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God Is a Scientific Hypothesis

 

 

 

The discussion that God Is a Scientific Hypothesis is an offshoot from another thread, where is was off topic.

 

This thread in contrast is specifically designed to get to the bottom of the question whether indeed God Is a Scientific Hypothesis. And if so [i will argue that it is] how can it be tested?

 

 

I place this thread here in the Philosophy of Science section of Hypography, as opposed to the Theology or the Astronomy and Cosmology sections, since we are concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science, relative to a hypothesis: the creator of the universe, or something that is operational within it. And since the origin of the universe and what transpires in it are scientific questions, so is the existence or non-existence of its supposed creator, or arbiter. This is not cosmology per say, since we are not claiming god to be a theory, but rather, a hypothesis. Nor is this a theological discussion, since we are not talking about the study of religious faith, practice, and experience, or of spirituality.

 

 

 

Instead of posting all of what was written on this topic in the other thread, I will simply provide the relevant hyperlinks followed by one paragraph:

 

In this link, it can be found what R. Dawkins (The God Delusion) writes about the god hypothesis: "Contrary to Huxley, I shall suggest that the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other. Even if hard to test in practice, it belongs in the same TAP or temporary agnosticism box as the controversies over the Permian and Cretaceous extinctions. God's existence or non-existence is a scientific fact about the universe, discoverable in principle if not in practice. If he existed and chose to reveal it, God himself could clinch the argument, noisily and unequivocally, in his favour. And even if God's existence is never proved or disproved with certainty one way or the other, available evidence and reasoning may yield an estimate of probability far from 50 per cent."

 

 

Here, Boerseun provides a scientific proof that claims to falsify god hypothesis. Note: this proof still needs to be examined to test its validity: "Being Omnipotent, being all-powerful, implies having access to infinite energy. Having infinite energy implies being of infinite mass, seeing as energy and mass is one and the same thing. According to Einstein's famous equation, E=mc², the only way for E on the left to be infinite is for m on the right to be infinite - seeing as c² stays constant. "

 

 

In this post, Victor J. Stenger is quoted from his book: God: The Failed Hypothesis — How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist:

 

  1. Hypothesize a God who plays an important role in the universe.

     
     
  2. Assume that God has specific attributes that should provide objective evidence for his existence.

     
     
  3. Look for such evidence with an open mind.

     
     
  4. If such evidence is found, conclude that God may exist.

     
     
  5. If such objective evidence is not found, conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that a God with these properties does not exist.

 

 

 

What do you think?

 

Is god a hypothesis like any other?

 

Can god be defined in such a way as to make predictions that can be tests empirically?

 

And if so, once evidence is found (or if evidence is produced that disfavors the hypothesis, or not found at all) can we determine scientifically if god exists or not?

 

 

 

 

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On his website, the author of the book The Probability of God, Stephen D. Unwin, writes about what he considers to be evidence for and against God's existence:

 

There are many topics that are by now standard issues in the debate between theists and atheists … the seeming purpose to the universe through the apparent fine-tuning of its natural laws to the emergence of structure and life, the perennial problem of the existence of evil, the question of the source of moral values, etcetera.

 

Many authors have considered these matters, although their approach is generally one of eliminating the uncertainties to arrive at their pre-established position.

 

I took quite the opposite approach … I sought to embrace the uncertainties and to see what the implications might be for the Probability of God, and for the way we believe in God's existence.

 

 

Stephen D. Unwin received his doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester for his research in the field of quantum gravity.

 

What follows is from the link above (bold added):

In his book, Unwin argues that a mathematical equation developed by Thomas Bayes can be used to calculate the probability that God exists. He does not make the claim that application of this method produces an absolute probability on which everyone would agree, but that it provides a systematic way of ordering one's ideas, weights of belief, and uncertainties in order to determine their implications regarding the probability that God exists.

Unwin employs Bayesian probabilities, a statistical method devised by Reverend Thomas Bayes. He begins with a 50 percent probability that God exists (arguing that 50–50 represents "maximum ignorance"), then applies a modified Bayesian theorem:

 

[see the equation in the link]

 

In this model, the probability of God's existence after the evidence is considered is a function of the probability before times D ("Divine Indicator Scale"): 10 indicates the evidence is 10 times as likely to be produced if God exists, 2 is two times as likely if God exists, 1 is neutral, 0.5 is moderately more likely if God does not exist, and 0.1 is much more likely if God does not exist. Unwin offers the following figures for six lines of evidence: recognition of goodness (D = 10), existence of moral evil (D = 0.5), existence of natural evil (D = 0.1), intranatural miracles (prayers) (D = 2), extranatural miracles (resurrection) (D = 1), and religious experiences (D = 2).

 

Plugging these figures into the above formula (in sequence, where the Pafter-figure for the first computation is used for the Pbefore-figure in the second computation, and so on for all six Ds), Unwin concludes: "The probability that God exists is 67%." But then he notes that "this number has a subjective element since it reflects my assessment of the evidence." Unwin's comment refers to his estimates of the various "D" values used to obtain his estimate, whose values would be disputed by many.

 

As was Unwin's stated intent, others have applied his formula to produce different probabilities, such as the skeptic Michael Shermer in Scientific American (2%). In his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins includes an extensive critique of Unwin's methods.

 

 

With such wide ranging results from one person to the next (67%-2%), it seems as if Unwin has placed himself in a no win situation.

 

 

 

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Alright, let's look at the evidence in favor, and the evidence against, the existence of god(s), as claimed by two prominent figures in the fields of theology and science: William Lane Craig and Victor J. Stenger, respectively.

 

I will summarize the mains points for each side. What follows is from a debate. The full debate can be seen on Youtube: Is There a God William Lane Craig vs Victor Stenger 1/11 through 11/11.

 

 

First, William Lane Craig's evidence in favor of god:

 

 

1. Argument from existence: God is the best explanation of why something exists rather than nothing, i.e., why is there anything rather than nothing.

 

(a) Anything that exists has an
explanation
of its existence: either its
own nature
or an
external cause
.

 

(:) The universe exists.

 

© If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is an
external, transcendent, personal cause
.

 

(d) Therefore, the explanation of the universe is an external, transcendent, personal cause.

 

 

2. The origin of the universe from nothing (the big bang). The coming into being of all physical things from literally nothing.

 

(a) There must be a transcendent cause that created the universe.

 

(:( The universe must have a cause.

 

© That cause must be god (a personal agent who chose to do so).

 

 

3. Argument from fine-tuning: The fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life points to a creator of the cosmos. The physical constants themselves. Arbitrary quantities: values of the constants; e.g., atomic weak force, the gravitational constant, are too narrow to be arbitrary. It cannot be due to chance. The fine-tining, thus, implies the existence of a designer of the cosmos.

 

(a) The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either
physical necessity, chance, or design
.

 

(B) The fine-tuning is not due to either physical necessity of chance.

 

© Therefore, it is due to design.

 

 

4. Argument from moral values: Objective moral values are valid and binding, independent of whether people believe them of not. These values are plausibly grounded in god.

 

(a) If god does not exist then objective moral values do not exist.

 

(B) Objective values do exist.

 

© Therefor god exists.

 

 

5. Argument from Jesus' resurrection: Historical facts concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The resurrection was a miracle, therefore proof of god.

 

(a) There are three established facts about Jesus: The discovery of his empty tomb. His post-mortem appearances. The origin of his disciples' belief in his resurrection.

 

(B) The hypothesis "god raised Jesus from the dead" is the best explanation of these facts.

 

© The hypothesis "god raised Jesus from the dead" entails that god exists.

 

(d) Therefore god exists.

 

 

6. You can experience god personally. You can know god exists simply by immediately experiencing him.

 

 

 

Next: Dr. Stenger presents his opening case. I will take a break for the videos and summarize his evidence in my next post.

 

 

 

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First, William Lane Craig's evidence in favor of god:

 

1. Argument from existence: God is the best explanation of why something exists rather than nothing, i.e., why is there anything rather than nothing.

 

(a) Anything that exists has an
explanation
of its existence: either its
own nature
or an
external cause
.

(:) The universe exists.

© If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is an
external, transcendent, personal cause
.

(d) Therefore, the explanation of the universe is an external, transcendent, personal cause.

No. This is an obvious case of setting up a syllogism with the answer you want before you put the hypothesis to the test. In fact, we do NOT know that "anything that exists has an explanation...". And even if it did, the explanation could comprise something other than the two carefully chosen candidates.

2. The origin of the universe from nothing (the big bang). The coming into being of all physical things from literally nothing.

 

(a) There must be a transcendent cause that created the universe.

(:( The universe must have a cause.

© That cause must be god (a personal agent who chose to do so).

Two faults here. The origin of the universe as coming from "nothing" is a straw man arguement. Modern science does not assume this or attempt to prove this. And the first statement of the syllogism assumes the (bogus) conclusion of the first syllogism.

3. Argument from fine-tuning: The fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life points to a creator of the cosmos. The physical constants themselves. Arbitrary quantities: values of the constants; e.g., atomic weak force, the gravitational constant, are too narrow to be arbitrary. It cannot be due to chance. The fine-tining, thus, implies the existence of a designer of the cosmos.

We do not know that the physical constants of the universe are random or arbitrary. It may be that they are required to have those values for ANY universe. We cannot say. And even if they could be different, we cannot say that those values would make ANY life impossible, just the only kind of life we know of.

(a) The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either
physical necessity, chance, or design
.

(B) The fine-tuning is not due to either physical necessity of chance.

© Therefore, it is due to design.

Bogus in, bogus out. (BIBO)

4. Argument from moral values: Objective moral values are valid and binding, independent of whether people believe them of not. These values are plausibly grounded in god.

 

(a) If god does not exist then objective moral values do not exist.

(B) Objective values do exist.

© Therefor god exists.

Other possible sources of moral values are deliberately left out. The most obvious source is the natural evolution of moral values as "cultural extensions" of our DNA over the last half-million years. "Good" moral values tend to increase the average lifespan of their cohort; "bad" moral values tend to shorten average lifespan, and therefore increase the possibility of their cohort going extinct, dying out, or being over-run by a cohort with "good" moral values.

5. Argument from Jesus' resurrection: Historical facts concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The resurrection was a miracle, therefore proof of god.

BIBO. There are NO historical facts concering the life, etc, of Jesus of Nazareth. Despite the incredible literacy of that age, and the huge amounts of material being written about every character of note, there are only two tiny passages mentioning Jesus, and both show all the classical signs of forgery.

6. You can experience god personally. You can know god exists simply by immediately experiencing him.

This is highly suspect, as so many folks who said that they experienced god, later admitted it was just over-whelming hysteria and joy driven by peer pressure. Experiencing, as used here, seems to have no valid objective definition, as it does not include repeatable or definitive experiencing. All manner of hallucinations can be experienced, even without drugs or alcohol. Dreams can be experienced. Nobody argues that this "Proves" that the contents of dreams actually happened.

 

I would say, YES, god can be a scientific hypothesis. But the arguments above are not the way to do it. These are not scientific or rationally constructed arguments. They are syllogisms (silly-gisms) crafted to produce just the desired outcome. Most if not all make assumptions that are questionable or bogus. You cannot base a scientific arguement on a bogus assumption.

 

What you CAN do is base scientific arguments on verifiable evidence. For example:

 

SA-1: If there is a God, and he does indeed bless his believers and punish his detractors (or at least leave them to the mercy of random events) then we should be able to detect statistically significant differences in the kinds of events that befall his believers.

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I would not call this scientific but rather logical, or philosophical, exploration of possibility of God. Of course, any conclusion largely depends on definition or properties of God. So first God needs to be defined.

 

Scientific exploration would have to be experiential, or backed up by experimental evidence. This is of course a possible avenue. For example, one could look at what the likely beginning of this universe is scientifically, and then look at whether such beginning could happen spontaneously or forced consistent with evidence.

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No, god is not a scientific hypothesis. Science implies argument from observation. The argument of god is called an "argument from ignorance". Something along the lines of "we have no idea how this event happened, therefore it must have been performed by some all powerful being".

 

Which IMO is exactly the same as the UFO-alien argument, "I have no idea what that is in the sky, therefore it must be an alien from across the galaxy in a space ship".

 

Humans are not comfortable with ignorance, scientists learn to live with it.

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While you all bring up good points Pyrotex, Lawcat and Jay-qu, let me post the evidence that Stenger presents as a rebuttal to William Lane Craig's, that disfavors the existence of god (before I begin arguing that god is a scientific hypothesis).

 

 

Continued from post #3.

 

 

The following arguments by Stenger aim at demonstrating that a particular subset of god (namely the Christian god) does not exist—by showing god as inherently meaningless, contradictory, and at odds with known scientific or historical evidence—and thus, that there is insufficient reason to believe in this god.

 

 

[Remark: these are my notes written down as I watched the video, so the presentation might be a little messy. Sorry about that.]

 

 

Dr. Victor J. Stenger presents evidence against the god hypothesis:

 

 

"Objective observation, as well as reason and logic lead to the conclusion that a god with the traditional attributes of the Christian god does not exist beyond a shadow of a doubt."

 

 

1. The attributes of the Christian god are logically contradictory (like a square circle).

 

 

2. The attributes of the Christian god are self-inconsistent and logically incompatible with what we know about the world.

 

 

3. Supernatural explanations for events in the universe are unnecessary. Natural explanations are simpler, based on objective observations, and are fully consistent with all we know about the world. Naturalism is a better explanation than supernaturalism.

 

 

4. The attributes of the Christian god imply actions that should be objectively observable, but they are not. God has not been detected.

 

 

[see Youtube Is There a God William Lane Craig vs Victor Stenger 4/11 for details on the following arguments]:

 

 

 

Incompatible attributes.

 

A. Perfect vs Creator

 

B. Transcendent vs Omnipresent

 

C. Just vs Merciful

 

D. Immaterial vs Personal

 

Omnipotent and omniscient being would have no reason to act in any way, e.g., by creating the universe, since a perfect Being would have no needs, wants, or desires. These very concepts are subjectively human. As the universe exists, there is a contradiction. Therefore, an omnipotent god cannot exist.

 

The fact that non-believes exist is inconsistent with the idea that god wants all humans to know and love him.

 

God's reason for evil and suffering contradicts his supposed attributes.

 

God is defined mostly in the negative: nonmaterial, not in space or time, not seen or heard: as if god were an undetectable background, like the luminiferous aether used to be considered a background, a medium for the propagation of light.

 

 

Natural explanations are better

 

(a) Existence of nonbelievers.

 

(:) Existence of evil and gratuitous suffering.

 

© Origin and structures of the universe, life, and mind.

"God did it" is not an explanation, at all.

 

 

There is no objective evidence for the existence of god

 

 

 

Here, Stenger goes on to discuss objectively observable actions of god: Revelation, prayers, and miracles.

 

These claims should be easily verifiable if true.

 

No revelation of previously unknown knowledge has ever been validated. For example, had the Bible predicted Man would walk on the moon in 2000 years then we would have a rational basis to take seriously whatever else was written in the Bible.

 

 

____________________

 

 

The above arguments are a combination of empirical arguments, deductive arguments, inductive arguments, and objective arguments, in that, respectively, they depend on empirical data in order to prove their conclusion, they attempt to prove their conclusions by deductive reasoning from true premises, they argue their conclusions through inductive reasoning, and the apparent lack of objective physical evidence that favor the supernatural over the natural explanations (the latter of which obviously provides an abundance of physical evidence).

 

 

That's as far as I've gotten though the videos. I'll see if anything arises of interest in 5/11 onward, and then post it subsequently, followed by views expressed by others from both sides.

 

 

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No, god is not a scientific hypothesis. Science implies argument from observation. The argument of god is called an "argument from ignorance". Something along the lines of "we have no idea how this event happened, therefore it must have been performed by some all powerful being". ...

 

While I understand and agree with what you write, it's not the whole story, it's not that simple. Certainly, the god hypothesis cannot be called a theory, since it does not meet the base-line requirements, e.g., the hypothesis is not constructed from elementary theorems that consist in empirical data about observable phenomena. It is not based on a formal system of logic, and its elementary 'theorems' are not taken as axioms (at least not by many scientists, or atheists). The god hypothesis is not intended to be an accurate, predictive description of the natural world (since it make no predictions). That takes nothing away from it being a hypothesis, or even a scientific hypothesis.

 

 

Let me see if I can elaborate.

 

The idea that god is a scientific hypothesis is not new. The idea has been ruminated in cloister gardens, as it has in the halls of physics departments. Much has been written on the topic. And there have been attempts on both sides to claim the hypothesis scientific, as well as to claim it is not, for a variety of reasons.

 

I argue that the god hypothesis is a scientific hypothesis, and that it is beneficial for everyone, in the long term that is, to consider it so. This is really the only way to determine if the god hypothesis is viable or untenable, or worth even considering. If not, it is has no objective value, it is meaningless, and it would be of no practical use...

 

Edit: ...That is not to say that the god hypothesis would have objective value, would be meaningful, or would be of practical use, as long as it's considered a scientific hypothesis. It may still fall short of that goal, just as the hypothesis that the luminiferous aether existed fell short of expectation. (end edit)

 

 

Simply put, a hypothesis is a proposed explanation for an observable phenomenon. The visible universe is an observable phenomenon, along with the many things that transpire in it. Here in this thread we are discussing two different views that both attempt to explain that which is observed.

 

 

This doesn't imply that god must be directly or indirectly observable in order to validate 'its' existence. It means that the god hypothesis provides a suggested solution based on the evidence. Experimenters can thus, in principle, tests, and subsequently reject or falsify the hypothesis.

 

If scientists can test a hypothesis by means of the scientific method then a hypothesis can be considered a scientific hypothesis. That is especially so if a hypotheses claims to explain observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories.

 

For a hypothesis to be placed in the category of scientific hypotheses, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. And since theists tend to fill in gaps inherent in scientific theories with a particular hypothesis (god) it is perfectly fair game to include the concept as a scientific hypothesis (whether it's defendable or not).

 

 

So, in accord with Schick and Vaughn (as stated in the Wiki link above), researchers can take in consideration the following:

 

 

  • Testability (or falsifiability)
     
     
  • Simplicity (as in the application of "Occam's razor", discouraging the postulation of excessive numbers of entities)
     
     
  • Scope – the apparent application of the hypothesis to multiple cases of phenomena
     
     
  • Fruitfulness – the prospect that a hypothesis may explain further phenomena in the future
     
     
  • Conservatism – the degree of "fit" with existing recognized knowledge-systems

 

 

Whether or not a hypothesis passes or fails any, or all, of the above does not take away the fact that a hypothesis is scientific, in that it attempts to explain that which is observed. Clearly, the god hypothesis falls within this category of hypotheses.

 

Arguments for the existence of god include these and other characteristics, in sum:

 

The cosmological argument

 

The teliological argument

 

The ontological argument

 

The argument from degree

 

The argument from morality, along with argument from beauty, argument from love, and argument from religious experience.

 

The anthropic argument, or fine-tuned universe

 

The argument for morality

 

The transcendental argument

 

The argument from reason

 

 

 

In addition to those, there are arguments from historical events or personages, inductive arguments, arguments from testimony, arguments grounded in personal experience.

 

Note that all of the above need not be testable in order that the god hypothesis be considered scientifically falsifiable. Some of the above may be beyond testability, similarly to the fact that the big bang itself (at t = 0) is beyond testability, yet still hypothesized. It just doesn't form part of the big bang theory.

 

Certainly some of the above arguments, if not all, can be tested (al least in principle).

 

 

Richard Dawkins wrote in The god delusion:

 

...I shall suggest that the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other. Even if hard to test in practice, it belongs in the same [category as] the Permian and Cretaceous extinctions. God's existence or non-existence is a scientific fact about the universe, discoverable in principle if not in practice. If he existed and chose to reveal it, God himself could clinch the argument, noisily and unequivocally, in his favour. And even if God's existence is never proved or disproved with certainty one way or the other, available evidence and reasoning may yield an estimate of probability far from 50 per cent.

 

I've posted this before but, and post it again here (since this is where it belongs). In his review of The God Delusion David L. Brooks writes:

 

The point is that if god messes about with nature, then it ought to be possible, at least in principle, to detect such messing about. A god who regularly violates the laws of nature--to make the sun stand still, to answer prayers, to smite the wicked or to reward believers--should leave his fingerprints all over the place. Such fingerprints, if we can think of a way to detect them, would be evidence for, and their absence would be evidence against, the existence of that god. Some scientific work has been done in this area (Dawkins discusses a prayer experiment). [...]

 

It has long been the case that religion is treated as if its field and science are entirely distinct and of equal respect. But if the existence of god is susceptible to scientific investigation, then god, and everything that flows from the presumption of his existence (that is to say, all of religion) is a subject of science. There is nothing special about theistic religion which prevents science investigating the question of the existence of its deity; and there is no reason to defer to theologians on matters that they claim are the sole province of religion. The existence of god, the divinity of Jesus, the sojourn of the Jews in Egypt and the subsequent exodus, and all and sundry, are matters science can investigate (and some investigation has been made, e.g., there is no historical or archaeological evidence for the exile in Egypt or of the exodus). In short, science can say to theology, "All your bases are belong to us!" (Source)

 

 

 

 

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CC..am I correct that you are using this definition of God, which I took from one of your posts, in this thread discussion ?

 

God = the creator of the universe, or something that is operational within it.

 

Therefore, the OP question is put this way (is this correct ?):

The creator of the universe is a scientific hypothesis

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I would not call this scientific but rather logical, or philosophical, exploration of possibility of God. Of course, any conclusion largely depends on definition or properties of God. So first God needs to be defined.

 

Scientific exploration would have to be experiential, or backed up by experimental evidence. This is of course a possible avenue. For example, one could look at what the likely beginning of this universe is scientifically, and then look at whether such beginning could happen spontaneously or forced consistent with evidence.

 

 

CC..am I correct that you are using this definition of God, which I took from one of your posts, in this thread discussion ?

 

God = the creator of the universe, or something that is operational within it.

 

Therefore, the OP question is put this way (is this correct ?):

The creator of the universe is a scientific hypothesis

 

 

Good points gentlemen (forgive me if I'm mistaken ;)),

 

The real issue here is not so much what is god but more, if whatever god is exists, and affects the universe in one way or another, then it should be possible to find evidence for whatever it is?

 

Of course, in order to even begin answering that question (what is god), a hypothesis has to be formulated, and has been formulated, that could be in principle tested: archeologically, experimentally, observationally, etc., in a way that is consistent with the scientific method, and in a way as to rule out other possibilities that would otherwise be more compelling.

 

Surely everyone has their own definition of what god is, or the meaning for which it stands. But for the purpose of a scientific hypothesis, it makes no immediate difference whether god is force, an entity, a being, or even nothing at all, as long as the hypothesis is a proposed explanation for an observable phenomenon and can be tested.

 

 

The god hypothesis considered, so far, in this thread is the one upon which Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger and William Lane Craig (but we are not limited to this hypothesis) have argued in favor or against. It is the Christian god. (See the attributes, or arguments for the existence of god here.)

 

Obviously we are not limited to this hypothesis. Any hypothesis proposed for god (from any religion) is fair game provided the formulation of that hypothesis is testable. In the West, here, we seem to discuss the concept with which we are most familiar. Perhaps in India, the Orient, or the Middle East, users are debating this very issue with the hypothesized god in which they believe.

 

So, in other words, even if god is (or gods are) invisible, undetectable, everywhere present, or nowhere present and nowhere to be found, as long as the hypotheses claims that something is operational in the universe for which god is responsible, the question is for science to determine, with its strict methods of verification.

 

 

Two transient points to sum up:

 

(1) The creator of the universe is not a hypothesis, let alone a scientific hypothesis. Nor for that matter could we say that something operational within it is a hypothesis. The idea that god created the universe, and is operational within it are, however, components or postulations within a hypothesis, along with the rest of the items, characteristics or attributes listed above, and linked.

 

(2) I don't exclude the possibility that compelling evidence will be found that supports the hypothesis, thus rendering a clearer definition of what is operational, or even that the hypothesis will evolve into a full fledged theory (though I highly doubt it). The point being, again, what is operational is secondary for the time being. The primary issue is whether whatever is thought to be operating has observable consequences that can be traced back to the hypothesis in question, thereby constituting physical evidence.

 

 

 

 

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I fail to see a coherent hypothesis here though. The thoughts about God are hard to follow in a coherent way.

 

IMO, since I have not seen God and everyone has a different idea of what God is, we must start with a simple rational definition to be able to talk about it rationally. Before hypothesis, there must be a definition on which the inquiry focuses, since we have no accepted experimental evidence.

 

The definition must be rational. It can not be absurd. It must be something that is possible. For example, I can not see and not see my finger. That is absurd, and not rational. Similarly, God can not be defined as nothing and universe at the same time. So first, the definition must be rational.

 

So we can define God as universe, for example. Since universe is, then God is, and that is rational. It is possible. But more than that, by definition it is 100% true. It is 100% likely, or probable, by definition, because universe is by experience.

 

Second comes the hypothesis: God is everywhere. We can test this hypothesis for possibility and likelihood based on the definition.

If God is universe, and universe is everything, and since everything includes everywhere; then universe includes everywhere, and God includes everywhere. Then God is everywhere. This is rational, possible, and 100% likely.

 

Third, we can hypothesize: God determines events everywhere. And this is where we get into a bind.

 

There are three schools of thought: 1) experimental, 2) philosophical, 3) devotional.

 

Experimentally, we know of nothing that controls events everywhere. Experimentally, this hypothesis is absurd.

 

Philosphically, since God is universe, and axiomatically all events occur in universe, then all events occur in God. Then, universe could possibly control itself, or God could control all events. But the second inquiry is more interesting: what is the likelihood of that? What is the likelihood that there is God such that controls all within itself. In rational discussion, this is a matter of tehnology. For example, humans have two-hand, or two-feet, technology to control certain things. Technologically, humans are also limited to speed at which they can control events.

 

Devotionally, the hypothesis is 100% true as a matter of strict following of a dogma. There is nothing to analyze or question.

 

 

"God as a scientific hypothesis" falls in the category of philosophical definitions (rational definitions and hypothesis), and then scientific examination of technological likelihoods for the truth of the hypothesis. But the hypothesis must be narrowly constructed so that technologies can be carefully examined. Otherwise, there is no end to the inquiries.

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I fail to see a coherent hypothesis here though.

 

No one said a hypothesis had to be coherent. I can't imagine how a sacred story based on 2000 year old scriptures, apocryphal texts, all crammed into a single volume could possibly comprise an orderly, logical, and aesthetically consistent hypothesis. It's still a hypothesis though.

 

 

Second comes the hypothesis: God is everywhere. We can test this hypothesis for possibility and likelihood based on the definition.

 

So far so good. I think?

 

 

There are three schools of thought: 1) experimental, 2) philosophical, 3) devotional.

 

Experimentally, we know of nothing that controls events everywhere. Experimentally, this hypothesis is absurd.

 

That's fine, but nothing has to control events everywhere to be tested. Obviously we can't observe every nook and cranny of the universe to see if god is lurking in wait of us earthling voyeurs.

 

Gravity, for example seems to be playing its role pretty much everywhere, macroscopically anyway, and perhaps mesoscopically and microscopically.

 

Dark energy (whatever that is) may be operating too everywhere. That doesn't mean the concept is absurd, provided indirect evidence allows it, and provided it can be tested via a theory (or scientific hypothesis).

 

 

"God as a scientific hypothesis" falls in the category of philosophical definitions (rational definitions and hypothesis), and then scientific examination of technological likelihoods for the truth of the hypothesis. But the hypothesis must be narrowly constructed so that technologies can be carefully examined. Otherwise, there is no end to the inquiries.

 

In order to determine if a scientific hypothesis fails in any category, I would imagine that a few tests should be devised and performed. Otherwise how could anything be determined about the hypothesis?

 

True, the hypothesis must be narrowly constructed so that it can be carefully examined. But until then, and until the hypothesis is ruled out on empirical grounds, there's no why there should be an end to inquiries.

 

 

 

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The real issue here is not so much what is god but more, if whatever god is exists, and affects the universe in one way or another, then it should be possible to find evidence for whatever it is?

 

I think the whole issue rests with first having a definition of a particular god. The Hindu worship cows and cows obviously exist, I had part of one for dinner last night. OTOH, is there a supernatural god that is beyond man's comprehension? How would we ever know if it's beyond our comprehension?

 

I think the Ignostic viewpoint is completely appropriate here. The view that a coherent definition of god must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed and if that definition is unfalsifiable, then the question of the existence of god is meaningless.

 

God is a term invented by man that is overly broad and vague. A term for an entity dreamt up in the imagination of man which is itself poorly defined. Without definition any discussion of existence is effectively meaningless.

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I think the whole issue rests with first having a definition of a particular god. [...] OTOH, is there a supernatural god that is beyond man's comprehension? How would we ever know if it's beyond our comprehension?

 

The definition of a particular god, per say, is not essential. All hinges on what the god hypothesis posits or requires. For example, we don't know what cold dark matter, nor do we know what dark energy is. Yet we are able to hypothesis certain features or requirements that they must have in order to agree with theory and observations. The definition might come later, with continued research and more precise observations.

 

Though there are certainly things we don't understand yet about the universe, to date, it would be a mistake to assume that god or anything else is beyond our comprehension before examining the hypothesis scientifically (if that's is at all possible). Clearly there are those who have claimed that certain actions, event, and divers phenomena that exists and transpire in the universe have a cause, origin, or reason for their existence. Some of these questions are not beyond the scope of science to determine, empirically.

 

 

 

I think the Ignostic viewpoint is completely appropriate here. The view that a coherent definition of god must be presented before the question of the existence of god can be meaningfully discussed and if that definition is unfalsifiable, then the question of the existence of god is meaningless.

 

Again, there are many examples in science where properties, attributes, or characteristics were posited before anyone had any idea of what was responsible. Even today, the physical mechanism of gravity is not known (i.e., gravity have no real definition as to its cause) yet we have a theory that describes it and agrees with observations to a high degree of accuracy. In other words, we don't know what gravity is, but we can still have meaningful discussions about it. Our understanding is not complete yet we can still make predictions and use those predictions to make things like GPS work.

 

So I don't see why 'not knowing what god is' as a problem, yet. As long as god(s) is/are responsible for things that occur in the universe, there should be a way to verify it.

 

 

 

God is a term invented by man that is overly broad and vague. A term for an entity dreamt up in the imagination of man which is itself poorly defined. Without definition any discussion of existence is effectively meaningless.

 

Again, whether god is an entity, a force, a pseudo-force, a property, a quality, a medium, or a Being, makes no difference. If it exists, and whatever it is affects the universe or anything in it, then it is within the purview of science to confirm or refute that hypothesis by testing it empirically.

 

 

 

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I would rather say 'God' is a 'non-concept' used by humans when the knowledge/explanation become impotent, end or go circularly.

 

(take care not to say God spoke to you or you'll be probably diagnosed with schizophrenia, except if god is your father)

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whether god is an entity, a force, a pseudo-force, a property, a quality, a medium, or a Being, makes no difference.

For rational discussion, God must start as a logical set. It has to be defined. This makes a world of difference in making the discussion rational.

If it exists, and whatever it is affects the universe or anything in it, then it is within the purview of science to confirm or refute that hypothesis by testing it empirically.

 

See, for science to confirm or refute, there must be a falsfiable hypothesis. Even then, it is only the hypothesis that is confirmed or refuted, but not the existence of God. For example, if you say God can travel instantaneously accross the universe, it confirms the possibility of travel, but not the existence of God. The only way science can confirm God is by direct evidence of God. Even then, it would likely not be deemed God by science because it would be a part of universe, much like a hen or a pig. It would be experimental.

 

Moreover, we can only distinguish length and time. Every experiment we conduct will yield some length and time. So whatever we discover will be physical phenomena.

 

So the only meaningful way to think about God is devotional. You just have to believe in God. Otherwise, scientifically, we are just focusing on phenomena and it makes no difference whether we are talking about God or the universe. Invention of God in this setting is wholly unnecessary.

 

___

 

Example: in Bhagavat Gita there is God, Krishna. Krishna is trancendental. It has two attributes. First, it appears as human face. Second, it communicates with humans.

 

First we have a definition: God is transcedental. This means that God is supernatural. Supernatural is absurd. Therefore for definition to be valid, we would have to find expermental proof of absurdity. This too is absurd. It can not be.

So, to make Krishna valid, we have to redefine transcendental to simply mean not-Earthly or something logical like that.

 

Then, we can examine whether face appearance is valid. I suppose this could be valid as some sort of projection. Also, communication with humans is valid--satelites are the proof.

 

So Krishna, who sits somehwere outside of the earth, projects his face on earth, and communicates with humans is possible scientifically. Wether this is true, or should be accepted as true, depends on the likelihood of Krishna occuring.

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I see God as the Great Original Dilemma: whatever it is that stands behind what we think we know and what we think we can explain. It gives me an excellent out whenever the subject of religion comes up. If people ask me if I believe in God I just answer yes; being fully confident that there are many things I can not explain and many questions I can not answer. It doesn't create arguments and generally gets the idiots off my back.

 

Oh, by the way, the existence of god is clearly not a "scientific" hypothesis as it is not a hypothesis put forward by "scientists" (at least not by any serious professional practitioners of the field); no more than the existence of many gods is a "Catholic" hypothesis as it is not a hypothesis put forward by "Catholics" (at least not by any serious professionals practitioners of the field). ;)

 

Have fun -- Dick

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