1. Joined
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    23 Jan '08 12:221 edit
    If there were not a creator God, would there be proof?
    Can there be proof for something not existing?
    Can there only be evidence for the existence of something, and not for something that does not exist?
  2. Cape Town
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    23 Jan '08 13:012 edits
    Originally posted by josephw
    If there were not a creator God, would there be proof?
    Can there be proof for something not existing?
    Can there only be evidence for the existence of something, and not for something that does not exist?
    It depends on what you mean by 'proof'. I know what it means in mathematics but it gets a bit vague when used anywhere else.
    However, by any normal understanding of the word, it is perfectly possible to prove that some things do not exist. For example:
    A block of solid Iron 20cm x 20cm situated in the center of your brain does not exist. Do you really need proof for that one? In fact, if an object is defined clearly enough and its definition contradicts what could be considered 'fact' then it constitutes proof of its non-existence.
    Another example:
    Definition: There is a god named James who does not allow any person in the world to ever type on a computer.
    Fact: I am typing on a computer.
    Conclusion: James does not exist.

    Often the dispute would be what is a 'fact'. For example I may make the following proof, but you would dispute the relevant fact:
    Definition: Jesus was the son of God who rose from the dead after three days.
    Fact: It is impossible for a human being to rise from the dead after three days.
    Conclusion: Jesus does not exist.

    If I can establish that the universe was created by some means other than a creator God, then I have essentially proved his non-existence. The question then would be whether or not you accept my creation claim as fact.

    Some creationists define God as a being that created the earth not less than 10,000 years ago. If I establish as fact the existence of a rock on earth that is greater than 10,000 years old, I have proved the non-existence of their God. Which is I suppose why they refuse to accept the existence of such rocks and will go to great lengths to justify their denial.
  3. Donationrwingett
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    23 Jan '08 23:49
    Originally posted by josephw
    If there were not a creator God, would there be proof?
    Can there be proof for something not existing?
    Can there only be evidence for the existence of something, and not for something that does not exist?
    Some people say the 'problem of evil' is proof that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent god cannot exist. But you cannot disprove a god about which no attributes are postulated. But there's no reason to believe in it either. As Bertrand Russell said, you cannot disprove that there's a teapot orbiting the sun, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be doubted.
  4. Joined
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    24 Jan '08 00:17
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It depends on what you mean by 'proof'. I know what it means in mathematics but it gets a bit vague when used anywhere else.
    However, by any normal understanding of the word, it is perfectly possible to prove that some things do not exist. For example:
    A block of solid Iron 20cm x 20cm situated in the center of your brain does not exist. Do you really n ...[text shortened]... o accept the existence of such rocks and will go to great lengths to justify their denial.
    I can't argue with that.

    My question is, how can you be sure that a human being can't rise from the dead?

    Also, is it the carbon-14 dating method that is used to date rock? I've been doing some reading about it and there appears to be some issue as to it's reliability.
  5. Joined
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    24 Jan '08 00:221 edit
    Since you can never prove a negative, God can't prove there's not some other God above him. There might be a much more powerful being than him, who's really controlling everything.
  6. Joined
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    24 Jan '08 00:25
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Some people say the 'problem of evil' is proof that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent god cannot exist. But you cannot disprove a god about which no attributes are postulated. But there's no reason to believe in it either. As Bertrand Russell said, you cannot disprove that there's a teapot orbiting the sun, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be doubted.
    Is it logical that if an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God exists that there would be proof?
  7. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    24 Jan '08 00:56
    Originally posted by josephw
    Also, is it the carbon-14 dating method that is used to date rock? I've been doing some reading about it and there appears to be some issue as to it's reliability.
    14C is only generally used to date organic remains, not rocks. It can only date reliably to about 60,000 years. For rocks you require other dating methods.

    Most methods, when compared with each other, tend to agree with each other to within 2%. Remember, these methods have differing assumptions, so the chances of that happening by chance must be in the order of hundreds of billions to one.

    However, when a technique is used inappropriately they tend to give erroneous results. Would you use a yard stick to measure the breadth of a hair? Of course not! Would you use a ruler to measure the breadth of North America? No! Likewise, we need to use the correct test for the correct system to get the correct result, but providing we do, the results are very reliable.
  8. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    24 Jan '08 00:572 edits
    Originally posted by darthmix
    Since you can never prove a negative
    For such a retarded comment, it sure gets made in this forum with astounding frequency.

    For any proposition P, Not-(Not-P) has an equivalent truth value. Therefore, anytime you prove P, you necessarily prove Not-(Not-P). Thus, every time any assertion at all is proven, a negative assertion is necessarily proven to be true as a consequence.

    Similarly, for any proposition P, Not-P has an opposite truth value. Therefore, whenever P is proven false, Not-P is proven true. Thus, every time any assertion at all is proven false, a negative assertion is proven to be true.

    Please, be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and cease further invocations of this asinine slogan.
  9. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    24 Jan '08 01:01
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    For such a retarded comment, it sure gets made in this forum with astounding frequency.

    For any proposition P, Not-(Not-P) has an equivalent truth value. Therefore, anytime you prove P, you necessarily prove Not-(Not-P). Thus, every time any assertion at all is proven, a negative assertion is necessarily proven to be true as a consequence.

    Si ...[text shortened]... f the solution and not part of the problem, and cease further invocations of this asinine claim.
    Doesn't this rather assume that only 2 possibilities exist? In most situations many possible explanations exist and proving or disproving one may have no bearing on the truthfulness of other propositions.
  10. Melbourne, Australia
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    24 Jan '08 01:08
    Originally posted by josephw
    I can't argue with that.

    My question is, how can you be sure that a human being can't rise from the dead?

    Also, is it the carbon-14 dating method that is used to date rock? I've been doing some reading about it and there appears to be some issue as to it's reliability.
    My response would be twofold:

    1. no human being ever has (although of course you would dispute this one)
    2. the notion of rising from the death runs counter to very idea of life and death

    Carbon 14 is generally not used to date rocks since it works usefully only over relatively short time periods - hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of years. It's mostly used for dating human remains and tools from archaeological sites.
  11. Donationrwingett
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    24 Jan '08 01:11
    Originally posted by josephw
    Is it logical that if an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God exists that there would be proof?
    I would think that an omnibenevolent god would prove himself so people would quit fighting over the matter.
  12. Donationrwingett
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    24 Jan '08 01:14
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Doesn't this rather assume that only 2 possibilities exist? In most situations many possible explanations exist and proving or disproving one may have no bearing on the truthfulness of other propositions.
    It doesn't matter. There could be any number of answers. But if you disprove P then you've proven not-P. That may not tell you what the right answer is, but it will tell you that P isn't it.
  13. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    24 Jan '08 01:152 edits
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Doesn't this rather assume that only 2 possibilities exist? In most situations many possible explanations exist and proving or disproving one may have no bearing on the truthfulness of other propositions.
    Don't be stupid. Regarding the truth value of P, only two possibilities do exist: true, or false. Similarly, only two complementary possibilities exist for the truth value of Not-P: false, or true.

    Proving or disproving P always has bearing on the truth values of an infinitude of other propositions. Case in point, proof of P necessarily yields a proof of Not-(Not-P). Do you actually deny this?
  14. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    24 Jan '08 01:23
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    Don't be stupid. Regarding the truth value of P, only two possibilities do exist: true, or false. Similarly, only two complementary possibilities exist for the truth value of Not-P: false, or true.

    Proving or disproving P always has bearing on the truth values of an infinitude of other propositions. Case in point, proof of P necessarily yields a proof of Not-(Not-P). Do you actually deny this?
    Okay, I see your point, provided you are working only using a hypothesis / null hypothesis pair. Most people are not, however.

    Despite this, there is no need to be rude about it - unless questions are not allowed?
  15. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    24 Jan '08 01:24
    Originally posted by rwingett
    It doesn't matter. There could be any number of answers. But if you disprove P then you've proven not-P. That may not tell you what the right answer is, but it will tell you that P isn't it.
    Yes, indeed. As I said in my post to DrS, you are completely right when working from a hypothesis / null hypothesis pair, although often we are not.
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