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Old 10-23-2013, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,121 posts, read 18,599,788 times
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The standard position of atheists is that the theists assert and declare, but do so in the absence of evidence or proof that a god, or the god, exists. "Show us the proof" we write....but...

We have Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

So, even if there was a sudden global wide display of an entity which is capable of performing things we believe outside natural law, would that be god or would it just be an entity with abilities outside of our understanding? If some alien entity made the stars in the night sky move about and spell out "I am your god", would that be sufficient or might we still be suspecting that the alien's actual ability was to plant illusions in our brains?

How would we know if we had at last met a god...or met the god of gods? What could satisfy you as unassailable proof of a god rather than an extremely advanced alien magician?
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:35 AM
 
Location: The land where cats rule
10,946 posts, read 8,262,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
The standard position of atheists is that the theists assert and declare, but do so in the absence of evidence or proof that a god, or the god, exists. "Show us the proof" we write....but...

We have Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

So, even if there was a sudden global wide display of an entity which is capable of performing things we believe outside natural law, would that be god or would it just be an entity with abilities outside of our understanding? If some alien entity made the stars in the night sky move about and spell out "I am your god", would that be sufficient or might we still be suspecting that the alien's actual ability was to plant illusions in our brains?

How would we know if we had at last met a god...or met the god of gods? What could satisfy you as unassailable proof of a god rather than an extremely advanced alien magician?
Personally, I do not need or seek unassailable proof of a god. There is none and, as you outline, if any of the things you point out happened, you also answer your own question. Just because we cannot explain something at this moment does not mean that there is a god. Just something that we don't understand.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Southwestern, USA
15,434 posts, read 12,165,241 times
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For me....being knocked on my butt by an Act of Grace....changing my
brain chemistry revealing a Light inside my skull....at the same time
infusing my mind with insights into creation , seeing everything around me
breathe with life and consciousness... and who I am and everything else
in the universe including what's in my kitchen drawer.
That was proof for me...and happening several times...no drugs.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:22 AM
 
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As Bill Maher said, Jesus would have to descend during half-time at the Super Bowl.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,094,403 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjay51 View Post
Just because we cannot explain something at this moment does not mean that there is a god. Just something that we don't understand.
The otherwise largely forgettable Star Trek V: The Undiscovered Country weighed in on this when a godlike being is discovered at the center of the galaxy, posing as god, but alas, it is really a malevolent being that has been imprisoned there. Gotta watch out when dealing with powerful beings.

I think this gets at the basic problem of god's coyness. If he hasn't unambiguously revealed himself by now, there is less and less reason to believe any supposed revelation going forward, more and more reason to question it. Just come out from behind the curtain already, or else you must have something to hide. Maybe you don't exist, maybe you're not all your billing says you are.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,869 posts, read 3,793,329 times
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I've been musing about this for an hour and I can't think of anything.

There are things I could probably fairly easily be persuaded of given the right evidence:
I have this sense that there is some kind of interconnectedness that we all share. I could be persuaded that there is some kind of echo left behind after we pass. I don't mean an afterlife (not in the 'live on after you die sense') but something left behind that I can't explain. The reason I say this is that I have had a number of experiences that I can't explain. But I still don't see this as god. I just see it as natural phenomena as yet unexplained.

There are things that I already find 'wondrous'. I have mentioned them on here before: The first beat of a baby's heart; experiencing a total solar eclipse (everyone should attempt to experience this in their lifetime IMO); the sheer vastness of the universe; pretty much everything about physics has me in awe; how you can use maths to describe complicated or simple natural phenomenon. Things like that. So I feel like I have already experienced much of where people would 'see god'. But I don't see it because I see everything as either explainable now, explainable at some point in the future or simply beyond human comprehension.

I think it would take god actually physically making his presence known or talking to me inside my head. Even then I'd probably think I'd gone crazy and had some kind of David Icke experience.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:48 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,252,936 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
The standard position of atheists is that the theists assert and declare, but do so in the absence of evidence or proof that a god, or the god, exists. "Show us the proof" we write....but...

We have Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

So, even if there was a sudden global wide display of an entity which is capable of performing things we believe outside natural law, would that be god or would it just be an entity with abilities outside of our understanding? If some alien entity made the stars in the night sky move about and spell out "I am your god", would that be sufficient or might we still be suspecting that the alien's actual ability was to plant illusions in our brains?

How would we know if we had at last met a god...or met the god of gods? What could satisfy you as unassailable proof of a god rather than an extremely advanced alien magician?
I think this question has two parts:

If a logically consistent, falsifiable god-hypothesis had sufficient empirical evidence and demonstrated predictive power ( i.e. we could confirm that our god-hypothesis accurately models god), I would have to agree it exists.

Where it gets sticky is that an entity that met the previous conditions I probably would not consider a god. I think that there is some measure of transcendence and ineffability in the idea of a god. It would strike me as bizzare to treat a sufficiently powerful man as a god, because no matter how much power, influence and control he has, he is still a man just like me, and is subject to the same reality as I am. Even if we postulate an advanced alien, if it is scientifically verifiable, then it fits within some theoretical and mathematical framework that is understandable by scientific exploration. I would hesitate to consider it a god any more than I would consider a powerful man god.

So anything that is within the purview of science, evidence, reason, and possible human understanding, I would tend to argue should not be given a god label. To me, "god" requires that it be beyond, other, incomprehensible, somehow outside of all possible human comprehension. Otherwise, it is just a natural being or phenomena to measure, understand and use for our own ends...

So the conundrum is anything we had sufficient evidence for me to be confident of its existence, I would probably not consider to be God, even though I would acknowledge its existence... likewise, anything that is sufficiently transcendent, incomprehensible, and utterly beyond human understanding to be a god, probably cannot be empirically verified...

-NoCapo
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:50 AM
 
Location: location, location!
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What, you weren't impressed by the face-on-the-grilled-cheese thing?
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,869 posts, read 3,793,329 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilac110 View Post
As Bill Maher said, Jesus would have to descend during half-time at the Super Bowl.
Reminds me of Douglas Adams creation of the SEP or 'Somebody Else's Problem field' in his fictional book 'Life, the Universe and Everything'

Douglas Adams has his character Ford Prefect describe Somebody Else's Problem:

"An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem.... The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye."

In the book, the Starship Bistromath - a small upended Italian bistro with guidance fins, rocket engines and escape hatches - has been hidden from the crowd watching a Cricket match at Lord's Cricket ground, by an SEP field. People may see it, but they take absolutely no notice of it.

"The technology required to actually make something invisible is so complex and unreliable that it isn't worth the bother. The "Somebody Else's Problem field" is much simpler and more effective, and can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery...it relies on people's natural predisposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain."


The "Somebody Else's Problem" label is now in widespread use due to the popularity of the Douglas Adams fictional idea.

I'm sure people have all seen this before:


selective attention test - YouTube

amissingham.com Waffles, Gorillas and someone else's problems - amissingham.com
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:49 PM
 
Location: The point of no return, er, NorCal
7,236 posts, read 4,660,328 times
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"Proof" of what god?

Is this another false dichotomy? My lack of belief in your deities has nothing to do with lack of "proof, " just like my lack of belief in, say, Voldemort or Gandalf has nothing to do with lack of "proof." I simply don't believe mythical, fantastical, fanciful or literary characters to be "real."

And, really, if there were "proof" of such, which deity would this be? If there were some grand or supernatural event that occurred, how do we deduce which deity is responsible, if it's even a deity to begin with. "God," the concept known to Western society, does not register with me. It is a meaningless and incoherent concept as it is rarely properly defined. Simply because a supernatural event occurs I would not assert it's proof of "god" simply because the event deals in the more metaphysical.
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