point anyway, are frustrating others…making you appear to the rest of us, at least on these issues, moronic.

        • Ashilan

          Gods aren’t into prayer end of, that’s a human condition that humans use to try convince themselves that they are.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Gods are imaginary.

        • Michael Neville

          Saying “yer rong” and complaining that arguments against Christianity are flawed because you say so is interacting very poorly.

          One of the biggest problems that we have with Christians is the definition or description of God is extremely malleable. Is God a vague, deist deity who kick-started the universe and then faded into the background? Is God a white bearded geezer who helps people find their care keys, decides which team win games and has an unhealthy obsession with sex? Or is God something else? I’ve seen the description of God change from one sentence to the next, depending on which particular description best suits the argument being presented.

          So which description of God should we be using? Please be specific and justify that description.

        • I explained why the arguments are wrong. There was no attempt to reasonably justify the assumptions of the theory.

        • Bob Jase

          “I’ve seen the description of God change from one sentence to the next”

          Wow, god’s description stayed the same for a whole sentence? The Christains you know are much more consistant than the ones I know.

        • Greg G.

          You are pedantic and so anal retentive that you are full of … yourself. You are certain you are right and everybody else is wrong that you disagree with a person who agrees with you. You want the world to be neat and tidy with premises that are either true or false but you cannot bear an indeterminate position. You insist that a doubt about the truth of a premise must be the negation of the premise. It appears to be a mental issue with you.

        • Pofarmer

          I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a little bit of Aspergers at play.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is some medical condition at play for sure.

        • What would actually be useful would be if you’d ignore than and focus instead on telling us how things should be. Was there an error in the Templeton prayer study? Great–tell us how it should’ve played out.

          And so on.

        • > Was there an error in the Templeton prayer study?

          How many times have I pointed out that there is a conflict between scripture and that the study did not properly justify why god would accept being tested when it clearly states that testing god, because of doubt, is not okay?

        • How many times

          I dunno. I haven’t been reading your comments. That’s why I’m asking.

          the study did not properly justify why god would accept being tested when it clearly states that testing god, because of doubt, is not okay?

          Nope. God is fine with being tested—remember the contest between Elijah and the priests of Baal? Or perhaps you’ve forgotten Isaiah 7:

          But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also?Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign

          Someone hasn’t been paying attention in Sunday school.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Dime Bar has been told more than once that he is being a thick twat. He is just refusing to accept the argument and evidence.

          The book says God is okay with being tested if it is to demonstrate a promise it made being fulfilled.

          The promises to answer prayers positively when asked, is not a test, and even if it was, there is nothing about doubt in it.

          TSA is talking out the side of his mouth. He has to force the doubt angle to support his fuckwittery, not realizing that he is doing that thing which he accuses the rest of us in doing.

          But get this, he is using the OT to contradict the NT…not all Christians believe the OT god is the NT god, so to fuck his position right up, all I need to do is claim that I’m not talking about the OT god that some Christians don’t countenance, but the one making those promises in the NT.

        • Greg G.

          Cool. I’m not not saying that there is a god. I am pointing out that your arguments are flawed.

          How is asking for evidence flawed? They come here saying they have evidence. Usually it’s the universe, using the assumption that it is a creation, therefore there must be a creator or something else that is circular with a slightly larger radius.

          Great, but that doesn’t mean that it is justified in believing that it will work when you are testing god because you doubt its existence.

          It’s not my job to show there are no gods. I can only show that particular gods do not exist unless such gods are contrived to be undisprovable. But a contrived god is imaginary and nobody has to disprove someone’s imagination.

          Great. But that doesn’t mean that the theory was well developed. I’m not surprised.

          Christians have been touting the theory for 2000 years. How long does it take to develop a theory? They haven’t performed any valid testing to develop their theory. The 2000 year old theory was proved to be incorrect. Their theory was not that intercessory prayer was slightly effective. Their theory was that it was obviously so successful that they didn’t need to do a proper test to evaluate it. When they did a test with the possibility of being influenced by bias, it was as effective as no prayer.

          They need to go back to the drawing board.

          Your excuses for the experiment finding no evidence for prayer are loonier for the excuses of Christians.

        • Pofarmer

          Your excuses for the experiment finding no evidence for prayer are loonier for the excuses of Christians.

          Yeah, about that………………………

        • Bob Jase

          Dammit Greg – is your car parked in a place somewhere? What more proof could you need?

          lurking can get boring

        • Michael Neville

          Newtonian mechanics lie within the error bars except at high velocities. Newtonian mechanics can be considered a subset of Einsteinian mechanics.

          More importantly, there really is no such thing as evidence FOR a theory.

          There is evidence which support theories. If I propose a theory that granite is denser than water then a simple experiment of tossing a lump of granite into a body of water and watching it sink is evidence to support my theory. What you should really be saying is that there is no proof of a theory. To exhaustively test my granite theory would involve putting all the granite in the universe into water, which would be impossible to do.

        • You’re missing the point. Newtonian physics is false, but there is evidence justifying it. There’s just more evidence rejecting it.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re wrong. Newtonian mechanics is not false. It’s true within specific velocity ranges. Learn some basic physics before you stick your foot further in your mouth or start using a different analogy.

        • True when it’s true and false otherwise? Hmm. Newtonian physics is falsified. It has been replaced.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re too arrogant to accept that you could be wrong when making a sweeping statement. As I said before, Newtonian mechanics is a special case of Einsteinian mechanics. If you’re calculating the movement of billiard balls, Newtonian mechanics will give you the same answer as relativistic mechanics within the range of error of observation.

        • I could be wrong, but nothing you’ve said convinces me that I am.

          A new theory, based on an old one, is still a new theory. The old one was falsified and modified.

          Now, if you can justify why two different, but related, theories are actually the same, do so. How do you define equality between theories?

        • ildi

          “A new theory, based on an old one, is still a new theory. The old one was falsified and modified.

          Now, if you can justify why two different, but related, theories are actually the same, do so. How do you define equality between theories?”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/49e3e7eb5a30db619ea808bce16b2144ffd5321d509f2a40e5624bd1c885e56b.jpg

        • Please define the equivalence relation used for theories.

        • ildi

          You’re just spewing word salad at this point.

        • I’m sorry. Do you not know what an equivalence relation is?

        • Ryan M

          You’d encounter equivalence relations in set theory. It’s not word salad, but it is not commonly known outside of people studying formal logic or university level mathematics.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivalence_relation

        • epeeist

          It’s not word salad

          But it has little if anything to do with the topic in hand. He seems to be claiming that once a new theory is put in place the old one is discarded completely, this is somewhat strong even in Kuhnian terms. It is also wrong in that in general what happens is an inter-theoretic reduction in which the old theory is simply a special case of a more general theory.

        • Ryan M

          I don’t know what you are all talking about, so I’ll admit equivalence relations may be irrelevant to the discussion.

        • epeeist

          Sorry, I am at a competition at this place – http://www.themanchesterfencingcentre.co.uk/ and using a tablet without a keyboard.

          If I am not too knackered at the end of the day I’ll try and expand on the above.

        • I have made no such claim. I am simply pointing out that the old theory and the new theory are not the same. The old theory is falsified and replaced with a new theory, which is consistent with the new data.

        • Michael Neville

          The old theory and the new theory are not identical. HOWEVER, you overly-precise pedant, in this case the old theory is a special case of the new theory, which means it is not falsified. As I said before, you’re too fucking arrogant to admit that you’re wrong, even when several people have told you that you’re wrong.

        • > The old theory and the new theory are not identical. HOWEVER, you overly-precise pedant, in this case the old theory is a special case of the new theory, which means it is not falsified.

          Sure it was. It is inconsistent with reality. But a new theory took its place, which is a MODIFICATION of the old theory. Exactly how many modifications to a theory need to be made before it’s no longer the same theory? Again, define the equivalence relation.

          Are these two theories the same?

          Theory 1: y = x
          Theory 2: y = -x, x < 0, y = x, x ≥ 0

        • Michael Neville

          No, it is not “inconsistent with reality”. It IS reality under certain conditions. As I’ve said before, you’re too fucking arrogant to admit the slightest error and your feeble attempts to justify your refusal to accept a simple statement just show how deep your fucking arrogant is.

        • > No, it is not “inconsistent with reality”. It IS reality under certain conditions.

          It’s consistent when it’s consistent. Got it.

          > As I’ve said before, you’re too fucking arrogant to admit the slightest error

          Error is things like measurement problems, not actual incompatibility between a theory and reality. So tell me, are theories (1) and (2) the same or not?

        • Michael Neville

          Theories 1 and 2 are the same under certain conditions.

          Tell me because I’m truly curious. Why won’t you admit that you made a mistake? Is it because you don’t want to admit it to an atheist or is it because you cannot conceive of you making any kind of error under any circumstances? I want to know just how encompassing your fucking arrogance is.

        • > Theories 1 and 2 are the same under certain conditions.

          That’s not what I asked. Are they the same theory, yes or no?

          > Why won’t you admit that you made a mistake?

          Because I didn’t. If you’re correct, then theories (1) and (2) are the same. So are they the same?

        • epeeist

          Are they the same theory, yes or no?

          No, they aren’t the same theory. There has been an inter-theoretic reduction and the old theory is a special case of the new theory.

          Again, let’s take an example. For the classical case, given that I am British, someone throws a cricket ball with a velocity of 150 Km/hr. Given the mass of a cricket ball is 160(± 2)g then what the error in position is after 1s? Repeat the same calculation using QM and tell me what the difference is. Assume that the error in measurement of velocity is 0.1%.

          Once you have the difference then tell me whether it is worthwhile using the more complex QM calculation.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s just, Wow.

        • epeeist

          It’s a fairly trivial example. You do get an increased error in position for QM which you can estimate from the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in the σx . σp ≥ ℏ / 2 form. I leave you to look up the value of ℏ (the reduced Planck constant) to see whether the additional error is significant 😉

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll get right on that!

          This whole thing has just reduced to ridiculousness.

        • epeeist

          This whole thing has just reduced to ridiculousness.

          One of the other things that has amused me has been throwing in bits of philosophy and history of science derived from people like Popper, Kuhn, Quine and McMullin. Despite his claim to have a background in science and philosophy of science he doesn’t seem to have recognised any the ideas or where I am pulling them from.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But, but, but, he’s a polymath don’t ya know?….more like a faux polymath…and I wonder what his area of expertise in research was, too?

        • epeeist

          But, but, but, he’s a polymath don’t ya know?.

          Like Luke Breuer he seems to have read a lot.

          What he is guilty of is black and white thinking, Bayes theorem is brittle, not brittle in some circumstances but applicable in others. Newtonian physics is false, not just inapplicable in particular cases. You will not be surprised that I have a number of other examples ready that show problems with this kind of thinking.

        • Ignorant Amos

          According to his C.V., he has taken a number of university level modules/credits, quite a lot by the looks of it. Of course, that is no verification of competency, we all know folk who are good at winging it, and he seems to want to avoid exams. Are those credits for attendance? I don’t know.

          Passing numerous credits, doesn’t make one a polymath unfortunately…one needs to show an expertise in a wide variety of subjects for that, and as a layperson, I don’t see it. Luckily for me, there are folk here who are not laypersons, who also don’t see it either.

          Like LB, he see’s things that just are not there, or he takes the most extreme interpretation in order to support his position…when it suits of course.

          I genuinely think he thinks that because he has done a bit of lots of stuff, he is an expert. Subjects like physics for example, he has no shame in asserting superiority over actual physicists. Defo a DK candidate.

        • Greg G.

          Defo a DK candidate.

          A polypsycho.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder if he’s written any on the evils of scientism?

        • Greg G.

          He seems to think “I don’t believe that” has a burden of proof except when he says it.

        • Oh; I do. I am quite familiar with the works of Popper and Kuhn especially, as well as Hume, as they focus on falsifiability. But I’m also giving specific argument on the topic.

          Getting back to the topic, since part of our theory is that the measurement variance is not measurement error, we must accept that classical mechanics is falsified. If we went back and stated that our theory was measurement error, then we would need to explain that error, and then we could bring back classical mechanics, such is the fun of provisional falsification of an entire body of theory.

        • epeeist

          Oh; I do. I am quite familiar with the works of Popper and Kuhn especially, as well as Hume, as they focus on falsifiability.

          Citations required for Kuhn and Hume on falsifiability.

        • Pofarmer

          Are you kidding? He knows about all them old dead guys. He knows the best stuff about old dead guys. With all the best words.

        • epeeist

          With all the best words.

          You mean really good words like “male bovine excrement”?

        • Greg G.

          You mean really good words like “male bovine excrement”?

          That is fertilizer for those who work in garden centers.

        • Pofarmer

          Is it fair to ask, if Newtonian physics is “falsified” why it’s still the basic taught in every physics curriculum?

        • Because it’s a hell of a lot easier to understand than the unfalsified theories, and it is an approximation, at non-relativistic velocities. They also teach, in grade school, that you can’t take the square root of a negative number.

        • epeeist

          if Newtonian physics is “falsified” why it’s still the basic taught in every physics curriculum?

          Because it forms the basis of more advanced theories such as QM and GR, so you have to learn it first. It is also easier conceptually and perfectly adequate for the kind of problem that most people who have to do mechanics or kinematics will come across. Having said that, once you get to problems of any size and need to start using Lagrangian or Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics then it does compare in complexity to basic QM and SR.

          But again, TSA has been led up the garden path on this. No, Newtonian mechanics cannot handle situations where high mass, high velocity or miniscule size is involved but otherwise it is perfectly adequate with good explanatory power and empirical fit. It may not be the best explanation but it is a good one in most cases. In other words (a phrase that TSA needs to learn) Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

          Where falsification is important it isn’t in the calculations but the ontology. Newtonian mechanics posits an absolute space and time, and motion that is continuous. It also assumes “no action at a distance” but Newton couldn’t come up with a mechanism and “feigned no hypothesis” as to how this worked where gravity was concerned.

          Relativity has a different ontology without an absolute space and time and hence would claim that the Newtonian ontology is false. QM asserts that at small scales motion is quantised and again that the Newtonian ontology is false. It also supplies a mechanism for gravity (and other forces) i.e. fields.

          TSA has mainly been concerned with the accuracy of calculations and I have been happy to allow him to go that route while noting that he hasn’t realised at what level Newtonian mechanics is false, even when I gave him the hint with Zwicky’s conjecture of the existence of dark matter.

        • Pofarmer

          Hey. He was able to quickly quote some Bible verses to attempt to call into question the validity of the Templeton Prayer Study, though.

          But, yes, I’d noticed what mentioned. I’ll pretty readily admit being not all that well versed in philosophy generally, but, I’m not trying to authoritatively argue it, generally.

        • Greg G.

          When you get new tires on your car, you have modified the vehicle, so you have replaced your old car with a new car. Why do you think the state makes you get new registration every time you change a tire or fill the tank?

        • epeeist

          Are these two theories the same?

          Theory 1: y = x
          Theory 2: y = -x, x < 0, y = x, x ≥ 0

          Neither of these is a scientific theory.

        • > Neither of these is a scientific theory.

          I said “theory,” not necessarily “scientific theory.” Whether it’s scientific depends on how x and y are tied to real world concepts, and I wanted to make it as simple as possible to get the point across.

          > No, they aren’t the same theory. There has been an inter-theoretic reduction and the old theory is a special case of the new theory.

          Great. That’s my point. The old theory was falsified. The new theory converges to the old theory, as velocity goes to zero. But they’re not the same theory. The old one has been falsified.

        • Pofarmer

          The old theory was falsified

          No, it wasn’t. See, that’s the point. It’s still valid under some/most/not quite all/many/ whatever conditions. It still has predictive value as long as the conditions are met. If we’re still talking about Newtonian mechanics, and, who the hell knows. You aren’t doing yourself any favors here.

        • Greg G.

          E = mc^2 becomes a new equation every time the value of the speed of light is measured more accurately because the constant changed.

        • But the old theory wasn’t that “x is true under these circumstances.” It was that “x is true.” The new theory includes the following: “the old theory is a reasonable approximation under certain conditions.”

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm. I can’t believe I’m going here. Dammit. Science doesn’t normally deal in “truths”. Science pretty much always deals with the closest approximation that produces results.

        • epeeist

          But the old theory wasn’t that “x is true under these circumstances.”

          Pofarmer said “It’s still valid” not that it is true.

        • epeeist

          I said “theory,” not necessarily “scientific theory.”

          But scientific theories are the thing that is under discussion here.

          The old theory was falsified. The new theory converges to the old theory, as velocity goes to zero.

          So, when you took your degree in mathematics did you do applied mathematics? Did it start with quantum mechanics and general relativity or did you do classical mechanics in Newtonian, Lagrangian or Hamiltonian formulations? How about things like statistical mechanics, did you cover this? Did you deal with temperature essentially being a statistical measure of the mean velocity of molecules? Do we deal with the velocity in classical terms or, given the scale, in terms of QM. Let’s go to the other extreme, did you do anything on celestial mechanics? If you did then was it covered using GR or Newtonian mechanics?

          So far we have dealt purely with physics. Let’s take biology instead. These days the “modern synthesis” includes the original Darwinian ideas on evolution, Mendel’s ideas on genetics and the molecular basis of genetics. Does that show that Darwinian evolution was falsified and hence of no use within biology any more?

        • I take it you’ve maybe taken a college biology course. Medel’s work does not falsify Darwinian evolution. It just gives an explanation of how the process works. Indeed, it makes Darwinian evolution more robust, so there’s a huge difference. Name one prediction made by Darwinian evolution which has been false. I might be able to do that, but I doubt you could. On the other hand, we know that Newtonian physics gives false results at relativistic velocities.

        • epeeist

          I take it you’ve maybe taken a college biology course.

          No, have you?

          Let’s take each of them in turn.

          Darwin’s original theory describes how evolution works, it lacks an adequate account of inheritance (which is one of the reasons it nearly faded into oblivion by the end of the 19th century).

          In order to provide that it has to undergo an inter-theoretic reduction with Mendelian genetics. This of course makes it a different theory to the original one. The new theory however only saves the appearances, a further inter-theoretic reduction with molecular biology is necessary before an explanation of how genetic change happens becomes available. So we have yet another new theory with Darwin’s original theory being a special case of a more general one.

          Now, Newton’s theories don’t account for situations where high velocities or mass are involved. To provide an account in such circumstances we have to produce a new theory. This Einstein does based on ideas from Newton and Mach. We have an inter-theoretic reduction with Newton’s original theory being a special case of a more general theory.

          Name one prediction made by Darwinian evolution which has been false.

          Of the original theory? It’s ideas on “panagenesis” and “gemmules” (first mentioned in the 1859 edition of TOoS) are wrong.

        • > No, have you?

          Two general biology courses, a botany course, an evolutionary studies course, a bio-archaeology course (if you want to count that), two anatomy and physiology courses, a graduate course on host-microbe interactions, and maybe a few others. Lots of courses to keep track of.

          > Darwin’s original theory describes how evolution works, it lacks an adequate account of inheritance (which is one of the reasons it nearly faded into oblivion by the end of the 19th century).

          Correct.

          > In order to provide that it has to undergo an inter-theoretic reduction with Mendelian genetics.

          Genetics is not a theory of evolution. Genetics explains the way through which evolution happens. It is complementary to Darwinian theory of evolution; it is not a replacement. That is very different from what we were talking about with Newtonian physics, where the predictions made by the theory are incorrect, and thus there’s been replacement.

          > Of the original theory? It’s ideas on “panagenesis” and “gemmules” (first mentioned in the 1859 edition of TOoS) are wrong.

          Darwin’s theories on pangenesis came out after his theory on the origin of species. We do not generally consider that concept to be part of Darwinian evolution, but an additional element that Darwin ended up developing later as an attempt to explain the mechanism by which Darwinian evolution occurs. Also, where are you getting that date? https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/charles-darwins-theory-pangenesis

        • epeeist

          Genetics is not a theory of evolution.

          It is a lacuna in the original theory, if you are positing common descent with modification then you need a mechanism to pass attributes from one generation to the next.

          So let’s once more go back to comparisons of the two theories.

          1. While Newtonian mechanics is enormously successful there are growing anomalies which it cannot solve. They are solved by Einstein with special and general relativity and Newtonian mechanics is subsumed as a special case of within these new theories.

          2. While Darwinian evolution is successful in explanation of the mechanism of evolution there are anomalies that it cannot solve. These are solved by the introduction of Mendelian genetics and molecular biology and Darwinian evolution is subsume as a special case within the modern synthesis.

          Now anyone with any knowledge of the philosophy of science would spot the similarities between these two cases. They aren’t exactly the same but you seem determined to characterise them as completely different.

        • > It is a lacuna in the original theory…

          Sure, okay. But that doesn’t mean filling the gap is the same as falsifying the theory. The theory did not make a prediction which contradicted observation. Evolutionary theory is more than just Dawrwin’s theories. It’s an entire system of theory, as most theory is.

          > While Newtonian mechanics is enormously successful there are growing anomalies which it cannot solve. They are solved by Einstein with special and general relativity and Newtonian mechanics is subsumed as a special case of within these new theories.

          The issue isn’t that Newtonian physics can’t solve every question, but that it makes predictions which contradict observations.

        • Greg G.

          Isn’t it about mathematical models of reality vs reality? Models can approximate reality. Even an absolutely accurate mathematical model may not give precise results given our inability to precisely measure dimensions and mass plus our inability to multiply irrational numbers that don’t cancel out. We can’t even write both the radius and circumference of a circle without leaving one of them unmultiplied.

          Newtonian physics was falsified by the inability to precisely calculate the position of Mercury. Einsteinian physics is falsified by its inability to account for Heisenberg uncertainty. But each of them are useful. Newtonian physics is sufficient to launch GPS satellites but Einsteinian physics must be taken into account for GPS devices to function.

        • The thing is, we know based off of observations that Newtonian physics is unlikely to be a correct model of reality. Falsification is just a statistical form of proof by contradiction. Newtonian physics is unlikely to be true, based on observations we have made, and it has been superseded by a new theory, which suggests that at low velocities, classical physics is a reasonable approximation for reality. That’s different from saying that the theory has not been falsified.

          A theory is not falsified, iff there is insufficient observation to drive the probability of the theory being true, down by a significant amount.

        • epeeist

          But that doesn’t mean filling the gap is the same as falsifying the theory.

          Didn’t say it was, all I was pointing out is that both theories are not explanatory adequate.

          Evolutionary theory is more than just Dawrwin’s theories. It’s an entire system of theory, as most theory is.

          Which only makes things worse of course. Suppose that your theory makes a prediction which is contradicted by observation. Can one definitively say that it is the theory is false and not one of the supporting sub-theories?

          The issue isn’t that Newtonian physics can’t solve every question, but that it makes predictions which contradict observations.

          Which no one is denying.

          Let’s try another example. In 1933 Fritz Zwicky calculated the mass galaxies within a cluster and realised this could not account for their motion. Does this mean that the theory is false?

        • > Didn’t say it was, all I was pointing out is that both theories are not explanatory adequate.

          Sure, so we seek to develop other theory to add to the system of theory. Dawinian evolution was not falsified, but the larger system of theory was, and then it was modified. But that’s different from Newtonian physicscis, which specifically makes incorrect predictions.

          > Let’s try another example. In 1933 Fritz Zwicky calculated the mass galaxies within a cluster and realised this could not account for their motion. Does this mean that the theory is false?

          A theory is falsified if and only if it makes predictions which are unlikely under the assumption that it is true.

          That’s different from not being able to predict something else. The observation and the theory must be related in that the theory makes a prediction about that specific observation.

        • epeeist

          Sure, so we seek to develop other theory to add to the system of theory.

          Which is what happened in the case of both Darwinian evolution and Newtonian mechanics.

          Let’s just note in passing that you didn’t respond to my question as to whether it is possible to definitively falsify a theory.

          A theory is falsified if and only if it makes predictions which are unlikely under the assumption that it is true.

          Pure hand waving.

          The theory predicted a particular rotation curve for galaxies, measurement of the rotation showed a completely different curve. Additional measurements by Vera Rubin confirmed that the observed and theoretical rotation curves were different. Does this falsify the theory or not? A “yes” or “no” answer will be sufficient to start with.

        • > Which is what happened in the case of both Darwinian evolution and Newtonian mechanics.

          No; it’s not. Newtonian physics gives incorrect predictions. That’s different from failing to have a complete mechanism or not being able to make enough predictions. There’s a huge difference. Suppose I had a theory about mechanics. The theory does not predict how I will respond to your next comment. Is that a problem? But if I had a theory about conversation dynamics, and it predicted that I would respond by punching you in the face, and I don’t, then that’s a falsification event.

          > The theory predicted a particular rotation curve for galaxies, measurement of the rotation showed a completely different curve.

          If the prediction was different from the observation, then yes. But what observation is DIFFERENT from the predicted outcome, when it comes to Darwinian evolution?

        • epeeist

          If the prediction was different from the observation, then yes.

          I am going to change the order I respond to your posts.

          Now Zwicky used classical mechanics in his calculations so using your argument this shows classical mechanics to be falsified in this case. So Zwicky obviously published a seminal paper demonstrating this right? Well no, what he did was posit something he called “dunkle Materie”. How’s your German?

          So he didn’t consider that classical mechanics had been falsified, what he did was to protect it by changing the ontology and presuming that something called “dark matter” existed.

          Now Zwicky used something called the “virial theorem” in his calculations, which assumes classical mechanics as a basis.

          This being so I will ask again, is it possible to definitively falsify a scientific theory? In this case would it be the virial theorem that was false or the underlying classical mechanics?

          No; it’s not. Newtonian physics gives incorrect predictions.

          So it did.While Darwin’s original theory couldn’t account for the hereditary. Both are inadequate when it comes to describing reality. Should we therefore dump them both?

        • > So he didn’t consider that classical mechanics had been falsified, what he did was to protect it by changing the ontology and presuming that something called “dark matter” existed.

          And that’s why I pointed out that it is an entire system of theory, used to make a prediction, which is generally falsified.

          > This being so I will ask again, is it possible to definitively falsify a scientific theory? In this case would it be the virial theorem that was false or the underlying classical mechanics?

          I never said that it was. We falsify the entire system of theory used to make a prediction. In your scenario, it was the Newtonian physics + theory of mass of the galaxy system that was falsified. But Newtonian physics makes incorrect predictions in other ways, so again, we consider it falsified. True; our measurements instead could be wrong, and then it is really something else that was falsified. That’s why all falsification is provisional, but as of now, we have not added anything new to the system of theory which once again makes Newtonian mechanics consistent with observation.

          > So it did.While Darwin’s original theory couldn’t account for the hereditary. Both are inadequate when it comes to describing reality. Should we therefore dump them both?

          No; there’s a difference between not being able to account for something and predicting something which turns out not to be true. Are you sure you’ve taken philosophy of science course work? Newtonian physics doesn’t account for this conversation, but that doesn’t mean it’s falsified. If it accounted for this conversation, but predicted that we would say something different than we’re saying, THEN it would be falsified. Though again, falsification is of an entire system of theory used to make a prediction, and it is usually statistical in nature.

          > Incidentally, you don’t seem to have responded to my questions as to whether you covered classical mechanics rather than QM or relativity in your undergraduate maths course.

          Well, I covered these topics in my physics courses, not my mathematics courses.

        • epeeist

          We falsify the entire system of theory used to make a prediction. In your scenario, it was the Newtonian physics + theory of mass of the galaxy system that was falsified.

          Two things here, was it falsified given that it works perfectly well in describing a system that consists of ordinary, baryonic matter + dark matter?

          Secondly, does the “entire system of theory” described in my example consist only of the Zwicky’s addition + Newtonian mechanics or are other things involved. Are you aware of any theory in science that doesn’t involve other theories and assumptions, for example the broader metaphysical principles of things like no action at a distance or no breaking of causality? In effect are you not saying that falsifiability only works at the level of the whole of science?

          Are you sure you’ve taken philosophy of science course work?

          I was taught philosophy of science and logic as adjuncts to my research degree. I have lectured and given seminars on the former.

          No; there’s a difference between not being able to account for something and predicting something which turns out not to be true.

          Well science isn’t concerned with the true, but with the best explanation of course.

          Let’s ask another question here. In terms of the properties of a theory which are more important; explanatory power, empirical fit or not being falsified?

        • > Two things here, was it falsified given that it works perfectly well in describing a system that consists of ordinary, baryonic matter + dark matter?

          Newtonian physics does not work at relativistic velocities. It gives predictions which are inconsistent with observations of particles traveling at relativistic speeds. Now, either the measurements are wrong or the theory is wrong. We are currently holding the observations as being valid, and thus Newtonian physics as being falsified.

          > Well science isn’t concerned with the true, but with the best explanation of course.

          “Best” is not a scientific term.

          > Let’s ask another question here. In terms of the properties of a theory which are more important; explanatory power, empirical fit or not being falsified?

          That’s a very complicated question. Also, the last two are very similar. If something is not falsified, then it fits empirical observations.

        • epeeist

          Newtonian physics does not work at relativistic velocities.

          Irrelevant in that galaxies do not rotate at relativistic velocities, nor did Zwicky use Einstein’s theories in his calculations.

          As it is you have ignored the major points in my post namely:

          1. Are you aware of any theory in science that does not rely on other theories ore assumptions?

          2. The implication of your phrase “We falsify the entire system of theory used to make a prediction” is that falsifiability can only work at the level of the whole of science if all theories rely on auxiliary assumptions.

          “Best” is not a scientific term.

          “Inference to the best explanation is a well accepted term in the philosophy of science – https://www.waterstones.com/book/inference-to-the-best-explanation/peter-lipton/9780415242035

          If something is not falsified, then it fits empirical observations.

          I am sure that Lee Smolin and Carlo Rovelli will be delighted to hear this given that loop quantum gravity has not been falsified.

        • > Irrelevant in that galaxies do not rotate at relativistic velocities, nor did Zwicky use Einstein’s theories in his calculations.

          Great, but that’s not what I am talking about when it comes to the falsification of Newtonian physics. I’m sorry. I don’t think we’re going to make any progress. A system of theory is falsified if the predictions, made using it, and actual observations, do not match. You seem to think falsification has something to do with inability to predict something. That’s different.

          > I am sure that Lee Smolin and Carlo Rovelli will be delighted to hear this given that loop quantum gravity has not been falsified.

          Are you suggesting that loop quantum gravity is falsified? Citation.

        • epeeist

          I’m sorry. I don’t think we’re going to make any progress.

          Oh, I think we are making enormous progress. What we have ascertained so far is that when it comes to the consequences of your claims (such as the fact that the unit of falsifiability is the whole of science) you are either unwilling or incapable of defending them.

          We have also identified the fact that when it comes to philosophy of science your knowledge and understanding are grossly deficient. I could mention thinks like under-dtermination and confirmation holism, naive falsifiability, science as inference to the best explanation, the importance of explanatory power and empirical fit and so on.

          (I could also mention some of the other things you have avoided or abandoned, but that’s for another day)

          Are you suggesting that loop quantum gravity is falsified?

          I forgot to include the /s tag again.

          Your original claim was “If something is not falsified, then it fits empirical observations.”. Now I said “loop quantum gravity has not been falsified”, so given your claim then it must fit empirical observations. You can presumably point us to the primarily literature that show LQG fitting empirical data.

        • You seem to focus on commenting on my character a lot. That’s problematic. I’d love to see something that you’ve published, but I’m sure you’ll choose to remain anonymous. I’m not even sure that I believe that you have a degree.

          > Your original claim was “If something is not falsified, then it fits empirical observations.”. Now I said “loop quantum gravity has not been falsified”

          Is QLG inconsistent with existing observation?

        • epeeist

          You seem to focus on commenting on my character a lot.

          Your character? No, not at all. Your behaviour, lack of knowledge and understanding, absolutely.

          Is QLG inconsistent with existing observation?

          This kind of behaviour for example. You said that “If something is not falsified, then it fits empirical observations.” and raised a theory that hasn’t been falsified and asked you to justify your claim. You come back with an illicit attempt to shift the burden.

        • > Your character? No, not at all. Your behaviour, lack of knowledge and understanding, absolutely.

          Yes, those are character traits. Incorrect ones, but character traits none the less. Honestly, I still doubt that you even have a degree in physics. And given that you’re anonymous, I can actually dismiss your claim that you have one, and thus dismiss any appeal to authority that you make.

          > You said that “If something is not falsified, then it fits empirical observations.” and raised a theory that hasn’t been falsified and asked you to justify your claim. You come back with an illicit attempt to shift the burden.

          Actually, it’s your claim. You need to show that it’s a valid counter example. I argued directly from the nature of falsification: given a theory and a collection of observations, if those observations are unlikely, then we consider the theory falsified. Of course, that’s really an entire body of theory that we’re falsifying, as I mentioned. Notice that even if a theory does not predict the observations, that’s not enough for falsification. The observations have to actually be unlikely given the assumption of the theory.

        • epeeist

          Yes, those are character traits.

          Strange to say that lack of knowledge is a character trait but hey ho.

          Incorrect ones, but character traits none the less.

          You stated that “I am educated in both philosophy of science and science itself” and hence claiming to be an authority. But as we have seen you have missed all the cues that I (and others) have given you. You might think you are an authority but I suspect you are the only person that does so.

          Honestly, I still doubt that you even have a degree in physics.

          Ah, when it doubt poison the well.

          My doctorate was concerned with the determination of the potential barriers to rotation of methyl groups attached to heterocyclic ring compounds using the measurement of the microwave spectra (the A-E splitting in the spectra is a measure of the size of the potential barrier).

          I could of course produce the QM from my doctorate but no doubt you would discount this as simply a copy-paste from elsewhere. I could invite you to look at my previous posts on topics where physics, cosmology or the philosophy of science have been involved but you would simply say my posts show that I am reasonably good at internet searches.

          In other words, it is impossible for me to demonstrate that I do actually have a Ph.D. (nor of course that I am not a dog).

          Which is nice for you since you can use it discount anything I say on the physics front and as I said, use this to poison the well.

          I can actually dismiss your claim that you have one, and thus dismiss any appeal to authority that you make.

          You realise that I can apply the same action to you?

          Actually, it’s your claim.

          No, the initial claim, that anything not falsified fits empirical observations, was yours. All I did was produce a counter example based upon statements by the likes of Rovelli and Smolin. They say that it may be possible to test LQG using gamma ray bursts or small differentials in the speed of light at different frequencies. You can refute my counter-example by showing that LQG does actual make empirical predictions and that these have actually been observed.

          However even if you refute this counter example it doesn’t of course warrant your claim, you still have a strong burden to demonstrate its truth.

        • > You stated that “I am educated in both philosophy of science and science itself” and hence claiming to be an authority.

          No; I was responding to an attack on my understanding. I get that you don’t understand the difference. And you constantly appeal to your entirely unjustified authority. You don’t get to appeal to authority while remaining anonymous. In any case, we’re really not going to get anywhere, so have a nice day.

        • epeeist

          In any case, we’re really not going to get anywhere, so have a nice day.

          Well I won’t be around for the next few days, I will be visiting an old friend of mine who used to be deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Kent before he retired. Of course I can’t prove that I know him, that he is a friend or that I will be visiting him, but why would I make this up?

        • Ignorant Amos

          In other words, it is impossible for me to demonstrate that I do actually have a Ph.D. (nor of course that I am not a dog).

          See, I’ve witnessed you engage in much back and fourth with intellectuals on subject matter way above my head. I know that you met a number of those high brow types from that forum in meat world for drinks and a blather. On return from that soiree, there was no indication from the others that you were not the genuine article.

          Of course none of that verifies a doctorate on your part, but bona fides aside, it shows that you are not the bullshit artist that TSA is inferring. While the evidence is stacking up big time that TSA has been over indulging in those spirits.

        • epeeist

          Incidentally, you don’t seem to have responded to my questions as to
          whether you covered classical mechanics rather than QM or relativity in
          your undergraduate maths course. Nor have you responded to queries about
          the differences in accuracy revealed by the two different approaches.

          Just as a matter of interest, NASA recently launched the InSight lander. What do you think they used for the calculations to get it from Earth to Mars?

        • Pofarmer

          Whatever they used, hopefully they did it all in the correct units.

        • ildi

          “For instance, there was a ton of evidence justifying Newtonian mechanics, but eventually it was shown to be false. But those previous observations are still evidence justifying Newtonian mechanics. It’s just that other evidence outweighed it.”

          “Sure it was. It is inconsistent with reality. But a new theory took its place, which is a MODIFICATION of the old theory. Exactly how many modifications to a theory need to be made before it’s no longer the same theory?”

          You seem to glom onto concepts without fully understanding them.

          I checked my trusty alma mater to see what it had to say about Newtonian physics being falsified and I find Wikipedia to be a good starting point:
          “A superseded, or obsolete, scientific theory is a scientific theory that the mainstream scientific community once widely accepted, but now considers an inadequate or incomplete description of reality, or simply false.

          “In other cases an existing theory is replaced by a new theory that retains significant elements of the earlier theory; in these cases, the older theory is often still useful for many purposes, and may be more easily understood than the complete theory and lead to simpler calculations. An example of this is the use of Newtonian physics, which differs from the currently accepted relativistic physics by a factor that is negligibly small at velocities much lower than that of light.” Which is what people have been painstakingly trying to explain to you.

          However, as an expert in the the philosophy of science, I suspect the question that is of more interest to you that a redditor on the philosophy of science page asks, “Is Newtonian physics false but useful or true but incomplete?” No consensus was reached, but there was interesting discussion about what is “true” or “false,” and how “force” may be related to elementary shapes, which seems to be the same discussion commenters here have made about it being a matter of scale.

          Somebody responded “Basically Newtonian physics is wrong, and is inconsistent with Einstein’s relativity, but there’s a sense that if we squint our eyes Einstein represented a conceptual extension of Newton and Newton’s theories grabbed onto to some sort of real structural feature of the world, just not in a way that accurately described the deeper nature of the phenomena” and linked to this article: Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds? by John WORRALL https://www.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/fileadmin/Redaktion/Institute/Philosophie/Theoretische_Philosophie/Fahrbach/Wissenschaftlicher_Realismus/Worrall%201989%20Structural%20Realism%20.pdf which you may find of interest.

          I’m no physicist, but I think that by even asking “how many modifications before it’s a new theory” you’re showing your lack of understanding: Newtonian physics has been falsified. There are no more predictions made based on Newtonian physics. That theory is dead for the purposes of advancing our knowledge. HOWEVER, it is still useful.

        • Pofarmer

          That theory is dead for the purposes of advancing our knowledge. HOWEVER, it is still useful.

          Here’s how a commenter at this page describes it.

          It is not quite an
          “either or” proposition. In practical applications Einstein’s theory
          will manifest as small corrections to Newtonian predictions. If these
          are smaller than the level of precision for the application then they
          can be neglected.

          For getting to the moon and landing on it, Newton’s theory is
          sufficient. The precision of e.g. thrust and rocket motor on/off timing
          is too low for the application of Einstein’s corrections to matter. The
          Newtonian course is plotted, and aimed at and any errors are measured
          and remediated via correction thrusts. (Note such issues as venting
          gasses affect trajectory more than relativistic factors.)

          Now the GPS system needs to take Einstein’s theory into account since
          they must measure time to very high precision over a long span of time.
          (To get a GPS guided bomb to land within 1 meter of the target requires
          better than 3 nano-second precision in time keeping.)

          Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/did-space-missions-use-newtons-theory-of-gravity.564933/

          So, yeah, relativity is a modification to Newtonian mechanics but Newtonian mechanics is far more than just “useful”. It’s still the basis of the theory.

        • Pofarmer

          What we seem to have here is an excessively binary thinker, at least on matters relating to science and atheism, who then seems to take great pains to give theism tons of leeway.

        • epeeist

          on matters relating to science and atheism, who then seems to take great pains to give theism tons of leeway.

          So we are talking the old isolated demand for rigour thing.

        • Indeed. He suggests that the old theory has not been falsified, but instead is now part of a new theory. Well, kind of, but it’s still a new theory. The old theory is false. The two theories are not equal.

          I guess a very simple example might help @disqus_pqDAu2E3Zo:disqus.

          Theory 1: y = x
          Data…
          (1, 1)
          (2, 2)
          (3, 3)
          (4, 5)
          (5, 6)

          Up until the fourth data point (1) appears true. Here’s a new theory

          Theory 2: y = x if x 3

          Now, was theory 1 falsified? Yep! Theory 2 modifies it, but theory 1 is still falsified.

        • ildi

          It’s word salad in the sense that TSA is doing what cranks like Deepak Chopra do; use definitions and concepts from one discipline and apply them to another discipline as “evidence” for their positions. For example, I pointed out earlier that TSA is using the formal logic definition of hypothesis (sometimes) rather than the scientific definition, and they just don’t map.

        • epeeist

          Newtonian physics is falsified. It has been replaced.

          Let’s look at this is in slightly more detail. I’ll use quantum mechanics as an exemplar since that is a field I know something about.

          Take the Schrödinger formulation of QM (not my favourite but hey, ho) and set ℏ = 0 and what do you get? You get the Hamilton-Jacobi formulation of classical, Newtonian mechanics.

          In other words one can regard classical mechanics as a special case of a more general theory. One can also note that for anything above the molecular level then the results for classical and QM calculations are the same FAPP.

          Alternatively one could take the Quinean view, namely that all QM does is protect classical mechanics by the use of an ad hoc auxiliary…

        • Cool. Now define the equivalence relation for theories.

        • epeeist

          Now define the equivalence relation for theories.

          And this is a response to the points I raised how precisely?

        • Ryan M

          Getting a catch-all argument against even the Abrahamic God sets the standard too high. Aquinas thought God was pure actuality, Descartes did not. Both were Christian, and their conceptions of God had similarities, but any argument against their conceptions would probably need to be specific to their conception rather than so broad that it refutes both.

          Are arguments made against some conceptions of God that are often conversationally implied to work against all conceptions or many conceptions of God? Probably. If you want to see more rigor, then a different avenue is appropriate.

    • Raging Bee

      Well, yeah, all you guys have is arguments, not evidence or proof, so in a very real sense, all we have to argue against are your arguments. Once those are dispensed with, you guys are left with nothing. Mission accomplished.

      • Ignorant Amos

        TSA claims to be an atheist…a very strange atheist, but an atheist nevertheless.

        • Raging Bee

          He’s made a lot of claims that are obviously…implausible and unfounded.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Two minutes on his blog is enough to verify that statement.