Sunday, 16 September 2007

Why yes, science can rule on whether your god exists: the backlash

Olvlzl posted a long comment criticizing my post Why yes, science can prove whether your god exists.... I started replying in the comments but my reply reached a silly length, so I thought I'd take the liberty of replying with a new post instead. I'm going to take his reply by parts. Here we go.

So, what is your research protocol to show that God does or doesn't exist, if it's so doable? You must have one if you can make such a categorical statement that it can be done
You seem to have missed the point of the post. My point is that as soon as a statement is made that puts God into contact with the Universe, we have a hypothesis we can test. If the test is failed, then we have ruled out a god who works in that particular way. The onus is on believers to indicate what their god can do, which can then be tested.
and that those who say it cannot, including the eminent physicist and atheist Lawrence Krauss, by the way,

“The Earth isn’t 6,000 years old,” he said. “The Kennewick man was not a Umatilla Indian.” But whether there really is some kind of supernatural being - Dr. Krauss said he was a nonbeliever* - is a question unanswerable by theology, philosophy or even science. “Science does not make it impossible to believe in God,” Dr. Krauss insisted. “We should recognize that fact and live with it and stop being so pompous about it.”

I can guarantee you, Ben that if you can come up with the experiment that can answer this question once and for all, you will have made your name for all time.
Hmm. An appeal to authority, with a quote containing nothing more than an assertion that that viewpoint is right. I find this quite ironic in the light of your closing remarks that
Vigorous assertion isn't the same thing as rigorous investigation or reasoning.
I agree, so don't do it...
How can you disprove the existence of a God who is held to be "Invisible, unknowable, indescribable, without beginning and without end"? I'll throw in almighty, since that is generally part of the formula too? Almighty would include the ability to overcome any logical barrier we might imagine and the ability to overcome paradoxes. Or it wouldn't be "almighty".
Okay, I don't think any of that actually means anything. It definitely doesn't describe anything that God actually does (even the almighty part is meaningless without something for God to be almighty whilst doing). So no, science can't rule out a God with solely those attributes. But that God is a pretty pathetic God who can't actually do anything. And as soon as you make a statement as to what God can do, then we have a testable hypothesis.
And, just to make it even more interesting, there are several schools of Jewish and Islamic mysticism that holds that "God doesn't exist", while believing in God.
Look, this is just silly. Nobody actually believes that God exists whilst simultaneously believing he doesn't. That's not possible. And if they do, then they've just proved every statement possible, as you can prove anything from a contradiction. Silly.
I'm not going to bother with the problems those "prayer studies" have except to say, did God sign a consent form and promise to not cheat and cure people in the control group?
I've covered this in a previous comment. A god who feels the need to hide from studies whilst feeling free to, for example, condemn people to hell for not believing in him is frankly an evil god. Science cannot rule out that such a deceitful god exists, but I doubt many people actually believe in such a god. Except for maybe gnostics. But I think the Christians killed all of those.
Did they make absolutely certain that no one in the world was praying for the controls?
A better point. Assuming people were praying for all of the controls, the experiment would at least rule out prayer being dose dependent. However, I would assume that at least some of the controls weren't being prayed for, whereas all of the rest of the study were, so you would see an effect that way. In any case, this isn't an indication that prayer cannot be studied, just a methodological detail that could easily be corrected.
Vigorous assertion isn't the same thing as rigorous investigation or reasoning.
We've covered this already.

22 comments:

olvlzl said...

As you point out, these things can take some time to go through. I’m sorry if that is annoying but I like to be thorough.

- My point is that as soon as a statement is made that puts God into contact with the Universe, we have a hypothesis we can test.

* There isn’t any way of knowing if this is true. Anything supernatural is, by definition, not a part of the natural universe. It isn’t possible to know if a God could relate to the physical universe in ways that would preclude finding a causal chain that could be followed with science. Since the very ancient definition of God I mentioned in my response would clearly be able to overcome any necessity for causality any hypothesis made concerning such a God couldn’t be adequately addressed by science. The onus is on believers if, and only if, they pretend that such a God can be addressed by science. Creationists are foolish enough to make such claims, many religious believers aren’t. Science can deal with any claims made by religious people about the physical universe, they can’t use science to deal with any supernatural claims made by religious people.

- An appeal to authority, with a quote containing nothing more than an assertion that that viewpoint is right.

* I wasn’t appealing to Krauss’ authority but using him as an example of someone who was a distinguished scientist, incidentally is an atheist, who obviously knows that the supernatural claims of religion can’t be addressed by science. I think Krauss is someone who should not just shut up.

- But that God is a pretty pathetic God who can't actually do anything. And as soon as you make a statement as to what God can do, then we have a testable hypothesis.

* What it means is that a God who is "Invisible, unknowable, indescribable, without beginning and without end" and with the almost universally made addition of “all mighty” is clearly beyond the reach of science. Science can only deal with what can be observed, measured analyzed and reviewed for flaws. It can’t deal with what can’t be observed or known. It can’t explain any action that is beyond the reach of causality, which this God would certainly be able to overcome. There is no testable hypothesis that can be made about this God.

It’s always a shock when people in the sciences don’t seem to understand that science can only deal with the parts of the physical universe which can be observed, measured, etc. It can’t even deal with those aspects of the physical universe which can’t be measured or adequately defined so as to be limited in order to make an adequately rigorous observation of it to constitute science. I’ve asked any number of materialists to use science to account for “the separation of church and state” which I hope is here in the physical universe and which I hope stays here but which science can’t even define. If science can’t deal with something as relatively simple as a basic tenet of the Bill of Rights then how can it deal with the idea of a supernatural God?

- Nobody actually believes that God exists whilst simultaneously believing he doesn't. That's not possible.

* Well, I hate to tell you but anyone familiar with the literature of monotheistic mysticism would be quite familiar with that belief. The number of times you find statements similar to that among mystics of different traditions is rather interesting, perhaps suggestive, if you are so inclined. If you want to read more on it I’d suggest Karen Armstrong’s “A History of God”, if you don’t want to bother with the mystics themselves.

- A god who feels the need to hide from studies whilst feeling free to, for example, condemn people to hell for not believing in him is frankly an evil god.

* I didn’t mention hell, which I and many people, don’t believe in. Hide from studies? Why do you think a God who is the author of the universe is particularly interested in rather badly thought out studies and would participate in them without even being asked politely? I wrote a long analysis of the “prayer studies” pointing out that both those which found positive and null results were bogus because they were flawed from their inception. There is no definition of what a “prayer” is, no way to know if a “prayer” is present during the run of a study and no way to know if the “prayer” sanctioned by the study is the only “prayer” that could have or not have an impact on the subject population of the study. There isn’t any way to know if any two people are doing the same thing when they “pray” or even if one person does the same thing twice in a row. I don’t think there is any way to scientifically study the effect or non-effect of something like “prayer”.

I would also point out that if there is healing as the result of a prayer it would be miraculous. A miracle happens outside of the natural order of things, if it didn’t it wouldn’t be miraculous. The statistical correlation which would be the only way to trace something like the effectiveness of prayer is the product of the natural order of the causal universe. There is no reason to believe that prayer, the effects of which wouldn’t be distributed randomly by chance but by the intention of an agent of “miraculous healing” would show up within a statistical correlation. Again, it’s always a surprise to see how badly thought out some of these “scientific studies” are.

* I would assume that at least some of the controls weren't being prayed for, whereas all of the rest of the study were, so you would see an effect that way.

- Since you have already criticized God for not participating in these “studies” perhaps it’s a reasonable suspicion that such an uncooperative God would sabotage them by healing those, one hopes randomly, assigned to the “controls” who are being deprived of whatever extra chance “prayer” would give them. If a God is willing to consider the desperate plight of those who ask for healing it would be a small step to assume that such a God might take pity on others who are being neglected. As for those who aren’t healed miraculously, there is no way to know why they wouldn’t be. Perhaps God has determined it’s their time. There isn’t any way of knowing any of this.

No one is required to believe in religion or any of its claims. But once you assert that you can perform science about something you have take on the responsibility to back up those claims by doing it and doing it adequately. Unlike the claims for the supernatural, which can’t be accounted for by science or logic, itself the product of our experience of the physical world, claims that science is possible can be held to account. I’m in favor of science being done when it can be but I’m absolutely against the claim that it can do what it clearly can’t.

The Barefoot Bum said...

The real crux of the biscuit is what God means. Now I'm not saying that an unfalsifiable statement is necessarily meaningless, but it's a strong clue; all meaningless statements are unfalsifiable.

As we see in just the previous comment, any believer can blather on and on (and on and on and on) without actually saying anything of substance, hoping simply to fool his readers into mistaking incomprehensibility for profundity.

But where is the meaning? Why should I care at all about the notion of an "invisible" God? Why should I not "indescribable", itself a description, trivially self-contradictory?

If God is complete unknowable, then we don't know anything about God, especially not what he/she/it wants. If God is at least partially knowable, then the believer is obliged to offer an account of how he knows what he says he knows, and, more importantly, how I can know it too—at least in principle—without relying on his authority.

Skeptics reject a priori as knowledge simply adopting a belief without (or often contrary to) some sort of rational justification.

If the believer wants to justify his knowledge about God by some other epistemic means than empirical science, he still needs to talk about the justification itself.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Oops...

Why should I not consider "indescribable", itself a description, trivially self-contradictory?

olvlzl said...

Passing by the insults, you clearly didn't understand the point of what I said. If a God is defined as "Invisible, unknowable, indescribable, without beginning and without end" the category of "meaning" wouldn't apply. If only "unknowable" or "indescribable" were the only definitions then it is clear that "meaning" doesn't enter into the picture.

I wasn't the one who claimed that science could dispose of God, I denied that science could deal with the question of God either way. I'd have liked to go into the possibility of a religious believer attributing limits to God and that even that wouldn't have disposed of God (they might be entirely mistaken in their description) but it would have gone on too long.

If you think that is blather, well, in answer to the question it certainly isn't. Unless you deal with those kinds of questions before attempting to do science about things like this you can only prove one thing, that you have no idea of what science is and requires.

Your assuming that I was trying to convince you about something I claimed to know about only demonstrates that you didn't understand the point of the argument. It was about the nature of science and its limits, not the nature of God.

Ben D said...

The barefoot bum has, I think, dealt admirably with the thrust of the points olvlzl has made, but I've got a few more things I'd like to add. To try and keep this brief I've just quoted relevant sentences - if you feel I've taken them out of context please feel free to correct me.

Science can deal with any claims made by religious people about the physical universe, they can’t use science to deal with any supernatural claims made by religious people.

Again, you seem to have missed the point - any claim that puts God in contact with the universe is obviously a claim about the physical universe - I'm not aware of any other universe we could be talking about.

If by supernatural claim you mean a claim that would not affect the physical universe, I am entirely in agreement with you. But a god who can't affect the physical universe is a god who is to all intents and purposes, irrelevant.

I wasn’t appealing to Krauss’ authority but using him as an example of someone who was a distinguished scientist, incidentally is an atheist, who obviously knows that the supernatural claims of religion can’t be addressed by science. I think Krauss is someone who should not just shut up.

So you're saying that he's a distinguished scientist who 'obviously knows' that the supernatural claims of religion can’t be addressed by science, and that because of this he should not 'just shut up'. Are we talking about the same argument from authority here? Until you can point out some actual reasoning that leads to his statement that supernatural claims cannot be tested by science, I'm afraid an appeal to authority is exactly what you're doing. Oh, and if he doesn't have any more reasoning than he just 'obviously knows', then yes, he definitely should shut up.

I’ve asked any number of materialists to use science to account for “the separation of church and state” which I hope is here in the physical universe and which I hope stays here but which science can’t even define. If science can’t deal with something as relatively simple as a basic tenet of the Bill of Rights then how can it deal with the idea of a supernatural God?

The "separation of church and state" is definitely not present in the physical universe. It is a human concept - people act as if it is a physical reality simply because of a shared agreement to treat it as real, not because it actually exists. A simple thought experiment will show this: if all humans disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, where would the "separation of church and state" be then? Nowhere.

Human concepts are shared fictions we agree to act upon as if they are real. They do not exist independently of human thought.

Well, I hate to tell you but anyone familiar with the literature of monotheistic mysticism would be quite familiar with that belief.

Oh, I don't doubt they say they believe that, I just doubt they actually do. I don't think it's possible to simultaneously believe two diametrically opposed things.

A miracle happens outside of the natural order of things, if it didn’t it wouldn’t be miraculous. The statistical correlation which would be the only way to trace something like the effectiveness of prayer is the product of the natural order of the causal universe. There is no reason to believe that prayer, the effects of which wouldn’t be distributed randomly by chance but by the intention of an agent of “miraculous healing” would show up within a statistical correlation.

That's just not true. Say 50% of the group prayed for are healed miraculously and 10% would have recovered anyway. Assuming the control group also featured 10% who would have recovered anyway, the statistics would, trivially, pick this up as the prayer group having a 50% increase in recovery rate. Saying something is not part of the 'causal order of the universe' is not then a get-out-of-jail-free card to say whatever you like about it.

olvlzl said...

- any claim that puts God in contact with the universe is obviously a claim about the physical universe - I'm not aware of any other universe we could be talking about.

* If such a incidence of contact between a God and the physical universe was susceptible to the tools and methods of science you could use science to investigate the physical aspects of it but there is no reason to believe that you could trace any non-physical aspects of it with science. I suspect that this is related to the reason that science can't seem to deal with consciousness, sometimes, when it’s advantageous to a particular allegedly scientific position, denying that it exists despite the experience of every person of their own consciousness.

You do realize that people who believe in such a God believe that literally every aspect of the physical universe is permeated by God. Science, an invention of human beings specifically for the purpose of studying the physical universe in order to come up with very reliable information about the physical universe, wouldn't be designed to find those aspects.

- Krauss

* I said I cited him as an example of a distinguished scientist who knew that you couldn't use science to answer questions about the supernatural. He shouldn't just shut up, not because of that, but because he's a careful and intelligent observer. I can point out that I haven't said that anyone should "just shut up". I can take whatever anyone says. Who knows, they might convince me.

- The "separation of church and state" is definitely not present in the physical universe.

* I'm sorry, I'd assumed you were a materialist, someone who denies that anything exists outside of the physical universe. You do know that literally every single thing within math, logic and science are equally the products of human imagination. There is no evidence that any of these exist outside of human minds. They could be entirely specific to the physical architecture of the human brain and contain limits past which they can't perceive the universe or, perhaps, beyond. It's possible that there are other beings that have profoundly different means of addressing the physical universe which can go far past our limits . It's one of the more depressing limits of Carl Sagan style Sci-Fi that ideas like that aren't entertained.

We know that science limits itself rather drastically and necessarily in order to only include information that can be relied on, math is even more exigent in its self-imposed limits. In any case, you can't have it both ways, either "the separation of church and state" isn't simply a fiction due to its being the product of the human imagination or math, logic and science, are equally fictitious for the same reasons.

"Separation" was discovered through the experience of the facts of history, facts that are as much facts as many of the facts of science, much more so than the "facts" of most of the behavioral sciences. Those facts are more useful for dealing with political reality than much of science since they deal with the real world as it really happened. I do think it would interest most atheists to find out who thinks the wall of separation is there and who thinks it’s a “fiction”.

- I don't doubt they say they believe that, I just doubt they actually do.

* Can you present evidence that they are lying? You have no credibility to accuse them of lying unless you can present that evidence. Some of those people lived lives that would indicate that they believed in their personal experiences as profoundly as it is possible. Some were quite willing to die on account of those beliefs. But, just as I am willing to take atheists at their word that they believe what they do, absent the evidence of dishonesty I assume people are the foremost experts in their own experience.

- Saying something is not part of the 'causal order of the universe' is not then a get-out-of-jail-free card to say whatever you like about it.

* Statistics can't tell you anything about the supernatural, there is no evidence that any part of math can address the supernatural. Math is the product of peoples' experience of the physical universe and the extension of that through logic, also the product of our experience of the physical universe.

In the specific case of these bogus "prayer studies" there isn't any way of knowing if there was even one incidence of "effective prayer" that happened during the study. Clearly “prayer” doesn’t happen in the majority of tries, it’s rarely, if ever, effective. The idea of a "miracle" is that it happens rarely, outside of the natural order of things. And you can't get away from the idea that any "miraculous healing" would be the result of an intentional act by a conscious "agent of healing". If you are studying "prayer" there is simply no database of random occurrences that can be assumed, not without having already taken a side in the question. Which would preclude objective science.

I wasn’t looking for a “get out of jail free card” I was looking for objectivity and consistent standards.

Sam D said...

I think a lot of this is beside the point.

To begin, the prayer study shows that a god who answers all prayers made does not exist. Full stop. Stating that these studies are bogus due to either the incidence of miracles or that god may not wish to be a willing participant in such a thing is not in line with the original statement. Read it again, 'a god who answers ALL prayers' , note the use of the word 'all', this precludes avoidance, or miracles.

So onto the claims that science cannot test something that is inherently untestable due to its very nature - Fine, sounds good! Again, beside the point (and I feel like i'm restating to content of the original post here). Claims that it can do so have not been made, what has been stated is that certain aspects of belief can be disproved through science as they DO affect something that is testable, and ARE in the physical universe. You can set up the boundaries of the study, and say that within this, it is true. Try and take it outside of that and of course you can deconstruct it in fairly short order.

To me it seems that most of your counter argument is based around taking what has been said into the realms of where it can be disproved or taken apart by setting up limits that are inherently limitless and saying "this cannot apply here" ,which is true, but completely beside the point.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

What a futile discussion.

Ben has already clearly set the premise: if God interacts with our physical Universe then this interaction is under the purview of science.

Any "supernatural" aspect of God (defined to be outside the physical Universe) cannot be studied by science, but that's not relevant for people living in this Universe anyway.

If there are people who insist that God does interact in our Universe in a specific way, then it has to be supported by physical evidence like any other natural phenomena.

Olvlzl: Well, I hate to tell you but anyone familiar with the literature of monotheistic mysticism would be quite familiar with that belief.

Ben Z: Oh, I don't doubt they say they believe that, I just doubt they actually do. I don't think it's possible to simultaneously believe two diametrically opposed things.


Heh, I've met many of these people - you wouldn't believe how common they are. There are many individuals who can compartmentalize contradictory beliefs with minimal discomfort.

Ben D said...

llh, sam - I think you're right. This discussion isn't really going anywhere, for the reasons you've already pointed out.

Heh, I've met many of these people - you wouldn't believe how common they are. There are many individuals who can compartmentalize contradictory beliefs with minimal discomfort.

Clearly the art of doublethink is more advanced than I'd thought!

olvlzl said...

Lim Leng Hiong, I have to disagree with you about the futility of the discussion. The point about the discussion being about the real, absolute limits past which the methods and tools of science cannot go is actually pretty important. It's pretty disturbing how many people in the sciences don't realize even the most basic facts about what it is science studies, the physical universe as can be accurately observed, quantified and analyzed, and that anything that can't or doesn't lend itself to those requirements can't be science. When it comes to the behavioral sciences those lapses can have a real and negative effect on large numbers of people. When someone says that science can do something that it clearly can't, as in this case, it's pretty important to bring up these limits.

Anyway, the point about the mystics isn't a point about compartmentalization of contradictory ideas, it's a point that God isn't an object that can exist, but is unique and not subject to the limited category of existence. In Eckhart the difficulties of comprehending that reality, the real impossibility of comprehending it is the focus of a lot of his writing. It's not a very easy idea to get around but that seems to be the basis of it.

olvlzl said...

Sam D. So onto the claims that science cannot test something that is inherently untestable due to its very nature - Fine, sounds good! Again, beside the point.

No it isn't. The original claim was “Why yes, science can rule on whether your god exists...” My comment which this post attacks was that science can’t rule on whether this kind of God exists. It actually can’t do that and I think I’ve shown that it can’t and that there is a scientist as prominent as Lawrence Krauss who has explicitly said that it can’t. I’m sure I could have found others if appeals to authority were the entire basis of the arguemtn. On the way I’ve looked at the impossibility of science dealing with a specific kind of claims of the miraculous (there are some that science can actually deal with) and a supremely important part of life which science can’t deal with but which history and the law are eminently able to demonstrate and argue. My comment comes down to an attack on the superstition of scientism, that science is the only means of discovering the truth and that anything outside of what can be demonstrated with science is false or doesn’t exist. You would have to do without some pretty important things in life if you really believe that entirely unscientific idea.

The claim that “science can rule on whether your god exists” in the case of those who make specific claims about the nature of God was also shown to be dependent on the claim being an entirely accurate and comprehensive description of God, when any human description is bound to be limited if not mistaken.

By the end of his original post, the claims made by Ben D were very broad, even attacking agnostics who, actually, have the strongest claim to having a logically and scientifically solid position on the question. I agree with Marcello Truzzi who said that the fact was that only agnostics who are honest that some things can’t be known and that those who hold that truth are exempt from having to defend their position. I would add that religious people who acknowledge that their beliefs aren’t the product of science and don’t constitute discursive knowledge are also exempt from having to defend their beliefs from attack on the basis of science and any of their practices that don’t negatively impact other people or the life of the planet are not subject to attack on other grounds. Atheists who say “I don’t believe it” and don’t make untrue claims about the ability of science to answer questions it can’t are also safe from these kinds of attacks. No one can prove to them that the believe what they don’t.

Ben D said...

olvlzl - The claim was that science could rule on any kind of meaningful god. You seem content to raise a lot of objections that are entirely irrelevant - it doesn't matter what kind of contradictory, ineffable supernatural things you want to say about god, I'm talking about god as it effects the physical world.
I'm not sure I will be replying to anything more until you say something relevant to this.

olvlzl said...

Ben D. so, you are admitting that science cannot dispose of the existence of God as many religious believers have conceived of God writings on religion were compiled? A God that is too big to fit within human understanding? I can assure you that thoughtful believers find that God to be meaningful in the most compelling way even as they honestly realize that they can't comprehend it. Whether you find that concept of God meaningful is really not relevant to the claims you made. I believe it was Dawkins in his last book who admitted that he couldn't conceive of what it meant for time to have begun with the expansion of time-space. Well, who really does understand that? It doesn't render the concept meaningless, just incomprehensible.

In that case, why not just admit it? And why are you so upset with agnostics who are honest about it?

olvlzl said...

Make that:

you are admitting that science cannot dispose of the existence of God as many religious believers have conceived of God since at least the time writings on religion were first compiled?

Ben D said...

Science cannot test the presence of a God who is irrelevant and does not contact the physical world, as I have said all along. I suspect you do many believers a grave injustice by insisting that has always been their conception of god however. And with that I'm not replying any more. You are not paying the slightest bit of attention to my arguments, and instead are repeating things that are essentially content free and do not address the point in any way.

Ben D said...

One last thing I've just thought of: Your problem seems to be you want to tell me exactly how the concept of God is irrelevant. I don't care. It can be irrelevant in any number of ways. The point is that the concept is irrelevant, and that is what you do not address.

olvlzl said...

Over the past year, as I've discussed these ideas with neo-atheists, I've found that their pretenses of being based in science are only pretend. I suspected that there wasn't anything to your pretension. You have confirmed that. There is nothing more than pretense to atheist fundamentalism, just as there isn't to religious fundamentalism. It's not science, it's scientism.

Sam D said...

Ok, here we go.

"No it isn't. The original claim was “Why yes, science can rule on whether your god exists...” My comment which this post attacks was that science can’t rule on whether this kind of God exists."

That was the title, the content of the post then went on to specify exactly what was meant, your argument following this statement takes this out of the post context. You then go on with an attack on supposed "scientism" which ultimately can be used broadly as a label on any scientifically based argument you do not agree with the premise of.

"The claim that “science can rule on whether your god exists” in the case of those who make specific claims about the nature of God was also shown to be dependent on the claim being an entirely accurate and comprehensive description of God, when any human description is bound to be limited if not mistaken."

So here we go directly back to the title, taken (again) out of the full context. The point is not that the claims being tested are a comprehensive description of god, it shows that a god who works 'in this way' does not always work in 'this exact way" thus disproving the existence of a system that works specifically as described. As I said in the initial post, once you start widening the boundaries to beyond what the proof actually shows, and ignoring this fact, your argument against these specific terms falls apart, because it is not relevant to this exact claim. A prime example of this is the text quoted above.

"By the end of his original post, the claims made by Ben D were very broad"

No, they weren't. I'd elaborate... save for the fact that reading the initial post is enough. I wont go into the agnostic thing as I do not have a specific opinion on it.

The final post annoys me no end. It contains nothing more than repeated dismissal of reasoned arguments up to now, still without having actually addressed the point of the entire discussion. The allegations of pretense in any of these matters is not only insulting, it is utterly without foundation.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Olvlzl, you say that:

Lim Leng Hiong, I have to disagree with you about the futility of the discussion...

Followed later by this assertion:

...it's a point that God isn't an object that can exist, but is unique and not subject to the limited category of existence.

Any debate can end right here - One can simply decree that her argument is unique and not subject to the limited category of existence.

Why is this not futile again?

Also, you have not at all addressed our point that God's interaction with our Universe is still under the purview of science.

Even if you are right in that science has hard boundaries with respect to the supernatural, some of God's abilities must lie in the Natural realm.

If none of God's abilities intersect our Universe, or if God always avoids revealing interactions with our Universe, then how is this concept of God relevant to anyone?

olvlzl said...

Lim Leng Hiong, well, if one side of the discussion has a completely closed and incurious mind I guess discussion of such an interesting idea is futile. So much for the myth of freethinking among neo-atheists.

You know, I've found a lot more freethinking and intellectual honesty among liberal religious believers than I generally find among blog atheists. And they're more fun to be around too.

olvlzl said...

Oh, sorry, forgot this.


If none of God's abilities intersect our Universe, or if God always avoids revealing interactions with our Universe, then how is this concept of God relevant to anyone?

If you read the discussion, you will see that I didn't make that claim, Ben D did. I said that science, which is ONLY equipped to look at physical evidence wouldn't be able to trace any aspect of the universe that was not physical. That wouldn't mean it wasn't there, just that science couldn't find it.

Let me give you some advice, learn a bit about the superstition of scientism, not the wiki article which, like most of the wiki junk around these subjects is pretty much propaganda. You all seem to operate under the delusion that science extends way past where it can and that it can do everything, when it can't. That isn't an idea of science, but of pop-culture.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Lim Leng Hiong, well, if one side of the discussion has a completely closed and incurious mind I guess discussion of such an interesting idea is futile.

I definitely agree with you.