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 Can We Say God Exists 
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I want to take a slightly different approach here. Rather than me saying that god doesn't exist, I want to know how we can say god does exist... if we can. Or can we only say that the possibility is open?

So can we say that god exists?

I say that we can't say god exists, no more than we can say faeries exist or ghosts exist or the Invisible Pink Unicorn exists. Is the possibility open? Certainly it is, however minute. But then the possibility exists that we are all part of a Matrix-like program being run by aliens or sentient computers.

So we can establish the possibility that a god exists. Anything that attempts to describe this possibility is then also a possibility. So we have possibilities of possibilities of a possibility and so on.

Is this really worth anything to us?

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:56 am
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Brandon wrote:
But then the possibility exists that we are all part of a Matrix-like program being run by aliens or sentient computers.

You say this as though it is a far-fetched notion, comparable to your pink invisible unicorns. However, it is actually a realistic--and in fact, likely--supposition, one we have already discussed.

Something I'd like to add, which just occurred to me. If we are in fact living in a simulation, whatever being(s) have created this simulation are functionally indistinguishable from any divine Creator which may or may not exist. As far as we are concerned, such a being is utterly omnipotent and omniscient, completely beyond the bounds and laws of science and our (ahem) "physical" universe, and in all likelihood, completely beyond any dependable means of scientific analysis. Maybe God is just a Really Good Programmer?

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:31 am
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Oh, but then who created the computer programmer?!

Frankly I think it'd be pretty cool if this were all just some computer simulation. Someone needs to find out how to hack it.

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:33 am
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Brandon wrote:
I want to take a slightly different approach here. Rather than me saying that god doesn't exist, I want to know how we can say god does exist... if we can. Or can we only say that the possibility is open?

So can we say that god exists?

I say that we can't say god exists, no more than we can say faeries exist or ghosts exist or the Invisible Pink Unicorn exists. Is the possibility open? Certainly it is, however minute. But then the possibility exists that we are all part of a Matrix-like program being run by aliens or sentient computers.

So we can establish the possibility that a god exists. Anything that attempts to describe this possibility is then also a possibility. So we have possibilities of possibilities of a possibility and so on.

Is this really worth anything to us?

I agree we cannot prove the existence of God. I also agree the possibility is open that He does exist. I seem to exist and I seem to be aware of where I am and can wonder about why I came to be here. If a loving Creator is assumed some of the answers to the questions of why become possible to speculate upon. If I assume no Creator, then I must assume my brain and my existence is just the accidental result of chemicals colliding. That make little sense to me. It is more reasonable to assume there is an intelligence behind my existence than to assume it is all just accidental and coincidental. Just one aspect of this is assuming life came from non life. That does not make sense to me. I know we have been able to recreate the building blocks of life in the lab, but not life from non life and to assume that simply came about as a random result of the big bang is not that reasonable to me.

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:36 am
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Elman wrote:
If I assume no Creator, then I must assume my brain and my existence is just the accidently result of chemicals colliding. That make little sense to me. It is more reasonable to assume there is an intelligence behind my existence than to assume it is all just accidental and coincidental.


Logical fallacy alert! Argumentum ad ignorantiam.

Elman wrote:
I know we have been able to recreate the building blocks of life in the lab, but not life from non life and to assume that simply came about as a random result of the big bang is not that reasonable to me.


And when the day comes that we make life from non-living organic compounds, as it is fast approaching, what will you say?

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:41 am
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Brandon wrote:
Oh, but then who created the computer programmer?!

Frankly I think it'd be pretty cool if this were all just some computer simulation. Someone needs to find out how to hack it.



Read on McDuff.

Some Dude wrote:
A short story by David Brin.

David Brin wrote:
No one ever said it was easy to be a god, responsible for billions of sapient lives, having to listen to their dreams, anguished cries, and carping criticism.
Try it for a while.
It can get to be a drag, just like any other job.

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:11 pm
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Cortex sort of hurts after that.

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:26 pm
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Can a person make an honest claim that they “know” there is a God? I would say no, that would be ultimate knowledge and it isn’t possible.

Brandon wrote:
Elman wrote:
If I assume no Creator, then I must assume my brain and my existence is just the accidently result of chemicals colliding. That make little sense to me. It is more reasonable to assume there is an intelligence behind my existence than to assume it is all just accidental and coincidental.


Logical fallacy alert! Argumentum ad ignorantiam.


I would be careful about labeling this argument as a logical fallacy, many people have commented on the accidental (and overwhelming probability against a planet forming life) as their inspiration for belief. I am not, however, convinced. I think it is just as likely that if there is a God he is as disinterested in humans as we are about the bugs hitting a windshield.

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:58 pm
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ecogeek wrote:
I would be careful about labeling this argument as a logical fallacy, many people have commented on the accidental (and overwhelming probability against a planet forming life) as their inspiration for belief.


Unfortunately, lots of people being inspired to believe in god because they find abiogenesis improbable is a prime example of this fallacy. However improbable abiogenesis is, it is wildly more improbable to assume that there is an eternal creator god that made life.

Elman is clearly saying that because he doesn't understand how it could work, it's obviously not so.

He's also using a classic strawman here by saying he must assume that his brain and his entire existence are the result of chemicals accidentally colliding. This is so not the case. Abiogenesis happened. And we are close to reproducing it. It's not some accident, or a mistake. It simply happened. Then what led up to Elman's existence and his brain is millions upon millions of years of evolution that he waves away as part of that "accident". Evolution is not an accident, either. It happens.

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Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:24 am
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brandon wrote:
…it is wildly more improbable to assume that there is an eternal creator god that made life.
I don’t believe we have the statistics to back up that statement. Do you? I would be reasonably impressed if you did, but I think the math would make even Stephen Hawkings head implode.

brandon wrote:
Elman is clearly saying that because he doesn't understand how it could work, it's obviously not so.
I don’t think that is obvious… I think that a conclusion that you have, again, jumped to.

brandon wrote:
He's also using a classic strawman here by saying he must assume that his brain and his entire existence are the result of chemicals accidentally colliding. This is so not the case. Abiogenesis happened. And we are close to reproducing it. It's not some accident, or a mistake. It simply happened. Then what led up to Elman's existence and his brain is millions upon millions of years of evolution that he waves away as part of that "accident".
I think instead we are talking about accidents meaning without a creator intelligently designing us… or to put it another way, accident does not necessarily mean a mistake (or unfortunate event) it also means with no source or plan (happen by chance without planning, apparent cause, or deliberate intent). The definitions are, again, from the dictionary on my computer.

brandon wrote:
Evolution is not an accident, either. It happens.

It sure does happen…

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Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:22 am
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Brandon wrote:
Elman wrote:
If I assume no Creator, then I must assume my brain and my existence is just the accidently result of chemicals colliding. That make little sense to me. It is more reasonable to assume there is an intelligence behind my existence than to assume it is all just accidental and coincidental.


Logical fallacy alert! Argumentum ad ignorantiam.
A meaningful response--this is not.

Elman wrote:
I know we have been able to recreate the building blocks of life in the lab, but not life from non life and to assume that simply came about as a random result of the big bang is not that reasonable to me.


Quote:
And when the day comes that we make life from non-living organic compounds,
I will observe how we did it and decide if it seems reasonable to me that it happened in nature without any intelligence causing it to happen
Quote:
.as it is fast approaching, what will you say?
I don't know how fast it is approaching but I have already answered this question.

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Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:18 am
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Elman wrote:
A meaningful response--this is not.


What I see as being a meaningless statement invoked the response. It's a logical fallacy. What more can I say about it?

Elman wrote:
I will observe how we did it and decide if it seems reasonable to me that it happened in nature without any intelligence causing it to happen.
I don't know how fast it is approaching but I have already answered this question.


Fair enough.

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Last edited by Brandon on Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:48 am
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ecogeek wrote:
I don’t think that is obvious… I think that a conclusion that you have, again, jumped to.


Obviously not so... to him. Sorry if that caused confusion.

ecogeek wrote:
I don’t believe we have the statistics to back up that statement. Do you? I would be reasonably impressed if you did, but I think the math would make even Stephen Hawkings head implode.


No, there are no numbers. But let's fact it, look how close we are to actually replicating abiogenesis. I think that the fact that we can come so close to this and understand it and test it significantly increases the probability of it being possible, where as on the other hand we have a creator which cannot be tested.

ecogeek wrote:
I think instead we are talking about accidents meaning without a creator intelligently designing us… or to put it another way, accident does not necessarily mean a mistake (or unfortunate event) it also means with no source or plan (happen by chance without planning, apparent cause, or deliberate intent). The definitions are, again, from the dictionary on my computer.


Fair enough. I just don't like the negative connotation the word carries.

ecogeek wrote:
It sure does happen…


Quite.

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Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:53 am
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brandon wrote:
No, there are no numbers.

Exactly.
brandon wrote:
But let's fact it, look how close we are to actually replicating abiogenesis. I think that the fact that we can come so close to this and understand it and test it significantly increases the probability of it being possible, where as on the other hand we have a creator which cannot be tested.


There are many things humans have accomplished that I find quite impressive and astonishing. Making life from "nothing" (well not really nothing) is one of many. What exactly do you think this will prove? Do you think humans creating life will be the death of religion? People used to think the Earth was stationary and recognizing it wasn't had hefty implications. We (humans) have been through all of this before and yet the idea of God persists. By your argument the concept of God would have died out a long time ago... yet it hasn't. And the people sitting around every church in America aren't quoting genesis and teaching their children ID. They have evolved with science... relatively few have jumped to the claim the "God does not exist." Relatively few are still grasping onto the “truth” of religion.

The Gaps in our knowledge are not getting smaller… if anything they are getting larger because with each new discovery comes new questions. Do you think at some point we will all the knowledge of the universe?

Do you think “God does not exist” is a minority idea? Why is that?

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Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:41 am
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Quote:
Brandon wrote:
Elman wrote:
A meaningful response--this is not.


What I see as being a meaningless statement invoked the response. It's a logical fallacy. What more can I say about it?
Why it is a logical fallacy in your opinion.

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I believe in a loving Creator who created us to respond to the love of the Creator. Our first gift of life is temporary. If we attempt to fulfill our purpose of loving others, we have the hope of receiving a second gift of eternal life.


Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:54 am
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