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    15 Oct '08 00:13
    I must admit, I am a little annoyed by how many of the threads in the Science Forum have God brought into them. I don't really care whether or not people believe in God, and in fact plenty of scientists do. But for some reason we can't have a discussion about where the Universe came from or how life came to be without someone coming in and not only bringing up God, but lingering there to argue about how science is wrong and God is real. This strikes me as completely inconsiderate to the point of deliberate rudeness. So I suppose I am creating this thread in order to bring some of that out-of-place conversation to a more appropriate forum.

    So, convince me. I am a scientist, and I am also an atheist. I am an atheist not because I have proof that there is no God, but because when it comes to whether or not something in the world is real, I require evidence. There are plenty of things I believe in without requiring evidence in the same way that I require evidence for believing in evolution or physics, such as morality and knowledge. These are philosophical objects, and ultimately human inventions. I take it that God is not supposed to be a human invention, but is to be regarded as real as the Universe. Thus I have the same standards of proof that I have for anything else in the Universe.

    I do hope the people who want to convince me about God will leave the Science Forum alone now.
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    15 Oct '08 01:56
    Originally posted by convect
    I must admit, I am a little annoyed by how many of the threads in the Science Forum have God brought into them. I don't really care whether or not people believe in God, and in fact plenty of scientists do. But for some reason we can't have a discussion about where the Universe came from or how life came to be without someone coming in and not only bringin ...[text shortened]... I do hope the people who want to convince me about God will leave the Science Forum alone now.
    Science is the study of the material universe. However, God is said to be immaterial. Therefore, there are obvious problems with using science to prove God.

    In a sense, you could say that religion is the study of the immaterial phenomenon in the universe. For example, the scriptures say that God is love. So what is love? Is it not immaterial? Can you put it in a test tube and measure it? Can you see it? I suppose you could say that love is a result of a complex interaction of chemicals within the brain but really this is just a clumsy way to describe something we don't fully understand. Sure there is some truth to this scientific description of love I provided but the phenomenon we call "love" is for the most part an immaterial part of our existence that is not only real to us but also the most important aspect to our existence. You could even argue love surpasses science in terms of importance and relevance in our lives.

    For me the phenomenon we call "love" is the meeting place between the material and immaterial world. Through love both worlds interact. In addition, I think it was love that an immaterial God created a material universe. In fact, I believe that God came down in the form of Christ who represented the full embodiment of what love IS. So study the teachings of Christ. Should we love our neighbor as our self and even go so far as to love those who don't love us back as Christ taught? For me these our inescapable "truths" that supercede the scope of science and they are realities despite their immaterial nature.

    Now as for my view of science, I have always enjoyed science and take no issue with it. I am not one of these Christians who go around insisting that the earth is only 6000 years old and all science concerning evolution is bunk. I just wish that both Christian and science alike could take time to ponder and appreciate what the other has to teach them.
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    15 Oct '08 03:02
    Originally posted by whodey
    Science is the study of the material universe. However, God is said to be immaterial. Therefore, there are obvious problems with using science to prove God.

    In a sense, you could say that religion is the study of the immaterial phenomenon in the universe. For example, the scriptures say that God is love. So what is love? Is it not immaterial? Can you ...[text shortened]... science alike could take time to ponder and appreciate what the other has to teach them.
    I have no objection against immaterial things. Earlier today, I gazed upon a tree that one month ago was green, but has now been brushed with a brilliant red. Sure, I more or less know the molecular structures that give rise to the scattering of certain frequencies and the absorption of others, and the long and wonderful hypothesized history of co-evolution that brings some of those chemicals into my own eye so that the contrast of red and green is so striking. That knowledge of nature makes the experience of the tree no less beautiful.

    Immaterial things are what give human life meaning. Beauty, truth, the right and the good, indeed meaning itself--with a little thought one can reduce most of these (more or less) to material phenomenon. But that makes them no less important for a good life.

    I would dispute the claim that religion is the study of immaterial phenomena in the Universe, though. These are objects for philosophical inquiry. Religions are wonderful, don't get me wrong: I think there are marvelous stories that have been refined through generations. I do not regard them as any more true or real than any other piece of fiction, but the process of constructing a myth somehow distills many important facets of human experience into useful narratives. And scarcely a literary word can be written today without somehow referring to that body of culture.

    However, these immaterial things that are so important to human life would not exist without human life. They define our humanity, yet they only exist because of humans. Without us, no truth or morality or beauty would exist. They shape our lives, but they do not exist apart from us. There I think we part ways.
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    15 Oct '08 04:011 edit
    Originally posted by convect

    I would dispute the claim that religion is the study of immaterial phenomena in the Universe, though. These are objects for philosophical inquiry. Religions are wonderful, don't get me wrong: I think there are marvelous stories that have been refined through generations. I do not regard them as any more true or real than any other piece of fiction, but th ...[text shortened]... exist. They shape our lives, but they do not exist apart from us. There I think we part ways.[/b]
    So you are saying that philosophical inquiry is part of the material world? It seems to me that there is an element of the immaterial world involved in philosophy as well.

    As for your assertion that religious stories are no more real that stories about the Easter Bunny, I will take issue. Specifically, you apparently have never been introduced to the scientific field of Biblical Archaeology. These chaps are not religious zealots, rather, they recognize the Bible as a valuable historical source of information for their archaeological pursuits. These stories are about real people and real life situations. Dispute the literacy and supernatural elements if you will but it is based more upon truth than what you give it credit for being.

    You are correct that without living beings valuing certain elements of the universe, both material and immaterial, they have no meaning. In fact, would a material universe even exist if it were not for living beings declaring that it exists? This question is akin to the question as to whether or not a tree makes a sound when it falls if there is no one there to hear it fall. I guess where I part company with you on this topic is that both material and immaterial aspects of the universe have a source. In fact, everything has a source. The only question is, what is that source of both material and immaterial reality.
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    15 Oct '08 05:511 edit
    Originally posted by convect
    But for some reason we can't have a discussion about where the Universe came from or how life came to be without someone coming in and not only bringing up God, but lingering there to argue about how science is wrong and God is real.
    Wow. Who would have thought that a theist would believe that God is real and created the universe?
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    15 Oct '08 06:031 edit
    Originally posted by convect
    These are philosophical objects, and ultimately human inventions. I take it that God is not supposed to be a human invention, but is to be regarded as real as the Universe.
    Let me guess, you have never studied philosophy and know nothing about it?
  7. Illinois
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    15 Oct '08 06:341 edit
    Originally posted by convect
    I must admit, I am a little annoyed by how many of the threads in the Science Forum have God brought into them. I don't really care whether or not people believe in God, and in fact plenty of scientists do. But for some reason we can't have a discussion about where the Universe came from or how life came to be without someone coming in and not only bringin ...[text shortened]... I do hope the people who want to convince me about God will leave the Science Forum alone now.
    I take it that God is not supposed to be a human invention, but is to be regarded as real as the Universe. Thus I have the same standards of proof that I have for anything else in the Universe.

    Can you prove that truth is only what can be proved? Are there not truths which cannot be proven? (The law of non-contradiction, for example, is presupposed in all proofs, so that trying to prove it always begs the question.)

    By taking an exclusively empiricist and rationalistic approach to truth, as you seem to be doing, don't you eliminate -- a priori -- "soul," "spirit," "God," "heaven" and "objective moral law," etc. from the realm of objective truths?

    From a certain perspective (atheism) I can see how it might seem prudent and wise to demand proof of an objective spiritual realm (e.g., God, heaven, hell, etc.) before believing something of that sort exists, but once we establish the fact that you cannot prove that truth is only what can be proved, empiricism and rationalism begin to look more like convenient ways to bury one's head in the sand rather than being either prudent or wise.
  8. Donationbbarr
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    15 Oct '08 07:061 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    [b]I take it that God is not supposed to be a human invention, but is to be regarded as real as the Universe. Thus I have the same standards of proof that I have for anything else in the Universe.

    Can you prove that truth is only what can be proved? Are there not truths which cannot be proven? (The law of non-contradiction, for example, enient ways to bury one's head in the sand rather than being either prudent or wise.[/b]
    Empiricism and Rationalism are understood by philosophers as standing in opposition to each other over both (1) whether there is non-analytic a priori knowledge, and (2) whether there are concepts that we innately possess. Roughly, empiricists claim that we do not have a priori knowledge except that which derives simply from analytic or semantic entailment (e.g., we know a priori that every bachelor is unmarried because being unmarried is partly constitutive of the meaning of the term 'bachelor'😉, whereas rationalists typically claim that there are some non-analytic truths we can come to know by other than sensory means, perhaps by a faculty of rational insight or intuition. Relatedly, empiricists typically claim that the content of our conceptual repertoire is delivered exclusively through the senses. Though complex concepts may be formulated in any number of ways, the content of complex concepts invariably derives from more basic concepts possessed by virtue of sensory stimulation. Rationalists typically deny this claim, and believe that at least some of our concepts are innate or at least merely triggered, not learned, by sensory experience.

    I mention all of this because it is unclear to me just what you mean when you casually mention Empiricism and Rationalism.
  9. Illinois
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    15 Oct '08 07:23
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Empiricism and Rationalism are understood by philosophers as standing in opposition to each other over both (1) whether there is non-analytic a priori knowledge, and (2) whether there are concepts that we innately possess. Roughly, empiricists claim that we do not have a priori knowledge except that which derives simply from analytic or semantic ...[text shortened]... e it is unclear to me just what you mean when you casually mention Empiricism and Rationalism.
    It is my understanding that:

    (1) Empirical truth = truth ascertained by the senses
    (2) Rational truth = truth understood or proved by reason
  10. Donationbbarr
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    15 Oct '08 07:431 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    It is my understanding that:

    (1) Empirical truth = truth ascertained by the senses
    (2) Rational truth = truth understood or proved by reason
    Empiricism and Rationalism are theses that concern knowledge and justification, and the origin of concepts, not truth. If you want to be clear, then:

    Knowledge justified by the senses = a posteriori knowledge
    Knowledge justified by reason = a priori knowledge

    But, even given your understanding, it is weird that you would claim that Rationalism somehow precludes consideration of God, soul, spirit, morality, etc. Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz were all Rationalists, and each thought that we could have a priori knowledge of these sorts of things.
  11. Standard memberblack beetle
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    15 Oct '08 08:08
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    It is my understanding that:

    (1) Empirical truth = truth ascertained by the senses
    (2) Rational truth = truth understood or proved by reason
    Dear epi,

    The Empiric sciences have to do with palpable subjects, and they focus on specific aspects of the objective reality. Therefore the empiric sciences are Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology etc.
    The Noological sciences have to do with concepts that they derive solely from the human ideas. A well known Noological science is the Maths.
    And there are also the Axiological sciences (Ethics, Aesthetics).

    Now regarding the truth: the sole criterion and the sole aim of every scientific search is to find the truth, and the Truth is always the Truth. The scientist decides not what is "truth" driven by his personal niews. The truth evolves from the basis of the scientific finds and evidence. The question "but is this good? is it good for the theists? is it bad for the atheists?" etc. is out of order. Therefore the theology, for example, by definition cannot be a science, so it is impossible to find out the objective truth via theology; this is the reason why preachers are preaching instead of debating.

    Theology is not Philosophy either, because Philosophy is based on the scientific finds and evidence, and of course cannot work without common sens (sense).
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    15 Oct '08 08:081 edit
    Religion and science cannot ever be mixed.
    You cannot use scientific methods to prove religious things.
    You cannot use religious reasoning to prove scientific things.

    Suppose you could prove the existance of god. Then you can use method to prove any god of any religion. But if there is only one god, then we have a contradiciton. Therefore gods existance cannot be proven. Even this proof is false, because the reason I use religios reasoning.

    Many are trying to use the bible to prove the existance of god. This is a false proof. The bible is written by the hand of man. So is 'Das Kapital'. Does that prove that communism is a correct policy? No, of course not.

    I feel emarrased when religious people try to apply scientific methods to prove religion or disprove science. Why? Because I don't want to laugh at people.

    Religion cannot be proven by science. If it could it isn't religion anymore, then religion becomes science. This has never happened.
  13. Illinois
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    15 Oct '08 08:271 edit
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Empiricism and Rationalism are theses that concern knowledge and justification, and the origin of concepts, not truth. If you want to be clear, then:

    Knowledge justified by the senses = a posteriori knowledge
    Knowledge justified by reason = a priori knowledge

    But, even given your understanding, it is weird that you would claim that Rati ...[text shortened]... nalists, and each thought that we could have a priori knowledge of these sorts of things.
    I don't think I'm saying that rationalism precludes consideration of an objective spiritual realm (consider the various arguments used as evidence of God's existence), rather that rationalism cannot prove the existence of an objective spiritual realm (i.e., a spiritual reality not of human invention).

    Convect said he is an atheist because his naturalistic standards of proof tell him that nothing like God is real. It is my contention that convect's standards of proof already preclude God's existence, and it is therefore a pointless exercise to try to "convince him about God" according to those standards.
  14. Standard memberblack beetle
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    15 Oct '08 08:34
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    I don't think I'm saying that rationalism precludes consideration of an objective spiritual realm (consider the various arguments used as evidence of God's existence), rather that rationalism cannot prove the existence of an objective spiritual realm (i.e., a spiritual reality not of human invention).

    Convect said he is an atheist becaus ...[text shortened]... ore a pointless exercise to try to "convince him about God" according to those standards.
    But, epiphenehas, earlier here at this thread our friend whodey pointed that Love is "God"; our friend covent, along with everyone of us, surely accepts that Love exists. All of us we accept it thanks to Philosophy.

    So why is it so hard for you to use the Philosophy instead of the Theology in order to prove that "God" exists?
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    15 Oct '08 08:41
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    [b]I take it that God is not supposed to be a human invention, but is to be regarded as real as the Universe. Thus I have the same standards of proof that I have for anything else in the Universe.

    Can you prove that truth is only what can be proved? Are there not truths which cannot be proven? (The law of non-contradiction, for example, ...[text shortened]... enient ways to bury one's head in the sand rather than being either prudent or wise.[/b]
    …Are there not truths which cannot be proven?. …

    That isn’t NOT what convect said nor did he in any way what so ever implied that -you are misrepresenting his position -read his post again.

    Few people would deny that, for all we know, there could be certain things that are true but which can never be proven to be true -but ideas of such things are not part of science but pure metaphysics and mere speculation.

    …(The law of non-contradiction, for example, is presupposed in all proofs, so that trying to prove it always begs the question.).…

    It doesn’t require “proof” because it is self-evident because it is just part of logic.

    The law of non-contradiction simply states:

    “two contradictory statements cannot both at the same time be true”

    Do you deny this?
    -if so, then explain under what set of circumstances could it be that “I have been to the moon” AND “I have NOT been to the moon” be BOTH be true at the same time?
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