Thursday, October 24, 2013

Q&A Session

1. People will argue that there's no proof for the existence of God, but as a thought experiment, what sort of proof would be acceptable to everyone?

I mean...since God is non-physical, then I would presume that any physical evidence is automatically invalid.  Right?

And every single miracle gets denounced as a fake, even the well-documented ones like the miracle of the sun or Jesus' resurrection from the dead.  We'll talk about miracles later, but is there any miracle so convincing that it would confound all skeptics?

Huh.  I wonder what people say, when discussing the existence of other non-physical things, such as freedom, dreams, the soul, the subconscious and mathematical concepts like numbers.

2. In response to me saying that Jehovah's Witnesses think the Bible is a science textbook, someone said, "As a Jehovah's Witness I can confidently say that you are completely wrong about that statement you made. We do not believe that the bible is a scientific textbook AT ALL! Can I ask where you got that idea from?"

I got that information from the Jehovah's Witnesses who showed up at my house, with a pamphlet for me to read.  I kept the pamphlet, read through it, then put it in recycling.  They could have been feeding me false information.

3. "Although this is all very interesting, it’s just an idea, a hypothesis at best. None of Aristotle’s ideas here have concrete evidence supporting his assertions. I could just as easily use his arguments to claim there are multiple immobile movers, thus proving polytheism. It would be unfeasible to assume only one immobile mover caused multiple reactions across the span of trillions and trillions and trillions of miles (i.e. the Big Bang.)

Like I said, interesting ideas, but let’s keep in mind that nothing here is proven. After all, does it mean, if we don’t understand something, and an international community of physicists don’t understand it, that means God (or an immobile mover) did it? I don’t think that’s a fair conclusion. If it was, there’s a whole laundry list of things past physicists didn't understand at the time, that current physicists do."

Yep, Aristotle was a polytheist.  He believed in multiple gods, one per planet.  A modern polytheist would probably say one god per galaxy, or something.  I'll discuss why this is not the case, later on.  The short version of the argument is that you can either believe in one, unlimited god, or multiple, limited gods.  You run into a logical error, if you have multiple unlimited gods or one, limited god.

I just want to re-emphasize that Aristotle does not say, "I don't know where movement comes from, therefore, it comes from God".  He says, "I have proven it is logically impossible for movement to have a physical source.  Therefore, it comes from a non-physical source, i.e. God."  There are other places in his writings where Aristotle admits he doesn't know something, and he challenges future scholars to figure out the correct explanation.  This is not one of those places.

4. Joanofarc77 quoted someone who said, "Most Christians don't read the bible. It's like a computer software agreement, people just scroll to the bottom and click 'I accept'"

That's rather accurate.  In my experience, people just pick and choose the parts of a religion they like, rejecting those they don't like.

5. Someone mentioned intelligent design versus creationism.  I must admit, I am wholly ignorant when it comes to this debate, so I can't contribute to a discussion on it.


Anonymous said...

1. Even I’ll admit that it’s hard to “prove” or “disprove” the existence of a god, but, and I mean no disrespect by this, we can’t prove or disprove Bigfoot or aliens either.

For what counts as evidence, I’ll use a recent analogy. About 4-5 months ago, the Super Collider in Switzerland recorded an experiment, during which, the speed of light was exceeded. According to Einstein, this is impossible. This discovery had the potential to make every physics book we have obsolete. However, instead of declaring Einstein was wrong, they replicated the experiment. They did it over and over and over again, trying to get the same result. Turns out, there was a fault in one of the wires. They didn’t exceed the speed of light.

The ability to collect data, process it, run tests on it, and most importantly, repeat those tests and getting the same result, is what we used for support. However, we really can’t collect a sample/data from a god, therefore we can’t process it. We can’t set up simulations based on what we *think* God is, because without data, we could be wrong, and the experiment could be tainted. It wouldn’t be solid results. That’s why it’s really hard to prove a god when we have no solid samples about it. We have beliefs and ideas, sure, but nothing we can put our fingers on and actually test.

I am curious though. What evidence do we have of Jesus’ resurrection? Please don’t use the Bible. As far as I have studied, that only thing historians agree about Jesus is that he existed, he was baptized, and he was put to death (for whatever reason.) Everything in between and after has not been concretely proven. Muslims, if you want a comparison, don’t believe he was resurrected (in fact, they don’t believe he was killed at all.) They believe he ascended to heaven, while God made a mirage-like image of Jesus, and tricked the populace into killing the mirage instead. So, it’s a wide spectrum of beliefs.

A miracle by definition is an event that cannot be explained using rationale and logic. A limb growing back would be a miracle, as we are unable at this time to understand why that would happen logically. An amputated limb growing back has never been documented, and thus, would be a miracle. A car crash, in which you lived, and someone else died, is not a miracle. Maybe you had your seat belt on. Maybe your car was made different from their’s, and protected you more. Maybe you were going faster, and the impact on the other driver was more than it was on you. Given the chance to process the scene, you can usually determine why someone died, and someone lived. On plane crashes, sometimes it’s just blind chance on where you were sitting, and what part of the plane hits the ground first, as to who lives and who dies.

5. You’ve have said you are from California, and now live in Oregon, so I don’t expect you to understand the Creationism/Intelligent Design issue. It’s never really been an issue there. However, I live in Texas, where it is an issue in some school districts. We have places here that place warning labels on science books that mention evolution. One of the arguments against Creationism being taught is that it is purely a religious concept, and religion shouldn’t be taught in tax payer funded, public schools. If it was, we would have to teach the Hindu creation myth, the Shinto, the thousands of Native beliefs, etc. Why only teach the Adam and Eve myth, and not the myth believed by the Hindus? To get around this, they claim it’s not Creationism, but Intelligent Design, but it’s still the same thing: a belief that some outside force created life on earth. It's just using a different name. You’re welcome to think that, and if you go to a private, religious school, teach it if you wish. But in a public school, you cannot teach religious beliefs, and even if you could, you have to give equal air time to ALL beliefs. If we did that, when is the actual science taught? It’s science class, not religious class.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, Michael!!:) Keep giving us your best shots, because you are smart and use your common sense!:) The Shroud of Turin is a valuable piece of evidence that Jesus was and is divine. I guess you really do have to be a child when it comes to God. It is like you're humbling yourself, because you are following under a higher perfect being. God is so sweet.:) And the Devil is an ugly jerk. God bless you, Michael.:):):)