The God Delusion - Chapter 2

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The God Delusion - Chapter 2

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Not a whole lot of action in chapter 1 so far. So, I'll go ahead and start up chapter 2. Discussions can still continue in chapter 1, but hopefully by starting chapter 2 more people will want to get involved.

I'll repost McCulloch's proposed questions:
- Is the God Hypothesis ("there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us") "a scientific hypothesis like any other", one that should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis?
- Is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria valid?
- Does the inability to disprove the existence of God provide a positive reason to believe?

I'll also throw in some other questions:
- Is agnosticism impoverished?
- What exactly does Dawkins have against Michael Ruse?

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Post #61

Post by achilles12604 »

QED wrote:
achilles12604 wrote: The ONLY purpose for my paper bag story was to show that Dawkin's claim that
God should be able to be tested by science and therefore he doesn't exist,
is incorrect and illogical.

Did it accomplish this task?
What I think remains correct and logical is that no God that interacts with the world in any way exists if science can't detect it.

You're saying science is the wrong tool because God is entirely outside of the paper bag. That's a view that I don't think is all that widely held. A God that is of your description is one which cannot be dis-proven but neither can it be influencing events within our world. For all practical purposes I think we could say that the existence of such a God was moot as well. It hardly sounds like the God that's the object of so much worship and petitioning.
I think you are misunderstanding my point. It is far more complicated than the all or nothing view you underlined above.

I wrote that God is entirely outside the bag for the most part. I also said that if God should open the bag and decide to interact with man directly (ie miracles), that THIS could be examined scientifically. I even provided examples I think.


Yes I think most of the "time" God is outside the "bag". However, if God created the bag then there is no reason he could not open it up and insert his thumb (as I wrote in a previous post). If he did this, THEN we should be able to examine these actions scientifically.

I would suggest that this sort of thing occurs even today, especially in the areas of miraculous healings and other such scientific fields of study. However, this is just my opinion. We see historical "thumbprints" as well as I provided the example of Soddom on confused thread Convergance of Evidence.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #62

Post by QED »

achilles12604 wrote:I wrote that God is entirely outside the bag for the most part.
Sorry, but that defeats the whole purpose of using the word "entirely". OK, so we can drop the notion of a wholly divorced God for now and contemplate one that intervenes in scientifically testable ways. If this is the case then why are all the claims for such intervention so apparently weak? Isn't it fair to characterize the level of intervention as being, for all practical purposes indistinguishable from coincidence? Certainly there's nothing in the scientific literature that I'm aware of that supports the claim that the normal course of physics is, on occasions, perturbed by unexplained forces.

I think it would be wrong to say that scientists are blind to the notion of divine intervention -- people like Newton were inspired to unlock the secrets of nature in order to gain whatever glimpse of God might be on offer. I don't think you'll find that all that much has changed since -- there's just nothing really to report.

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Post #63

Post by QED »

achilles12604 wrote:I wrote that God is entirely outside the bag for the most part.
Sorry, but that defeats the whole purpose of using the word "entirely". OK, so we can drop the notion of a wholly divorced God for now and contemplate one that intervenes in scientifically testable ways. If this is the case then why are all the claims for such intervention so apparently weak? Isn't it fair to characterize the level of intervention as being, for all practical purposes indistinguishable from coincidence? Certainly there's nothing in the scientific literature that I'm aware of that supports the claim that the normal course of physics is, on occasions, perturbed by unexplained forces.

I think it would be wrong to say that scientists are blind to the notion of divine intervention -- people like Newton were inspired to unlock the secrets of nature in order to gain whatever glimpse of God might be on offer. I don't think you'll find that all that much has changed since -- there's just nothing really to report.

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Post #64

Post by achilles12604 »

QED wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:I wrote that God is entirely outside the bag for the most part.

Sorry, but that defeats the whole purpose of using the word "entirely". OK, so we can drop the notion of a wholly divorced God for now and contemplate one that intervenes in scientifically testable ways. If this is the case then why are all the claims for such intervention so apparently weak? Isn't it fair to characterize the level of intervention as being, for all practical purposes indistinguishable from coincidence? Certainly there's nothing in the scientific literature that I'm aware of that supports the claim that the normal course of physics is, on occasions, perturbed by unexplained forces.

I think it would be wrong to say that scientists are blind to the notion of divine intervention -- people like Newton were inspired to unlock the secrets of nature in order to gain whatever glimpse of God might be on offer. I don't think you'll find that all that much has changed since -- there's just nothing really to report.
[/quote]

It all depends on if you accept coincidence or not. Me being in law enforcement, I bet you can guess how often I accept events as "coincidence".

Anyway, how often does something occur which causes people to say, "Wow! You were REALLY lucky." Do these events fall under the "coincidence" blanket? How about those events which leave scientists baffled? Their response is usually "we can't explain it yet." There are many instances of intervention even today.

But lets throw out ALL of those for the moment. What about incidents where we DO understand the HOW? Does this mean that God didn't intervene? Is God limited to using exclusively supernatural means for his ends?

What about the grey area . . . say something occurs ( a car sliding around a person on the street instead of hitting him) and science is able to explain the HOW. But they conclude that given the same variables, it was much more likely that the car would have hit the person rather than sliding around them.

Would the fact that person beat the 3-1 odds indicate that perhaps something intervened via the natural?



Now what about people like George Muller? This man's life would seem to indicate that he had the best luck of any man ever, or someone was behind the scenes.


I believe that there are also instances which science discredits before a fair examination. Take healings for example. There are many churches which claim healings of everything from broken bones to cancer.

I would be willing to bet that science doesn't follow up with these claims. Being part of a church which has a member who's cancer suddenly disappeared, I am inclined to accept these sorts of things.


ANYWAY - I think I am just rambling now so I hope that this makes sense, especially since I have slept 2 hours out of the last 26. I hate mondays.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #65

Post by QED »

I think you are faced with a great deal of difficulty here achilles12604. From a population of billions of people -- every one of which is engaged in a daily series of events -- there are inevitably going to be extraordinary coincidences from time to time. These extraordinary events (some might call them Miracles) are selected for our attention by their own remarkable nature. George Muller no doubt had his own share of good fortune but I would also suggest that he was assisted by real "guardian angels" in the shape of human benefactors supporting his cause.

Take the recent case of a jeweller saved from a bullet by his mobile phone
Image
We might be tempted to say that God intervened because the chances seem slim. But then all manner of evil goes unchecked elsewhere and else-when. We have to then invent reasons why God saw fit to intervene in this special case -- perhaps so the Jeweller could fulfill a role already set for him by God later in life. But we can invent stories like this for any situation where a genuine coincidence exists. In other words I think you have to eliminate all coincidence (which means everything is pre-determined) or give up trying to single-out God's intervention from the "noisy" background altogether.

Of course people will continue to hope that God can intervene, like the parents of poor little Madeleine McCann who were recently granted an audience with the Pope who prayed for God to return her safely. There's little else they can do and it would be insensitive to criticize everyone's petitionary attempts -- but I can't help wondering if it's fair to gamble on the outcome in this way. Should we believe that when bad things happen God knows better and that they are truly deserved? The problem of evil would seem to make belief in miracles very difficult.

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Post #66

Post by Cathar1950 »

It reminds me of an all in the family episode where Archie was saved from death and Meathead said "Maybe God missed".
Or two boxers and one boxer thanks God for helping him beat the crap out of the other guy.
Or how about everyone's house burns down but yours.

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Post #67

Post by Furrowed Brow »

achilles12604 wrote:
QED wrote:
achilles12604 wrote: The ONLY purpose for my paper bag story was to show that Dawkin's claim that
God should be able to be tested by science and therefore he doesn't exist,
is incorrect and illogical.

Did it accomplish this task?
What I think remains correct and logical is that no God that interacts with the world in any way exists if science can't detect it.

You're saying science is the wrong tool because God is entirely outside of the paper bag. That's a view that I don't think is all that widely held. A God that is of your description is one which cannot be dis-proven but neither can it be influencing events within our world. For all practical purposes I think we could say that the existence of such a God was moot as well. It hardly sounds like the God that's the object of so much worship and petitioning.
I think you are misunderstanding my point. It is far more complicated than the all or nothing view you underlined above.

I wrote that God is entirely outside the bag for the most part. I also said that if God should open the bag and decide to interact with man directly (ie miracles), that THIS could be examined scientifically. I even provided examples I think.


Yes I think most of the "time" God is outside the "bag". However, if God created the bag then there is no reason he could not open it up and insert his thumb (as I wrote in a previous post). If he did this, THEN we should be able to examine these actions scientifically.

I would suggest that this sort of thing occurs even today, especially in the areas of miraculous healings and other such scientific fields of study. However, this is just my opinion. We see historical "thumbprints" as well as I provided the example of Soddom on confused thread Convergance of Evidence.
I think the paper bag analogy needs to be challenged. If what is outside the bag is the same as the inside i.e. the same laws and principles, then there is no barrier to scrutinising God.

If however there are principles, modes of being, or whatever that bear no relationship to what can be found inside the bag, then what does it really mean to admit that? This mode of being is never seen inside the bag, by definition. We have no way of pointing to it, or describing it, or making sense of it. It would be beyond our comprehension. In which case what does the word God mean? What sense does it make? What sense does it make to say God loves us? Answer none.

To be true that's about my stance.

Now say this incomprehensible God, does intervene in the world. How so? How does something so incommensurable interact with the world. I don’t think this really makes sense. What we get is the age old problem of dualism reformulated in a different way. How does the material interact with the immaterial. This is a logical and semantic conflation, and should not be mistaken for a real problem.

It seems if God is to make sense he/she/it needs to be of a mode of being that can interact with the world. Maybe the principles we observe as applying to our world are but a special case of deeper more general principles that apply outside the bag. That seems possible. In which case God is a scientific hypothesis. I’d go further. I think God needs to be open to scientific scrutiny for the concept of God to make any sense at all.

However, I think God don't make sense and is not a scientific hypothesis. So I disagree with Dawkins.

The problem for the theist if they accept that God is open to science , is that they need to be consistent, and be open to the data and the science, and the kind of logic QED has outlined above.

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