Belief in God is NOT Irrational

jeffreyalex
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Belief in God is NOT Irrational

 

I will argue that belief in God is not irrational. 

To show that belief in God is not irrational, I must show that there are reasons to believe in God. 

(I would like to suggest, before moving on, that I am not required to definitively prove the existence of God. I need only show that belief is not irrational—that is, not without plausible reason.)

 

I will now present what will amount to a Cosmological Argument. I know you've all heard it, but bear with me.

 

             Until recent cosmology suggested a beginning to time and space in the Big Bang, many people held that the universe was simply infinitely old. Suppose the state of the universe today is called S5. S5 could be explained in terms of the state of the universe yesterday, S4, and the laws of nature that acted on it. In turn, S4 could be explained by a previous state, S3, and so on. In an infinitely old universe there would be no first cause, so to speak, and so the very existence of the universe would be unexplained, as every cause is also an effect and there is no cause outside the set of effects. It's existence and the existence of the apparent laws of nature (physical laws) could be taken as a "brute fact". 

             However, it does not seem obvious that an actual infinity is possible. In fact, actual infinities lead to some very strange contradictions. If actual infinities do not exist in the world then the the series of states of the universe (S99, ..., S57, S56, ...) is not endless back in time, and there would be a first state—a state without a cause. And modern science does suggest the universe began to exist approximately 15 billion years ago.

 

The two points above are meant to demonstrate that it is not irrational to hold that the physical universe did, in fact, have a beginning. The alternative hypothesis—that it never had a beginning—is weaker, and possibly demonstrably false. And so, it is actually more rational to believe that the universe began. 

 

             Next, it is reasonable to wonder: if it began, why? Did it pop into existence from nothing? What caused it? 

             If you hold that it is impossible or unlikely that a universe would appear from the profoundest no-thing, you could reason as following:

             The cause could not be a physical thing, because it created physical things. It created time, so the cause is non-temporal. It seems to have tremendous power and knowledge, and a will, and it cannot be mechanical, or comprised of parts. It would appear, then, that this cause is some sort of mind.

 

We are therefore above asked to consider two options: the universe just began without explanation or reason, or the universe began with explanation and reason. It is at least not more reasonable to assert that it simply began, from nothing and by nothing. That would run contrary to every single observation and experience of the world and the universe that any individual or science as a whole has or ever could make. So it is at least as reasonable to hold that time and space were created—and, if so, by a being that is non-spatial and non-temporal. 

 

1) I think that I have shown that a) it is perfectly reason to believe the universe began and b) it is also reasonable to hold that a universe cannot appear from nothing. 

2) I think that I have also shown that given a) and b) it is reasonable to figure that the cause of the universe is non-temporal and non-spatial.

 

From here, I recognize that there is room to discuss the coherence of the idea of a non-spatial, non-temporal mind, and of the nature of causality and time at or "before" the Big Bang, etc.

Those are complex issues that must be rigorously treated, with intricate arguments on both sides, and I will not treat them here, nor do I have to for my purpose. 

 


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No.The universe didn't begin

No.

The universe didn't begin to exist 15 billion years ago.

The universe began to expand approximately 13.7 billion years ago.

Before the expansion began it was a singularity and time did not exist like it does now.  Time, now, is a temporal dimension.  In the singularity Time was a spatial dimension.

So time began, the very first second ticked, at the moment of the expansion.  There was no before.  Because there was no past.

Why did it start expanding?  Dunno.   And it's ok not to know everything.  What is not ok is to fall back on purely fanciful explanations that create more questions than it answers.

Mathematically physicists contend that the singularity existed in either 7 or 11 dimensions.  All spatial, none temporal.  Maybe it was unstable, we just don't know.

But for some reason 3 or 7 of those dimensions collapsed, 3 expanded rapidly, and 1 transitioned from spatial to temporal.

What is illogical is to contend that some all powerful intelligence that existed in it's own temporal dimension was around to start the expansion.

 

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Now remembering a Multiverse . . .

Watcher wrote:

No.

The universe didn't begin to exist 15 billion years ago.

The universe began to expand approximately 13.7 billion years ago.

Before the expansion began it was a singularity and time did not exist like it does now.  Time, now, is a temporal dimension.  In the singularity Time was a spatial dimension.

So time began, the very first second ticked, at the moment of the expansion.  There was no before.  Because there was no past.

Why did it start expanding?  Dunno.   And it's ok not to know everything.  What is not ok is to fall back on purely fanciful explanations that create more questions than it answers.

Mathematically physicists contend that the singularity existed in either 7 or 11 dimensions.  All spatial, none temporal.  Maybe it was unstable, we just don't know.

But for some reason 3 or 7 of those dimensions collapsed, 3 expanded rapidly, and 1 transitioned from spatial to temporal.

What is illogical is to contend that some all powerful intelligence that existed in it's own temporal dimension was around to start the expansion.

 


    

    [img=http://img283.imagevenue.com/loc27/th_988496203_4Everett___122_27lo.jpg]
        

  Dont forget our one and only one Parallel Universe. It might explain why Gravity is so weak some minds have theorized, a multiverse after all. And Is good for getting Stephen Hawking out of scraps  :~  

  

 
 

 


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Hi Jeff

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

I will argue that belief in God is not irrational. 

To show that belief in God is not irrational, I must show that there are reasons to believe in God. 

(I would like to suggest, before moving on, that I am not required to definitively prove the existence of God. I need only show that belief is not irrational—that is, not without plausible reason.)

 

I will now present what will amount to a Cosmological Argument. I know you've all heard it, but bear with me.

 

             Until recent cosmology suggested a beginning to time and space in the Big Bang, many people held that the universe was simply infinitely old. Suppose the state of the universe today is called S5. S5 could be explained in terms of the state of the universe yesterday, S4, and the laws of nature that acted on it. In turn, S4 could be explained by a previous state, S3, and so on. In an infinitely old universe there would be no first cause, so to speak, and so the very existence of the universe would be unexplained, as every cause is also an effect and there is no cause outside the set of effects. It's existence and the existence of the apparent laws of nature (physical laws) could be taken as a "brute fact". 

             However, it does not seem obvious that an actual infinity is possible. In fact, actual infinities lead to some very strange contradictions. If actual infinities do not exist in the world then the the series of states of the universe (S99, ..., S57, S56, ...) is not endless back in time, and there would be a first state—a state without a cause. And modern science does suggest the universe began to exist approximately 15 billion years ago.

 

The two points above are meant to demonstrate that it is not irrational to hold that the physical universe did, in fact, have a beginning. The alternative hypothesis—that it never had a beginning—is weaker, and possibly demonstrably false. And so, it is actually more rational to believe that the universe began. 

 

             Next, it is reasonable to wonder: if it began, why? Did it pop into existence from nothing? What caused it? 

             If you hold that it is impossible or unlikely that a universe would appear from the profoundest no-thing, you could reason as following:

             The cause could not be a physical thing, because it created physical things. It created time, so the cause is non-temporal. It seems to have tremendous power and knowledge, and a will, and it cannot be mechanical, or comprised of parts. It would appear, then, that this cause is some sort of mind.

 

We are therefore above asked to consider two options: the universe just began without explanation or reason, or the universe began with explanation and reason. It is at least not more reasonable to assert that it simply began, from nothing and by nothing. That would run contrary to every single observation and experience of the world and the universe that any individual or science as a whole has or ever could make. So it is at least as reasonable to hold that time and space were created—and, if so, by a being that is non-spatial and non-temporal. 

 

1) I think that I have shown that a) it is perfectly reason to believe the universe began and b) it is also reasonable to hold that a universe cannot appear from nothing. 

2) I think that I have also shown that given a) and b) it is reasonable to figure that the cause of the universe is non-temporal and non-spatial.

 

From here, I recognize that there is room to discuss the coherence of the idea of a non-spatial, non-temporal mind, and of the nature of causality and time at or "before" the Big Bang, etc.

Those are complex issues that must be rigorously treated, with intricate arguments on both sides, and I will not treat them here, nor do I have to for my purpose. 

 

 

Welcome. Could you first define what you mean by god? I'm not sure if you're talking about an anthro human-style god or an external prime mover god outside space time we logically cannot prove. 

Which do you mean and if both, how are they connected? How can god be man and man be god without, you know. Falling into bald assertion?

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Atheistextremist
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Mind

 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

The cause could not be a physical thing, because it created physical things. It created time, so the cause is non-temporal. It seems to have tremendous power and knowledge, and a will, and it cannot be mechanical, or comprised of parts. It would appear, then, that this cause is some sort of mind.

 

is demonstrably a product of environment. There's never been a mind that was not formed by its environment, including the virtual minds formulated in the fevered brains of humans. I don't get how you insist a mind could not be a physical thing but could create physical things. Nor do I understand how a mind with no physical connections could retain knowledge or generate power of any kind. No such thing has been observed, ever.

What is your definition of mind? I don't think you can posit a 'mind' as first cause without defining it, and then blithely suggest you have no wish to further discuss this appeal to complexity due to its intricacy, despite the fact it's the pillar of your argument. The idea any human concept of 'mind' could create a universe is not only irrational, it's silly, no matter how good the idea feels to you. 

The correct answer to this question as has been pointed out up-thread, is that pre-bang, all we have are assumptions. And because we do not know this does not mean you get to slide an undefined supernatural cognitive workspace into the gap. 

 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

1) I think that I have shown that a) it is perfectly reason to believe the universe began and b) it is also reasonable to hold that a universe cannot appear from nothing. 

 

Please prove nothing has ever existed. No proof exists for the existence of nothing or for human mental concepts like random chance. Randomness is a label we use when faced with problems that require infinite amounts of information and are governed in part by an inability to know the starting point of any complex deterministic process. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

2) I think that I have also shown that given a) and b) it is reasonable to figure that the cause of the universe is non-temporal and non-spatial.

 

 

Please prove rationally, that it is possible for your as yet undefined concept of mind to be non-temporal and non-spatial and yet functional. Cognition is lateral and vertical, taking place in multiple interconnected parts of a brain as part of a time-linear process incorporating recall, problem solving and momentary self awareness that humans label as 'mind'. 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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jeffreyalex wrote:  We are

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

 

We are therefore above asked to consider two options: the universe just began without explanation or reason, or the universe began with explanation and reason. It is at least not more reasonable to assert that it simply began, from nothing and by nothing. That would run contrary to every single observation and experience of the world and the universe that any individual or science as a whole has or ever could make. So it is at least as reasonable to hold that time and space were created—and, if so, by a being that is non-spatial and non-temporal. 

 

1) I think that I have shown that a) it is perfectly reason to believe the universe began and b) it is also reasonable to hold that a universe cannot appear from nothing. 

2) I think that I have also shown that given a) and b) it is reasonable to figure that the cause of the universe is non-temporal and non-spatial.

 

From here, I recognize that there is room to discuss the coherence of the idea of a non-spatial, non-temporal mind, and of the nature of causality and time at or "before" the Big Bang, etc.

Those are complex issues that must be rigorously treated, with intricate arguments on both sides, and I will not treat them here, nor do I have to for my purpose. 

 

 

Your definitely wrong here. Simply because something can not be totally explained as of yet, does not warrant the automatic leap to the assertion of a creator/deity or whatever you believe in. 

For centuries, the Black Plague that decimated much of Europe was blamed on everything from sin, to the Apocalypse, to Jews and bad odors. This was before the discovery of germs and the spread of disease. 

Science and non-believers have never argued this 50/50 proposal that you are putting forth, it either is god or it is not.  Science merely observes the workable methods that have become established as theories and documents them as new discoveries are made. Your argument is filled with alot of presumptions and assertions that we have heard a million times and ultimately proves nothing. 

Your closing sentence sums it all up, you state that you are not going to get into the complexities because you don't have to. I disagree, I think it is because you don't want to because the first cause argument has been shredded numerous times.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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 Hi, thanks for the

 Hi, thanks for the welcome. 

 

I didn't anticipate so many responses so soon, so I'm really pleasantly surprised—even if it may take a little while to get to them all. 

     I want to start by saying I'm not a theist. I wouldn't normally make a point of it, but judging from some other threads it seems that things could get catty and personal if I'm viewed as the bad guy. Why the argument then? you may ask. Well, it doesn't seem obvious to me that a belief in something like God is blatantly irrational. That brings us to your request that I define what I mean by God. I most certainly do not mean a "human-style god". That said, I'm not certain what I want to attribute to God.

     Off the top of my head, it seems that if I want to claim something like "God created/caused the Universe to exist", and by Universe I meant the object that is the totality of all energy and of all physical objects that stand in relation to each other, and which itself stands in relation to no other object, for example, then this God would be non-physical. I want to say it is immensely powerful, let's say omnipotent, and omniscient. 

     If I want to say that God created not only space and matter, but also time, then it seems that God itself would have to be time-transcendent, non-temporal. Non-temporality—or "timelessness"—is, I recognize, a concept which is not obviously clear.

 

     So, let be attributed to God these: non-physicality, non-temporality, omniscience, and omnipotence. 

 


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.

jeffreyalex wrote:
I will argue that belief in God is not irrational. 

To show that belief in God is not irrational, I must show that there are reasons to believe in God.

 

There is no rational reason to accept the existence of anything for which there is no physical evidence.

An assumed cause of physical evidence is not physical evidence. It is only an assumption. Believing in the existence of an assumption is just plain dumb.

 

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jeffreyalex wrote:    

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

     So, let be attributed to God these: non-physicality, non-temporality, omniscience, and omnipotence. 

 

With those attribute I will state the following: show how a non physical entity can affect and create a physical material without itself having any physical material, omniscience and omnipotence there are problems with it as both would be an impossiblity for a deity or a mind which has been extensively discussed here many times. However you main problem is the non physical mind that can some how affect and create physical material.


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latincanuck

latincanuck wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

     So, let be attributed to God these: non-physicality, non-temporality, omniscience, and omnipotence. 

 

With those attribute I will state the following: show how a non physical entity can affect and create a physical material without itself having any physical material, omniscience and omnipotence there are problems with it as both would be an impossiblity for a deity or a mind which has been extensively discussed here many times. However you main problem is the non physical mind that can some how affect and create physical material.

And if such a being were beyond physical form, omniscient and omnipotent, how would we have any way of conceiving of it's existence ? The only concepts of a creator or a deity have to exist within the human mind. For example, let me create an attribute to a god that does not come from my own reasoning, my own mind or something that I might have read. That's not possible. So in order for someone to believe in a "first cause" universe, they would simply be projecting their own perceptions unto what they think it may or may not be.  

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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jeffreyalex wrote:    

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

     I want to start by saying I'm not a theist. I wouldn't normally make a point of it, but judging from some other threads it seems that things could get catty and personal if I'm viewed as the bad guy. 

 

 

Well me personally, I don't view a debate or argument as good guy vs. bad guy. While I may challenge a claim and my opinions get challenged, it is not a personal attack on the person. There are theists on here that I get along with.  The only people on here that may catch some heavy flack are the obvious trolls and troublemakers. At least from me. 

I don't agree with every Atheist on here, and plenty of Atheists on here do not agree with my political and social opinions. Yet we manage to get along. 

After all, there is really no Atheist creed or code of conduct. The only commonality of Atheism is lack of belief in a god. 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster wrote:I

harleysportster wrote:

I don't agree with every Atheist on here...

 

               I agree.

 

harleysportster wrote:
  ...and plenty of Atheists on here do not agree with my political and social opinions.

 

             Welcome to the club.

 

harleysportster wrote:
Yet we manage to get along.

 

    Usually after we've cooled down a bit.

 

harleysprtster wrote:
After all, there is really no Atheist creed or code of conduct. The only commonality of Atheism is lack of belief in a god. 

 

   Which is still so f**king hard for people to get through their cartoonish atheist stereotype.

 

 

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

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jeffreyalex wrote:      

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

             Until recent cosmology suggested a beginning to time and space in the Big Bang, many people held that the universe was simply infinitely old.  

 

The current best hypothosis is that the big bang that started off our visible universe resulted from activity in higher order dimensions and or other universes. It's likely there could be vast number of universes perhaps infinite number and always existing. Our universe could be just like the sun with a birth and deaths but just a tiny spec in the total cosmos.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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harleysportster wrote: Yet

harleysportster wrote:
Yet we manage to get along.

Only because you can't choke someone over the Internet, yet.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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I don't like the term "big

I don't like the term "big bang" because nothing really banged.  It ranks right up there with "global warming" as a really unfortunate name that confuses too many people.

If I hear one more person say, "Global warming, huh?  It's snowing in the summer in France!" or something like that I'm going to start kicking everyone in the nuts.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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Watcher wrote:I don't like

Watcher wrote:

I don't like the term "big bang" because nothing really banged.  It ranks right up there with "global warming" as a really unfortunate name that confuses too many people.

If I hear one more person say, "Global warming, huh?  It's snowing in the summer in France!" or something like that I'm going to start kicking everyone in the nuts.

I know what you mean. I had a bunch of people last winter that would say " Damn, it's cold out there, where are all those global warming nutcases now ?,"

I feel the same way about the Higgs Boson Particle being referred to as the "GOD PARTICLE".   Even if the existence of Higgs-Boson were proven, that still does not PROVE a deity or supernatural force. 

Damn, certain memes are so annoying. 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
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The crux of the biskit...

 It all boils down to...

Is it really rational to believe in invisible, intangible beings who dwell in an alternate dimension, and if begged telepathically can magically alter the laws of physics in THIS dimension to the benefit of the one doing the begging?

 

LC >;-}>

 

 

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Welcome.Ugh, I simply cannot

Welcome.

Ugh, I simply cannot muster the motivation to participate in threads like this anymore.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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 I've never been on a forum

 I've never been on a forum before, so I hope that there's some way for you to know which posts I'm replying to.

 

You ask me to prove that their can be an incorporeal mind and to explain how it works. However, that's begging the question. I want to claim that it seems conceivable (in the language of logic: possible) that an incorporeal mind could exist. For example, it seems conceivable to me that my "mind", my "I", that is something like "consciousness", could exist apart from my body. I am aware of my ability to make what seem like free choices and to act, and what I am saying here is that if I believe that there is a being such as God, I would not be irrational to think it must be a similarly aware being. 

 

Again, I know there is debate about what "mind" is—the whole philosophy of mind. My point is that there are rational, though complex, arguments for many different positions. Many of these arguments are not deductive and so the rationality of their conclusions is rather subjective. 

 

 

 


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 Thanks for the welcome. I

 Thanks for the welcome. 

I hope you will muster the strength, for the fact that I am very enthusiastic to hear all challenges. Then again, I didn't expect so many responses! Where will I find the time?

 

I don't know this, because I'm new, but I suspect that there is at least something unique about this thread. I'm not trying to rigorously defend the deductive validity of, say, the cosmological argument. I am merely trying to suggest that it is not so grossly irrational to suspect that there may be a God. 


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 I would not say that the

 I would not say that the being dwells in an alternate dimension, and I absolutely would not argue for a personal God who responds to begging or bends physical law. My question is rather about the rationality of suspecting the existence of a creator God. Further, what I'm personally interested in is whether such a belief is blatantly utterly irrational, beyond doubt. I don't think that is so. 


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 "Best" is a relevant term.

 "Best" is a relevant term. Physicists who hold to one particular idea clearly regard it as the best, or it wouldn't be the idea they hold. There are competing ideas, but granted: let us agree the Big Bang theory is best. 

Across the history of science, one idea has been superseded by another, for example Newtonian by GR. It may be arrogant to think we have it figured out now. 

 

But listen, even entertaining ideas about an expanding/contracting universe, an eternal universe, multiple universes, etc. there is still the question of why anything at all—is the existence of the universe/s a brute fact? And is it unreasonable to think that it is somehow unlikely that that would be the case. Again, I want to point out that I understand that there are debates about those probabilities, about assigning probability values, and even about what probability even is. There is also the simple question of whether an actual infinity is possible. It's not unreasonable to think it is not, and if so, the next question is then why did the universe/s start? The explanation is beyond science because the explanation could not rely on the physical or energetic laws that are themselves a part of what we would be trying to explain.


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 I am glad to hear that,

 I am glad to hear that, and I totally agree with your sentiments. 


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This is begging the

This is begging the question. It is the very definition of omnipotent that it could create physical matter. It is not limited by the laws of the universe like I am, so a challenge to me to just make matter appear is irrelevant. 

 

I would imagine that you could conceive of your mind existing apart from your body. In fact, that is how our minds do at least seem to us. So a mind that is free and omnipotent by definition is capable of creating a universe. 

 

I want to add that I am not trying to prove or defend a conception of God. I am only trying to suggest that a) intuitively the idea seems possible and not blatantly irrational and b) that among philosophers there is reasoned, keyword reasoned, argument about the nature of mind and the coherence of the conception of God, and so c) it is not utterly irrational to suspect such a being as an explanation for the existence of the universe.  

 


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 We assume that other minds

 We assume that other minds exists. We assume that the universe and the world did not pop into existence as is 5 minutes ago. We assume we're not brains in vats. 

 

But those classical philosophical puzzles aside, remember that Einstein postulated relativity theory before the expedition that observed the light from stars being curved by the mass of the sun during the solar eclipse. He used imagination and mathematical logic. That is a valid approach. He was not totally irrational to anticipate the result of the experiment. 

 

Similarly, I'm wondering here, whether there is a rational reason to suspect that perhaps there is a creator God. If there is, then the belief is not blatantly irrational. 


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Hi again, Jeff

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Off the top of my head, it seems that if I want to claim something like "God created/caused the Universe to exist", and by Universe I meant the object that is the totality of all energy and of all physical objects that stand in relation to each other, and which itself stands in relation to no other object, for example, then this God would be non-physical. I want to say it is immensely powerful, let's say omnipotent, and omniscient. 

If I want to say that God created not only space and matter, but also time, then it seems that God itself would have to be time-transcendent, non-temporal. Non-temporality—or "timelessness"—is, I recognize, a concept which is not obviously clear. 

 

Tend to think the argument that a cause is needed for the universe is a fallacy of composition. I see what it is you are positing but to me it seems you are arguing that because something is true within this universe - energy transfer - then something outside the universe you are labeling god, that does not conform to the rules within this space time, does conform to the rules of our universe. The trouble with all this is that you are combining truth claims with assumptions that cannot be supported.  

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

So, let be attributed to God these: non-physicality, non-temporality, omniscience, and omnipotence. 

 

Look - I don't know what any of these words actually means. I know I asked for a definition but this list of supernatural 'characteristics' is a collection of undefinable human ideas none of which defines anything at all.

 

Ed: Clarity

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Chuckle

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

You ask me to prove that their can be an incorporeal mind and to explain how it works. However, that's begging the question.

 

Ok

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

For example, it seems conceivable to me that my "mind", my "I", that is something like "consciousness", could exist apart from my body.

 

 

and this is a mind projection fallacy...

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 The point I wanted to

 The point I wanted to make, and did a really poor job of making, admittedly, is that the sudden start of the universe is beyond scientific explanation, as would be the existence of the universe eternally. By nature science relies on laws that work on matter and mathematics that, in theory, corresponds to what is. That cannot explain what is, however. So the option is as atheists have pointed out, especially, is do we take the start of or eternal existence of the universe as a brute fact? I am suggesting that it is not violently irrational to deny that that is the case. And in asking for an explanation of the existence of anything at all, it is not irrational to deduce that the explanation must be itself not physical and not temporal. 

 

Is that a coherent concept, "non-physical and non-temporal"? There is a huge literature on it, and in reading what I've had time to read I have found that the answer isn't an obvious "no". There are reasoned arguments on both sides, which is to suggest it is not a blatantly idiotic position to hold that there may be a creator and that it would have the qualities of being time and matter transcendent. 

 

You claim the First Cause argument has been shredded, but I am saying it is possible to reasonably hold that it has not. I am NOT saying it has or hasn't and I am not saying it is a deductively airtight argument in any formulation I know of it. 


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Also Jeff

 

 

If you want to reply to a person directly - hit the 'quote' tab...

That way folks will know who your comments are directed at. 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 Can you elaborate on your

 Can you elaborate on your claim that I'm committing the mind projection fallacy?

 

It seems you want to say that I am mistakenly experiencing my own mind as something that it is not. Am I understanding you correctly?

 

If so, I think that is also begging the question. You are presuming that no mind can exist without the mechanism of the brain and saying that therefore even if it seems to me like it might, it cannot. I actually do not even really want to make a claim as strong as that. I want to only suggest that I can imagine it as a possibility in, well, a very imagine-y way. 


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

If you want to reply to a person directly - hit the 'quote' tab...

That way folks will know who your comments are directed at. 

 

 

Er, thanks, I wish I knew that an hour ago. Better late!


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Look

jeffreyalex wrote:

 Can you elaborate on your claim that I'm committing the mind projection fallacy?

 

It seems you want to say that I am mistakenly experiencing my own mind as something that it is not. Am I understanding you correctly?

 

If so, I think that is also begging the question. You are presuming that no mind can exist without the mechanism of the brain and saying that therefore even if it seems to me like it might, it cannot. I actually do not even really want to make a claim as strong as that. I want to only suggest that I can imagine it as a possibility in, well, a very imagine-y way. 

 

In a discussion like this that feels to me like it has associated motivation, wedding material truth claims to what seems to me to be a purely rationalistic epistemology is perilous. I am simply saying that in arguing you can imagine the human concept of mind as independent of a brain you are almost certainly mistaking the universe as you can see it, for the universe as it actually is. Personally, I can't imagine mind disconnected from brains. The evidence supports me and the correct philosophical position is one of skepticism. 

In any case, and perhaps unjustly, I can't help feeling you are arguing the law of non contradiction here. If you can imagine mind outside of brain, existing outside space time, then none of us skeptical empiricists are in a position to prove beyond all doubt such a thing is beyond the bounds of vanishing possibility. We'd argue there's no evidence such a thing is possible, however. As an aside, I've never been able to escape the feeling law of non contradiction is an appeal to ignorance that shifts the burden of proof to the negative side. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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.

jeffreyalex wrote:
I would not say that the being dwells in an alternate dimension

Alternate dimension is a device of hack scifi writers which has no meaning beyond hand waving. If it were hack fantasy instead of hack scifi it would say magical realm instead. The usage is no different.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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jeffreyalex wrote:
"Best" is a relevant term. Physicists who hold to one particular idea clearly regard it as the best, or it wouldn't be the idea they hold. There are competing ideas, but granted: let us agree the Big Bang theory is best.

Best means it explains the most observed facts. That is all. It says nothing more than that. Its common acceptance is earlier competing theories failed to explain observed facts.

Today competing theories are variations upon events at or shortly after bang time. No one has come up with a theory which explains all the observed facts which does not include some sort of origin moment. Over the decades apparent anomalies contradicting an origin event like a bang have been resolved in a manner which support an origin event.

It is not for lack of trying that all we have is the bang. Nor are there significant observations which could preclude a bang. Experience has shown when a theory well explains most everything anomalies lead to additional theories not the overthrow of the old theory. When the facts that lead to quantum theory were first observed classical physics could not explain them. When quantum theory came along classical theory was not changed much less declared wrong.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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 It does not seem to be

 It does not seem to be logically necessary that an agent or a mind be embodied. 

Even if every observed mind to date has been tied to a body, this does not make your position—namely, that a mind must be tied to, or even is identical to, a body (or brain)—more probably true than the position that the mind, or agency, does not have to be embodied. 

 

The necessity of embodiment of mind is the very question at stake, and you are not entitled to assume that it is. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. 

 

 

Finally, I want to repeat that I am not trying to prove anything. I am trying to claim that belief in God is not blatantly irrational.

To that end, and to respond to your bringing up the meaning of terms like "non-temporal", I want to mention two books: 1) God, Action, and Embodiment by Thomas Tracy and 2) Time and Eternity by Brian Leftow. They are both reasoned rational accounts of the coherence of an idea of God, with specific (almost exclusive) attention to the issues you raised. 

 

I am not saying they are necessarily 100% the truth or that you, specifically, will find them doubtlessly convincing, far from it. I AM saying that they are not irrational mumbling. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Disembodied mind...

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

It does not seem to be logically necessary that an agent or a mind be embodied. Even if every observed mind to date has been tied to a body, this does not make your position—namely, that a mind must be tied to, or even is identical to, a body (or brain)—more probably true than the position that the mind, or agency, does not have to be embodied. The necessity of embodiment of mind is the very question at stake, and you are not entitled to assume that it is. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. 

 

 

Human concepts of sentient mind have only ever been observed in association with human brains. You are entitled to speculate mind exists outside of brains but the burden of proof rests with you. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Finally, I want to repeat that I am not trying to prove anything. I am trying to claim that belief in God is not blatantly irrational.

To that end, and to respond to your bringing up the meaning of terms like "non-temporal", I want to mention two books: 1) God, Action, and Embodiment by Thomas Tracy and 2) Time and Eternity by Brian Leftow. They are both reasoned rational accounts of the coherence of an idea of God, with specific (almost exclusive) attention to the issues you raised. I am not saying they are necessarily 100% the truth or that you, specifically, will find them doubtlessly convincing, far from it. I AM saying that they are not irrational mumbling. 

 

 

No position thoughtfully argued can reasonably be called irrational, particularly when it comes to the vagaries of philosophy. Regardless, a position that is rational can still be wrong. The idea a human-like concept of mind can exist independent of matter and time is unsupported by any cogent proofs. And as yet in this discussion, no definitions of the nature of this mind have been proffered that do not amount to incoherent assertions. 

 

 

P.S. Don't worry about those duplicate posts, Jeff. Some kindly mod will trim them off for you. 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Jeff

 

 

would you agree that impossibility exists?

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

would you agree that impossibility exists?

 

I think so, though I'm not sure what you are asking. I would, for example, agree that 2 + 2 = 5 is impossible, or that a square circle is something that is impossible to have.


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Impossibility

 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

would you agree that impossibility exists?

 

I think so, though I'm not sure what you are asking. I would, for example, agree that 2 + 2 = 5 is impossible, or that a square circle is something that is impossible to have.

 

I simply wondered, given the open-ended nature of our discussions about possible cosmic Kenworths, if you also believed it was rational to conclude that knowledge of an exo-universal first cause, was impossible. 

You'll have to excuse us our defensiveness. We're a wee bit Pavlovian when the hint of epistemology is in the air...

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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   No position

 

 

 

No position thoughtfully argued can reasonably be called irrational, particularly when it comes to the vagaries of philosophy. Regardless, a position that is rational can still be wrong. The idea a human-like concept of mind can exist independent of matter and time is unsupported by any cogent proofs. And as yet in this discussion, no definitions of the nature of this mind have been proffered that do not amount to incoherent assertions. 

 

 

P.S. Don't worry about those duplicate posts, Jeff. Some kindly mod will trim them off for you. 

 

 

No doubt a rational position could be wrong. I think I'm rational to believe there's nobody in my closet, but hey, my mom's pretty crazy sometimes, so who knows?

 

Let me clarify, by the way: at this point in the discussion we want to ask whether or not the concept of a non-embodied mind is coherent, is that correct? 

I have my own doubts that it is, but I'm inclined to say that the answer is simply unclear. Colin McGinn doubts we will ever thoroughly understand the mind and consciousness and body problem, and I am inclined to agree. If I cannot even understand an embodied mind, far be it for me to try to explain a disembodied mind. I only wonder if it is a logical, or rational, possibility. 

 

You say that the claim "a mind can exist independent of matter" is not supported by proof, granted. But the claim "a mind cannot exist independent of matter" is not supported by proof either. 

 

So, I want to say nothing suggests that a disembodied mind is an impossibility. Arguments that seek for an explanation of the universe outside of the universe itself seem to suggest that that explanation is personal. That does not seem an irrational conclusion. 

 

Just for the record, do you hold that a belief in God is flat-out irrational, or do you hold that it is possibly rational, but happens to be wrong, and are also just playing the devil's advocate, so to speak?

 

 


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

would you agree that impossibility exists?

 

I think so, though I'm not sure what you are asking. I would, for example, agree that 2 + 2 = 5 is impossible, or that a square circle is something that is impossible to have.

 

I simply wondered, given the open-ended nature of our discussions about possible cosmic Kenworths, if you also believed it was rational to conclude that knowledge of an exo-universal first cause, was impossible. 

You'll have to excuse us our defensiveness. We're a wee bit Pavlovian when the hint of epistemology is in the air...

 

 

 

I am very skeptical that we can have knowledge of that first cause, yes. I mean, I would doubt we could understand or comprehend it, and I absolutely wouldn't' trust anyone who told me that first cause's name is Bob and he likes the way he looks in overalls. I do believe that we could ask, for example, If there is a first cause, what attributes must it (or is it likely to) have. I would say that it is at least reasonable to say the cause of the physical spatial universe is not physical and spatial itself. 


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I'm not sure

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

Let me clarify, by the way: at this point in the discussion we want to ask whether or not the concept of a non-embodied mind is coherent, is that correct? I have my own doubts that it is, but I'm inclined to say that the answer is simply unclear. Colin McGinn doubts we will ever thoroughly understand the mind and consciousness and body problem, and I am inclined to agree. If I cannot even understand an embodied mind, far be it for me to try to explain a disembodied mind. I only wonder if it is a logical, or rational, possibility. 

 

 

I'm not sure I would trust a philosopher to give me the last word on whether or not the mind and consciousness can ever be thoroughly understood. This position tends towards a fallacious appeal to complexity - 'we don't know, we can't know, thus my opinion supported by the law of non contradiction is a viable alternative to yours, prove me wrong', sort of thing. Having made this criticism, I know that, conversely, empiricists love to appeal to the future and given the pace of new discoveries, this is a very tempting thing to do.

Presently researchers are in the process of attempting to map the neurones of an entire human brain and we'll probably have to wait for quantum computing to really get a handle on it, I think evidence shows the thoughts of conscious mind can already be viewed on a monitor, that mind can be turned on and off or manipulated using drugs and pheromones, or can be damaged or obliterated by dementia or a stroke - these last which have distinctive physical causes.

Agreeing mind has a physical (biochemical, electrical) component does not mean we know how it works, obviously. Apparently brain cells sing to each other at 50Hz. There are certainly mysteries. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

You say that the claim "a mind can exist independent of matter" is not supported by proof, granted. But the claim "a mind cannot exist independent of matter" is not supported by proof either. So, I want to say nothing suggests that a disembodied mind is an impossibility.

 

I think you could argue consciousness may be an electrical waveform in the real time work space of a conscious brain and that would be one thing but suggesting such a mindful experience can occur outside the brain is a big step. Mind has only ever been observed in association with living brains. If this is not evidence, that's something for you to rationalise. Taking our lack of understanding of physical brains and positing that this lends equal merit to the possibility of disembodied brains is an appeal to ignorance and an incomplete comparison. But, thanks to the law of non contradiction and our lack of understanding of mind, you are able to rationally hold this position. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Arguments that seek for an explanation of the universe outside of the universe itself seem to suggest that that explanation is personal. That does not seem an irrational conclusion. 

 

Given human 'exploration' of exo-universal speculations is subjective, explanations of what might lie outside the universe could be said to be personal but perhaps only a philosopher would say so. I don't think this conclusion is irrational, but I think it's askew. Technically, all mental processes, including rational processing of empiricist data or rational speculations (necessarily based on our material world's wiring of our brains) that are applied to exo-universal possibilities are also personal. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Just for the record, do you hold that a belief in God is flat-out irrational, or do you hold that it is possibly rational, but happens to be wrong, and are also just playing the devil's advocate, so to speak?

 

I think some believers are utterly irrational and others are perfectly rational, that some non believers are irrational and some rational. My personal position is that religious belief can be completely rational but that on the basis of the evidence we have, it seems to be 'supported' only by those things that cannot be confirmed by empirical investigation. I think this is a curious way for 'truth' to be.  

Jeff, in your opinion, is a typical atheistic position, that truth can best be confirmed by combining reason and empiricism, rational or irrational? 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I think, with regard to

I think, with regard to understanding the mind and consciousness, the argument isn't so much a simple "we don't know, and won't know", but rather an emphatic "we can't  know, and won't know". And the argument lies somewhere in the inconceivability of what an answer to "how does physical process X give rise to the subjective experience Y" could be. It couldn't simply be "F does this, and then G does this, and ... you experience Y". I actually haven't read McGinn's The Mysterious Flame, yet, so I couldn't speak about his argument. I sure am looking forward to it, though.


By "personal" I didn't mean, you know, up to the person, or subjective. I mean that the first cause appears to be a "person", or something with agency, for it was certainly not some mechanical process that lead to the creation.


Regarding my claim that the proposition "the mind cannot exist without a body" is unproven:

If I observe 100 white swans I still cannot claim that there are no black swans, or that swans must be white.

Similarly, observing that every mind studied has been connected to a body does not suggest this must be so and, does not even make it probable that this is so (see the example way below).
That's not a matter of hiding in ignorance, because no finite amount of evidence could make a scientific generalization more probably true.

To answer your question, in a pragmatic sense, I would agree that it is rational to combine reason and empiricism. Whether we are confirming truth or just trying to get things done the best way we know how, I'm not prepared to say. Let me quickly elaborate:

Take Newton's Law of Gravity—we observe a relationship, express it in mathematical terms, find that it holds (nearly) every time, and propose that this is a universal law. Presumably, it holds for all things—an infinite number of things. Let us number these things 1, 2, 3, ... , n, ....  

The case in reality may be that

1 obeys Newton's theory, the rest do not.
1, and 2 obey Newton's theory, the rest do not.
...
All (1, 2, 3, ..., n, ...) obey Newton's theory.

There are infinite possibilities, each with the same probability, and so the probability of any one being the case is 0. So the probability of Newton's theory (All (1, 2, 3, ..., n, ...) obey Newton's theory) is 0. No finite amount of confirmation increases that probability, as Bayes' theorem shows.

Let T be the theory. Let E be evidence for T.
We wonder about P(T/E), and the probability calculus is straightforward:

P(T/E) = P(E/T) x P(T) / P(E)

P(E) is not zero, so this number is not undefined. P(T) is a factor in the numerator equal to zero and so the numerator is 0. 0 over any number is 0.

Such is the case the philosopher of science Imre Lakotos makes, and I agree.


 


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I want to respond to this,

I want to respond to this, specifically:

"My personal position is that religious belief can be completely rational but that on the basis of the evidence we have, it seems to be 'supported' only by those things that cannot be confirmed by empirical investigation."

As far as an argument along the lines of the cosmological argument is concerned, I precisely think that the point should be that the existence of the universe through infinite time OR its finite existence is beyond scientific explanation. There can be no explanation that starts somewhere that is not already a part of what we are trying to explain. We will need to simply accept the universe's existence, through finite, or infinite time, or chaos, as a brute fact. For me, this is not a controversial statement, I don't think I've spoken to anyone who thinks it is. Atheists often point out that we should do that: accept the Universe as an ultimate brute fact versus accepting the creator God as the ultimate brute fact.

 

This is where I wonder if such an argument as follows could be made:

The probability that the universe exists as a brute ultimate fact is not greater than (or may even be less than) the probability that a creator God exists as a brute ultimate fact.

There would be talk about which really is the simplest hypothesis and about the status and nature of "probability", and things would get deep quickly from there. But up till that point, I see it as perfectly rational to ask the above question, and to lean toward one side or the other, either way.

 

 


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jeffreyalex wrote:If I

jeffreyalex wrote:





If I observe 100 white swans I still cannot claim that there are no black swans, or that swans must be white.

Similarly, observing that every mind studied has been connected to a body does not suggest this must be so and, does not even make it probable that this is so (see the example way below).
That's not a matter of hiding in ignorance, because no finite amount of evidence could make a scientific generalization more probably true.






 

 

 

Except that the existence of a black swan does not require supernatural or extra dimensional explanations or in any way encroach upon what is already known to be scientifically possible.  This black swan would be a fairly benign occurrence whereas the discovery of an intangible mind would truly be revolutionary.   The nuanced difference between what is possible and what is probable should not be overlooked.

 

 

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Hi OP

Hi OP,

Your thread is ambiguous. Belief in God CAN be absurd.

 

You need to qualify what God you are arguing and How you are arguing.

If one were to argue for the goddess of Mrs Smith, this would be absurd.

If one were to argue for the God of Zeus, this would be absurd

 

Thus, the means of argument must be valid via the consistency

of that which you reason. If there is inconsistency of the claim

via contradiction, this immediately marks the argument as invalid, unsound

and worthless in argument.

 

Thus, the qualification of both object and subject is essential

to note the validity of argument of what God we are discussing.

 

I would note that the only logical argument possible in both

soundness and validity regarding the issue of that

beyond the ontological means of nature would be metaphysical

in the the accusative case via the Greek is that of Christianity.

 

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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I have shown that the truth

I have shown that the truth of the claim "all minds are and must be tied to a body" is just as probable as the truth of the claim "not all minds are or need to be tied to a body". I further claim that it is not inherently impossible that the latter is true, unless you beg the question by defining mind as something that must be tied to a body.

This is so because no amount of finite evidence entitles us, by induction, to generalize universally. Hume most famously pointed this out. Popper accepted that, and Lakotos pushed further and convincingly argued that no theory is even probable.

 

To point out that such a discovery would be revolutionary is no doubt true! However, GR was revolutionary, as was QM. More importantly, it's begging the question declare say "THAT WOULD BE REVOLUTIONARY". Yes, but that's precisely why there's an argument. If I claim something that is "revolutionary" or something not is outside science's explanation, it is not a response to say "but that's revolutionary and beyond scientific knowledge".

By the way, would you say that "God exists" is a scientific claim?

I ask because of something I saw on YouTube. There's this guy, Paul Dillahunt, who has a show called the Atheist Experience. I find him arrogant almost beyond toleration. But to get to the point, I was looking through his videos and noted something I thought was odd. He holds the Popperian view that a scientific claim must be falsifiable. Yet, when God is brought up, he demands that "God exists" is a scientific claim. Then, he rails about how it isn't falsifiable. Is that not an error:

1) A scientific claim must be falsifiable.

2) "God exists" is a scientific claim.

3) "God exists" is not falsifiable ??

No.

 

I can only reason that what he means to say when he, or Dawkins, or Harris, for that matter, says '"God exists" is a scientific claim' is that it is a claim about how the universe is. But, it is precisely not a claim about the universe itself and is not open to a substance-liabilities-powers account of scientific explanation. It is a philosophical claim.