Total Posts:11|Showing Posts:1-11
Jump to topic:

Empirical observations vs. God

Skepticalone
Posts: 6,136
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:

a) Life only comes from Life
b) Information only comes from information
c) Messages, Codes, Languages only come from a conscious mind.
d) Design only comes from a designer.

Feel free to support or knock these arguments as you see fit.

Conversely, these arguments got me thinking there are obviously empirical observations that contradict common conceptions of god. For instance, every example of consciousness being undeniably linked to a physical brain, or at the very least matter, has implications for a god said to be immaterial and conscious. It might be interesting to see what other observations we can come up with (support or refute as desired).

So in summary, there are two preferred directions this OP can go:

1. Provide empirical observations related to god(s) as commonly defined or;
2. Defend or pounce these observations and/or conclusions derived from them.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Outplayz
Posts: 1,274
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/12/2016 6:03:28 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:

a) Life only comes from Life
b) Information only comes from information
c) Messages, Codes, Languages only come from a conscious mind.
d) Design only comes from a designer.

Feel free to support or knock these arguments as you see fit.

Conversely, these arguments got me thinking there are obviously empirical observations that contradict common conceptions of god. For instance, every example of consciousness being undeniably linked to a physical brain, or at the very least matter, has implications for a god said to be immaterial and conscious. It might be interesting to see what other observations we can come up with (support or refute as desired).

So in summary, there are two preferred directions this OP can go:

1. Provide empirical observations related to god(s) as commonly defined or;
2. Defend or pounce these observations and/or conclusions derived from them.

You saved yourself here. Yes, i have found that empirical observations are a proof to life after death. But... it has nothing to do with "god." I assume a monotheistic god when you say that... it is so different. All religions are made up by humans. But... to me, these stories are no different than star wars or the marvel universe except for the fact that they think it is fact and absolute truth... idiotic, and these people are dying out, and will.

I believe that spirituality is going to push forward and invent new new ideas, and even inventions added to the world, once it works with science, or better said, works with our majority desires. Our unwavering desire to contact with the world gave us technology... What is next is my question...

When it comes to empirical observations, mine are exactly that but anecdotal and subjective to my own experiences. I have an atheistic mind, but have been proven wrong every time i have challenged spirituality. To me, with the scientific method in full effect on my speculation... i believe there is another reality, realm - simulation beyond this world. To me... my true self, my free will, is in my source state, my immortality. I have come to this conclusion through pure logic and reason in the observation of events in my life. I know my truth, which is subjective to me. I believe others have different truths subjective to them. But the one absolute truth is that we are experiencing a human experience right now... is this world someones imagination... probably, and we chose to be here... i can't wait to play in someone else's playground while loving this paradise.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/12/2016 6:57:56 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:
a) Life only comes from Life
Failure to observe is not observation of failure, so that's a conjecture, not an observation. An observation of failure would involve (for example) the construction from scratch of a cell chemically and structurally identical to a cell that we know exhibits life properties (e.g. feeding, response, growth, reproduction), yet which fails to exhibit those properties.

That would be an astounding result, since we can already synthesise DNA in vitro that behaves just as does the chemistry produced by biological processes. E.g. [http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...] Are chemicals now supposed to remember how they were produced? Are cellular structures supposed to inherit life-behaviours from contagion?

b) Information only comes from information
The seminal paper on information was published by Claude Shannon in 1948. [http://worrydream.com...] It's now generally accepted that information is a statistically significant pattern in a signal. It comes precisely from... statistically significant patterns in signals, regardless of what induced those patterns, and whether they have intended semantics.

c) Messages, Codes, Languages only come from a conscious mind.
Under any reasonable, empirical definition of communication (e.g. induced behaviour leading to information transmitted over a channel resulting in altered behaviour in the recipient), many animals communicate, including animals lacking a brain. Is it proposed that they have a conscious mind? If so, how would that be falsified?

d) Design only comes from a designer.
Many animals produce complex designs, yet lack a brain. Please see my response to c).

There are two preferred directions this OP can go:
1. Provide empirical observations related to god(s) as commonly defined or;
2. Defend or pounce these observations and/or conclusions derived from them.

God is defined (if you can call it a definition) so vaguely that many key properties are unfalsifiable and hence unverifiable. The problem with many of the broadest Abrahamic god-claims isn't that they're false, it's that they're invalid, and shouldn't be proposed as truths in the first place, since they cannot possibly lead to reliable knowledge.

Meanwhile, Skep, your friend doesn't understand empiricism, since he's making statements of 'observation' that are actually conjecture, most seem to be ungrounded in reasonable empirical definitions, he seems unaware of the scientific literature, and some of his claims under any reasonable empirical definition are outright false.

His rhetoric is full of bare assertions and appeals to ignorance. He's putting language and his own prejudices before research, observation and diligent enquiry. He's probably just parroting things he's heard, and may be unaware how lazy, ignorant and sloppy he's being.

It's not like he has one good argument and some dodgy ones. Nothing he's saying is remotely supported. Its sole value is as a salutary lesson in why invoking technical jargon doesn't imbue you with scientific knowledge. :)
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,136
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/12/2016 6:36:21 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 6:57:56 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:
a) Life only comes from Life
Failure to observe is not observation of failure, so that's a conjecture, not an observation. An observation of failure would involve (for example) the construction from scratch of a cell chemically and structurally identical to a cell that we know exhibits life properties (e.g. feeding, response, growth, reproduction), yet which fails to exhibit those properties.

I'm not familiar with "observation of failure". Could you explain this?

That would be an astounding result, since we can already synthesise DNA in vitro that behaves just as does the chemistry produced by biological processes. E.g. [http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...]

'That doesn't appear to be a synthesis of DNA as much as a modification of it'. I think we both know the retort will be something along these lines.

Are chemicals now supposed to remember how they were produced? Are cellular structures supposed to inherit life-behaviours from contagion?

b) Information only comes from information
The seminal paper on information was published by Claude Shannon in 1948. [http://worrydream.com...] It's now generally accepted that information is a statistically significant pattern in a signal. It comes precisely from... statistically significant patterns in signals, regardless of what induced those patterns, and whether they have intended semantics.

Sorry, I've simplified his arguments and apparently have gone a little too far here. It should be 'information only proceeds from an information rich source'.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/12/2016 7:39:50 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 6:36:21 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/12/2016 6:57:56 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:
a) Life only comes from Life
Failure to observe is not observation of failure, so that's a conjecture, not an observation. An observation of failure would involve (for example) the construction from scratch of a cell chemically and structurally identical to a cell that we know exhibits life properties (e.g. feeding, response, growth, reproduction), yet which fails to exhibit those properties.
I'm not familiar with "observation of failure". Could you explain this?
A good example of observed failure is the Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887 [https://en.wikipedia.org...], designed to detect luminiferous aether -- that is, the existence of some medium through which light is propagated.

Aether was postulated to explain the apparent ability of wave-based light to move through empty space. Waves were considered to be the excitation of some medium (think sound waves, for example), so what medium was light exciting as it traveled?

If that medium existed, then the motion of the earth around the sun would mean that there should be an aether 'wind' in some direction. Light traveling 'with' the wind would gain time, while light traveling 'against' the wind would lose it. If c is the speed of light, and v is the speed of the aether 'wind' along the direction of travel, then the time light took to travel distance D out and back in some direction was calculated as 2Dc/(c ^ 2 - v ^ 2). [https://en.wikisource.org...]. On the other hand, if light ran perpendicular to the wind, then v = 0, and the time would just be 2D/c.

So changing the angle of light with respect to the aether wind should change its phase, and that created the idea for an interference experiment.

This experiment split a single beam of light into two perpendicular cross-beams allowed to travel out and back (many times) along similar distances, then rejoin and interfere with one another. The whole was mounted so it could rotate. The idea was that as the system rotated, the interference pattern should change depending on the motion of the Earth through the aether -- and the whole was insulated against vibration to avoid false positives.

Despite being specifically predicted and systematically explored across all possible directions of aether wind, no such changing interference pattern was observed. Thus Michelson and Morely produced an observed failure which discredited an already strained theory of aether, and subsequently opened the way for thoughts on relativity and wave-particle duality.

So, that's the quintessential 'there is no aether' experiment. Now where's the quintessential 'life cannot come from a test tube' experiment? :D

That would be an astounding result, since we can already synthesise DNA in vitro that behaves just as does the chemistry produced by biological processes. E.g. [http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...]
'That doesn't appear to be a synthesis of DNA as much as a modification of it'. I think we both know the retort will be something along these lines.
It's both, Skep. :) Existing DNA is modified by synthesised DNA. So let me ask the follow-on question: we know we can cut and splice DNA like craft-paper. If biology is happy to use DNA you synthesise in vitro as though it were produced biologically, what happens when you add synthesised DNA and cut away any DNA you didn't synthesise? Will cells suddenly fail to feed, grow, react, reproduce? If so, at what point will that occur, and what mechanism does that point to?

It's a silly proposition pointing toward notions of magical contagion: a principle believed by the ignorant and superstitious all over the world, yet never supported in natural observations.

But by all means, any ID proponent is free to run that experiment and win a Nobel Prize from demonstrating magical contagion as a life-propagating mechanism. :)

b) Information only comes from information
The seminal paper on information was published by Claude Shannon in 1948. [http://worrydream.com...] It's now generally accepted that information is a statistically significant pattern in a signal. It comes precisely from... statistically significant patterns in signals, regardless of what induced those patterns, and whether they have intended semantics.
Sorry, I've simplified his arguments and apparently have gone a little too far here. It should be 'information only proceeds from an information rich source'.
How is that anything but circular? Information is defined as a patterned signal. So... a patterned signal needs something to induce the er... signal... and the er... pattern.

Your friend may be reaching for Conservation of Information (supported by quantum theory), but even so, at some point one is impelled to ask: so the heck what? :D Suppose the universe has a large but finite and fixed amount of information... that says nothing about how it came to exist, and still doesn't address the fundamental epistemological problem with the question, since the only information you have for determining causality is by definition information that already exists. :) Appeal to ignorance much?
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,136
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/12/2016 9:16:48 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 7:39:50 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/12/2016 6:36:21 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/12/2016 6:57:56 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:
a) Life only comes from Life
Failure to observe is not observation of failure, so that's a conjecture, not an observation. An observation of failure would involve (for example) the construction from scratch of a cell chemically and structurally identical to a cell that we know exhibits life properties (e.g. feeding, response, growth, reproduction), yet which fails to exhibit those properties.
I'm not familiar with "observation of failure". Could you explain this?
A good example of observed failure is the Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887 [https://en.wikipedia.org...], designed to detect luminiferous aether -- that is, the existence of some medium through which light is propagated.

Aether was postulated to explain the apparent ability of wave-based light to move through empty space. Waves were considered to be the excitation of some medium (think sound waves, for example), so what medium was light exciting as it traveled?

If that medium existed, then the motion of the earth around the sun would mean that there should be an aether 'wind' in some direction. Light traveling 'with' the wind would gain time, while light traveling 'against' the wind would lose it. If c is the speed of light, and v is the speed of the aether 'wind' along the direction of travel, then the time light took to travel distance D out and back in some direction was calculated as 2Dc/(c ^ 2 - v ^ 2). [https://en.wikisource.org...]. On the other hand, if light ran perpendicular to the wind, then v = 0, and the time would just be 2D/c.

So changing the angle of light with respect to the aether wind should change its phase, and that created the idea for an interference experiment.

This experiment split a single beam of light into two perpendicular cross-beams allowed to travel out and back (many times) along similar distances, then rejoin and interfere with one another. The whole was mounted so it could rotate. The idea was that as the system rotated, the interference pattern should change depending on the motion of the Earth through the aether -- and the whole was insulated against vibration to avoid false positives.

Despite being specifically predicted and systematically explored across all possible directions of aether wind, no such changing interference pattern was observed. Thus Michelson and Morely produced an observed failure which discredited an already strained theory of aether, and subsequently opened the way for thoughts on relativity and wave-particle duality.

So, that's the quintessential 'there is no aether' experiment. Now where's the quintessential 'life cannot come from a test tube' experiment? :D

Okay. I guess I got lost in the jargon. It seems like Observation of failure is just another way of saying falsifiability?

That would be an astounding result, since we can already synthesise DNA in vitro that behaves just as does the chemistry produced by biological processes. E.g. [http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...]
'That doesn't appear to be a synthesis of DNA as much as a modification of it'. I think we both know the retort will be something along these lines.
It's both, Skep. :) Existing DNA is modified by synthesised DNA. So let me ask the follow-on question: we know we can cut and splice DNA like craft-paper. If biology is happy to use DNA you synthesise in vitro as though it were produced biologically, what happens when you add synthesised DNA and cut away any DNA you didn't synthesise?

That's a fair point.

Will cells suddenly fail to feed, grow, react, reproduce? If so, at what point will that occur, and what mechanism does that point to?

It's a silly proposition pointing toward notions of magical contagion: a principle believed by the ignorant and superstitious all over the world, yet never supported in natural observations.

But by all means, any ID proponent is free to run that experiment and win a Nobel Prize from demonstrating magical contagion as a life-propagating mechanism. :)

b) Information only comes from information
The seminal paper on information was published by Claude Shannon in 1948. [http://worrydream.com...] It's now generally accepted that information is a statistically significant pattern in a signal. It comes precisely from... statistically significant patterns in signals, regardless of what induced those patterns, and whether they have intended semantics.
Sorry, I've simplified his arguments and apparently have gone a little too far here. It should be 'information only proceeds from an information rich source'.
How is that anything but circular? Information is defined as a patterned signal. So... a patterned signal needs something to induce the er... signal... and the er... pattern.


Your friend may be reaching for Conservation of Information (supported by quantum theory), but even so, at some point one is impelled to ask: so the heck what? :D Suppose the universe has a large but finite and fixed amount of information... that says nothing about how it came to exist, and still doesn't address the fundamental epistemological problem with the question, since the only information you have for determining causality is by definition information that already exists. :) Appeal to ignorance much?

Touche', Ruv.

Thanks for you input.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
DPMartin
Posts: 1,096
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/12/2016 10:30:10 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
If people believe in a god, whether that god can do what the believer can do or not is irrelevant, if it is worshiped or at the least treated by the believer to be a god, then it is a god and is empirical proof (maybe). Only because it need be worshiped by the believing worshiper to be a god, in the sense necessary to be a god. If evidence of power by the god to do a thing is necessary then it"s merely a powerless idol, if that god can"t do what it is, a god, and or lord of. And gods or idols can be in the hearts and imaginations of mankind just as well as physical objects or persons.

So as long as mankind worships a believed deity, then that belief is empirical evidence of said god.

That may or may not fit your request, but understanding that can help your view of the question. even if you are talking about the God described in the bible, you are talking about the writers of the bible God, as in the God of Israel or the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. hence their God exists because they worshiped Him. But is He Creator and Judge of all things becomes a problem that can only be resolved by know Him personally. as did Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2016 5:49:29 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 9:16:48 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/12/2016 7:39:50 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/12/2016 6:36:21 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/12/2016 6:57:56 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Failure to observe is not observation of failure, so that's a conjecture, not an observation.
I'm not familiar with "observation of failure". Could you explain this?
Michelson and Morely produced an observed failure which discredited an already strained theory of aether, and subsequently opened the way for thoughts on relativity and wave-particle duality.
It seems like Observation of failure is just another way of saying falsifiability?
Sort-of, but a positive observation falsifies conjectures too. For example, the twin nested hierarchy of biology falsifies (to astronomically high confidence) the conjecture of species arising independently, since if they did so then by definition the twin nested hierarchy appeared by chance. :p

What's interested about Michelson-Morely is that it's a 'failed' experiment that succeeded. Originally designed to differentiate between various competing models of aether, it was just as successful in showing there was no aether to observe. :)

Thanks for you input.
Glad to help, Skepling. :) [I want to shake your friend though. :)]
distraff
Posts: 1,005
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2016 6:41:24 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:

a) Life only comes from Life

That is an assumption on the part of your friend.

b) Information only comes from information

Probably better expressed as complexity only comes from complexity. Another assumption.

c) Messages, Codes, Languages only come from a conscious mind.

Another assumption.

d) Design only comes from a designer.

Another assumption.

Feel free to support or knock these arguments as you see fit.

Conversely, these arguments got me thinking there are obviously empirical observations that contradict common conceptions of god. For instance, every example of consciousness being undeniably linked to a physical brain, or at the very least matter, has implications for a god said to be immaterial and conscious. It might be interesting to see what other observations we can come up with (support or refute as desired).

So in summary, there are two preferred directions this OP can go:

1. Provide empirical observations related to god(s) as commonly defined or;
2. Defend or pounce these observations and/or conclusions derived from them.

Your friend just listed his beliefs and never actually proved them.

Probably the best attack is to try to demonstrate the theory of evolution. Start with explaining natural selection and mutations, show demonstrations of positive mutations, examples of speciation, evidence for human evolution, other fossil evidence, evidence from vestigial organs, evidence against the flood, evidence that the earth is old, etc.
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,136
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2016 6:49:29 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/13/2016 5:49:29 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/12/2016 9:16:48 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/12/2016 7:39:50 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/12/2016 6:36:21 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/12/2016 6:57:56 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Failure to observe is not observation of failure, so that's a conjecture, not an observation.
I'm not familiar with "observation of failure". Could you explain this?
Michelson and Morely produced an observed failure which discredited an already strained theory of aether, and subsequently opened the way for thoughts on relativity and wave-particle duality.
It seems like Observation of failure is just another way of saying falsifiability?
Sort-of, but a positive observation falsifies conjectures too. For example, the twin nested hierarchy of biology falsifies (to astronomically high confidence) the conjecture of species arising independently, since if they did so then by definition the twin nested hierarchy appeared by chance. :p

What's interested about Michelson-Morely is that it's a 'failed' experiment that succeeded. Originally designed to differentiate between various competing models of aether, it was just as successful in showing there was no aether to observe. :)

Thanks for you input.
Glad to help, Skepling. :) [I want to shake your friend though. :)]

Well, he's not my friend, per se - we've never met, but I understand the desire. ;-)
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,136
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2016 7:07:12 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/13/2016 6:41:24 AM, distraff wrote:
At 3/12/2016 5:11:11 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
I've been having an interesting conversation with a believer. Among other things, he contends that there are empirical observations that support the existence of God. I'm sure most everybody has seen variations of these arguments:

a) Life only comes from Life

That is an assumption on the part of your friend.

b) Information only comes from information

Probably better expressed as complexity only comes from complexity. Another assumption.

c) Messages, Codes, Languages only come from a conscious mind.

Another assumption.

d) Design only comes from a designer.

Another assumption.

Feel free to support or knock these arguments as you see fit.

Conversely, these arguments got me thinking there are obviously empirical observations that contradict common conceptions of god. For instance, every example of consciousness being undeniably linked to a physical brain, or at the very least matter, has implications for a god said to be immaterial and conscious. It might be interesting to see what other observations we can come up with (support or refute as desired).

So in summary, there are two preferred directions this OP can go:

1. Provide empirical observations related to god(s) as commonly defined or;
2. Defend or pounce these observations and/or conclusions derived from them.

Your friend just listed his beliefs and never actually proved them.

Probably the best attack is to try to demonstrate the theory of evolution. Start with explaining natural selection and mutations, show demonstrations of positive mutations, examples of speciation, evidence for human evolution, other fossil evidence, evidence from vestigial organs, evidence against the flood, evidence that the earth is old, etc.

I provided some examples to the contrary on the first, and pointed out the ambiguity of terms/inability to validate on the others. Thanks for your input.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten