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No one thinks that them waking up at 9 am is evidence of God. No one thinks that a stone on the ground is evidence of God. No one thinks that going on a date with someone is evidence of God. No one thinks that opening your laptop at 8:32 PM is evidence of God.

Clearly though, the exact nature of those events are by themselves just as improbable as events that some do find meaningful such as praying to a God and winning some competition. And this is because, well, every event the more it is specified is improbable.

Thus, it can’t simply be the probabilities. In some way, you must establish that a God wanting to wake you up at 9 am has a higher likelihood of existence than a God who makes you win a competition after you pray to Him existing. But how can this be shown? If it can’t, why is one seen as virtually zero evidence for God?

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    Why not? For a believer everything is an evidence og God. Mar 17, 2023 at 7:06
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    Are you familiar with Bayes law?
    – Josiah
    Mar 17, 2023 at 7:55
  • Evil is banal. If you look at the mundane, you're very likely to find sufficient proof that God does not exist. It should take something quite spectacular to persuade someone to ignore the evidence of daily life, but as it turns out, humans are quite susceptible to confidence trickery, deception and confirmation bias.
    – Paul Ross
    Mar 17, 2023 at 9:29
  • what are the odds I threw a dart at a dartboard and it just happened to land precisely 34563409578309461235123 atoms away from the left hand edge?
    – user253751
    Mar 17, 2023 at 11:49
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    This shouldn't be downvoted, it is a fair question.
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 18, 2023 at 19:12

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Some remarks here. These refer to the weak and strong "severity requirements" for evidence as presented by Deborah Mayo in "Statistical Inference as Severe Testing" (and also somewhat earlier but I don't have the ambition to find the original source right now).

  1. There are usually competing explanations, and I think you don't appropriately acknowledge them. You write as if the only alternative to the existence of god is "simply probability", and you don't specify in any detail what that actually means. Sure, you can come up with a probability model given which all kinds of stuff that happens is very unlikely, but somebody could come up with a model that makes it far more likely. In any case you haven't specified with what you want to compare the existence of god, and neither have you given any argument why whatever it is is the only conceivable alternative. But in order to make any convincing argument that X happening is evidence for the existence of god you'd need to discuss what else could explain it.

Mayo's "weak severity requirement" says that "One does not have evidence for a claim if nothing has been done to rule out ways in which the claim may be false."

  1. It seems to me that if you could take whatever mundane event as evidence for the existence of god, there is basically no way to have evidence against the existence of god. At least you don't specify any such way.

Mayo's "strong severity requirement" says that "we have evidence for a claim C just to the extent it survives a stringent scrutiny", i.e., "a test that was highly capable of finding flaws or discrepancies from C". I don't see how your way of "collecting evidence" could ever be capable of finding evidence against god, therefore it can't provide compelling evidence in god's favour.

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    Maybe the idea that God doesn't exist is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary proof. With nothing convincing either way, it is equally plausible. Someone really ought to settle this question once and for all. Just saying, "there is no evidence" is getting old. Find some.
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 17, 2023 at 16:41
  • @ScottRowe Maybe saying "there is no evidence" is getting old, but this is what the question was about. Mar 17, 2023 at 16:44
  • I didn't mean to sound annoyed with you. But philosophy seems pretty powerless when it can't compel anything.
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 17, 2023 at 17:46
  • @ScottRowe What do you mean by "compel"?
    – Frank
    Mar 17, 2023 at 19:52
  • @Frank something as bone-obvious as gravity, which one ignores at their peril. After children learn about gravity, they don't tend to believe that they can fly. Why can't we teach other things in a similar way? If you are mean to people, they will avoid you or retaliate. Why isn't telling people things enough?
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 17, 2023 at 23:24
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I fear, TM, that you are seeking in vain for a rational explanation for the irrational behaviour of humans. That said, I think the clue to the answer could be in your headline question in the form of the word mundane. As I walked up to unlock my front gate this morning, I estimated that my drive contains circa 10 million pieces of gravel in a particular arrangement. The chances of those pieces being in that specific arrangement is incomparably less than the chances of me winning the lottery three times on the trot. The reason why I don't marvel at the arrangement of my gravel chips is that it has no particular significance to me. Had the pieces been arrayed instead in any other of the countless trillions of billions of gazillions of possible arrangements, I wouldn't notice the difference. If I won the lottery three times on the trot I would notice the difference.

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    True, but it says more about your habits of noticing than about the value of being. Perhaps we should all notice how beautiful things often are, and worry less about unlikely events?
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 17, 2023 at 9:39
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    @ScottRowe Indeed. We should count our mundane blessings! Mar 17, 2023 at 10:20
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"Why aren’t mundane events seen as evidence of a God?"

It depends on your model of a universe with a God and a universe without a God. If the mundane event is more likely in the model with a God than in the model without a God then mundane events will be seen as evidence of God. If you believe that mundane evens are not seen as as evidence of God, that implies that you believe that mundane events are less likely in a model with a God. That is fine, but the question is then how much less likely? If the likelihoods are not very different, then mundane events do not carry much useful information on the question, so it is unsurprising if they are not cited as evidence.

So do we have any reason to think that mundane events are substantially less likely in the presence of a God?

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  • I'm not understanding how you got to the final question? The OP said mundane events could be "zero evidence" for God, not that they are less likely if God exists. God should guarantee that everyone has sunshine and rainbows? But then those things would become mundane. Aaaaaahhhhh!...
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 18, 2023 at 19:22
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    @ScottRowe wasn't being quite that subtle ;o) just that that would be what was required for mundane events to be evidence of the absence of God, so looking at it the other way. It is a bit like making an email spam filter that looked for ocurrences of the word "the" - it doesn't really tell you anything as it is mundane (common) for both spam and ham. Mar 18, 2023 at 22:54
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Why aren’t mundane events seen as evidence of a God?

Because surprise produces a neurochemical response in the brain that is pleasing and causes alertness. So miracles produce a pleasing effect and its why gambling can be addictive.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/unexpected-brain-chemistry-is-behind-the-element-of-surprise/

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  • Some people find a way to feel surprise and delight in mundane events. It is strongly associated with higher self-development, such as non-dual states. At that point, which way this 'evidence' seems to point becomes a choice. One gets to rewrite the rules of evidence and proof. Having a preference one way or the other tends to stop by then though, one doesn't care about the outcome of the argument.
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 19, 2023 at 11:28
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Define 'God'. You can't investigate something for which you have no definition.

If the god in question is defined as a being who is in control of/responsible for everything which happens, then - as user Mauro Allegranza points out - everything can be evidence of that god's existence to the believer in such a god.

For the non-believer and believer alike, it would be a mistake to assume that 'opening up your laptop at 8:32 PM' is an 'improbable event'. We can't test the probability of such an event. For all we know, events could never have eventuated in any other way.

Shouldn't the question be, "Why would mundane events be seen as evidence of a god?". As has been pointed out in answers to your other questions, why would we attribute cause to an undefined being? And - if 'God' is defined in accord with the dogma of any of the major religions - why would we attribute cause to a being for which we have no reliable evidence?

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