Why can’t we prove there isn’t a god?

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David Killens's picture
@Kafei

@Kafei

"None of what I said contains any "word salad." I've come to see this term when used in discussions like these as simply your own confusion, something went over your head, and so you assumed it "word salad." What did you think was "word salad"? Perhaps I can help you understand."

Of course you are doing the word salad thing. I am formally trained in aircraft power units, automotive internal combustion engines, and a licensed electrician. When I discuss technical issues with customers and/or laypersons, I do not use technical terms, it is very easy to substitute one very rare technical label for something much simpler.

The less manure one pitchforks onto a pile the more productive and understandable the discussion. IMO when one begins to throw in rarely used terms, they are hiding behind a wall of word salad.

Jo's picture
@ Cognostic

@ Cognostic

There is a big difference between believing in God and believing in gods. It is not just one more. It is a false analogy.

Claiming there is a God is non-falsifiable, but so is claiming there is not. Are you saying that the claim that God does not exist is falsifiable?

Evidence of absence only applies if your test can actually test for God. Claiming no water contains any lead because all tests for the presence of lead have failed, does not prove there is no lead in any water. It may be that your test is invalid and so you get a false negative. Lining up lots of claims of lead in the water, claiming those claims are invalid, does not prove there is no lead in the water. At best it proves the claims were wrong.

Using your line of reasoning I could say that life did not originally occur through natural processes on the earth. Thousands of brilliant scientists have been trying to figure out how life occurred through natural processes for decades. All of them have failed. Richard Dawkins recently stated that no one knows how life started. Does that prove that it did not occur through natural processes? There is lots of evidence of absence. Using your line of reasoning I could say that it did not occur through natural processes. All attempts to show that life originally occurred through natural processes have failed. Therefore, life did not occur through natural processes, is a valid conclusion, using our line of reasoning.

If you take distilled water, test it to show no lead, add lead, test it again, and it shows lead. You have a valid test for lead in water.
You have not demonstrated that your test for God is valid. Proving some claims about God are false, does not prove God does not exist. At best it only proves those claims are wrong. Or it could be that your test does not work.

Your claims are not falsifiable.
You have not shown how your absence of evidence is in fact evidence of absence.
You have not given any positive test that can be performed for the non existence of God.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - Proving some claims

Jo - Proving some claims about God are false, does not prove God does not exist.

Actually it does. If I tell you I have a dog has 7 heads, and you have a proof that no dog has more than 3 heads; that proof is also a proof that the dog I described does not exist.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

I don't think your dog analogy is the same as the God claims. How does some false claims about God provide proof that God does not exist?

But lets directly address the issue. The below claims are just examples of claims people make. They can be phrased in many different ways, but essentially the same claim. Sophisticated people will phrase them in a way so as to avoid making absolute claims, but are essentially the same claim.

I believe God exists.
I believe God does not exists.
Science can be used to determine that God exists.
Science can be used to determine that God does not exists.
Science settles all questions about reality.
Truth is reducible to science
Falsifiability equals truth.
Empiricism can answer all questions.

Are all of the above claims unfalsifiable?
Are all the above claims faith claims?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - How does some false

Jo - How does some false claims about God provide proof that God does not exist?

You are overthinking it; it isn't that complicated:

I tell you the god Azathoth has property A. You have a proof that nothing has property A. Your proof is a proof that Azathoth (at least as described by me), does not exist.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

Do you have proof that nothing has the properties ascribes to, or indicative of God?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - Do you have proof that

Jo - Do you have proof that nothing has the properties ascribes to, or indicative of God?

Evidence? Sure.
A proof? No way.

But remember, my comment was a reply to your statement: "proving some claims about God are false, does not prove God does not exist".

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

I think we may be talking past each other, or maybe I am missing our point.

Recently you said:
"I tell you the god Azathoth has property A. You have a proof that nothing has property A. Your proof is a proof that Azathoth (at least as described by me), does not exist."

Did you mean evidence instead of proof?

What proof or evidence do you have for a property of God, like you said for Azathoth?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - Did you mean evidence

Jo - Did you mean evidence instead of proof?

No. Reread it:

Jo - Proving some claims about God are false, does not prove God does not exist.

Nyarlathotep - ...the god Azathoth has property A. You have a proof that nothing has property A. Your proof is a proof that Azathoth (at least as described by me), does not exist.

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Jo - What proof or evidence do you have for a property of God, like you said for Azathoth?

I could discuss this if you want; but it is unrelated to my objection to your statement.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

Yes, I would like to discuss what proof or evidence do you have for a property of God, like you said for Azathoth.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - ...I would like to

Jo - ...I would like to discuss what proof or evidence do you have for a property of God...

Well if you postulate that god exists, is all knowing, and is all powerful; then it would seem that objects in the real world shouldn't exhibit Bose-Einstein statistics, but empirically they do exhibit this property.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

I had not heard of the Bose-Einstein statistics. I read up on it a little and could not find how it shows that nothing can have the property of God. What does electromagnetic field phenomena have to do with the properties of God?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Consider two pennies, made on

@Jo
Consider two pennies, made on the same day, at the same factory. Sure I'm not capable of telling them apart, but in principle they can be distinguished. Because they can be distinguished in principle, empirically the two pennies will obey Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics.

Consider two photons, with the same state. Because they are symmetric and can't be distinguished, even in principle; empirically the two photons will obey Bose-Einstein statistics.

But this is a problem. Remember the postulates were:

  1. god exists
  2. god is all knowing
  3. god is all powerful

If god exists and is all knowing, then god knows which photon is which. If god is all powerful and knows which is which, then god can tell you which one is which. If you known which one is which, they can't exhibit Bose-Einstein statistics; and empirically they do exhibit that. That is a contradiction. Therefore (at least) one of those postulates is false.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

I still may not understand the science. The highest level of formal education I had in physics, was in the 12th grade. And that was a few decades ago.

Your postulates sounds a lot like - can God make a stone so big he cannot move it. Am I understanding it correctly?

Nyarlathotep's picture
@Jo

@Jo
OK I'll simplify it:

There are things that can not be known; which contradicts the postulate that god knows everything.

/e: Or rephrased: If god knows everything (and has the power to communicate with you); then at least in principle, you could know any single bit of information. The fact that some objects exhibit Bose-Einstein statistics tells us that something is very wrong with the idea that god could tell you this one bit of information.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

I'll just have to take your word for it, because I do not know enough about the statistics you reference.

Here is my responses:
It looks to me like a logical fallacy. Similar to, can God create a square circle, or a rock so big he cannot move it.
If the answer cannot be known, then is it logical to ask why God does not know the answer?
Is it impossible to know even if you were 100 times smarter than Einstein?
How do you know God doesn't know?
Maybe you are misunderstanding God's omniscience?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - How do you know God

Jo - How do you know God doesn't know?

I said one (or more) of the postulates is wrong. God can't tell them apart is only one way to resolve the contradiction. The second possibility is god can't tell you which is which for some reason. The final possibility is that god doesn't exist.
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Jo - Is it impossible to know even if you were 100 times smarter than Einstein?

Yes, because that information does not exist. The fact that it does not exist literally changes the rules of statistics in a way that is easily detectable. In fact, the invention of the laser stems from this property being exploited.
/e Oh, and the "periodic" part of the periodic table comes from a closely related idea.
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Jo - Maybe you are misunderstanding God's omniscience?

I was very careful to NOT make that a postulate. The associated postulate was that god is all knowing (that god knows everything).

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

God is not logically inconsistent.
If it is not possible to tell them apart, why would you think God could?
If God said the answer was 3 (excuse my ignorance, I have no idea if 3 is even relevant), could you know if that was correct?
If the information does not exist, why would you expect anyone, including God, to know the information?

It seems to me like you have created something that is logically incoherence. An untenable argument. If God knows the answer, that shows he does not exist, because it is not possible to know the answer. If God does not know the answer, than he is not God, because he should know everything.

I think a more accurate definition of Gods omniscience would be that his knowledge has no limits. Not that he knows everything. That is more in line with how the Bible describes God, and more logically consistent.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - It seems to me like you

Jo - It seems to me like you have created something that is logically incoherence.

Yes, that is exactly right; remember that was the goal all along. You asked me what proof or evidence do you have for a property of God, like you said for Azathoth?. So that is what I did; I specifically crafted a set of postulated properties (that I knew would be inconsistent), then showed they are inconsistent. That is what you asked me to do!

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

How does the logically inconsistent postulates you crafted address the properties of God?
I don't see that you showed any property of God being inconsistent.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - I don't see that you

Jo - I don't see that you showed any property of God being inconsistent.

V.S.

Jo - It seems to me like you have created something that is logically incoherence.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

Your postulates are flawed.

1. You are saying that God cannot know the answer to the question, when maybe only humans cannot know the answer.

2. You are saying that God's omnipotence means he can do something that is not possible to be done.

3. You are not considering one of God's other attributes. That he is logical.
John 1:1 the "word" has the attributes of divinity and logic. It could be said "In the beginning was divine logic".

4. You are claiming that your construction of a paradox is evidence of something. It only indicates that you constructed a paradox.
It is no more evidence that God is not omnipotent or omniscient any more than if I asked you if you are still beating your wife. My nonsense question does not indicate that you are married, that you now, or have ever beaten your wife. They are both just nonsense questions.

Tin-Man's picture
@Jo Re: "3. You are not

@Jo Re: "3. You are not considering one of God's other attributes. That he is logical."

Oh, wow! Uh, if I may make a suggestion, I believe you and Ferguson should get together and compare notes. YOU are saying god is logical. Dear ol' Fergie, on the other hand, stringently INSISTS that religion and god can be understood ONLY by the irrational and the illogical. Meaning (if my logical and rational mind is working properly) that god and religion must therefore be illogical and irrational. Hmmm.... Obviously, you two must have graduated from different schools of apologetics. It's the only logical/rational conclusion.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - Your postulates are

Jo - Your postulates are flawed.

Of course! I specifically choose them to be flawed; that was the whole point of the exercise! Perhaps you should ask yourself why you (an otherwise rational person) seem incapable of following even the simplest of logical arguments when it comes to deities/religion.
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Additionally, I can't figure out why you made a whole post to describe how my postulates are flawed; considering I already told you the postulates are wrong, twice:

Nyarlathotep - Therefore (at least) one of those postulates is false.

Nyarlathotep - I said one (or more) of the postulates is wrong.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

If one or more of your postulates are wrong, than your argument is invalid.

Your argument was that God is not omniscient. Your false postulates has made your argument invalid.

How can the invalid argument you made indicate that God is not omniscient?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Jo - If one or more of your

Jo - If one or more of your postulates are wrong, than your argument is invalid.

The validity of an argument does not depend on its premises/postulates being true.
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Jo - Your argument was that God is not omniscient.

That was not my argument.
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Again; one of us seems to be suffering from a serious cognitive defect.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

Would you please state what your argument is, for this one who is suffering from a serious cognitive defect?

Nyarlathotep's picture
@Jo

@Jo
A recap:

Nyarlathotep - I tell you the god Azathoth has property A. You have a proof that nothing has property A. Your proof is a proof that Azathoth (at least as described by me), does not exist.

Jo - Yes, I would like to discuss what proof or evidence do you have for a property of God, like you said for Azathoth.

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I then gave you a list of postulates:

  1. god exists
  2. god is all knowing
  3. god is all powerful
  4. certain objects in the world are identical [this one was not listed explicitly, but was addressed at length; and is an empirical fact]

Then I provided a simple argument showing those postulates lead to a contradiction, which means one (or more) of those postulates is false. It is up to the reader to deiced which postulate(s) to reject.

Jo's picture
@ Nyarlathotep

@ Nyarlathotep

Me thinks these one word answers are a trap, but here it goes. I choose D to reject.

Please explain why D has anything to do with A, B, and C?

Wouldn't an example that doesn't require such a high a level of knowledge in math or physics would be better?

Nyarlathotep's picture
@Jo

@Jo
replied at end of thread to reset nesting.

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