A theory is a set of axioms through which certain empirical data can be interpreted and be used to better understand the world. A theory without data is pure speculation, but data without a theory is just raw material. Every theory is speculation, but a good theory will enlarge our knowledge about the world and can be used to make precise predictions. When you say that speculation cannot be considered a theory you are mixing the terms. In layman`s terms, a scientific theory can be called falsifiable speculation, while speculation in general is used about things which we usually cannot know. I see there is a prejudice here about scientific theories being infallible. However plausible and verified they may be, there is no ultimate verification of any scientific theory and the history of the development of scientific theories shows that many theories have been discarded as false, replaced by better theories or assimilated into larger theories which give a broader or more detailed explanation of certain phenomena. Therefore there is nothing wrong with me using the term "theory" for labeling speculation about what caused certain phenomena if we have empirical data about that phenomena.
Here is the link you asked for. I didn`t want to post the link because it would be wrong of me to say that I understood the paper, but I do understand the possible implications of it.
I know the Bible says God is The Creator of the universe. But it took him six days. That seems a little less than all-powerful. Unimaginably powerful, perhaps, but it leaves room for a God who could name that tune in fewer notes (and not need a day of rest afterwards).
You can't define something by what it's not. Equally incoherent is defining something as everything. Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent . . . these are all easy to prove impossible. By defining God in incoherent terms, the only way to believe in him is through faith -- the suspension of disbelief and absence of logic.
God is a meme that seduces by denial.
Hi Rick. Your breath taking discourse hangs on the lexical cliff if ignominality. How do these philosophers deal with non symbolic (words) conscious thought/beliefs?
the confirmed ignorant-----
I would say that a god would have certain qualities in his/her/their essence...let's call it an essence 'box'. Love, veracity, justice, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, et al. He/she/they would have to necessarily 'limit' itself from performing any one of them that violates any of the other qualities. That, to a degree, makes sense. But, if a god has lived forever in time 'past' and could know what he would be doing trillions and trillions and trillions of years later, to-wit: creating a race of angels and those human beings 'lower' than the angelic estate...why wait? It makes no sense. What would he/she/they do in the interim...talk amongst themselves about 'god knows what'?
If I can imagine a god that has never 'not' existed, then I should have no problem contemplating a universe that has ALWAYS been here and will ALWAYS be here...no beginning..no end. Does that bother and/or annoy and/or frustrate me? Not in the least. The universe is never ending in scope...the miscroscopic world is never end in scope because if you say you've reached the end point in either direction...then WHAT's beyond that?
Here is another one of similar ilk.
In regards to prayer, why would an all-knowing, all-loving being need to be asked to do something that would benefit a human before it will act? And if it does not need these petitions in order to act then what is the use of prayer?
If its reasons are unknowable by humans then how can humans possibly determine that it is, indeed, all-knowing and all-loving? Are these imputed attributes simply the fallible conjectures of humans on the basis of incomplete evidence or the mere say-so of the supposed being according to its prophets?
I do believe that many theists do gain 'strength' from prayer, but not because some guy-in-the-sky is listening and either does or does not take heart. When one prays, he or she is basically communicating with themselves, both consciousness and subconscious. It's a motivator in some sense, a plea in others, a confession of one's errors in life, etc.
Inotherwords, prayer is, in essence, taking one's own counsel. Theists believe they're talking to a son of god who is sitting 'at the right hand' of god the designated father (planner) with the holy spirit (the inspirer)seated at the father's left side....all in the 'throne room' theater. It's imagery that's used as a crutch to inspire..to create an alternate reality.
Little do they recognize that each individual does take counsel with him/herself. We acknowledge mistakes and virtues to ourself. It's a feedback. That's all it is, but it's a very important part of one's conscious being.