Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

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Sir Bobby
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Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by Sir Bobby » Sun May 24, 2015 3:32 am

Does science disprove God?

First of all this isn't a question as to whether there is a God or not, which could depend on a far more broad determination. It is a question of whether science proves the existence of God is highly unlikely and whether religion and science can work in tandem.

Also, to clarify, by God I mean an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity that was also the creator of the universe, which is the underlying description of God amongst Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Hinduism. All these religions also believe in prophets or demi-Gods which spread the word of God (i.e. Christianity has Jesus, Islam has Muhammad, Judaism has Moses, Sikhism has 11, whilst Hinduism has a whole host).

Until recently I thought that science disproved God. Although I didn't think it necessarily disproved a creator of the universe, I certainly thought it disproved a religious God and that religion was a societal construct entirely. I thought the only way to believe in a God of this type was to have been raised to believe in it. Not to have come to the conclusion through reason. However, since we are in a fairly secular society and I personally was brought up surrounded by non-believers (or loose believers) I wondered if I didn't believe in a God for the exact same reasons, rather than, as a truly rational person would determine their beliefs, the evidence against it.

Since I thought about it, although I'm still undecided, I've definitely swayed towards thinking that science doesn't disprove God, which has changed my outlook from thinking that religious people go against scientific reason for their beliefs to thinking that I've relied on heuristics in determining mine.

Does science disprove a God of this type or does it work with, or even in favour, of one?

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by skalpel » Sun May 24, 2015 1:48 pm

With regards to your first paragraph, it's worth separating "religion" and "belief in god". I don't see why a deist can't allow his belief in some form of creator to inspire his interest in exploring scientific truths, but religion implies a fixed dogma: a set of predetermined unalterable truths which would distract and prevent a scientist from doing his job properly.

As for whether science has disproved the existence of an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator god; yes and no. (Though it's also worth noting that the Epicurean Paradox pretty much destroys the possibility of simultaneous omnipotence and omnibenevolence).

Yes, on a fundamental level, owing to the way in which science works. It demands that we get proof of something before we take it on board as truth. It pulls the rug out from under belief in god because it demands that we start completely ignorant to everything and build our knowledge based on what can be proven, so that we have an increasing collection of established demonstrable truths with which to work. Therefore if something isn't proven, it doesn't work to believe in it until it is proven. It's a good system which demonstrably works better for humanity than unalterable dogma.

No, because it hasn't literally disproved it and it probably never will because supernatural beliefs always avoid natural explanation. But because science works with natural explanation, it has proven a lot of things which make it unlikely that a god exists.

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by PTAO? » Sun May 24, 2015 2:45 pm

skalpel wrote:With regards to your first paragraph, it's worth separating "religion" and "belief in god". I don't see why a deist can't allow his belief in some form of creator to inspire his interest in exploring scientific truths, but religion implies a fixed dogma: a set of predetermined unalterable truths which would distract and prevent a scientist from doing his job properly.

As for whether science has disproved the existence of an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator god; yes and no. (Though it's also worth noting that the Epicurean Paradox pretty much destroys the possibility of simultaneous omnipotence and omnibenevolence).

Yes, on a fundamental level, owing to the way in which science works. It demands that we get proof of something before we take it on board as truth. It pulls the rug out from under belief in god because it demands that we start completely ignorant to everything and build our knowledge based on what can be proven, so that we have an increasing collection of established demonstrable truths with which to work. Therefore if something isn't proven, it doesn't work to believe in it until it is proven. It's a good system which demonstrably works better for humanity than unalterable dogma.

No, because it hasn't literally disproved it and it probably never will because supernatural beliefs always avoid natural explanation. But because science works with natural explanation, it has proven a lot of things which make it unlikely that a god exists.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This works both ways, a hypothesis has to be disproven before we can state it is untrue. God will never be proven or disproven because by its inherent nature, it is unprovable.

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by skalpel » Sun May 24, 2015 2:49 pm

Which is what my whole post (long-windedly) says.

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by Sir Bobby » Sun May 24, 2015 5:45 pm

skalpel wrote:With regards to your first paragraph, it's worth separating "religion" and "belief in god". I don't see why a deist can't allow his belief in some form of creator to inspire his interest in exploring scientific truths, but religion implies a fixed dogma: a set of predetermined unalterable truths which would distract and prevent a scientist from doing his job properly.

As for whether science has disproved the existence of an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator god; yes and no. (Though it's also worth noting that the Epicurean Paradox pretty much destroys the possibility of simultaneous omnipotence and omnibenevolence).

Yes, on a fundamental level, owing to the way in which science works. It demands that we get proof of something before we take it on board as truth. It pulls the rug out from under belief in god because it demands that we start completely ignorant to everything and build our knowledge based on what can be proven, so that we have an increasing collection of established demonstrable truths with which to work. Therefore if something isn't proven, it doesn't work to believe in it until it is proven. It's a good system which demonstrably works better for humanity than unalterable dogma.

No, because it hasn't literally disproved it and it probably never will because supernatural beliefs always avoid natural explanation. But because science works with natural explanation, it has proven a lot of things which make it unlikely that a god exists.
Your first two paragraphs touch on issues I deleted from the article when I was typing it! When I was referring to a belief in God, I was specifically referring to a belief in a God of religion (i.e. One that is omnipotent and even intervenes in the world from time to time) as I think it's fairly widely regarded that science hasn't disproved a Creator of the universe quite yet. What dogma are you referring to specifically? Also I'd say that the empirical evidence suggests most religions don't work against science, as many of the greatest scientists have been people of religion.

The Epicurean Paradox (although I've never heard of it til now I'd come to the same conclusion through thinking) is a tricky one for science. Since science cannot measure normative statements and hypotheses and only works in positive hypotheses, science cannot really determine morality and benevolence as they are subjective. We can use science to say shooting someone inflicts pain and we can quantify it and say 99.9% of humans believe shooting someone innocent is wrong but this doesn't determine if shooting someone is wrong. Science limits itself in this regard so it's more or less impossible to ever scientifically determine morality, unless we redefine science itself.

I have a couple of question simply out of interest: 1. In you opinion, given our scientific knowledge of quantum mechanics, if something were to break one or more of the laws of quantum mechanics could this be a sign of divine intervention or would it reveal that our knowledge of quantum mechanics wasn't accurate enough? 2. I take it you believe that religion is a societal construct like I do, but does that make God a societal construct also?

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by skalpel » Sun May 24, 2015 7:09 pm

Science limits itself in this regard so it's more or less impossible to ever scientifically determine morality, unless we redefine science itself.
Yeah, morality isn't scientifically measurable. But as one of the major fundamental contradictions of religion (it's a position that can't seriously be held, and has resulted in theists having to resign themselves to a sort of pseudo-buddhist "s*** happens, I guess" sort of thinking) I thought it worth mentioning from the starting point, that part of the claim was troublesome to begin with.

What dogma are you referring to specifically?
No specifics. I meant that religious claims to truth tend to be fixed, and it doesn't take challenges to its assertions with much grace. Whereas science is open to change.

Also I'd say that the empirical evidence suggests most religions don't work against science, as many of the greatest scientists have been people of religion.
Yeah, true. But this is what I'm getting at: in certain circumstances, eventually one would have to give way to the other. And there hasn't been an instance of religious revelation forcing science to irreparably recede. Whereas we have centuries of religious shrinking before scientific advance. A scientist can be religious if they please, but if they come up against something that directly refutes their religious belief (take, famously and historically, evolution by natural selection), they're going to end up giving some of it away or else compromising their integrity as a scientist.

In your opinion, given our scientific knowledge of quantum mechanics, if something were to break one or more of the laws of quantum mechanics could this be a sign of divine intervention or would it reveal that our knowledge of quantum mechanics wasn't accurate enough?
The latter. Science is a self-correcting process and is always prepared to leap on the chance to understand surprises in order to explain them. Even if it was some hugely bizarre one-off incident, ostensibly unexplainable and impossible, it would still take centuries and centuries of attempting to understand it before anybody took the idea of divine intervention with even a shred of sincerity. Anomalies are interesting.

I take it you believe that religion is a societal construct like I do, but does that make God a societal construct also?
Yeah. Even if there is a creator god, we can't presume to know who or what that is or how it goes about its business. And so far our biggest attempts to make these claims look a little bit silly today, typically placing mankind in a position of unique importance to this god, despite our hilariously brief existence on blotches of a thin band round a tiny bit of rock in a massive universe.

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by PTAO? » Sun May 24, 2015 7:52 pm

skalpel wrote:Which is what my whole post (long-windedly) says.
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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by skalpel » Sun May 24, 2015 8:10 pm

I like to read and write <urgh> it means I blab.

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by Donkey Toon » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:22 pm

I don't think the scientific community should feel the slightest obligation to prove or disprove religion or the existence of god.

Religion itself cannot provide any scientific evidence in support of its own claims. As no evidence for religion has been brought forward that would in any way be treated as scientific it is entirely reasonable for the scientific community to conclude that the existence of god is as close to zero in terms of probability as is the existence of fairies or any other mythical being. Science doesn't waste time disproving fairies or unicorns so why should it bother with god?

As Hitchen's razor states "What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."

Let the god botherers prove their case if they can. Science has better things to do with its time.

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Re: Survival of the Fittest: Science VS God

Post by Bodacious Benny » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:51 am

Donkey Toon wrote:I don't think the scientific community should feel the slightest obligation to prove or disprove religion or the existence of god.

Religion itself cannot provide any scientific evidence in support of its own claims. As no evidence for religion has been brought forward that would in any way be treated as scientific it is entirely reasonable for the scientific community to conclude that the existence of god is as close to zero in terms of probability as is the existence of fairies or any other mythical being. Science doesn't waste time disproving fairies or unicorns so why should it bother with god?

As Hitchen's razor states "What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."

Let the god botherers prove their case if they can. Science has better things to do with its time.
I'd go along with this (or similar).
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