Difference between revisions of "Talk:Evolutionism"

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('Weak Atheism': Urushnor is correct.)
('Weak Atheism': Enough debate; I'm reverting the article.)
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:::::::: You've got it almost right in your last sentence - they should, indeed, be free to consider any explanation that fits the observations, but they base those possible explanations on those observations.  To 'rule in' any explanation before examining the evidence is filtering science through a 'world view'.  Otherwise we have the situation of the invisible pink unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster and Great Snozuflu being solid science, as there is nothing conclusively proving them wrong. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 
:::::::: You've got it almost right in your last sentence - they should, indeed, be free to consider any explanation that fits the observations, but they base those possible explanations on those observations.  To 'rule in' any explanation before examining the evidence is filtering science through a 'world view'.  Otherwise we have the situation of the invisible pink unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster and Great Snozuflu being solid science, as there is nothing conclusively proving them wrong. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 +
::::::::: What do you think "rule in" means?  To me it simply means not "ruling out".  Atheists ''rule out'' God as a possible explanation before considering the evidence: that's not science.  And you are making an almighty leap to suggest that ''allowing for the possibility of'' the invisible pink unicorn, etc. amounts to them being "solid science".  [[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
  
 
::: "''Now that I point out how absurd that argument actually is...''": Given that that wasn't my argument, you've only demolished a straw-man.[[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
 
::: "''Now that I point out how absurd that argument actually is...''": Given that that wasn't my argument, you've only demolished a straw-man.[[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
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:::::::: And despite putting this in the article and saying it here several times, you still don't get it.  Science hasn't 'ruled out' God, and neither has 'weak atheism'.  It has, basically, failed to 'rule in' God as <u>there is no solid objective evidence of God</u>.  I should also point out that, if you now admit that following the evidence is scientific, then the edit you made to the article, which started this whole discussion off, is wrong - 'weak atheism' follows the evidence, as does science. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 
:::::::: And despite putting this in the article and saying it here several times, you still don't get it.  Science hasn't 'ruled out' God, and neither has 'weak atheism'.  It has, basically, failed to 'rule in' God as <u>there is no solid objective evidence of God</u>.  I should also point out that, if you now admit that following the evidence is scientific, then the edit you made to the article, which started this whole discussion off, is wrong - 'weak atheism' follows the evidence, as does science. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 +
::::::::: You say that "Science hasn't 'ruled out' God", yet according to your version of the article, "science is done on the basis of there being no God".  ''That'' is "ruling out" God.  Yes you do qualify it by saying "unless His existence becomes objectively proven", but all that says is that ''if'' at some future time, God's existence is proven, ''then'' you can consider Him a possible explanation.  (Which is tantamount to saying, if weak atheism ceases to be atheistic...!).  Until then, however, He is ''ruled out'' as a possible explanation.  "Weak atheism", if it does science on the basis of there being no God, is ''not'' following the evidence.  [[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
  
 
::::: How do you ''scientifically test'' that there were people in England capable of building Stonehenge at the time that it was supposed to be built?  You can't.  But does that therefore mean that you can't propose such people as builders of the monument?  Of course not.  But you would argue (if you are being consistent with your arguments about God) that you can't propose that people built Stonehenge because you can't scientifically prove the existence of such people!  Instead, you are forced to conclude that Stonehenge is a natural phenomenon, presumably carved by the wind and rain over thousands of years!  [[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
 
::::: How do you ''scientifically test'' that there were people in England capable of building Stonehenge at the time that it was supposed to be built?  You can't.  But does that therefore mean that you can't propose such people as builders of the monument?  Of course not.  But you would argue (if you are being consistent with your arguments about God) that you can't propose that people built Stonehenge because you can't scientifically prove the existence of such people!  Instead, you are forced to conclude that Stonehenge is a natural phenomenon, presumably carved by the wind and rain over thousands of years!  [[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
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::::::::Sorry, in absence of solid evidence, to follow scientific practice, I would have to conclude (b), in your hypothetical situation, which would leave the question of 'who built Stonehenge?' unsanswered.  I could maybe propose (a) as an unproven hypothesis, or even a pure conjecture, but it would face major problems to be overcome before it could even remotely be called a 'theory'. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 
::::::::Sorry, in absence of solid evidence, to follow scientific practice, I would have to conclude (b), in your hypothetical situation, which would leave the question of 'who built Stonehenge?' unsanswered.  I could maybe propose (a) as an unproven hypothesis, or even a pure conjecture, but it would face major problems to be overcome before it could even remotely be called a 'theory'. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 +
::::::::: It's just as well you're not a scientists then (or at least I hope you're not), if you are willing to ignore the evidence that there must have been men in Britain at the time Stonehenge was built (the evidence being Stonehenge itself) simply because there's no ''independent'' evidence that men were in Britain at the time.  This debate has gone on long enough, and I'm restoring the article, because you have argued yourself into a corner.  [[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
  
 
::: "''...if you try to do science on the basis of something that is not proven, ... that is still unscientific''":  Not at all.  You seem to be saying that the solutions have to be proved before they can be proposed.  Science is about ''proposing'' solutions then trying to determine if they are correct.  Sometimes you are unable to prove them one way or the other, which means that (in a scientific sense) the solution remains tentative.  But you don't rule out a solution/explanation ''a priori'' on the basis that the solution/explanation hasn't (yet) been proved.
 
::: "''...if you try to do science on the basis of something that is not proven, ... that is still unscientific''":  Not at all.  You seem to be saying that the solutions have to be proved before they can be proposed.  Science is about ''proposing'' solutions then trying to determine if they are correct.  Sometimes you are unable to prove them one way or the other, which means that (in a scientific sense) the solution remains tentative.  But you don't rule out a solution/explanation ''a priori'' on the basis that the solution/explanation hasn't (yet) been proved.
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::::::::Well, if you're considering possible explanations before looking at the evidence you are NOT proposing solutions based on evidence.  You are proposing solutions based on imagination. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 
::::::::Well, if you're considering possible explanations before looking at the evidence you are NOT proposing solutions based on evidence.  You are proposing solutions based on imagination. [[User:Urushnor|Urushnor]] 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 
:::::::::Having read this whole fascinating correspondence I have to say that  Urushnor is correct.  The point "Weak Atheism" makes is that there is no evidence that God exists.  It goes on to suggest that - given this - we have no obligation, need, or reason to  to believe in Him.--[[User:British_cons|British_cons]] [[User_talk:British_cons|(talk)]] 16:11, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 
:::::::::Having read this whole fascinating correspondence I have to say that  Urushnor is correct.  The point "Weak Atheism" makes is that there is no evidence that God exists.  It goes on to suggest that - given this - we have no obligation, need, or reason to  to believe in Him.--[[User:British_cons|British_cons]] [[User_talk:British_cons|(talk)]] 16:11, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
 +
:::::::::: I'm ''not'' considering possible explanations before looking at the evidence!  I'm considering possible explanations ''for'' the evidence, without rejecting any because they have not been independently ''proven''.
 +
:::::::::: Furthermore (and this is answering both of you), it is absolute nonsense to suggest that there is no evidence for God's existence.  The very fact that we exist is evidence!
 +
:::::::::: [[User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Revision as of 07:38, 27 April 2008

Talk:Evolutionism/Archive 1

Code tags

I've been wondering for a long time, is there any particular reason this artice uses <code> tags to produce monospaced text? Philip J. Rayment 02:10, 31 October 2007 (EDT)

'Weak Atheism'

Philip, you are obviously not familiar with 'Weak Atheism'. Unlike 'Strong Atheism', which makes a positive statement about the non-existence of God, regardless of the evidence, this states that there is probably no God as there is no objective proof of God. The 'world view' is dependant on the evidence, or lack of evidence, as is the science, so I fail to see how, in this case, the 'science is based on the world view', as you altered it to say. You appear to believe that the only difference between 'Strong Atheism' and 'Weak Atheism' is the strength of the assertion that there is no God, whether this fits in with the evidence or not. This is not the case. Urushnor 11:58, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

The article already said "Thus science is done on the basis of there being no God". Now, they may not hold the no-god view strongly, but if the science is done on the basis of there being no God, then it is being done on the basis of naturalism, just as for strong atheism, which means that the worldview is the basis for the science. Philip J. Rayment 11:52, 19 April 2008 (EDT)
And the reason that the science is done on the basis of there being no God is there is no solid, objective proof that there is a God, and, thus, to follow proper scientific procedures and processes, you cannot base anything on the idea there is a God until you prove there is a God. Thus, 'weak atheism' and science follow exactly the same principles and procedures. If you come with solid, objective proof of God, then you can start doing science on the basis of that 'fact', and most 'weak atheists' wouldn't be atheists of any kind any more. Urushnor 13:04, 19 April 2008 (EDT)
If there is no proof of a God, and no proof of no God, why is "no God" the default option? [User:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]] 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Because you cannot do any proper science on the basis of an unproven assumption. In this case, in order to base anything on the idea that 'God did it', basically, you have to assume that God actually exists. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
This is nonsense. All science is done on the basis of unproven assumptions, such as the assumption that the laws of physics are constant, ...
Because all evidence, observation and experimentation to date suggests they are. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
That they are constant started as an assumption, and although observations are consistent with that, it is not provable, and it remains an assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
...the assumption that we can trust our senses in doing experiments ... Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Because of a distinct lack of evidence that we can't. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
A lack of evidence is not evidence, and if our senses were playing tricks on us, how could we tell? Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
...and so forth. Your second sentence is wrong. You don't have to accept that God exists before you are able to conclude that God was responsible. All you have to accept is the possibility that God actually exists, and there is nothing unscientific in accepting that possibility. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
In the complete absence of evidence of this, yes there is, unless you present it as a pure conjecture (in colloquial terms, that would be 'a wild-ass guess'). Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, there is not. You are ruling out a possibility because you believe that there is no evidence. That is putting the cart before the horse. It's like saying that there is no evidence that people lived in England prior to (say) 1000 AD (I'm being hypothetical), so therefore you can't propose that Stonehenge was built by people. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
It is rejection of that possibility that means that atheism—strong or weak—is basing its science on ideology. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
I've kinda said this as simply as I am able, using proper English,but you still don't seem to be getting it, so I'll try putting it even simpler. Evidence = scientific. No evidence = not scientific. 'Weak atheism' = no evidence of God, so no God. Get it now? Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, I don't "get it". Your "no evidence of God, so no God" is like saying "No evidence = not scientific = doesn't exist". But just because there's no evidence doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Get it? Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
And why is this "proper scientific procedures and processes"? Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Because proper science is based on evidence, not faith. Indeed, step one of the scientific process, as taught in science classes the world over is 'examine the evidence'. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
This is wrong for the same reason that the second part of your previous response was wrong: you don't have to accept that God exists beforehand. If the evidence points to God, why not accept that conclusion? Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
If the evidence pointed to God existing, you'd have a point. Your problem is that this is simply not the case. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
The evidence does point to God existing. Your problem is that you have been indoctrinated into the idea that God doesn't exist so you are unaware of the evidence that He does. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
Especially given that scientific endeavour started because of a belief in God ...Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
That's only if you define the whole of science as what most people define as 'modern science', and, even then, that statement is rather debatable, especially considering the opposition that religious authorities have had to many areas of scientific research going right back to the dawn of modern science (the article you linked to, for example, states that 'science proper' started in the 16th century, dismissing the achievements of the various ancient thinkers as being mere 'scholarship', and the first well-known conflict between modern science and religion was Galileo, who first got into trouble with the Church in the early 17th century). I would say that modern science started as a result of people wanting to know, for sure, how the world worked, rather than relying on faith that their holy texts were correct, which quickly led them into conflict with the church. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Ignoring your semantic quibbles about terminology, you have your history wrong, thanks to anti-Christian propaganda through the centuries. The religious authorities were very supportive of science, and the dispute with Galileo was not due to his science, but with things like personality clashes. The rest of your response was basically to offer your own subjective opinion and a straw-man argument about faith and motivation. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
So the Church formally ordered Galileo not to hold or defend the notion of heliocentrism due to 'personailty clashes'? The Catholic Inquisition put Galileo on trial for heresy, during which the idea that the Sun was at the center of the solar system was condemned as 'formally heretical', due to 'personality clashes'? At the end of that trial, his book, 'Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems', was banned, and any and all works by him, including any as yet unwritten, were also banned, due to 'personality clashes'? A general prohibition against the publication of ANY book advocating heliocentrism went into the Index Librorum Prohibitorum due to 'personality clashes'? He remained under house arrest for the rest of his life due to 'personality clashes'? Well, all I can say is that they must have taken 'personality clashes' FAR more seriously back then than they do now. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
I said "things like personality clashes". It was a very general, overly-simplified, reference. But apart from that, then the answers to your question are basically all "yes". See here for a detailed description. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
... and is still based on assumptions (such as an orderly universe) that only have foundation in a belief in God? Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
The idea that someone could ONLY believe in an orderly universe due to a belief in God shows a staggering narrow-mindedness and ignorance of science, to put it bluntly. Many of what you appear to call 'assumptions' made by scientists about the orderly systems that are in the universe were obtained through observation, examination of evidence and experimentation. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Despite your opinions, the documented facts of history are that science (or "modern science" if you prefer) began because of the Christian worldview of an orderly universe created by an unchanging God. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Nope, that's what your interpretation of the documented facts are. Same as what I put above for the reasons for the beginning of modern science are my interpretation. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Your interpretation of what? No, it's not my "interpretation". I provided a link above with more information. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
Science assumes that the laws of physics, for example, apply throughout the universe: scientists have not gone throughout the universe to check that assumption. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
But they have made experiments and observations that prove that they are constant in every situation that exists naturally, or has been able to be manufactured, to date, here on Earth, and there is no evidence whatsoever that anywhere else is sufficiently different that the laws of physics would be, for some reason, invalid. Plus, of course, one of the laws of physics actually indicates that nothing that actually has any mass can go faster than the speed of light. This means it would take at least several billion years to do as you suggest. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Again, a lack of evidence is not evidence. True, it would take an awful long time to check: that only serves to show that it must remain an assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
It also assumes that the laws of physics have applied for all time: ...Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Actually, it doesn't. It is generally believed by physicists (though this is really a hypothesis, at the moment), that, at the beginning of the universe, the Big Bang, all physical laws and rules basically didn't apply. Indeed, it is commonly stated that the question, 'what came before the Big Bang?' is nonsensical, because, in the Big Bang, time, basically, did not exist (though there are a couple of hypotheses that actually challenge that). Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Actually, the exception you cite doesn't disprove my assertion. If you want me to be more precise, science assumes that the laws of physics have applied for all time since a few microseconds after the hypothesised Big Bang. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
...scientists have not gone back into the past to check that. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Mainly because the laws of physics indicate this is impossible. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Again, this only serves to show why it must remain an assumption. I wasn't criticising them for not checking; I was pointing out that it can't be checked, and therefore remains an assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
It also assumes that those same laws will apply into the future, so when they build bridges, etc., they use the laws that apply today to calculate required strengths and stresses and assume that they will continue to apply tomorrow. Clearly that is not "observation". Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, it is logical extrapolation from observed evidence. For example, from repeatedly observing that the force of Earth's gravity does not radically change from one day to the next, we know that it is incredibly unlikely that we are going to wake up tomorrow and find gravity has trebled, so we need to build that bridge three times as strong. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
An extrapolation is an assumption, or based on one. That is, we consider it safe to extrapolate because we have this assumption. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
No, that atheists choose to take a naturalistic approach means that they are basing their science on their ideology. Philip J. Rayment 10:54, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
Again, you show you are not familiar with 'weak atheism'. 'Weak atheists' are atheists due to a lack of evidence in God. It is the evidence, or lack of it, that has persuaded them in this, not, as you stubbornly continue to state, the other way around. Urushnor 12:30, 20 April 2008 (EDT)
'Weak atheists' are atheists because they ignore or are unfamiliar with or reject the evidence for God—there is no shortage of evidence—and therefore adopt a position of naturalism, basing their science on that ideology. Philip J. Rayment 11:46, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Really? I trust you will make the most important event in the history of the world happen, then, by conclusively and objectively proving that God actually exists? Bear in mind, of course, that any evidence that is dependant on the notion that God actually exists would be circular reasoning. Urushnor 15:15, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Much of your argument in your latest post has been that believing in the constancy of the laws of physics is reasonable, not that it's been proved. Yet now you switch standards to demand proof (for God), and for good measure throw in a demand that I don't use what is actually a typical atheistic straw-man argument. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
I believe you are making a common mistake in arguments of this sort. Please find above where Philip said there was a proof for God... Evidence and proof are not interchangeable words. Learn together 15:48, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, if there isn't clear, undeniable proof of God, that kinda destroys his whole argument that it is basically impossible for a 'weak atheist' to be an atheist due to the evidence (or, rather, lack of it), rather than an underlying world view. Urushnor 19:33, 21 April 2008 (EDT)
No, it doesn't destroy my argument at all. See also the parts about proof and evidence at Essay: Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia. Philip J. Rayment 08:58, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
And, to address this specifically, yes, it does. The only way you can definitively say that a 'weak atheist' cannot possibly be an atheist due to the evidence is if the evidence is so overwhelming in favour of there being a God that no-one could possibly fail to be persuaded by it. Urushnor 09:24, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
I didn't say that an atheist cannot be an atheist because of the evidence. I said that it didn't destroy my argument, but that was not my argument. My argument was that science done on the basis of there being no god was putting ideology ahead of the evidence. Why can't, for example, atheists do their science on the basis that there might be (not "is") a God? Presumably, because they are atheists! Philip J. Rayment 23:18, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
No, doing science that way follows the most basic of basic of scientific principles - that being that you do work based on evidence. I also refer you to my comments below. Why can't scientists do work on the basis that there might be an invisible pink unicorn? Urushnor 00:25, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
No, true science will not rule out a possible explanation a priori. Good question: why can't scientists work on the basis that there might be an invisible pink unicorn? That is, why rule out a possible explanation in advance? If the evidence is consistent with there being an invisible pink unicorn, why should scientists say "no, we can't accept that answer, even if it's true"? Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Simple - with enough imagination (and that's not much), people can make up, on the spot, patently absurd possibilities that are impossible to disprove. Look up Flying Spaghetti Monster for a classic example - it is a completely made-up 'religion' that, according to your argument, is a solid bit of science, as no-one has yet conclusively disproven it. Similarly, the invisible pink unicorn is a solid bit of science, as is the idea that the universe was created by being sneezed out of the nostril of the Great Snozuflu. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)

(Unindent) So, to summarise what appears to be your entire argument, what you are basically saying is that you are free to propose anything you like, and, if people cannot definitively prove you wrong, that is a solid scientific theory. OK, I'll do this myself. The universe was created by an invisible pink unicorn which cannot be seen or detected by any known method. Prove me wrong. Urushnor 09:22, 22 April 2008 (EDT)

No that is not my argument at all. Reread the part of Essay: Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia about "proving God". It doesn't directly explain where you are wrong, but should give you some idea. Philip J. Rayment 23:18, 22 April 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, so far, you have argued on the basis that there is no absolute proof that God does not exist (in much the same way as there is no absolute proof that the invisible pink unicorn does not exist), and you are using that to try to say that to do science on the basis of there being no God is unscientific. Indeed, that is how this whole discussion started - you making an edit to the effect that failing to reinterpret evidence to account for the existence of God due to a lack of evidence for God existing is down to a 'world view', not science. Now that I point out how absurd that argument actually is, you now seem to be changing the argument to 'scientifically testing the existence of God is impossible, even if He does exist'. Well, that may or may not be true, but, if you try to do science on the basis of something that is not proven, even if the reason is that it is impossible to scientifically test it, that is still unscientific. Unless, of course, you're referring to the rest of that section of your essay, in which case you appear to be saying, more or less, 'because the 'evidence' is enough to convince some people of the existence of God, regardless of whether that evidence is solid, objective or anything else, it is unscientific to base anything on the idea God does not exist.' Urushnor 00:25, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
"... so far, you have argued on the basis that there is no absolute proof that God does not exist...": I don't think I've put my argument in quite that way, but I'll grant that this would be inferred from what I've said as one of my points, but not the key or only point of my argument.Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, sorry, I 'infer' that from pretty much everything you have said above, so, if that is not the 'key or only point of your argument', you need to learn to express yourself better. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps. Or perhaps you need to read it better, or with a more open mind? Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
"...you are using that to try to say that to do science on the basis of there being no God is unscientific.": Again, that could be inferred, but my point really was that one shouldn't rule out a possible explanation in a priori.
"...failing to reinterpret evidence to account for the existence of God due to a lack of evidence for God existing is down to a 'world view', not science.": No, ruling out a possible explanation a priori is down to a worldview, not science.Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Actually, that's not quite correct - you use the evidence to, in effect, 'rule in' possibilities. You start from the basis of nothing at all. Starting from the idea that God exists is not doing that. Starting from nothing means that you have to see solid evidence of the existence of God before you accept that. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm not suggesting starting from the basis that God exists. I'm suggesting starting from the basis that God might exist, rather than exclude that possibility a priori. Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
So you a priori rule in the possibility of God existing BEFORE looking at the evidence. THAT is doing science based on a 'world view'. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
No, that is proper science. Science doesn't (shouldn't) limit possible answers by having to "rule in" certain answers first. When an explanation for something is required, scientists don't have to consult a list of "ruled in" explanations to see what they are allowed to consider as possible explanations. And neither should they have to consult a list of "ruled out" explanations. They should be free to consider any explanation that fits the observations. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
You've got it almost right in your last sentence - they should, indeed, be free to consider any explanation that fits the observations, but they base those possible explanations on those observations. To 'rule in' any explanation before examining the evidence is filtering science through a 'world view'. Otherwise we have the situation of the invisible pink unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster and Great Snozuflu being solid science, as there is nothing conclusively proving them wrong. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
What do you think "rule in" means? To me it simply means not "ruling out". Atheists rule out God as a possible explanation before considering the evidence: that's not science. And you are making an almighty leap to suggest that allowing for the possibility of the invisible pink unicorn, etc. amounts to them being "solid science". Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
"Now that I point out how absurd that argument actually is...": Given that that wasn't my argument, you've only demolished a straw-man.Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Then it's a 'straw man' you constructed yourself. What is your actual argument, then, given that everything you have stated above seems to be concerned with the idea that there is no absolute proof of the non-existence of God? Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I've explained my argument numerous times by now: that if you a priori rule out considering the possibility of God being involved, then you are putting ideology ahead of the science. Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
And the reason you believe that is, apparantly, discounting the possibility that God exists due to a lack of evidence is down to a 'world view', not science. Unfortunately, you haven't explained your reasoning as to how you came to the conclusion that following the evidence is not scientific, considering that examining the evidence is the whole basis of scientific enquiry. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Following the evidence is scientific. And if the evidence points to an intelligent creator, scientists should be free to consider that explanation. Ruling that explanation out a priori is imposing ideology on the science. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
"...you now seem to be changing the argument to 'scientifically testing the existence of God is impossible, even if He does exist'": No, I've acknowledged that all along (that is in Essay: Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia), but I'm not "changing the argument".Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Ah, right, so I'm supposed to have read all your essays, and rely on them rather than what you say here if the two seem to be advancing different arguments. Sorry about that(!) Of course, the other point is that if, as you say, it is utterly impossible to scientifically test if God exists or not, I fail to see how you can argue that it is scientific to base anything on the idea that God exists. Yes, you can have a religious faith this is so, and you can say that this might be so from a philiosophical point of view, but you simply cannot say this from a scientific point of view. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I said nothing about reading all my essays. Perhaps this is an example of you not reading me properly? I referred to a specific essay that I have linked to before in this discussion (i.e. one that you would have already read) and merely did so to support my point that I've long acknowledged that God's existence cannot be scientifically tested.
But you were originally arguing that it is unscientific to follow the evidence, basically. You did not actually reference that essay until well into this discussion. Does this mean I should have already read this essay, so that I knew what you were apparantly arguing wasn't what you were REALLY arguing? Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I have never said that following the evidence is unscientific. On the contrary, I believe that science means following the evidence, even if that leads to God being the explanation. Which you can't do if you've already ruled God out. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
And despite putting this in the article and saying it here several times, you still don't get it. Science hasn't 'ruled out' God, and neither has 'weak atheism'. It has, basically, failed to 'rule in' God as there is no solid objective evidence of God. I should also point out that, if you now admit that following the evidence is scientific, then the edit you made to the article, which started this whole discussion off, is wrong - 'weak atheism' follows the evidence, as does science. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
You say that "Science hasn't 'ruled out' God", yet according to your version of the article, "science is done on the basis of there being no God". That is "ruling out" God. Yes you do qualify it by saying "unless His existence becomes objectively proven", but all that says is that if at some future time, God's existence is proven, then you can consider Him a possible explanation. (Which is tantamount to saying, if weak atheism ceases to be atheistic...!). Until then, however, He is ruled out as a possible explanation. "Weak atheism", if it does science on the basis of there being no God, is not following the evidence. Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
How do you scientifically test that there were people in England capable of building Stonehenge at the time that it was supposed to be built? You can't. But does that therefore mean that you can't propose such people as builders of the monument? Of course not. But you would argue (if you are being consistent with your arguments about God) that you can't propose that people built Stonehenge because you can't scientifically prove the existence of such people! Instead, you are forced to conclude that Stonehenge is a natural phenomenon, presumably carved by the wind and rain over thousands of years! Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, where this argument falls to pieces is that there is pretty damn clear-cut evidence of the existence of man in Britain at the time. If you were saying hypothetically what if there was no evidence of man in Britain, then yes, you would be correct - we couldn't scientifically test it. However, from the evidence we actually have, if man didn't exist in Britain at the time, neither would Stonehenge. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Yes, I was being hypothetical, as I said. And yes, if man didn't exist in Britain at the time, then neither would Stonehenge. But that's putting things back to front. If you didn't know that men existed in Britain at the time, but you did know that Stonehenge exists, would you (a) conclude that men must have existed at the time, or (b) ruled out that men could have made Stonehenge because you don't have evidence that men existed in Britain at the time? Your methodology in regard to God is the latter: you are saying that God couldn't have made the world because you don't have evidence that God exists. Instead, you could, like choice (a), conclude that the evidence leads you to conclude that God does exist, because that's a more reasonable explanation than saying that the universe popped into existence from nothing for no reason. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Sorry, in absence of solid evidence, to follow scientific practice, I would have to conclude (b), in your hypothetical situation, which would leave the question of 'who built Stonehenge?' unsanswered. I could maybe propose (a) as an unproven hypothesis, or even a pure conjecture, but it would face major problems to be overcome before it could even remotely be called a 'theory'. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
It's just as well you're not a scientists then (or at least I hope you're not), if you are willing to ignore the evidence that there must have been men in Britain at the time Stonehenge was built (the evidence being Stonehenge itself) simply because there's no independent evidence that men were in Britain at the time. This debate has gone on long enough, and I'm restoring the article, because you have argued yourself into a corner. Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
"...if you try to do science on the basis of something that is not proven, ... that is still unscientific": Not at all. You seem to be saying that the solutions have to be proved before they can be proposed. Science is about proposing solutions then trying to determine if they are correct. Sometimes you are unable to prove them one way or the other, which means that (in a scientific sense) the solution remains tentative. But you don't rule out a solution/explanation a priori on the basis that the solution/explanation hasn't (yet) been proved.
Philip J. Rayment 07:14, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
You almost got that correct. Science is about proposing solutions based on evidence, then trying to determine if they are correct. Urushnor 09:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
Yes, but you don't rule out potential explanations a priori just because those explanations have not been "scientifically proved". Philip J. Rayment 11:48, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
You missed the part about proposing solutions based on evidence. Urushnor 13:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
No, I didn't miss it at all. I agree with that part, which is why I said "yes". I've also now expanded on that above. Philip J. Rayment 04:13, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, if you're considering possible explanations before looking at the evidence you are NOT proposing solutions based on evidence. You are proposing solutions based on imagination. Urushnor 08:58, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
Having read this whole fascinating correspondence I have to say that Urushnor is correct. The point "Weak Atheism" makes is that there is no evidence that God exists. It goes on to suggest that - given this - we have no obligation, need, or reason to to believe in Him.--British_cons (talk) 16:11, 26 April 2008 (EDT)
I'm not considering possible explanations before looking at the evidence! I'm considering possible explanations for the evidence, without rejecting any because they have not been independently proven.
Furthermore (and this is answering both of you), it is absolute nonsense to suggest that there is no evidence for God's existence. The very fact that we exist is evidence!
Philip J. Rayment 09:38, 27 April 2008 (EDT)