I tend to get annoyed with the instantaneous dismissal of creationism simply because the physical world can support itself by itself, similar arguments. Or just the general idea that theists are theists because "science can't explain this phenomenon, therefore God did it". Nobody seems to recognize that "God" is outside the box of the universe; he isn't just some finite entity made of dark matter who at random times manipulates the physical realm in ways that science can't explain... eh.. what i'm getting at is that so what if science does accurately explain event X, what if we can even use science to explain everything that happens in the entire universe!? When a creationist says that God set the world into motion, that doesn't mean that said creationist has to pretend centripetal force and inertia is made up by God-haters and it is actually the physical hand of God spinning the earth and whirling it around the sun... that means said creationist believes that the centripetal force due to gravity is God's doing. This idea can apply to the Big Bang theory as well, even evolution for all I know. When the Bible says that God created the Earth in 6 days and I hear a counter argument that goes something like "oh well the earth was actually formed in x amount of days so explain that" I just say "the hell if I know" because I don't know! Go argue against a fundamentalist! I don't know if the Bible is speaking literally at that instance or not, if so, maybe it really was? who's to say at what point in the earth's creation did God start counting? Who's to set the precise definition of the word "day" in that verse? The point is that there are too many dang variables for anyone to outright dismiss God because of what's in the Book of Genesis, unless YOU are the one reading the Bible like a fundamentalist.
What I personally get from the Bible has absolutely nothing to do with science. You can't just compare science against God like they are two conflicting views of what happens in the universe. From a purely scientific point of view, I'm saying that maybe the deists or agnostics have it right in the sense that God may or may not intervene in the physical world and who the heck knows or even cares if He's actually moving stuff around or not. Worrying over "proving" that He does or does not exists is not the point, because science simply can't do that either way! Its just an endless cycle of opinion.
The Bible isn't intended to leave you worrying about finding tangible evidence for God. Finding God is a heart issue, not a science issue. I think that is what the Bible is all about. :)
Thank you Ron. It's amazing how often the deist god and Bible God are confused -- by everyone, Christians and atheists alike. People forget that even if you were to prove the existence of God via some philosophical/logical/scientific argument, you would still be miles away from proving that the God portrayed in the Bible and believed in by millions is that God. All you would have proved is some vague, immaterial, deist creative force that you've named "God".
And people never consider why they even think there might be such a deist god in the first place. The only reason is that it is the last, dying gasp of the cultural phenomenon known as religion (dying among the educated, that is, if not among the masses). If religion weren't part of our history and embedded in our subconscious, there's nothing about the universe itself that would make you speculate about the existence of such a being unprompted.
But it is in fact true that the scientific method has been used to explain and predict many more things over time.
As far as the existence of god, god should probably be defined before you go any further with respect to evidence for god.
(and I think Victor Stenger does a decent job arguing for the absence of the Judeo-Christian god in God, the Failed Hypothesis).
I apologize, I must have sincerely messed up what I was trying to say in my original post. If you read through some of my responses, they will be similar to this one.. I'm trying to make it as clear as I can...
I have been trying to express my agreement that you can't "prove" God's existence simply by saying science can't explain everything. I agree with Stephen Hawking when he says that the universe does not need God.
However you can't use that to say there is no God.
I just want to stop seeing that stupid straw man get torn down over and over and over and made into a bridge to jump the conclusion that there is no God.
You can use it to say that there is probably, or almost definitely, no God. We're splitting hairs at that point, though. Are we getting into the old misconception that atheists think you can prove there's no God? I thought that was long ago put to rest by Russell's Teapot.
I haven't found many Atheists try to disprove a god. In fact, many avoid it altogether by saying it is not my claim that there is a god, it is your claim, and therefore your claim to prove. And I say that I know as reasonably as anyone can know that there are no gods. I specifically use the word "know" to distinguish from belief. The difference being reasonable evidence to draw a conclusion.
I think the core of your argument is that it is difficult to be absolutely sure of anything. By that I mean most information is second hand. I am not a biologist, and have not conducted studies to prove or disprove several scientific studies that I accept as fact. For example, I know that I require food to live. I don't need to starve myself to death to know this. So, there is a big difference between what many call "faith" and "knowledge". I don't have faith that I must eat. I know for a fact that I must eat to live. One must evaluate evidence reasonably.
Another example of this, which is less absurd is the fact that I know France exists. I have never been to France. I have dated a girl who claimed to be French. I have eaten French food. I have seen France on the news, learned the French language, studied their history, seen pictures of the country in books. The evidence is overwhelming that France exists. I therefore don't have to say that I "believe" France exists because I don't have firsthand knowledge, but I can, being a reasonable person, say that I know France exists.
So, I know, as much as any reasonable person can know, that there are no gods.
I understand, scientifically, why a god is not needed for anything.
I also agree with Stenger on these points -
I lean towards ignosticism - I think you can have a meaningful discussion and come to reasonable conclusions about the existence of god once god is defined. Personally, I do not think there is any credible evidence for the monotheistic gods of today and I think there are too many contradictory philosophical, historical, logical, etc. issues to reconcile if one defines god as one of the monotheistic gods described in the Bible and Quran. On the flip side, I don't think I can refute the existence of god if god is defined as nature/all things.
Sorry, I had another paragraph expanding on this - ultimately leading to - I think it is the god of the monotheistic religions I (we) are likely to dismiss so quickly, and rightfully so.
Do you get annoyed with the instantaneous dismissals of the following:
The earth is flat
Evil spirits cause disease, cancer, etc.
We are held to the earth by angels holding our feet
I would venture to say that most of us here dismiss creationism as quickly as the above because we have considered it and rejected it, just as we would reject the above, for a variety of reasons.
There is no way, with humanity's current knowledge of the universe, to definitively say whether there is a god or not. However, we have shown time and time again that problems can be solved and mysteries explained through the use of logical, rational thinking. Regardless, we are arguing about the means and not the end. The existence of a god does not matter. Humanity is plagued with enormous problems (many of which stem from radical theists' interpretation of storybooks) and we should be focused on how to solve these problems, LOGICALLY. It is OK if one wants to take a spiritual path to lead his or her life as long as their beliefs are not forced upon others and they can keep their heads in the realm of reality, not superstition. Let's not chastise them for believing in what they believe. To all atheists (and I am one as well): does it really matter if god exists? Does it really matter if others believe that He does, as long as they don't impose it on you? Life goes on either way. Instead of trying to convince the world there is no god, let's try to convince the world that we don't need god. Let's fight to make sure that today's society moves forward without the imposition of others personal beliefs instead of fighting to make a godless society. That will never happen.
There is a way, with humanity's current knowledge of the universe, to come to reasonable decisions about whether there is a god or not, just as we can can come to reasonable decisions about whether to accept Newton's ideas on gravity or Einstein's ideas on relativity.
It probably should start with defining god then presenting evidence for that god.
And this is precisely the problem. Theists seem to have a propensity to lack the ability to approach problems by defining issues and analyzing the evidence related to those issues.
I believe this is relevant because the people who define and accept god as the Christian god (and we can assume some combination of Yahweh, Jesus, and/or the "holy spirit") and use their only evidence for their god as the Bible are the one's invading Iraq without critically evaluating or questioning the evidence (and possibly doing it because god said it was the right thing to do), not teaching science and evolution as it should be taught in our public schools (which will hinder our competitiveness as a nation), etc. The very people who may actually be able to make decisions to help move society "forward" are the very people who look to their god and the Bible for answers rather than understand the issues and evaluate possibilities for solutions based on facts and evidence. Couple their religious beliefs with corporate corruption and you now have a snapshot of the US government today - one of the most powerful governments in the world.
It's not about making a godless society, it's about getting people to actually think about things. I would agree we should try to convince people that we don't need god, but how is that separable from the existence of god to "believers" and those that think the Bible (or the Quran, or any other book) is the "word of god?"
Examples of how "god" and "the Bible" can, and probably will, hurt us in the long run:
Theist and Bible believers try to impose their god on my kids in school with Christian prayer before their games (and it is happening with their coaches leading it), do not teach evolution as science correctly but water it down and present evolution as a "theory, but creation is also a theory," (per my daughter) and put In God We Trust on the money I use and pass resolutions reaffirming In God We Trust and promoting its display in every public building in America (rather than actually addressing problems). These may appear to be a relatively small issues with respect to other big issues affecting us as a nation and global community, but I believe it is actually part of the problems facing the world today - look at how much theology/theocracy and scientific illiteracy directly cause or contribute to most of the human suffering on the planet today. And, ultimately, we also have to deal with the possibility that Christians and Muslims with nuclear weapons may justify their use based on their beliefs in god and their holy books.
I am not fighting for a godless society, I am fighting -
1) To keep Christians from imposing their views on my children in public schools (school prayer)
2) To keep Christians in government from making decisions based on beliefs in god and the Bible that affect where my tax money goes or does not go and may affect our health and the well being of the planet (EPA, climate change, school vouchers, etc.)
3) To keep Christians in government from making decisions that put people in harms way based on bad or no information (military actions, etc.), possibly because they prayed about it and "god led them" to act a certain way
You are a good man.
Well aren't we generalizing. :P Did you see my pic. I'm doing an Au Batido on top of Half Dome.
And I'm missing the world around me?
Yes, there are people who dwell on their guilt and are afraid of God's ever present and looming hand of punishment... but what the Bible actually teaches is just the opposite.. Christians are freed from all of that and are supposed to move on from guilt so that we can experience life...