A Scientific Question? Part 10

One way of understanding “science” is that it is concerned with the discovery and verification of facts. But, what is a “fact”? The word “fact” has different meanings or shades of meaning, depending on what it is that we are contrasting with “fact”. One important distinction is that of fact vs. theory.

D. Fact vs. Theory

What I have in mind here is the idea that direct observations are where the rubber meets the road in science. Theories can be tweaked, revised, and even rejected, but “facts” or direct observations are not so easily adjusted or rejected.

This distinction is clearly of importance, but it cannot be used directly to distinguish between science and non-science, because science definitely involves both observational claims and theoretical claims. In Rocks of Ages, Stephen Gould briefly describes science:

Science tries to document the factual character of the natural world, and to develop theories that coordinate and explain these facts. (ROA, p.4)

…the net, or magisterium, of science covers the empirical realm: what is the universe made of (fact) and why does it work this way (theory). (ROA, p.6)

What we want most from science is true theories about how the world operates, not just true observations about things and events in the world. So, we cannot define science as being limited only to the discovery and verification of observational claims or to just “facts” as opposed to theories.

The question of the existence of “God” would seem to be more a theoretical issue than one resolvable by direct observation. This is in part because God is supposed to be a spirit, a bodiless person. Given this conception of God, we cannot expect to see, hear, touch, smell or taste God, at least not in any literal way.

Furthermore, philosophical arguments have been offered for and against the existence of God, so it would seem that such arguments need to be examined and taken into consideration. Even the rejection of all philosophical attempts to determine the truth of this matter will, presumably, be based on some sort of theory about the nature of philosophical inquiry and about the epistemology of religious beliefs.

Arguments for and against the existence of God are based on empirical facts or generalizations. So, the existence of God can be viewed as a theory that is an attempt to explain various facts or observations.

Since science encompasses both observational claims and theories that attempt to explain the observations, we cannot remove the existence of God from the scope of scientific inquiry on the basis of the view that the question “Does God exist?” is a theoretical question, rather than one that can be resolved directly by observation.

But is the claim that “God exists” a scientific theory? According to Richard Swinburne, scientific explanations must be distinguished from personal explanations and in empirically-based arguments for the existence of God, it is a personal explanation that is being given for the phenomena. Swinburne also argues that personal explanation cannot be reduced to scientific explanation. So, if the claim that “God exists” is put forward as a personal explanation for empirical facts or generalizations, then this is not being put forward as a scientific explanation.

If the claim “God exists” is not being put forward as a scientific explanation for empircal facts and generalizations, but is instead being put forward as a personal explanation for empirical facts and generalizations, then this might be a good reason for concluding that “God exists” is not a scientific theory or hypothesis.

So, here is a possible line of reasoning for the view that the issue of the existence of God is not a scientific question:

1. The claim “God exists” is being put forward as a personal explanation for empirical facts and generalizations, and not as a scientific explanation for empirical facts and generalizations.
2. If the claim “God exists” is being put forward as a personal explanation for empirical facts and generalizations, and not as a scientific explanation for empirical facts and generalizations, then the claim “God exists” is not a scientific theory or hypothesis.
3. If the claim “God exists” is not a scientific theory or hypothesis, then the question “Does God exist?” is not a scientific question.
Therefore:
4. The question “Does God exist?” is not a scientific question.
I don’t know if this is a sound argument, but it does seem to be one worth thinking about.
One weakness of this argument is that it seems to be dependent on the particular historical circumstances of the types of arguments that have been given in the past for the existence of God.
Even if all of the traditional arguments for God are indeed in the form of personal explanations, it still seems possible that some new argument could be constructed in the future that would be radically different and instead be in the form of a scientific explanation. For this argument to be persuasive, one would need to have some reason to believe that this possibility is either extremely unlikely or just not possible.

About Bradley Bowen
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    Who told you God is a noun?

    If I read my existentialism right God is not a thing but the innate human capacity for connectedness and unconditional commitment. So when people talk about god what they are talking about is a reified sense of collective intentionality.

    And, just as consciousness does not reduce to neurons in brains, even though that is what gives rise to it, so too collective intentionality does not reduce to individual decisions, even though they too are all that constitute it.

    So what people are talking about when they talk about god is just this… but the mistake they are making is in objectifying something that shouldn't be.

    I don't think that the question of god's existence is a scientific question and I am not certain that it is purely a matter of a personal subjective choice either. I think that what people are talking about in religious/spiritual traditions are real and they have value. Consciousness is real in spite of what the Churchlands would have us believe and god as universal connectedness is also real. Just probably not a person in the way that fundamentalists, secular or religious, what like to believe he is.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01917087540890860626 C Boswell

    No doubt that “facts” have to be interpreted by theories. But the development of theories is affected by one’s philosophical orientation. A recent example was that a few Air Force officers came out and reported their sights of UFOs near nuclear weapons facilities. They interpreted their direct observations or “facts” by their belief in UFOs. A person who does not believe in UFO’s may have interpreted the same observations with different theories other than the visits by aliens from outer space. Moreover, the idea that “facts” or direct observations are not so easily adjusted or rejected cannot be sustained. There are many examples of scientists altering or adjusting their observations to fit their theories about the world they are investigating. An example is the global warming scientists who changed the temperature data to support a theory of global warming and who were willing to hide/destroy the data so that their theories/conclusions could not be verified
    I do agree that “Does God exist” is not a scientific question because God as a divine being cannot be subjected to direct observations or scientific experiments. It is a matter of faith that God exists. His existence explains the existence of an orderly functioning universe. His existence provides the answers to the questions of human origin and human destiny. Science and direct observations will never be able to explain human purpose and human destiny. Furthermore, His existence explains phenomena experienced by humans, which cannot be explained fully by any other theories.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Brenda said:

    If I read my existentialism right God is not a thing but the innate human capacity for connectedness and unconditional commitment.
    =============
    Bradley responds:

    Did "the innate human capacity for connectedness and unconditional commitment" cause the universe to begin to exist?

    It is a bit implausible (actually, a logical contradiction) to say that ANY human capacity was responsible for the creation of the universe.

    Thus, I take it that your suggested redefinition of "God" fails to capture what the vast majority of Christians, Jews, and Muslims have in mind when they use the word "God".

    You are free, of course, to invent a new religion, but my interest is in dealing with the ones that already exist and have existed for a couple of thousand years or more.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    C Boswell said..
    It is a matter of faith that God exists. His existence explains the existence of an orderly functioning universe. His existence provides the answers to the questions of human origin and human destiny. … Furthermore, His existence explains phenomena experienced by humans, which cannot be explained fully by any other theories.
    ==========
    Comment:

    If you believe that the existence of God is "a matter of faith" then why are you giving reasons to justify this belief?

    If the reasons you give turn out on closer examination to fall short of being good reasons, if they fail to show that God exists or that it is probable that God exists, then would you change your mind and doubt or deny that God exists?

    Or would you then fall back on the idea that this is just "a matter of faith" and so the absence of good reasons is of no significance?

    It seems to me that you want to eat your cake and have it too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    C Boswell said:

    …the idea that “facts” or direct observations are not so easily adjusted or rejected cannot be sustained. There are many examples of scientists altering or adjusting their observations to fit their theories about the world they are investigating. An example is the global warming scientists who changed the temperature data to support a theory of global warming and who were willing to hide/destroy the data so that their theories/conclusions could not be verified
    ========
    Response:
    I'm skeptical about your claims here, but lets suppose for the sake of argument that some scientists did "change the temperature data to support a theory of global warming".

    This has no relevance to the confidence that one can place in direct observations. The simplest sort of temperature "observation" would involve reading a thermometer. If I have normal eyesight and a mercury thermometer with reasonable size numbers on it, then I can have a great deal of confidence that, for example, the top of the mercury is now (at 1:36 am on Saturday, October the 2nd) between the numbers 68 and 69.

    I of course, can lie about the numbers that I saw the mercury next to; I can say that the mercury was between the numbers 78 and 79, but I will know that I am lying and that my claim is false precisely because I know (with a high degree of certainty) that the mercury was in fact between 68 and 69. I know this because direct observation of such things is highly reliable.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    Bradley Bowen said…
    "Did "the innate human capacity for connectedness and unconditional commitment" cause the universe to begin to exist?"

    Obviously it could not have. My definition given above is clearly a secular one. Notice the form of your question though. You cannot help but frame your question in the terms of a cause external to the universe bringing it into being.

    "your suggested redefinition of "God" fails to capture what the vast majority of Christians, Jews, and Muslims have in mind when they use the word "God"."

    Argument from popularity. What most people have in mind is irrelevant. I think that the existentialist picture more accurately reflects the use value of the word "god". Existentialism is hardly new and theologians who have made it part of their theology are in fact mainstream and are taught in seminary.

    You must be confusing fundamentalism with Christianity or religion itself. Surely you don't think that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    C Boswell said…
    "Moreover, the idea that “facts” or direct observations are not so easily adjusted or rejected cannot be sustained."

    I think you need to show that this is so. While it is true that facts are theory laden it won't get you as far as you'd like it to.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Bradley said:
    your suggested redefinition of "God" fails to capture what the vast majority of Christians, Jews, and Muslims have in mind when they use the word "God".

    Brenda replied:
    Argument from popularity. What most people have in mind is irrelevant. I think that the existentialist picture more accurately reflects the use value of the word "god". Existentialism is hardly new and theologians who have made it part of their theology are in fact mainstream and are taught in seminary.

    ===============
    Argument from popularity? I don’t see it. I’m NOT arguing this way:

    1. Most people believe the word “God” means creator of the universe.
    Therefore,
    2. The word “God” means the creator of the universe.

    Such an argument would commit the ad populum fallacy, but that is not what I was saying. Let me try using different words:

    3. When Christians, Jews, and Muslims assert that “God exists”, they usually mean, among other things, that there is a person who created the universe.
    Therefore
    4. Any definition of the word “God” which does not include or imply “a person who created the universe” fails to capture the meaning of the word as used by most Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
    5. Brenda’s definition of the word “God” does not include or imply “a person who created the universe”.
    Therefore,
    6. Brenda’s definition of the word “God” fails to capture the meaning of the word as used by most Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

    Again, you are perfectly free to invent your own use and definition for the word “God”. But then you are in danger of just changing the subject.

    If you want to talk about cats for example, you could insist on defining “God” as “the cutest tabby cat in Arizona”. I cannot stop you from using the word that way if you feel you must.

    But then, when I and other atheists are talking about the question “Does God exist?” you need to understand that we don’t give a damn about whether there is a cutest tabby cat in Arizona.

    What we are talking about is a claim that has been made by religious believers for more than two thousand years, not about some new claim that some theologically- inclined Existentialists came up with in the 19th or 20th century.

    What we are talking about is a claim that has been made and is still being made by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. We could care less about claims and arguments between cat fanciers about which tabby cat is cutest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    "Argument from popularity? I don’t see it."

    What people say a thing is is not necessarily what that thing is in actuality. I'm more interested in how god functions than whether or not "he" objectively exists.

    The Greeks objectified their moods and called them gods. Modern believers objectify their "innate human capacity for connectedness" and call that god. Moods and the ability to feel a connection to others do exist. The only mistake is in objectifying their existence.

    I think that abstract debates of the existence of god are pointless. Religious people directly experience god every day just as the ancient Greeks experienced their gods on a daily basis.

    In Homeric times people didn't go to sleep. Morpheus came and put you under his spell. Arguing against their gods would have gotten you nowhere because the average Greek of those times had direct contact with his gods every day.

    Why? Because his culture told him they existed therefore they did exist. In order to change cultural beliefs argument is insufficient. You'd need to change his entire culture. The same is true today. You'll never succeed in arguing abstract ideas. You need to change the culture in which people are embedded.

    "When Christians, Jews, and Muslims assert that “God exists”, they usually mean, among other things, that there is a person who created the universe."

    That is obviously wrong so it can't be what they really mean. What I think they really mean is "this intense feeling of the interconnectedness of all Being permeates my life and gives it meaning". They then objectify that feeling and give it a place of primary importance in the culture. You're not going to counter *that* with esoteric academic arguments. Frankly, I don't think you should either.

    *That* god does exist and *should* be a matter of utmost importance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17239457772830013242 tmdrange

    Brenda said… that there is a person who created the universe is obviously wrong. How so, Brenda?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    So we don’t have to keep repeating the description, let’s give “the innate human capacity…blah…blah…” a name: Bob.

    1. Is Bob a person? No.
    2. Is Bob the creator of the universe? No.
    3. Is Bob omnipotent? No.
    4. Is Bob omniscient? No.
    5. Is Bob perfectly good (morally)? No.
    6. Is Bob eternal? No.

    From the above points, we may reasonably conclude that Bob has virtually nothing in common with the concept of God, as understood by most Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

    In other words, “the innate human capacity…” captures what most religious believers mean by the word “God” about as well as the definition “the cutest tabby cat in Arizona”. Brenda is simply attempting to change the subject.

    But I have no more interest in discussing whether Bob exists than I have in discussing whether there is a cutest tabby cat in Arizona.

    I’m sure that Brenda can find an Existentialist-infected seminary somewhere with somebody who will be fascinated by her favorite subject. I could not care any less.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    "Bob has virtually nothing in common with the concept of God"

    As you understand it. Again, that is a very fundamentalist conception of god. If you think that god is a person, a male, a source of moral authority, that the Bible should be interpreted literally, well then you are a fundamentalist and what you are engaged in is a schismatic dispute within that broader domain.

    You are a secular fundamentalist.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Brenda said…

    If you think that god is a person, a male, a source of moral authority, that the Bible should be interpreted literally, well then you are a fundamentalist..
    =========
    Brad responds…

    I did not say that the word "God" implies "a male" nor did I say anything about interpreting the Bible literally. Those are fundamentalist ideas.

    The idea that "God" is a person who created the universe, who is omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and perfectly good, is NOT something that fundamentalists came up with.

    Fundamentalism is a 20th century Christian phenomenon, and the conception of God that I have outlined goes back at least 1,000 years, and it could be argued that it is much older than that.

    Also, this view of God is accepted by moderate Christians, Jews, and Muslims who reject fundamentalism; it is a view of God held by many, though not all, liberal Christians and Jews.

    The definition of "God" you propose fails to capture what religious believers mean by the word, with the possible exception of a tiny number of intellectually dishonest liberal Christians, who are just too timid to admit that they can no longer believe in God, Jesus, the Bible, etc.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    "intellectually dishonest liberal Christians"

    Yes, you see liberal theology as dishonest and weak. How typically fundamentalist. Are they effeminate girlie men too?

    Fundamentalism to me means a rigid dogmatic belief in absolutes. Atheist fundamentalists believe that everything is black or white, that belief is a matter of absolute truth or falsity. That sacred texts stand or fall based only on a literal interpretation.

    What it is really about is wrapping one's sexuality around matters of "belief" so that everything becomes males fighting for dominance. Online discussion are not so much rational debates. They seem to me to be little more than poo flinging primates trying to establish who gets to be alpha male.

    You really should try reading outside your little box you put yourself in. Start with Kierkegaard and work your way up to the 21st century.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Bradley said:

    When Christians, Jews, and Muslims assert that “God exists”, they usually mean, among other things, that there is a person who created the universe.
    ============
    Brenda commented:

    That is obviously wrong so it can't be what they really mean. What I think they really mean is "this intense feeling of the interconnectedness of all Being permeates my life and gives it meaning".
    =============
    Bradley responds:

    Your comments here seem to me to be self-undermining, if not self-contradictory.

    When you say "That is obviously wrong…" I take it that you mean the following:

    1. The statement "There is a person who created the universe" is obviously false.

    Suppose I am discussing religion one morning with a friend, call her Julie, and during the conversation, Julie says, "I believe that there is a person who created the universe."

    Based on (1), I take it that you would say that Julie had expressed a belief, and that the belief she expressed was a false belief (obviously false).

    Suppose that Julie and I have another conversation about religion later the same day in the evening, and during that second conversation Julie says to me, "I believe that God exists".

    Based on your comments above, I take it that you would give a different analysis of this comment than the previous one made in the morning conversation.

    You would say that when Julie mentions her belief in the existence of God, Julie cannot mean that she believes "there is a person who created the universe", because such a claim would be obviously false.

    But wait a minute. Julie had ALREADY asserted the very claim that you say is obviously false. How is it that Julie can make an obviously false claim in the morning (according to you), but when she is talking in the evening, you refuse to interpret her words straightforwardly, because interpreting them that way would mean that Julie has made an obviously false claim – the very claim that you agree that had Julie made that morning!

    You seem to be enmeshed in a logical inconsistency here.

    If someone can make an obviously false claim by uttering the sentence "The universe was created by a person", then I see no good reason to exclude the possibility that someone can make an obviously false claim by uttering the alternative sentence "God exists".

    Furthermore, if I query Julie saying "If I could persuade you that it is not the case that the universe was created by a person, would you then set aside belief in God?" and if Julie were to reply "Yes, if you could show that the universe is not the product of an intelligent designer, then I would give up belief in God" then I would conclude from this exchange that Julie had a concept of "God" such that this concept implies "a person who created the universe".

    Julie, would thus accept the following logic:

    If God exists, then the universe was created by a person.

    It is not the case that the universe was created by a person.

    Therefore,

    It is not the case that God exists.

    Julie would accept this logic, but be reluctant to accept the truth of the second premise.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15738381414795204410 Ryan M

    Brenda, if Fundamentalist person X makes argument P for the existence of the traditional fundamentalist God Y (God = Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, omnibonevolent) would it follow that I am a fundamentalist for making argument Q against argument P? If I think argument P is not sound, is it in my best interest to use opposing definitions of God to defeat argument P?

    Also, do you think the vast majority of Western Philosophers of Religion conceive of God as being without personhood? I think thats not the case. So is it a problem Bradley accept opposing theistic philosophers definitions of God for the sake of argument?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    The conception of God that I have outlined is well over a thousand years old. In fact, the sayings of Jesus found in the gospels, imply this concpetion of God.

    Even if the gospels provide an unreliable account of the words and teachings of Jesus, they do, give us an indication of the beliefs of the earliest Christians, who lived 2,000 years ago.

    1. God is a person.

    Matthew 6:8-10 (New International Version)
    8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
    9"This, then, is how you should pray:
    " 'Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    10your kingdom come,
    your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.

    2. God is the creator.

    Mark 10:5-7 (New International Version)
    5"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. 6"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'[a] 7'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b]

    Mark 13:18-20 (New International Version)
    18Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. 20If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.

    3. God is all powerful (omnipotent).

    Mark 10:26-27 (New International Version)
    26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
    27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

    Mark 14:35-36 (New International Version)
    35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36"Abba,[a] Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

    Matthew 3:8-9 (New International Version)
    8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

    3. God is all knowing (omniscient).

    Matthew 6:5-8 (New International Version)
    5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    Matthew 10:29-31 (New International Version)
    29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny[a]? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

    4. God is perfectly good (morally).

    Mark 10:17-19 (New International Version)
    17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
    18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'[a]"

    Matthew 5:47-48 (New International Version)
    47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    I numbered two points above as point #3, so there are actually five points showing that Christians in the first century had the same concept of God as I have previously outlined:

    1. God is a person.
    2. God is the creator.
    3. God is all powerful (omnipotent).
    4. God is all knowing (omniscient).
    5. God is perfectly good (morally).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    The statement "There is a person who created the universe" is obviously false because universes are not the kinds of things that persons can create. Persons are beings that exist within universes and so logically cannot create themselves.

    When I say that believers must mean something other then what they actually profess to believe I am looking at how their belief functions for them. What people say is often at odds with what they do. The reasons people give for their beliefs are often different than their subconscious beliefs that operate in the background and run the show.

    God is often thought of as a father not because people actually believe there exists a supernatural being who has a penis. God is a father figure because that is how we work. Our subconscious only knows of Mother and Father and Self. God is the Big Other which is one's father object projected onto the world and elevated to the level of the sublime.

    Religion builds castles in the air. Atheists and theologians live in them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14544680532155804010 Brenda

    Ryan M said
    "would it follow that I am a fundamentalist for making argument Q against argument P"

    I guess I need to repeat myself. "Fundamentalism to me means a rigid dogmatic belief in absolutes." It does not mean people who argue against fundamentalists. My experience with online atheists is that the great majority have very rigid and dogmatic conceptions of truth. They also tend to see the world in terms of black and white. As if this bears any relation to the real world.

    I see this kind of rigid dogmatism as childish and sophomoric. It is very typical for adolescent males rebelling against parental authority figures. Which is why these personality types dominate online discussions. Most of us grow up though.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    6. God is eternal.

    John 10:27-29 (New International Version)
    27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

    [Jesus promises eternal life to his followers, and provides the assurance that it is God who preserves them from death. Obviously, God must continue to exist for eternity in order to continue providing this protection/preservation of the lives of Jesus' followers.]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05211466026535549638 Bradley Bowen

    Brenda said…

    The statement "There is a person who created the universe" is obviously false because universes are not the kinds of things that persons can create. Persons are beings that exist within universes and so logically cannot create themselves.
    =======
    Bradley responds…

    Your argument clearly begs the question.

    Since you think arguments about the existence of God are a waste of time, it is no surprise to me that you are unable to give a good argument in support of your own view on this issue.

    I do have a slight interest in the question of why people believe in God, and whether belief in God is generally based on some sort of social or psychological cause, but my primary interest is in understanding reasons for and against the claim that God exists, and whether those reasons are good, bad, strong, weak, or inconclusive.

    Even if you are right that people in general are unaffected by rational considerations for and against the existence of God, and that only by some sort of cultural revolution or reform will people in general be able to view this question more objectively, it would still seem worthwhile to develop a clear understanding of the reasons for and against the existence of God, because when that wonderful cultural revolution is complete, and people wake up from their dogmatic slumber, there will still remain this question for them to ponder and answer: Does God exist?

    In the new heaven on earth that you imagine, people will be able to consider this question rationally and base their belief not on social conditioning or unconscious impulses, but on clear rational considerations.

    On that day, I will be able to help to those critical thinkers who have emerged from the darkness, but you won't have a clue what to say on this subject. Or you might think that you have a clue, when in fact you don't, and then pass on your unclear and illogical thinking to people who are hungry for clearheaded rational thinking.


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