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I think that proving God's existence or any deity from any culture with the rigors of science is fundamentally absurd.

The popular arguments usually involve space-time and the big bang theory. (I have a layperson's understanding of those ideas). Suppose that some scientific theory has indeed proven that there exist a creator of the universe, then it still remains to be shown that "the creator of the universe" does in fact have all the attributes of the deity of that culture. Furthermore, if our greatest thinkers succeed in showing that "the creator" does have personal attributes, then what if those attributes contradict the characteristics of the believed deity? Should the new found "creator of the universe" be considered God?

Hence, my main reason that it is absurd to try prove God's existence with science is that God is not well-defined even in non-scientific language and that proving it in scientific terms is comical. Does this argument make any sense to you?

To prove God does one have to show that a certain physical particles exist? An equation? A fruit? A dog? A mathematical proof? What exactly needs to be shown is unclear to me. So what I want to know is what people trying to prove God, wants to show.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Keelan Apr 20 '18 at 19:51

15 Answers 15

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I think part of the problem is: Science doesn't prove anything. Science, at its core, is simply a method of generating testable hypothesis that explain events, which are valued because of their use in predicting future results.

Let me give an example. Based on observations, science came up with a theory for an orbital period, correlating orbital speed and distance. But it didn't prove this - it's simply the best mechanism for predicting an orbit that science knew at the time. Science could compile evidence that would lend credence to the theory - the more observations that matched the theory, the more likely the theory was sound.

But science could never say, "We know this for a fact." Sure enough, we observed small perturbations in Mercury's orbit around the sun - deviations that the orbital theory couldn't explain. Then we came up with Relativity, which neatly patched those holes. So now we have a predictive theory for an orbit that's better - but we still can't prove that it's absolutely 100% correct. There could by any number of phenomenon that we haven't run into that would tear holes in the theory.

Science never proves anything - the best it can do is say, "Well, this theory is our best explanation for prior events and is the best predictor for future events."

So, let's say there's a God - and not only that, he's completely 100% interactive. Dude just pops in every saturday at NIST headquarters via shining beam of light - even buys coffee for the front desk clerk each week. Science still can't prove him. Because there could always be some unexplained phenomenon that's contributing or even causing our observations.


EDIT: Okay, since there are apparently a number of vocal people insisting that Science can prove things, I figured I should expand this answer to provide some quotes and citations:

"Perhaps most importantly, because new evidence and perspectives can lead us to revise them, scientific ideas can never be absolutely proved." -- https://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/mathematics - talking about the similarities and differences between Math and Science.

"Well, let me tell you a secret about science; scientists don’t prove anything. What we do is collect evidence that supports or does not support our predictions. Sometimes we do things over and over again, in meaningfully different ways, and we get the same results, and then we call these findings facts. And, when we have lots and lots of replications and variations that all say the same thing, then we talk about theories or laws. Like evolution. Or gravity. But at no point have we proved anything." -- https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/im-a-scientist-and-i-dont-believe-in-facts/

"One of the most common misconceptions concerns the so-called “scientific proofs.” Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a scientific proof. Proofs exist only in mathematics and logic, not in science. Mathematics and logic are both closed, self-contained systems of propositions, whereas science is empirical and deals with nature as it exists." -- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200811/common-misconceptions-about-science-i-scientific-proof

"While the phrase "scientific proof" is often used in the popular media,[13] many scientists have argued that there is really no such thing." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_evidence#Concept_of_scientific_proof - which goes on to quote Karl Popper and Albert Einstein on the topic.

"However, the concept of proof has no place in science. Many people who do not actively practice science do not understand that science is structured so that scientists can never prove anything." -- http://agbiosafety.unl.edu/science.shtml - talking about why it's impossible to prove that biotech crops are safe: because science can't prove it (they can only disprove it by finding a way it's unsafe.)

"Another word that is commonly misused (sadly, sometimes even by scientists, who should know better) is "proof". ... Scientists should be wary of using the term "proof". Science does not "prove" things. Science can and does provide evidence in favor of, or against, a particular idea. In science, proofs are possible only in the highly abstract world of mathematics." -- https://oregonstate.edu/instruction/bb317/scientifictheories.html

Hopefully this helps get the point across, and I tried to stick to purely scientific sources (plus wikipedia, since it has citations to Popper and Einstein). Science comes up with a guess as to how something works, devises a test to determine whether the guess is correct, and then performs the test. If the test falsifies the guess, then the guess isn't correct and was disproven. If the test comes back and matches what the theory would predict, then the test does not prove the theory - it simply is evidence that it might be true.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Philip Klöcking Apr 19 '18 at 20:43
  • I think in this context, it's more of a "How can the existence of God even be tested or evaluated" question, as opposed to "proven," though. – PoloHoleSet Dec 5 '18 at 15:51
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Attempts to show that God exists by looking at nature such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument can only assert "generic theism", as you rightly point out. If the argument holds, then how does anybody know anything about this god/God?

The answer is revelation or prophecy. When theologians talk about revelation, they are talking about ways that God communicates (or attempts to communicate) with humans directly. You will sometimes hear of a distinction between general revelation, the stuff that we can just see with our eyes that tells us about God, and special revelation, words and sentences from God.

Prophecy is stuff somebody tells you, which they claim is what God wants you to know (and is therefore supposedly true by virtue of God's perfection).

If God exists, and if you think that some information that was presented to you might have originated with God, then it's not impossible that the information before you tells you true things about God (or the future, etc).

The most obvious objection to revelation is "how can I know that this information I'm looking at is really from God?" In fact this question was addressed by the Judeo-Christian God through the prophet Moses, who first spoke then wrote "Deuteronomy" to the nation of Israel before they entered Canaan:

“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’

The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

This is a common-sense test of prophecy that anybody can apply: you don't have to believe in a prophet who can't prove to you that he or she is from God by way of a miraculous prediction. (Performing a miracle can be a miraculous prediction, too, as in the following where a healing is predicted: "In the name of the Lord, let your blindness be healed!")

EDIT: Theologians remind us from time to time that not all revelation comes through prophets. "General revelation" is information accessible to all persons which could reveal knowledge about God. For instance, under the Kalam Cosmological Argument, it is "general revelation" that identifies god/God as personal. As William Lane Craig puts it:

"Now there is only one way I can think of to get a contingent entity like the universe from a necessarily existing cause, and that is if the cause is an agent who can freely choose to create the contingent reality. It therefore follows that the best explanation of the existence of the contingent universe is a transcendent personal being – which is what everybody means by ‘God’."

From Does God Exist? by William Lane Craig

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    I'm not sure I understand how the deuteronomy verse counters the objection "how can I know that this information I'm looking at is really from God?" – TheLast Cipher Apr 18 '18 at 15:25
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    First of all, take it or leave it: I'm not putting this verse here as something imposed; it was intended as something granted. The verse is Judeo-Christian God acknowledging that people are skeptical, and providing a "kosher" way for them to satisfy that skepticism. It's simple: if somebody is claiming to tell you things that are impossible to verify and saying the information came from God, you can test that person. Ask them to make a prediction that only omniscient God could get right; if they get it right, then maybe they really are speaking for God. – elliot svensson Apr 18 '18 at 15:45
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    This was practiced by many people in the Bible. Gideon and the fleece, King Hezekiah and the shadow on the steps, Elijah's contest against the prophets of Baal, and others show how this is supposed to go. – elliot svensson Apr 18 '18 at 15:47
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    Moses apparently never heard of correlation without causation. – Robert Harvey Apr 18 '18 at 18:05
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    @RobertHarvey: Yet the actual example by Moses showed he understood very well. "When would you like the frogs removed?" – Joshua Apr 18 '18 at 18:10
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Trying to prove, scientifically, that God exists is probably a bit pointless but it's not necessarily absurd.

As with most of science. there's no requirement to try to find a theory of everything in one go. One could, for example, focus on attributes commonly attributed to gods and test for those. You've raised Creation, but there are others.

An interesting example would be the efficacy of prayer. It would be conceptually quite easy to test the effects of prayer with a well planned experiment on a large enough sample. Practically, it might be hard to find enough believers who want to participate in such a test but by no means impossible.

Now say you found out that Muslims were statistically much more likely to have their prayers answered than random but Christians or Jews weren't. Although this doesn't prove the existence of Allah, it would definitely be a start.

Similarly, if one found no effect from prayer, this wouldn't definitively prove the lack of a god but would add materially to the other evidence in that regard.

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    Interesting idea. It might be hard to put into practice, though. "Hey, millions of believers : wanna help me prove that your whole religion is built on lies?" – Eric Duminil Apr 18 '18 at 18:44
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    Studies on the effectiveness of prayer quite a few time have been done with mixed and conflicting results. – yitzih Apr 18 '18 at 19:42
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    @EricDuminil Actually many would probably want to try to prove that it is not a bunch of lies. To be fair though, with so many unknown and confounding variables it would be nearly impossible to disprove anything relating to religion (just as it is near impossible to definitively prove relgion). Ultimately though science and God are not conflicting ideas. Science is simply the rules by which the world works. Believing in God is believing that somebody designed and created those rules. . – yitzih Apr 18 '18 at 19:46
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    @yitzih there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work in principle. And it would fairly straightforward to set up experiments that would be statistically meaningful. It would be a waste of time because I don’t believe that it would change anyone’s mind unless it showed that prayer worked. Which it won’t. – Alex Apr 18 '18 at 20:36
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    And if God knows you're testing people who are praying, what's to stop him from skewing your test results? If God is a really existing person, you can't tell if he exists by such a test. Imagine if you wanted to prove whether a certain employee worked at your local pizzeria, but he always made certain to never answer the phone when the caller ID showed it was you calling. You could call a thousand times, and never get the evidence you were looking for. And that would prove nothing. – ErikE Apr 18 '18 at 23:20
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First, I agree with the claim stated in the currently most upvoted answer that the natural sciences do not prove things in the way that the formal sciences, like logic, math, and computer science, prove things, and that the natural sciences cannot give us 100% certainty.

However, as an answer to the OP I think the answer falls a bit short.

As I see it, we can easily take the use of the word 'proof' in the question to mean the word 'proof' as when in court we 'prove' that someone is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Indeed, I would say that scientists use the phrase 'scientific proof' in exactly that way, i.e. as 'demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt' rather than '100% certain'.

So, interpreted that way, I think the OP question still stands and is a very reasonable question: does it make sense to use science to try and 'prove' the existence of God in that sense of the word? Indeed, can we use science to obtain any kind of evidence at all?

Well, as others have pointed out, much depends on how one defines God. Certainly for some concepts of God it seems that science just won't be able to find any evidence; I am thinking of the kind of God who created the world but otherwise just sits back and watches from a distance as we are steadily fouling up the planet God so kindly provided for us.

However, if the God we pick has causal effects on the observable world on a more day-to-day basis, then it seems we might be able to use science to convince us that there is really 'something akin to a God' out there.

For example, if, as the aforementioned answer imagines, God indeed comes in every Saturday at NIST HQ riding his light-beam, well, then we can use science to try and see if there is indeed some genuine object there, or if maybe the people observing this are suffering from some kind of mass hallucination.

Now, of course, we have to be very careful here: if we find that the cup of coffee pops out of nowhere, well, that's pretty weird, and demands an explanation ... but I am not sure if that should convince us that this was due to the 'God' we had in mind, as opposed to something else. Indeed, if being 'a really, really, really, good being (and pretty powerful, to boot)' is part of how we define God, then frankly, producing coffee doesn't really impress me much, but I would be a good bit more convinced if this being snaps their fingers and all cases of bone cancer in children would disappear (apologies to Stephen Fry).

So, depending on how you define God, I think that yes, science could potentially find evidence of such a God, and maybe even 'prove' its existence beyond reasonable doubt.

Finally, let's be clear that science should of course not be in the business of trying-to-prove-God, but rather (assuming we find this to be a worthwhile pursuit at all) it should be in the business of testing-to-see-if-there-is-a-God. Indeed, in that sense, the original sense of the word 'proof', which was much closer to 'test', may in fact be the best of them all in the context of this question.

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    I think there needs to be a scientific definition of God. This definition must demarcate what the property of God is, but then this begs the question, as beingofnothingness have pointed out, do we have epistemic access to this 'god property'? – TheLast Cipher Apr 19 '18 at 16:12
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    @TheLastCipher Yes. And you're right; maybe some definitions are such that scientific tests are impotent as far as this question goes. I must say though; I have heard plenty of people proclaim to know 'their' God well enough to say things like "God would never allow X to happen" ... which for many instances of X would seem to be a perfectly testable claim. And the 'God' I was told to exist was one that I was told was all-good and all-powerful ... which may not be a very 'scientific' definition ... but good enough for me to reject that God, given bone cancer in children, etc. – Bram28 Apr 19 '18 at 16:21
  • Finally someone who understands that those disciplines are sciences and someone who also understands that the meaning of "to prove" goes a bit beyond the existence of a demonstration for a theorem. I would upvote 10 times if I could. – Andrea Lazzarotto Apr 22 '18 at 21:25
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    Science is full of things that have been "proved" in a way you say, and then later on revised --- sometimes very significantly -- as our understanding has grown. Eg. forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/09/27/… – Gnudiff Apr 23 '18 at 6:45
  • How would you prove that the snapping of that person's fingers would be the cause of all cases of children bone cancer disappearing? Or taking the question to a more absolute level: how would you prove to me that you are a self-conscious being as opposed to some kind of matrix simulation that I experience? – Lukas Kalinski Apr 23 '18 at 9:43
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I believe your claim that God is not well-defined depends on your taking God as a general concept. There are many scholars in many religions who have attempted to outline the defining characteristics of God/s. You might instead be encouraged to argue that these terms are not well-defined, although this is another argument.

As for the second part of your question, that is, that proving these in scientific terms is comical, will again be a subject of debate, as it will greatly depend on your answer as to whose account of God is being used here. If you are taking an account of God that expresses his/her/its only defining factor as a the first cause, and there is scientific evidence for a first cause, then you have also proven that this God exists, as its only defining factor is the very thing proven. On the other hand, if you are looking at an account that claims God is omnibenevolent, it is arguable that you can't derive moral claims from exclusively descriptive facts. As science is concerned only with these descriptive facts, some may say that you couldn't do work in science to analyse the moral status of a God because it is out of the capacity of science to do so; that is, we simply cannot expect of science that it offers answers on such topics. This may be the case with many properties that are looked at, although, as far as I am aware, theologians do not believe that proving the existence of God should be within epistemic scope of science.

  • Do you think making God, well-defined is fundamental to proving his//her/its existence? – TheLast Cipher Apr 18 '18 at 15:01
  • To answer a variation of your question: you need to know the properties you are looking for in order to determine if any thing has those properties. If we want to find the whether the claim "there exists a thing such that it has the property of being a God" is true, we better know what "the property of being a God" constitutes so we can determine what falls within that set. – BeingOfNothingness Apr 18 '18 at 15:58
  • I'm not as articulate as you, but this is exactly what I was trying to say. Since we can only assume the "god property", then we can only try to show what we assume must be shown, despite all the other possible properties of being a true god. – TheLast Cipher Apr 18 '18 at 16:15
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    I guess, then, the question is less concerned with whether science can answer questions about God, and more whether man does/can ever have epistemic access to the elusive "God Property". – BeingOfNothingness Apr 18 '18 at 16:59
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    @TheLasgCipher - totally makes sense. Your line of thought is a very reasonable one! – BeingOfNothingness Apr 18 '18 at 17:13
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It's certainly the case that different people have different definitions of "God", but that's true of a lot of words, including ones that are used in scientific papers. We just start off by picking a definition and then making sure we operate from that definition throughout the paper and don't accidentally slip back into using the common definition. The paper is about the idea we've defined. The word is just a shorthand so we don't have to repeat the definition constantly.

There's no particular reason why we couldn't pick a specific definition of God and then do research on whether or not it exists. That research would then be of use to anyone whose god fits the definition we used, and irrelevant to anyone using a different definition. But that's not a problem. There are papers in both information theory and thermodynamics that use the term entropy, and they use subtly different definitions. And to a scientist, "noise" refers to random errors in the data that must be accounted for, whereas to a non-scientist, it means that stuff teenagers listen to. This doesn't stop us from doing research involving these concepts; it just means we need to be careful we're not mixing up the different meanings.

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    @TheLastCipher You can define it that way, but you don't have to for it to be useful. Suppose you define it so as to exactly match the Catholic definition. With that specific a definition, you could probably prove quite a bit, but it would only be useful to Catholics. But you could remove a few details so every assumption we make is also true about the Protestant versions of God. We wouldn't be able to prove as much, since we have fewer axioms to work from, but what we prove would be applicable to more people. (continued...) – Ray Apr 19 '18 at 18:07
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    (...continued) Remove a few more details and we can prove even fewer things, but they're useful to Jews and Muslims as well. If you restrict your definition to the intersection of all gods, you won't be able to prove much at all, but anything you do prove is useful to everybody. You can pick whichever of these definitions you want. Or several of them, so long as you keep in mind which gods each applies to. What we're really proving isn't "God has these qualities". It's "If God has this set of qualities, then it also has this other set of qualities." – Ray Apr 19 '18 at 18:07
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    @TheLastCipher Also not necessary. Think of the classic example of the immovable rock. If God can create an immovable rock, then he can't move everything, and if he can move everything, he can't create an immovable rock. Which means that if you believe it can do one of those things, you must also believe it can't do the other, in order to be logically consistent. We can build up sets of qualities that can coexist without saying which (if any) actually corresponds to a real god. (Of course, the pure logic arguments are math, not science, but science relies heavily on math when done well.) – Ray Apr 21 '18 at 23:08
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    @TheLastCipher Yes, that's basically what I'm saying. There's always the possibility that you'll prove that some quality you want is incompatible with the basis set you've chosen, but the advantage of the axiomatic approach is that you're more likely to realize that's happened, whereas if you just pick a bunch of qualities you like and say God has all of them, you risk contradiction a lot more. Going back to the immovable rock argument, how many religions have had a truly omnipotent god, despite being a logically inconsistent quality? Recognize the contractions, then take steps to resolve them – Ray Apr 23 '18 at 13:19
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    @TheLastCipher That's probably the point where you want to start using actual science instead of math. The math will let you define gods that are logically consistent, but won't say anything about whether any of them exist. But if you can find empirical evidence that there exists a being that possesses some of these properties, you can use that to rule out any basis sets (as an aside, "axioms" is a better term for that) that are inconsistent with those properties. Think of General Relativity as an analogy: those equations permit lots of weird solutions, but only some agree with experiment. – Ray Apr 23 '18 at 14:43
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As has been pointed out repeatedly above, science is not mathematics and mathematics is not science, but mathematics is often a useful tool for building scientific theories. Mathematics deals with creating a self-consistent set of assumptions and deriving conclusions from those assumptions. Science deals with observing some real-world phenomenon and constructing a hypothesis (perhaps using mathematics) that explains it and makes predictions about other phenomena not yet observed.

The existence/nonexistence of God would fall more properly in the realm of science, not mathematics. Either there is or is not a Supreme Being (or a merely superior being in the case of "a god" as Greco-Roman and many other religions propose) in the real world. As such, making a well-defined definition of God is useful in that you would have a basis for testing: Are there phenomena in the real world that require the existence of THIS DEFINITION of God?

However, real physical objects in science are NOT defined in the same sense as mathematical objects like groups, circles, integers, etc. Mathematical objects exist SOLELY in terms of their specific definitions and have only approximate representations in the real world.

For example, electrons were originally described in terms of negatively-charged particles carrying electric current. Later, they were described by Bohr's theory of the atom, and later still by Schrödinger's model and later still by Dirac's model. These theories of the PROPERTIES of electrons all refer to the same physical objects, but they are refined on the basis of empirical evidence and repeatedly tested predictions. If a truly successful hybrid of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics is developed, it will contain yet another theory of the electron, but it is still referring to the same physical objects, just in a more detailed way that explains more phenomena.

My personal opinion is that there are no physical phenomena that require the assumption that any kind of God (or gods) exist(s), but I do not consider my opinion to be infallible, so I consider myself to be an "agnostic atheist" or "atheist agnostic."

I was asked to provide some references to my remarks about Quantum Mechanics in regard to electrons. I only used electrons as an example of how the description of a physical phenomenon (in this case electrons) evolves over time while it still describes the same physical object, just more precisely and in more detail. The details of exactly how that description has changed is not really that relevant to the general principle that science DOES change the description while still referring to the same actual objects.

The history of how the theoretical picture of electrons has evolved is interesting in itself, and it can be found in any good history of Quantum Mechanics. While I realize that Wikipedia itself is NOT an authoritative source, the Wikipedia articles on the history of Quantum Mechanics and the history of the idea of an electron is pretty accurate, and there are a number of links in the References section to more authoritative sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_quantum_mechanics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron#History

  • very reasonable and interesting! Do you think, the existence of the universe itself is a phenomena that requires the assumption that any kind of God (or gods) exist(s)? Since current scientific theories is not infallible? – TheLast Cipher Apr 19 '18 at 16:18
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    I usually look for references to judge opinions given in answers. This gives more solidity to the answer. Do you have any reference that goes into more detail about the Quantum Mechanical comments? – Frank Hubeny Apr 19 '18 at 17:34
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On one hand, I agree that proving the existence of a specific god is difficult. How to verify that we proved the existence of the right person? Though each god has a personal name - Jahweh, Allah, Brahma, Zeus, Athena - we cannot successfully complete our proof by verifying his/her identity card.

On the other hand, in the present context I do not consider it a serious handicap, that science does not prove general statements. There are many examples where physics discovered specific hypothetical entities: Higgs boson, W-bosons and Z-boson, positron, neutrino etc.

My main reason for being sceptical about a scientific or philosophical proof of the existence of a specific god is different. All these gods are characterized as powerful beings. But IMO

it is not convincing, that one needs sophisticated means to detect a powerful god, who – according to some of its followers – has even created the world and acts as its lord.

E.g., one needs no proof for the existence of the sun, its existence is evident due to its power.

  • its existence is evident due to its power - tell that to Stephin Merritt :) In seriousness, its powers may prove that some thing(s) produce them, but it doesn't prove that a concept like the Sun exists, unless you define the Sun purely as "the source of these observable powers", which is not how God is usually (ever?) defined – André Paramés Apr 20 '18 at 19:59
  • @AndréParamés actually anything unexplained (i.e. supernatural) was very often attributed either to god or to satan depedning on if it was good or bad. Who hasn't heard if something unexplainable but good happened: "Oh thank God"! It was about teaching people to turn their attention away from investigating stuff on their own. Don't look for answers on your own you silly, have you even checked Gs holy book? ;) – mathreadler Apr 21 '18 at 7:15
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God, as a concept in theism, is well-defined, or at least we can make the term well-defined by assigning a particular set of fundamental properties to it. It's that thing with those properties we call God. Those properties precede the term God. If science can clarify the facts that define God then logic can grant a proof of God's existence. It's not logic's job to clarify the premises. However, even if we could prove the existence of God, we would not be able to prove that this God is in fact the one who belongs to Christianity or some other religion because the definition of the Christian God might be different.

Well then, if I define something that is omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent and atemporal as God, then science should verify the existence of something with those properties with the aid of logic. If an equation has all those properties we will call it God. So, that something could be an equation, a fruit or a dog.

  • If the term is well-defined, please serve up its definition. Your last paragraph only moves the goalpost, because it uses terms that are not defined. (all four of them) – Tom Apr 23 '18 at 5:30
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In addition to the wonderful answers already given, I'd like to add a very practical view:

"God" as a term is so ill defined that it can mean virtually anything, and it is in fact constantly re-defined by believers to evade any falsification that science offers.

For example, "heaven" and "hell" were understood as actual places for millenia. Hell being the more obvious one as being derived pretty much verbatim from Greek mythology, were several heroes actually visit it by entering underground caves. But as soon as science advanced enough to actually visit or check thoroughly both space and underground, both of them became more abstract concepts.

The same is happening to "god". Whenever science progresses into an area where "god" was said to reside, and inevitable finds nothing, the concept "god" is redefined to be more abstract, less touchable. Eventually, "god" will retreat entirely into the virtual, where a proof or disproof is fundamentally impossible.

But we should not close our eyes to the fact that this has nothing to do with whether or not "god" is fundamentally unfalsifiable, but rather with the fact that the term "god" actually does not possess any definition at all, and evades the grasp of science purely out of ontological reasons.

  • Your answer makes me think that it is also as important for us to understand the emergence of the notion of God, in retrospect. I think this will offer us enormous insight as to why we have yet to discard the idea of God(s). By understanding, I meant metacognitively. Great answer! – TheLast Cipher Apr 23 '18 at 14:31
  • For me, the most insight happened when I began to see "god" as a human construction. If you apply Occam's Razor to that, literally everything makes sense. – Tom Apr 24 '18 at 5:21
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I don't believe science contains the tools necessary to prove (or disprove) God exists. This is why we have theories - and only theories.

Others have pointed out fallacies in the big bang theory. But, even if the BBT was able to be proven, it would not serve to disprove the existence of God. From the perspective of "faith", the BB could have been caused by the creator, just as easily as it could have been caused by any type of space matter that (somehow) formed from nothing at all.

"Proof", though often thought of as absolute, is quite possibly subjective anyway. If you asked someone if it is possible to prove something is 'cold', they would most likely tell you it is (possible). Science, however, would tell you it is NOT possible to prove something is 'cold', because 'cold' itself does exist... it is merely a relative (and therefore subjective) term used to describe the absence of 'heat'.

  • Do you have any references to people who also support your position? This would add depth to your answer and make it more than an opinion. – Frank Hubeny Apr 19 '18 at 22:02
  • Hi Frank. Re: supporting the position of (dis)proving God using science: The author of 'The Case for Christ' details his efforts to disprove the existence of God (and more specifically, Jesus). I won't dive into the details, but he found himself unable to accomplish his goal. Other scholars have attempted the same, with similar results. I chose tCfC as the example here, because Jesus is arguably the most historically documented religious 'figure', with accounts before and after His death. If Jesus cannot be (dis)proven with science, what god could be? – Dan Apr 20 '18 at 15:36
  • Good reference. I agree that Jesus is an historical religious figure. If one accepts that Jesus is God, then one has accepted the existence of God. – Frank Hubeny Apr 20 '18 at 16:24
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Perhaps more people should try to prove that God can exist instead of trying to prove it does not.

Just as branches of science (mainly physics) dig into how the Universe came to existence and up to this point its been able to prove that particles can form out of energy/waves and can dissipate into energy/waves without a 'creator' interfering, in a similar manner, other areas of science dig into the power of conscience, collective conscience and all possibilities that can result from a collective conscience, including the special proprieties of various levels of consciousness. By proving the true capabilities of different levels of consciousness science could prove that a being with the capability of altering the physical world can exist, therefore God can exist as an Universal creator.

Additionally to that, in time, science can become so advanced that it may even discover way more than the inter-works of collective conscience, maybe as fast as acutally finding the creator, assuming there is one.

  • I think the reason people are less likely to attempt to prove that "God(s) can exist" is because the possibility of God(s) existing is not zero since we have yet to prove that God(s) does not exist – TheLast Cipher Apr 21 '18 at 8:01
  • How is that different from saying we currently have a possibility of God(s) existing of zero since there is no confirmed evidence of an existence ? – Overmind Apr 23 '18 at 4:40
  • not sure if you are agreeing with my comment or not – TheLast Cipher Apr 23 '18 at 5:14
  • Partially, it really depends how people think and what they are used to. – Overmind Apr 23 '18 at 5:59
  • Well, there have been a few attempts to prove the existence of God over the years. For instance, there's the cosmological argument, ontological argument, teleological argument, Pascal's wager, fine-tuned universe argument, moral argument, argument from proper basis, argument from degree, and argument from necessary existence. Of course, there's some overlap between these, and lots of variations of most of them (e.g. the argument from first cause and the unmoved mover arguments are both essentially the cosmological, and basically any arguments from semantics fall under the ontological). – Ray Apr 25 '18 at 4:58
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There are a priori three possibilities: 1. There is no god. 2. There is a god, and it doesn't want humans to prove its existence. 3. There is a god, and it wants humans to prove its existence.

Quite obviously, in cases 1 or 2 we won't be able to prove god's existence in any way, including physics (there may be proof attempts that can be more or less easily debunked), and in case 3 there will be proof, which may be physical. There is no proof forthcoming so far, so I conclude that one of (1) or (2) is the case. Which isn't very enlightening :-)

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As I read your statements, I detect 3 questions. Two are different ways to state the same thing and the third is a different question.

It appears the your conclusion is due to the fact that since science is always "upgrading/changing" what is currently "proven," as new information is obtained, then it "is absurd for science to even try to prove that a god with the current personal attributes exists, since it is very likely that these attributes will change in the future.
The second reason for the same conclusion, is that "God is not well-defined (even in non-scientific terms), so trying to define God in scientific terms, is absurd.

Neither of these statements would be a justification for concluding that it is absurd for science to try to "prove" the existence of a God (or deity).
There are such things as inference, deduction, and analogy. These are the "tools" science uses to get as close as possible to 100% certainty, in the absence of direct observation. So, just like we know the existence of electrons (by their properties/effects), we could discover the existence of God (by His properties/effects).
The fact that God is not well-defined, is only a point of view. There are a number of well-defined attributes that a god must have to be God (regardless of whether we can test them or not).

The third question is, "What does one need to show to prove God's existence?
Although there could be innumerable methods/ways to prove it, I can think of a few that would prove it (at least to me). These are:
Princes Diane shows up at her son's wedding.
All persons that currently have any type of cancer are healed instantly and cancer disappears forever.
Evil disappears from all persons.
Only peace, love, and good will feeling can exist among mankind.

  • I think God(s) not being well-defined is a collective point a view. – TheLast Cipher Apr 25 '18 at 8:08
  • Actually, the examples you give have no bearing on the question of whether God (or gods) exist(s). If Princess Diana shows up at her son's wedding, it indicates that we don't really understand the nature of death, but it doesn't point to any particular God or gods being responsible. Universal cures for cancer just indicate that we didn't understand cancer as well as we thought we did. Evil disappears from all persons? Who defines the property of people being or not being evil? Why God? – JDMorganArkansas May 21 '18 at 19:21
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"Fundamental idea on proving God's existence with science" is not really a question but I will answer as if you had asked, "How could science prove the existence of God?".

Science cannot be used to prove the existence of God. Scientific theories provide repeatedly testable explanations for natural observations (https://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html). God's existence is not repeatedly observable and there are no other natural observations best explained by the existence of a god. The observation that men wrote a book describing the existence of a god is best explained by the earthly motivations of the men that wrote it, i.e. communication of community values to the populous in an age before mass education.

  • It is good that an answer provide references, at least one, so the reader has a place to go to get more information on the position you are presenting. References make the answer more than an opinion. – Frank Hubeny Apr 19 '18 at 11:43
  • You state only assumptions. Perhaps science is not advanced enough to make these determinations. See my answer. – Overmind Apr 20 '18 at 8:22
  • God's existence hasn't been observed at all. If god existed, it could easily create a non-repeatable observation - like switching the sun off for one second, that would be quite a shocking observation. – gnasher729 Apr 22 '18 at 22:40
  • @gnasher729: the problem with non-repeatability is that if an observer is not there, at the one-time event, then it is as if it did not happened! Maybe God did turned off (and on) the sun several times (just for fun), 3 billion years ago? So, not only must the event be repeatable, but also it must happen when it can be observed and reported/recorded. – Guill Apr 24 '18 at 19:30
  • References don't make the answer more than an opinion, it just means that it is not a unique opinion: somebody else has already held the same opinion. I have added a link to a discourse on scientific theory that could have been found by anybody performing the same search as I did to find it. Whether Alina Bradford's profile, or publication by the Live Science internet site give her opinion greater credibility, I will leave to your judgement. – Soren Cicchini May 12 '18 at 11:23

protected by Philip Klöcking Apr 19 '18 at 20:41

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