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← There can be no evidence for God (revisited)

There can be no evidence for God (revisited) - Comments

shemonster's Avatar Comment 1 by shemonster

When someone says that you are done wrong because they know the mind of a God, there is no appeal, no higher authority, by definition. And that's bad we should not let believers set the rules of the game with flim-flam about the possible truth of Biblical miracles

And yet on another thread you seem happy to let believers set up sharia courts in the UK. As in - set the rules based on 'unchallengeable ultimate moral authority'. Hardly strident, hardly pointing out they are this moral hazard of which you speak when in the rules of sharia we have one of the worst manifestations of religous morality.

Very odd.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 10:39:10 UTC | #856160

Dr Fomancho's Avatar Comment 2 by Dr Fomancho

What about the higher states of consciousness where one feels merged with the universe and feels (feelings that can't be put into words), with absolute clarity, the presence of the sacred? I believe Sam Harris has lately uploaded a few articles on his website that talk about his experiences of higher states of consciousness. He took LSD to achieve those states, but he also gave the impression that he had also achieved these states, briefly though, through meditation. Though he doesn't talk about the 'sacred' in black and white, but he does talk about merging with a giant redwood tree in California in eternal oneness, which is pretty much how religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism define (using the word 'define' very loosely) what is called 'God' here. I must add, that consciousness is often the word they use for God, and consciousness, they say, cannot be described. It can only be felt or experienced directly when we are in a state where it can be experienced.

If God can't be described, and can only be felt at and beyond a certain point in our consciousness, then there is nothing left to discuss about God. As the title speaks for itself, There can be no evidence for God., because God cannot be defined.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 11:01:57 UTC | #856168

malreux's Avatar Comment 3 by malreux

"The problem starts when people insist that they know about Gods of Morality; beings that aren't just good and evil, but the personifications of good and evil"

As you are doubtless aware, Plato's character Socrates raises a related worry, regarding the problematic status of Command Theory, defined here as 'x is good because God says so (commands it)'. The problem is then, is x really good because God commands it? But without any criertia or principles re defining goodness, etc. In my view the question was settled a long time ago - the sources of morality are less variable than the whimsy of a deity.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 11:02:58 UTC | #856169

foundationist's Avatar Comment 4 by foundationist

Comment 2 by Dr Fomancho :

I must add, that consciousness is often the word they use for God, and consciousness, they say, cannot be described. It can only be felt or experienced directly when we are in a state where it can be experienced.

It cannot yet be described, because it is amazingly complex. Once the AI researchers manage to build a truely inteligent machine, it will have been described. Achieving the kind of heightened awareness and sense of oneness with the universe you describe in your post will be one thing this machine must be able to do, maybe the most difficult thing. I´m not saying, current AI research is anywhere near achieving that, for - as Douglas Hofstaedter - I have enormous respect for the intricacy and multi-levelled complexity of the human brain, but in a hundred years we might have it.

Religious people and even a few unbelievers don´t like the idea that such emotions might one day be well understood, for they think it takes the magic away. That´s why they insist - based on nothing but their assertion - that they cannot be understood at all. We should know better.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 11:30:23 UTC | #856175

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 5 by AtheistEgbert

People become atheists, I suggest, not because of of lack of evidence for gods, but because of lack of evidence for beliefs which are supposed to point to a god, which may seem the same thing but is really quite different.

This seems to be (I can't fully tell) much like what I've been trying to promote recently.

Allow me to try and explain--people become atheists because they simply grow up and stop trusting what they were told by authority. A bit like when we stop believing in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Of course, some claim to be atheist all their life, not being exposed and indoctrinated in the first place at a young age.

Thus, we don't at all come to atheism through consciously looking at evidence or being super rational and sceptical. All those reasonings after the fact are rationalizing, exactly like the rationalizings of religious people when they attempt to explain why they belief.

Atheists are not necessarily rational nor sane, they are just without one particular delusion or have matured to at least question authority at some level.

The problem starts when people insist that they know about Gods of Morality; beings that aren't just good and evil, but the personifications of good and evil, the ultimates. When someone says that you are done wrong because they know the mind of a God, there is no appeal, no higher authority, by definition. And that's bad. This is why theism is not just a philosophical mistake, but a moral hazard. It's a source of claims of unchallengeable ultimate moral authority. It bypasses civilized standards of equality and fairness, and it's deeply undemocratic. Accepting that theism, albeit phenomenally unlikely, might just be right is not just (in my view) scientifically incorrect, but may encourage theists to think that their beliefs have some slight scientific respectability, and that only adds to their insistence that their views should have political weight

Yes, this is definitely more my thinking. That is why religion is evil or a danger.

It is the process of trusting authority, and this process manifests in all sorts of evil. It is the opposite of individual liberty and critical thinking.

But it is not confined to religion. It happens all the time in society, especially in political and social movements. It's the great trap that we're all in danger of falling into.

More stridency? Like this - we should challenge the very concept of gods, we should not let believers set the rules of the game with flim-flam about the possible truth of Biblical miracles, or other ways of knowing reality, or necessary beings. We should make it clear that all arguments that lead to gods are wrong because they lead to gods! God is a singular mistake, a philosophical division by zero, a point at which the respectability of arguments break down. God is out of the question, the ultimate wrong answer.

I don't think I really understand or agree with your solution. There are a lot of 'shoulds' there, which to me exposes a kind of willing others to behave differently. In fact, I think debate with the religious is futile.

Rather, we need to challenge fellow atheists who are falling into the same trap. If we want real change rather than a superficial exchange between one authority and another, then it is a matter of maturity. Atheists need to mature fully, developing a individualistic and rational philosophy, and then seek to become a political force.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 11:44:58 UTC | #856182

Dr Fomancho's Avatar Comment 6 by Dr Fomancho

Comment 4 by foundationist

I strongly disagree with you. You are talking about building an AI machine that could understand the universe. I am sorry but this is just pure sci fi.There is not a shred a evidence that such a feat is possible even in 1 million years, let alone 100 years. I would like to see any references that would point out how we are to build such a machine in just 100 years.

Here is a quote from one of Sam Harris' articles from his website"

I have visited both extremes on the psychedelic continuum. The positive experiences were more sublime than I could have ever imagined or than I can now faithfully recall. These chemicals disclose layers of beauty that art is powerless to capture and for which the beauty of Nature herself is a mere simulacrum. It is one thing to be awestruck by the sight of a giant redwood and to be amazed at the details of its history and underlying biology. It is quite another to spend an apparent eternity in egoless communion with it. Positive psychedelic experiences often reveal how wondrously at ease in the universe a human being can be—and for most of us, normal waking consciousness does not offer so much as a glimmer of these deeper possibilities.

How could we build such a machine while working at our normal waking consciousness level? As Sam Harris said, "normal waking consciousness does not offer so much as a glimmer of these deeper possibilities". We don't even know what we are talking about here!

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 11:45:51 UTC | #856183

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 7 by Steve Zara

And yet on another thread you seem happy to let believers set up sharia courts in the UK. As in - set the rules based on 'unchallengeable ultimate moral authority'. Hardly strident, hardly pointing out they are this moral hazard of which you speak when in the rules of sharia we have one of the worst manifestations of religous morality.

Very odd.

What I'm talking about in this article is discussions about what is real, not what should be imposed on others by law.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 12:18:27 UTC | #856189

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 8 by Premiseless

Comment 7 by SZ

For most, maybe everyone to some degree, It is very difficult not to hold up ones hands and simply say, "Yes, I'll be a hypocrite because I see no alternatives."

Only the deluded escape a deliberate default to this since they live it unconsciously - thinking hypocrite is a label for a pretense to be following the wishes of an imaginary god.

How do we live the reality we support, when fully rational, without conceding to the bunkum others demand and doing so with apparent approval?

"Smile at them nicely folks even though you think them skew minded."

This is our reality - to be a hypocrite!

In our spare time we can try to be ourselves.

God is the lack in people who overwhelmingly experience unrequited love and imagine it therefore to be awaiting their death.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 12:42:45 UTC | #856196

Layla's Avatar Comment 9 by Layla

People become atheists, I suggest, not because of of lack of evidence for gods, but because of lack of evidence for beliefs which are supposed to point to a god, which may seem the same thing but is really quite different.

I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean in that sentence.

We become atheists because of a lack of evidence for beliefs which are supposed to point to a god?

What beliefs?

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 12:53:21 UTC | #856199

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 10 by DocWebster

Comment 9 by Layla :

People become atheists, I suggest, not because of of lack of evidence for gods, but because of lack of evidence for beliefs which are supposed to point to a god, which may seem the same thing but is really quite different.

I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean in that sentence.

We become atheists because of a lack of evidence for beliefs which are supposed to point to a god?

What beliefs?

That there is a man who watches your every move and waits to pounce after you die for having a wee bit of a wank when you were 13 (to paraphrase Billy Connolly). Then the whole thing about creating everything, EVERYTHING for one race of hairless primates circling a third rate star in the boonies of a fifth rate galaxy, beliefs like that

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:04:56 UTC | #856208

Tony d's Avatar Comment 11 by Tony d

I think we all start out as atheists.Some become theists and some of those go back to being atheist.But atheism is the default start position. All of this is done without the aid of any evidence known of by me.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:23:44 UTC | #856211

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 12 by MilitantNonStampCollector

This is very interesting. How could we interpret ‘evidence for God’ as true evidence for God? Even then, the inference would be dubious at best.

Given that we've looked for god and couldn't find him, I find it hard to imagine what "evidence for god" even means.

Take the following:

Prayer has been shown to be bunk. The contradictions of scripture. The death of old religions. Thousands of years of emtpy theology and failed prophecies. Zero credible evidence.

Given this, the idea if god is absurd beyond belief. Even more so than belief in goblins.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:35:42 UTC | #856212

Zelig's Avatar Comment 13 by Zelig

I'm not familiar with the earlier version of this topic, so i'm sure everything I say here has already been said elsewhere. My first impressions are incomprehension at the intent.

Firstly, the vast majority of believers have no great knowledge or (more importantly) interest in the severest intellectual rigour when it comes to epistemological questions.

Secondly, the religious have historically made great use of the concept "ineffability", partly through honest perplexity, partly through dishonest expediency. Credo quia absurdum, and the like . . .

Thirdly, there is a big difference between "evidence" and "proof" (in the categorical, absolute, unconditional sense). "Proof" is quite literally impossible to demonstrate for any proposition whatsoever, since every method used to ground absolutist assertions, is itself incapable of being grounded. Absolute certainty, without even the smallest element of doubt or ambiguity, is beyond our reach in any sphere, leading to infinite epistemic regress. Naturally enough, this scepticism also applies to my own sceptical arguments.

Thus I can imagine lots of "evidence" which would lead me to infer the existence of God; what I can't imagine is "proof". But in this case the absence of "proof" is on the same footing as every other scientific belief we entertain.

Fourthly, most educated believers already know they cannot definitively prove the existence of God, that's why they confer such dignity on the concept of "belief".

In brief, the intellectual arguments in favour of religious dogma are threadbare, and while counter-arguments need to be occasionally made to remind the religious of their incoherence and perplexity, this limited approach is likely to have little or no sociological effect on the de facto power and influence of religion. More direct, practical and worldly arguments and actions are needed. e.g. If our conception of "humane, enlightened, liberal tolerance" means not only allowing but promoting stupidity, ignorance, dogmatism, and intolerance when it's in religious dress, then none of our abstract anti-religious musings amount to very much.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:37:54 UTC | #856217

Kasterfin's Avatar Comment 14 by Kasterfin

Divine command ethics is accepted by every philosopher who has ever come up with an alternative (everyone I can think of - william lane craig and the ancient christian philosophers) as an ethical @DIV/0 error. As for if there can be evidence for god - when you look at apologetics arguments like the design or Kalam cosmological ones , you can see that they don't give evidence, but try to fit the evidence and say the 'best explaination' is a divine design, but they always fall into the same trap . one example; the 'kalam' argument;

1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause 2) The universe began to exist 3) The universe has a cause The flaw is the use of 'conceptual analysis' to identify the 'cause' with God - a personal, omnipotent being. The hidden assumption goes something like this;

'A mind's ideas may be complex, but a mind itself is a remarkably simple thing, being an immaterial entity not composed of pieces or separable parts.'

What champions of the Kalam argument do is assume that 'mind' deserves a place right at the base of reality along with space, time and so on. For example, Craig's 'conceptual analysis' argument includes the claim that because the big bang occurred at a particular time there must have been an intelligent, timeless 'agent' who 'freely chose' to create the universe. There is no such thing as a 'freely choosing' agent in the sense of an immaterial thing that creates causes without effects. We don't have any such agent sitting in our own minds, as Theists tacitly assume, so there's no reason to grant God one. If the mind really worked like that, I would probably be a Deist. That's why, if we demystify the mind we will show that you cannot assume 'mind' as a thing without backup in the physical world. Then no-one can claim that a mind created the universe.

Because they see 'mind' as central to the universe, theists interpret normal evidence to fit that picture .

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:39:17 UTC | #856218

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 15 by AtheistEgbert

In brief, the intellectual arguments in favour of religious dogma are threadbare, and while counter-arguments need to be occasionally made to remind the religious of their incoherence and perplexity, this limited approach is likely to have little or no sociological effect on the de facto power and influence of religion. More direct, practical and worldly arguments and actions are needed. e.g. If our conception of "humane, enlightened, liberal tolerance" means not only allowing but promoting stupidity, ignorance, dogmatism, and intolerance when it's in religious dress, then none of our abstract anti-religious musings amount to very much.

Exactly right. It's as if atheism--at current--is only a hobby or interest for people, like a social club, or something to do in your leisure time. But we're in a culture war, and unless it is taken seriously--politically seriously--then I fail to see why some of us rationalists should waste our very short and brief lives sacrificed to something that is not going anywhere.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:48:46 UTC | #856224

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 16 by Steve Zara

I'm having a hard time understanding what you mean in that sentence.

We become atheists because of a lack of evidence for beliefs which are supposed to point to a god?

What beliefs?

Beliefs in miracles. Beliefs that the complexity of the universe can't have arisen by itself. Belief that there was a man called Jesus who had a number of followers.

What might look like evidence for these things can keep a believer believing not so much in a specific god but in the idea that there might be 'something out there'; there must be something going on that is supernatural.

Over the years, a believer might find out that what looks like evidence for the need for complexity is wrong, by discovering the way evolutions works, or a believer may find out that the historical evidence for Jesus is very questionable.

So, the belief in these supposed pointers to 'something going on' can disappear.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:56:11 UTC | #856225

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 17 by Jos Gibbons

I have to disagree with Steve Zara on two points.

  1. The idea that omni- properties have to be beyond garnering scientific support regardless of the evidence we find because we cannot conclusively establish them. I can no more conclusively establish that electrons would exhibit their list of properties anywhere they occurred than I can that God is everywhere, but in both cases exceptionless, frequent successes of predictions could be in the offing - and for electrons they in fact are. The question of a bigger, better god coming along is another example of this; to me it seems analogous to claiming electrons are indivisible, again not strictly provable but nonetheless disprovable, and therefore reasonable to believe if enough potentially falsifying evidence fails to provide any falsification.

  2. The idea that it's wrong to characterise the defence of lacking theism on the grounds of no evidence to support theism because no such evidence could ever be in the offing. Philosophers talk not only of whether a statement is true or false, but also of whether its truth value (the answer to that question) is necessary or contingent. The statement "There is evidence for theism" may therefore be c(ontingently) or n(ecessarily) f(alse) or t(rue); cf, ct, nf or nt. Steve argues it's nf. I won't here take sides on whether it's cf or nf, because what matters to me is whether it's f or t, and it's f, which for me is the reason not to have theism. For me, its being nf rather than cf doesn't seem an invalidation of the "I lack theism because "There is evidence for theism" is f" account of the source of atheism.

Note that in the abbreviations I'm using here the argument I object to in 1. can be expressed as "Because "There is proof of theism" is nf, "There is evidence for theism" is nf"", a statement I object to because there is such a thing as evidence for a claim that doesn't constitute proof, or even for a claim of which no true proof could ever be provided. So in summary I object both to the inference made in that statement (see 1.) and to a further inference Steve gets from there on (see 2.), namely to further infer atheism should not be characterised as due to "There is evidence for theism" being f. Of course, objecting to the inferences doesn't mean I think that their conclusions are wrong.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:57:11 UTC | #856226

Tony d's Avatar Comment 18 by Tony d

I have evidence that a God once walked among us.

This illustrate's that the definition of God has to be clarified before you can dismiss or consider evidence of the God.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:11:33 UTC | #856227

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 19 by Steve Zara

Fourthly, most educated believers already know they cannot definitively prove the existence of God, that's why they confer such dignity on the concept of "belief".

What I'm trying to point out is what goes on in the mind of even a casual believer when they hear that an atheist says that they might believe in God given the right evidence. I have no doubt for many that it's a source of comfort, of belief reinforcement.

I'm not saying that because of the above we should abandon scientific integrity and insist that we would not be swayed by evidence for political reasons.

What I'm saying is that there is no need to insist that we are open to evidence out of a desire to seem reasonable.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:20:52 UTC | #856231

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 20 by Nunbeliever

I think Dan Dennett has provided the best answer to this question when he stated that religions have evolved into being immune to scrutiny. That is one very important evolutionary trait of religions that help them survive. He points out that this was not the case regarding older natural religions where there were no boundaries between religious knowledge (theology) and common knowledge. It was all assumed to be knowledge and hence there was no need for evidence. It was only much later with the rise of science that these boundaries were set up.

So I think the answer to Steve Zaras question is most likely NO! There can't be any evidence for the existence of gods. Not, because one couldn't hypothetically find evidence for any particular god. It would for example be very easy to disprove the old greek gods who supposedly lived on the mountain Olympus with modern technology. But, modern religions like christianity would not have survived if they had not evolved from being religions that make specific testable claims about reality into these slippery diffuse dogmas that are beyond scrutiny. Much like Carl Sagan's dragon in the garage.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:21:26 UTC | #856232

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

Not, because one couldn't hypothetically find evidence for any particular god.

That's something I am disputing. We could find evidence for some phenomenon, or even for some powerful being. But a god? An aspect of nature?

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:27:29 UTC | #856235

Tony d's Avatar Comment 22 by Tony d

If the Universe is just one of many in the sea of the multiverse.Is anything impossible?

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:33:44 UTC | #856239

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 23 by Steve Zara

The question of a bigger, better god coming along is another example of this; to me it seems analogous to claiming electrons are indivisible, again not strictly provable but nonetheless disprovable, and therefore reasonable to believe if enough potentially falsifying evidence fails to provide any falsification.

That is a different kind of claim. The omni- properties of god aren't equivalent to god being the nicest and best being we have come across so far, it's a claim of an infinite property. It's not a provisional claim (as with the electron), it's a necessary property.

Steve gets from there on (see 2.), namely to further infer atheism should not be characterised as due to "There is evidence for theism" being f. Of course, objecting to the inferences doesn't mean I think that their conclusions are wrong.

I see what you are saying, and it's a useful way to look at this. What I'm trying to show is that what people believe is evidence for theism actually isn't evidence for theism: So when an atheist rejects that evidence they aren't rejecting evidence for theism: they are rejecting a belief system which led basically nowhere.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:48:29 UTC | #856246

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 24 by Alan4discussion

Comment 2 by Dr Fomancho

What about the higher states of consciousness where one feels merged with the universe and feels (feelings that can't be put into words), with absolute clarity, the presence of the sacred? I believe Sam Harris has lately uploaded a few articles on his website that talk about his experiences of higher states of consciousness. He took LSD to achieve those states, but he also gave the impression that he had also achieved these states, briefly though, through meditation.

Clarity of thinking is not enhanced by taking drugs or meditating into a trance-like state. Rather the opposite. It is only the delusion of more profound thinking which is induced. (A bit like postmodernism).

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 16:17:56 UTC | #856258

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 25 by Schrodinger's Cat

Steve....

An extremely good argument against any theist God is that his attributes are meaninless in the absence of physical matter.

I mean, how can any God be intrinsically 'good', when there was nobody to be good to before creation ?

How can he be all-knowing.....when before creation there simply wasn't anything to know !

Likewise, what conceivable meaning does 'all powerful' have in the absence of any physical matter to have power over ?

God, without the physical universe, is utterly meaningless. ALL his attributes derive from states of physical matter. God thus needs the universe....in order to be God ! He has no godly basis without it.

The very act of defining the attributes of a God outside of space and time........proves that he cannot logically exist in such a state. A theist God logically negates his own very existence.....and disappears up his own backside in a flurry of logical violations.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 16:20:19 UTC | #856259

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 26 by Steve Zara

Comment 25 by Schrodinger's Cat

An extremely good argument against any theist God is that his attributes are meaninless in the absence of physical matter.

Yes, that is also a good argument, and I feel encouraged to see yet another new perspective on this!

There seemed to be some momentum behind this question of evidence for god and the supernatural last year. I'm trying to do what I can to keep this going, and because of that it's great to see yet more ideas of the absurdity of gods.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 16:30:45 UTC | #856263

Zelig's Avatar Comment 27 by Zelig

Steve.... An extremely good argument against any theist God is that his attributes are meaninless in the absence of physical matter. I mean, how can any God be intrinsically 'good', when there was nobody to be good to before creation ? How can he be all-knowing.....when before creation there simply wasn't anything to know ! Likewise, what conceivable meaning does 'all powerful' have in the absence of any physical matter to have power over ? God, without the physical universe, is utterly meaningless. ALL his attributes derive from states of physical matter. God thus needs the universe....in order to be God ! He has no godly basis without it.

The very act of defining the attributes of a God outside of space and time........proves that he cannot logically exist in such a state. A theist God logically negates his own very existence.....and disappears up his own backside in a flurry of logical violations

No, none of these arguments need be fatal to believers. If I were a believer I would simply say this: "all of your attempts to undermine the very concept of God only reveal God's transcendent and ineffable mystery. You are presumptuously applying anthropomorphic criteria as arbitrator here, and failing to recognise that your logic is itself a human construct which God does not need to be bound by. There is no way of proving that our paltry human logic is capable of adequately dealing with these ontological issues. If God was to be bound by distinctly human standards he would not, in fact, be God at all. What you are describing is your concept of God, based on your fallible and incomplete understanding, not God himself" . . .. etc etc etc

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 16:49:25 UTC | #856268

Zelig's Avatar Comment 28 by Zelig

What I'm trying to point out is what goes on in the mind of even a casual believer when they hear that an atheist says that they might believe in God given the right evidence. I have no doubt for many that it's a source of comfort, of belief reinforcement. (emphasis added)

But that's the whole point. Your "casual believer" believes for reasons other than those you're adducing, so such claims are likely to have no sociological effect whatsoever.

As for the tiny minority concerned with epistemological questions, why should they fret? Science can't offer us absolute, unconditional proof of anything, so why should the religiously inclined feel threatened by this? The inability to prove an assertion is not necessarily proof of its falsity.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 17:04:59 UTC | #856271

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 29 by QuestioningKat

comment 24, You got to it before me. Yes, drugs create a delusional state in which we feel that our mind is One with even a tree. Some "Spiritual" people say that drugs take away the barriers separating our Consciousness (eternal self, soul, divine mind, etc.) from all that is One at the level of our Higher Consciousness. This comes from the assumption that our consciousness (physical brain, mind) is separate from our physical being and can last/live outside of our physical body. I have come to believe there is no higher consciousness or Higher Consciousness. Perhaps different states of consciousness, but saying a delusional state is higher implies it's better. I think Sam plays on the edge and can be misinterpreted by many theists.

Comment 25 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Steve....

An extremely good argument against any theist God is that his attributes are meaninless in the absence of physical matter.

God, without the physical universe, is utterly meaningless. ALL his attributes derive from states of physical matter. God thus needs the universe....in order to be God ! He has no godly basis without it.

The very act of defining the attributes of a God outside of space and time........proves that he cannot logically exist in such a state. A theist God logically negates his own very existence.....and disappears up his own backside in a flurry of logical violations.

Here's where the new agey BS enters into the argument. They view the physical universe as a result of Consciousness. (That ghost in the machine.) Love is eternal and divine mind is eternal. The state of Oneness of mind (you together with that Redwood tree and everybody) is the true reality. The view is that without the physical world, MIND would still exist. Christians to an extent also buy into this idea since Heaven and Hell exists in a different realm. This to me is the most dangerous view because many with an apocalyptic wish either directly or indirectly view consciousness as existing beyond the physical. With the New Agey view, space and time are an illusion thus eliminating the problem you clarified. Get rid of the problem by saying that it is not real and that reality is somewhere else and now your the one with the reality problem. Get it?

Science and many arguments have effectively shown that God cannot be some being outside in the sky somewhere. Ultimately the only way to truly get rid of all concepts of God is to recognize that consciousness is dependent upon brain functions and cannot exist beyond the physical.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 17:13:23 UTC | #856273

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 30 by QuestioningKat

Comment 27 by david2 :

No, none of these arguments need be fatal to believers. If I were a believer I would simply say this: "all of your attempts to undermine the very concept of God only reveal God's transcendent and ineffable mystery. You are presumptuously applying anthropomorphic criteria as arbitrator here, and failing to recognise that your logic is itself a human construct which God does not need to be bound by. There is no way of proving that our paltry human logic is capable of adequately dealing with these ontological issues. If God was to be bound by distinctly human standards he would not, in fact, be God at all. What you are describing is your concept of God, based on your fallible and incomplete understanding, not God himself" . . .. etc etc etc

Yep, that's right. Theists have this in their pocket and pull it out when needed. It's well taught in churches. That's why I say ---- a medically induced coma, anesthesia, lobotomy, etc. offers the strongest argument.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 17:26:56 UTC | #856274