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 doneYou 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,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
“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.
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.