What could be considered evidence of a God?

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Dev
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What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by Dev » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:29 pm

I suppose for me it's the conventional expectation that he speak to everyone at once in every language saying the same thing or something to that effect.

What would change your position?
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by Bik » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:56 pm

I guess when people start disappearing before my eyes during the rapture I might reassess things :D
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by Ygern » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:49 am

Dev wrote:I suppose for me it's the conventional expectation that he speak to everyone at once in every language saying the same thing or something to that effect.
Hang on a sec! Look at what you wrote: "that he speak to everyone"

He who? Are you expecting a man?
Everyone where? Earth presumably, but why would everyone be listening? And how would they be listening? Would it just be in their heads? Would it be out loud?
What tests have you put in place to make sure its not a world-wide communication system - e.g. like satellite television and that its not a Star Trek style Universal Translator?
What test have you put in place to make sure it is not an advanced alien species with better technology than humans?

There is no one single piece of evidence that proves anything. What you have to do is rigorously attempt to falsify the claim. If all attempts at falsifying fail, then maybe you have a genuine claim.
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:59 am

For any kind of evidence you could produce for an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being, there will always be a simpler explanation than an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being. Halucination, Human Technology, Advanced Alien Technology etc.

There is a kind of loaded question that some apologists like to use on atheists where they ask what evidence you would require to accept the existence of a god. When you can't answer, they accuse you of bias. The question sets you into a train of thought where you think about specific hypothetical pieces of evidence that you will then eliminate one by one due to occam's razor or settle for something quite poor, like god appearing to you.

I respond to the question by outlining the basic standard of evidence that I would accept, rather than trying to think of some specific piece of evidence that might convince me. My answer is, any case for the existence of god would have to be at least as extraordinary as the claim itself and for each piece of evidence outlined there would need to be no simpler explanation than the god concept you propose.

The fact that I can't think of a specific instantiation of a piece of evidence that meets this criteria is nothing more than an omission of my own lack of omniscience.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:59 am

I have been asked the same question many times and I point out three things I think are highly important…

First…

the onus is on the person making a proposition to provide their evidence and what they think is the evidence, not on the person being proposed to.

Scientists do not write papers containing only their conclusions followed by a short message saying “Let me know what will convince you of my conclusions”.

Lawyers do not walk into a court of law and say “I am convinced he is guilty, what do you think will convince you?”.

Second…

For a listener to presuppose what the evidence would be IS a bias and a dangerous one as it risks causing the listener to miss the real evidence when it comes along as it did not meet expectations.

Our history is peppered with discoveries and evidence so surprising that we would not have predicted the evidence before hand. Many discoveries likely would never have been made had we only looked at evidence we expected up front.

Third….

Aside from all this it is always worth pointing out evidence is not a “thing” it is a process. So If someone wants to know what evidence I will accept for god then I will accept anything that fits that process. It is a simple three step process…

1) Cite your conclusions
2) Cite the things you think support that conclusion
3) Explain exactly how and why 2 supports 1.

If you do all three of those steps then what you have presented is “evidence”. Alas most theists I have met think it is a TWO step process that goes:

1) Cite your conclusions
2) Randomly list some stuff while waving your hands, look smug for a bit, then run like mad before anyone asks questions.
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by Ygern » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:28 pm

nozzferrahhtoo wrote:It is a simple three step process…

1) Cite your conclusions
2) Cite the things you think support that conclusion
3) Explain exactly how and why 2 supports 1.
There has to be a fourth step in there: you have to try & falsify your evidence. Otherwise you could be honestly but mistakenly attributing something as evidence when in fact it has other explanations.

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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by funkyderek » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:35 pm

The thing is, even God can't be sure he exists. That is, a hypothetical god who is omni-everything could never be completely sure that he was. That may seem paradoxical but it's quite simple to demonstrate. God, being omni-everything could create a creature who believed that it was omni-everything and passed every test for omni-ness. Knowing that he could do this, God could never be sure that he himself wasn't such a creature, apart from the appearance of the real god, who himself could be such a creature, and so on.
If even God can't be certain he exists, how can we be?
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by aZerogodist » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:24 am

I suppose de almighty Supreme Being could start by:
1. Creating peace among thy many followers. Stop them “Killing in the name of ...( please fill in the name of your god here )
2. Cure Aids/cancer and the many illnesses, stop giving miscarriages or giving newborn children life threatening illness.
3. Fix the planet so enough food energy water everywhere on each continent.
4. Shut all those dictatorial prophets & rulers of the faith up, who say they speak for him/her/it. Instead plucking people up to have monthly assessments and a two-way chat.
5. Make people live for 900 years or even 300 years like they supposable did back in the old-bible era.
6. As our guardian saying sorry, for being absent, (absent to the absolute point of non-existence!).

After failing for 2000+ years of bringing peace on Earth and joy to everyone, it should be clear that the whole god-thing is a giant white-elephant.
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by clemviking » Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:45 pm

It seems to me that the believers keep sliding the definition of 'GOD' into whatever realm of science is least understood. 'The power that underlies the natural laws of the Universe' or 'that which gave rise to the big bang itself' for example. More and more the definition or explanation of 'GOD' does not allow for evidence. For those disposed to need a meaning for it all there will always be somewhere to escape to.
But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me - Richard Feynman.
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Re: What could be considered evidence of a God?

Post by Ygern » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:33 pm

For a listener to presuppose what the evidence would be IS a bias and a dangerous one as it risks causing the listener to miss the real evidence when it comes along as it did not meet expectations.
It is risky, but not necessarily a misstep. Many theories start off by making predictions. There is nothing wrong about this in and of itself. However these predictions have to be tested to be considered valid, and careful attempts must be made to ensure that the results / evidence cannot be explained by other means.
It seems to me that the believers keep sliding the definition of 'GOD' into whatever realm of science is least understood.
That is the well-known "God of the Gaps" argument. It's a desperately weak attempt at an argument, but it is used by a great many theologians who ought to know better.

I think the problem is that there cannot be any one-off piece of evidence that can prove something to be supernatural; let alone that the cause of that evidence is a god.
Part of the problem is that it pre-supposes what God is. If history has taught us anything, it is that even the most devout members of a single religion cannot agree what God is. It goes without saying that the different sects & religions definitely don't agree with each other on what gods/ God/ etc is.
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