Does God Really Exist ? - Some Thoughts 

By Aparthib Zaman

There are always a lot of debates and discussions in various e-forums on this topic,  some of those contain a lot of verbiage. But unfortunately those really did not succeed in making any clear case, as far as proving the existence of God, or refuting any argument against the claim of God's existence. No surprise, as that's how it has been for centuries. The main thrust of the article seemed to be that attempts to disprove the existence of God is not scientific. Well, science is not in the business of proving or disproving myths or beliefs, which are vague, ill-defined mental constructs invented by human minds. Science deals with well-defined concepts about reality that are amenable to theoretical or observational study. In the context of God the issue is not whether it can be proven or disproven by science, rather the issue is whether the term God can be defined in a consistent way, that suffers from no logical contradictions. The fact is it does not, all definitions inevitably gets into circularity, mutual contradictions and all sorts of fallacies. (Readers are urged to carefully review the following two articles:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/incompatible.html 
and
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/definition.html 
)

As a belief it can be held privately by individuals, since beliefs do not need to satisfy the requirements of logical consistency. But such beliefs cannot pass the logical criteria to be a unanimously accepted notion in academic fields. The only definitions ( if at all they are accepted) of God that do not suffer from any of the logical flaws are God = Laws of nature (Physics), God = Nature, God=Love etc. But those are just redefinitions of existing words, and hence the existence or non-existence of God of such definitions cannot be an issue of debate. Moreover such definitions do not reflect the religious notion of God that human mind wishes to believe in.

So before even the question of scientific proof or disproof of God arises, the logical question of the consistency of the notion of God needs to be resolved, which it has not been done in philosophy.

Let me present the issue as follows:

1. Has the existence of God been proved scientifically? (Yes/No)? If No, then case closed. If yes, then please provide the proof, or give reference to a "scientific" journal, book where a decisive proof has been provided for God, as understood in religion.

2. Stating some scientific facts does not constitute a proof of God, regardless of amazing that fact appears to human mind. So it is a fallacy to say that "Since only left handed DNA's are observed in nature, hence God exists Q.E.D", or that "Since Carbon has a resonant state that allows triple alpha process to form stable carbon molecule (hence life), so God must exist". This is a non sequitur. (See http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#sequitur )

The fact is no amount of scientific fact or data can be used to "scientifically" prove God, because the last line of such a "proof" will always be the statement "Therefore God exists", which is not only a non sequitur but also an unscientific statement of faith, not connected to any of the scientific facts and data that precede it. Scientific language does not necessarily make science: (See http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/faq1115.htm#SCIENTIFICLANG ).
 

So all the volumes of scientific fact cited in message (Some of those are inaccurate, but it would not make any difference even if they were accurate ) added nothing to prove the existence of God. At the end it remains an a priori belief.

3. The strongest motivation for the belief in God is the argument from design. How can there be creation without a creator? This is a fallacy that results from trying to generalize from human experiences to its absurd limit. Since we know that humans are the designer of many objects that we see, so the generalization is made that the whole universe is designed by "someone". That is stretching human reason to an unrealistic limit. There is no equivalent experience of unknown designer of known objects to inductively generalize from into drawing this conclusion about the ultimate reality. It will be an arrogance to insist on this extrapolation of human reasoning from the known to the unknown and unspeakable. So this is not a logical inference. It is a leap of faith. There is no "logical" reason to insist that the whole universe has to have a designer, just because we know that many objects we know to have human designer. It is a logical fallacy known as Affirmation of the Consequent. Besides insisting so would logically lead to the insistence to a designer of the designer and to an infinite regress. Saying that the designer does not have to have a designer would be arbitrary, and a statement of faith, not logic. An equally tenable, if not more statement would be that the laws of nature itself is the designer and does not need a designer itself. At least we have plausible evidences that point to laws of nature (Physics) giving rise to universe of space time and matter (through nucleosynthesis and inflation of quantum vacuum) and life through evolution. The emergence of living molecule from non- living ones, although not understood, but does not rule out a purely natural process behind that. All the intricacies of life and consciousness may quite plausibly be built into the laws of Physics, and manifesting itself as the workings of a conscious designer, But making a leap of faith to a designer other than the laws of Physics would the case of fallacy of argument from ignorance (See http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/distract/ig.htm  ) If one really wishes to get to the bottom of this, they may wish to go through all of the following articles:

1. http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/design.htm 
2. http://home.inu.net/skeptic/design.html 
3. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/4388/design.html 
4. http://skepdic.com/intelligentdesign.html 
5. http://www.stargazer.org/refute.txt  or http://www.ffrforg/lfif/refute.html   
6. http://www.duke.edu/~sdk2/ooze/skeptic/design.html
7. http://riceinfo.rice.edu/armadillo/Sciacademy/riggins/watch.htm 
8. http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/design.htm 
9. http://skepdic.com/design.html 
10. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html 
11. http://reason.com/9907/fe.ks.is.html 
12. http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-03/intelligent-design.html 
13. http://biomed.brown.edu/faculty/M/Miller/TR/Lifes-Design.html 
14. http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/dawkins_18_3.html 

For a more general logical discussion of God's existence see the
following:

1. http://www.skeptic.com/archives05.html 
2. http://home.inu.net/skeptic/god.html 
3. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/ipnegep.html 
4. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/logical.html 
5. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange  (AANC-1998)
6. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/aeanb.html 
7. http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/philo/drange_1_2.html 
8. http://secularhumanism.org/library/fi/smith_18_2.html 
9. http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/philo/smith_1_1.htm 
10. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/atheism.html 
11. http://secularhumanism.org/library/fi/schick_21_1.html 
12. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/george_smith/defending.html 
13. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/vic_stenger/otherside.html 
14. http://freethought.freeservers.com/reason/rationalview.html 

Finally I wish to respond to some specific comments in the above message :

Re:
 "Ghoraar Deem" theory is
 the most uneducated, idiotic theory anyone could give.

As for the "most uneducated, idiotic.." part my response is:
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html 

Now regarding the "Ghoraar Deem theory is.." part, I don't think that such a "theory" exists or was proposed. The point that was being made that just as science cannot prove that Ghorar deem does not exist, similarly science cannot prove that God as the object of a belief does not exist. That would be proving a universal negative, a logically impossible task and is a fallacy to attempt to do so. And it is another fallacy to turn around that impossibility and conclude that since you cannot disprove that such and such do not exist, therefore they do exist". This is called shifting the burden of proof fallacy (see example 3 of the following link: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html ). It is the (logical) burden of one claiming the existence of some entity to prove it's existence to others to justify the belief. No logical burden lies on others refusing to believe to justify their disbelief by disproving the claim of the existence . Lack of proof of its existence is a sufficient justification for non-belief. I think that's what was meant by Avijit, if not then he must have failed to convey what he meant (At least to the author of message ).

Re:
 There are many examples
where the creation explanation is more scientific than evolution.

This is remarkable. Creationism is scientific? Beliefs have no place in science. Creationism has not been accepted by the scientific community as scientific, that's why it is not taught in any branch of science. An individual scientist can hold creationism as a private belief, that fact does not make it scientific. Evolution on the other hand is. Evolution is a fact supported by evidences. No scientist disputes that. The only disagreement among the scientist are in the theory behind the explanation of this fact. There are various versions of the theory of evolution. But there is no scientific theory of creationism, as Creationism rests on belief primarily. I would like to see a specific example of creationism being more scientific than evolution as agreed to by scientific community as a whole and reflected in the journals or academic text.

 

For some details on evolution please check the following:

1. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to-biology.html
2. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html
3. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html
4. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/sciproof.html  (Proof of
evolution)
5. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-research.html
(evidences of evol)
6. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil.html
7. http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-qa.html
8. http://www.fes.uwaterloo.ca/u/jjkay/pubs/Life_as/text.html

Re:
If not then they need to put in gear and study their own faith and
come
up with more believable, scientific evidence, and proof rather then
attacking us those who believe in The Creator.

A refutation of the "logic" trying to prove a belief is not an attack of the believer. If someone mistakes a criticism of the message as a criticism of the messenger then he has to take responsibility for such a mistake. If a believer has the right to gratuitously offer a logical proof of their belief, then so does one who refutes such a proof. The use of the paranoid expression "attack" has no relevancy here. there is no victim, there is no assailant either. The same standard and criteria is applicable and is not disputed in other cases of belief like Astrology, dianetics, homeopathy etc. There is no reason to grant a special privileged status to religious belief. All dialectics has to allow counterpoints to any points.
 

Thanks

Aparthib

===============================================================

The article is kept at : http://humanists.net/avijit/article/aparthib/god_samuel.htm


Does God Exist ? A Response.

By Avijit Roy

E-mail: avijitroy@hotmail.com

Dear Readers,

The following piece is written in response to : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/5518 which contains some interesting arguments from theistic point of view. I am forwarding my rebuttal for the interested readers.~ Enjoy.

=======================================================

[Sajita]

OK you do not believe in God and other stuff but believe in science.

My response: Yes that makes the whole point  clear:-)


[Sajita]

I am talking about creating from scratch. Life is a mystery to our scientist.

My response: Yes life is a mystery. But Mystery does not mean miracle. Aaparthib has already pointed out the mystery many times in various e-forums. To briefly phrase his idea, the best known scientific answer today in scientific jargon : "Life is a dissipative structure that has achieved the threshold of complexity to become an autopoietic system." The purpose of life is nothing but to faithfully obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics by increasing entropy (Even eating, or even sex are dictated by this requirement, although our brain translates it into a sense of desire and pleasure for us, hiding the real underlying purpose from our conscious mind).

Now how life is formed ? Although a complete answer is not available, but we can expect to form a logical analysis about the creation of life keeping in mind about Occam's Razor  (Don't worry this razor wont hurt you anyway :-)). Moreover, we should also look into the sciences with all its modern insights for compiling our answers. Science itself is an ongoing phenomena, every day a new insight is being added to the knowledge based on checking and counterchecking that leads us closer  to the final understanding. Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Mendel's theory of heredity and most importantly the almost legendary discovery of DNA and deciphering of the genetic code in 1953 can be taken as the quantum jump of explaining the miraculous formation of life.  If we recall the famous experiment in the early 1950s Stanley L. Miller, working in the laboratory of Harold C. Urey at the University of Chicago, their result  showed how chemical and physical process can create the ingredients of life. They did first experiment designed to clarify the chemical reactions that occurred on the primitive earth. In the flask at the bottom, they created an "ocean" of water, which he heated, forcing water vapor to circulate through the apparatus. The flask at the top contained an "atmosphere" consisting of methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), hydrogen (H2) and the circulating water vapor. Next he exposed the gases to a continuous electrical discharge ("lightning"), causing the gases to interact. Water-soluble products of those reactions then passed through a condenser and dissolved in the mock ocean. The experiment yielded many amino acids and enabled Miller to explain how they had formed. For instance, glycine appeared after reactions in the atmosphere produced simple compounds - formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide - that participated in the set of reactions that took place. Years after this experiment, a meteorite that struck near Murchison, Australia, was shown to contain a number of the same amino acids that Miller identified (table) and in roughly the same relative amounts (dots); those found in proteins are highlighted in blue. Such coincidences lent credence to the idea that Miller's protocol approximated the chemistry of the prebiotic earth. More recent findings have cast some doubt on that conclusion.

Life is not simply an entity created from scratch from conception to birth (which you mentioned). Life is an evolving process that has been going on over billions of years in an incremental way. Life as we know it is a chemical system which needs both proteins and nucleic acids working closely together. Nucleic acids and proteins are built mainly from hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon atoms, which are among the commonest atoms in the Universe.

Here are some wonderful articles/responses  that explained the above scientific view :

http://www.fes.uwaterloo.ca/u/jjkay/pubs/Life_as/text.html

http://www.geocities.com/aparthib/scimeta.html#ARTICLE6

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/debate/life_death_afterlife_avijit.htm

http://www.historyoftheuniverse.com/life.html

http://www.historyoftheuniverse.com/biolenv.html#life

What is Life? - Lyn Margulis and Dorion Sagan

The Blind Watchmaker - RichaRD Dawkins.

http://www.mcb.arizona.edu/Hewlett/romepaper.html

 

 

[Sajita]

Now my question is how this complex structure came in existence? Who designed it? Do you think without a designer human being came in this planet? If there is no powerful designer then the question is how this complex organization could assemble itself?

My response: Your argument is known as "Design Argument" in philosophy. Design argument argues everything needs to have a designer/creator. Before giving a reply of this argument, I would like to request Sajita to read my following article which is a rebuttal of  "Design argument" :

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/god_design_argument_avijit.htm

 

 Now, the first, most common, and most obvious objection to the whole family of design arguments is the fact that any god which would have been able to create the universe would itself have to be rather complex and certainly couldn't be "accidental." So, if the universe and the human body is too complex to be accidental, what about this god? Who or what created this god? The theist will normally respond by claiming this god is a "necessary being" and doesn't need a "creator." Unfortunately, this is totally unsupported and totally unsupportable. There is no basis for such an arbitrary assertion, except to try to excuse their god from the same standards they wish to apply to the universe. However, any excuse made for this god can be equally work for the universe. Why can't the universe be "necessary" or not need a "creator?" No one can say - after all, we really don't know enough about our universe or universes in general to make such a judgment.

This is key: underlying nearly ever design argument, you'll find the assumption of ignorance of something and then the conclusion that since we don't know, then a god must be the proper explanation. But Ignorance an never be a good argument in any meaningful sense. Ignored is the question of whether or not an unknown and possibly unknowable god, using unknown and possibly unknowable methods, for unknown and possibly unknowable reasons, can ever be considered a rational "explanation" for anything.

The Design Argument is developed from watchmaker argument of William Paley which has been refuted by skeptics/agnostics /atheists long time ago, and today this type of argument is no longer utilized in any meaningful discussion.  Paley's famous statement was -


"Suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly answer that for anything I knew, the watch might always have been there. The watch must have had a maker, who comprehended its construction and designed its use. Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design which existed in the watch, exists in nature, with the difference on the side of nature of being greater or more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation."


The statement contains many fallacies which I have already pointed out in my article :

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/god_design_argument_avijit.htm

Please also check the following two links :

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/who_created_you_aparthib.html

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/aparthib/god_samuel.htm

Rebuttal of Argument from Design:
1. http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/design.htm
2. http://home.inu.net/skeptic/design.html
3. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/4388/design.html
4. http://skepdic.com/intelligentdesign.html
5. http://www.stargazer.org/refute.txt  or  http://www.ffrf.org/lfif/refute.html
6. http://www.duke.edu/~sdk2/ooze/skeptic/design.html
7. http://riceinfo.rice.edu/armadillo/Sciacademy/riggins/watch.htm
8. http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2437/design.htm
9.  http://skepdic.com/design.html
10. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html (Vic Stenger:Cockroaches..)
11. http://reason.com/9907/fe.ks.is.html (Kenneth Silber)
12. http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-03/intelligent-design.html (Taner Edis)
13. http://biomed.brown.edu/faculty/M/Miller/TR/Lifes-Design.html
14. http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/dawkins_18_3.html
15. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/features/2000/pigliucci1.html
 

[Sajita]

Not only that but take the example of earth sun and moon. Sun and moon's distance from earth is so precise and so accurate that if sun comes little nearer, it will consume the whole earth with extensive heat. And if sun goes little far away then life is not possible on earth it will freeze you to death. How is it possible that without a designer sun, moon and earth are in perfect position?

My response :  Your statement - "Sun and moon's distance from earth is so precise and so accurate that if sun comes little nearer, it will consume the whole earth with extensive heat. And if sun goes little far away then life is not possible on earth it will freeze you to death" leads us to recompile the "Fine tuning" Argument to prove the existence of god.

The basic argument starts with a few very simple assumptions. We believe that anyone who accepts that the universe is "fine-tuned" for life would find it difficult not to accept these assumptions. They are:

a) Our universe exists and contains life.

b) Our universe is "life friendly," that is, the conditions in our universe (such as physical laws, etc.) permit or are compatible with life existing naturalistically.

c) Life cannot exist in a universe that is governed solely by naturalistic law unless that universe is "life-friendly."

The existence of "fine-tuning" in the universe (in the sense of various parameters being narrowly balanced to produce life) is well known among the physics community, theists and non-theists alike. But surely you realize that there is a world of difference between "fine-tuning" and "intelligent design", and that the latter does not logically follow from the former? And the claim "either the Universe was designed specifically for us by a creator or there is a multitude of universes" is clearly a false dichotomy -- there are other possibilities, perhaps more plausible than either of those two.

The Fine-tuning Argument only appeals to actual explanations, not to merely possible ones, whereas the suggestion about a "theory of everything" only says there may come to be a certain explanation without actually providing one. Let us take him to be insisting that we confine our attention to actual explanations and to be claiming simply that the God hypothesis is the best explanation of all those that might be put forward today. It is worth noting, though, that advocates of the Fine-tuning Argument have never shown that alternate universes are physically possible.

How "fine" is our universe is quite a debatable issue ( if the probability that a randomly-selected universe would be life-friendly  is very small, then the probability that naturalism is true, given the observed fact that the universe is "life-friendly," is also very small), however if really so,  now question arises, does "fine tuning" necessarily prove that God exists? No. The considered position of scientists is that fine tuning in the form of the anthropic coincidences is real but that a creator is by no means the only explanation. Even if intelligent design were proven it would still not necessarily mean that the Biblical/Judeo-Christian God was involved which Sajita emphasising. Further information may improve the strength of the argument. For instance, if we find that our laws of physics provide an easy pathway to the origin of life that requires them to be exactly as they are, this would be further evidence for an intelligent creator.

The so-called other anthropic coincidences, in which the constants of nature seem to be extraordinarily fine-tuned for the production of life, are cited, in many web pages and religious books as evidence. However, no such interpretation can be found in scientific literature. Based on all we currently know about fundamental physics and cosmology, the most logically consistent and parsimonious picture of the universe as we know it is a natural one, with no sign of design or purposeful creation provided by scientific observations.

 

Check the following links for reference:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/tuning.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theodore_drange/tuning-revisited.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/finetuning.html

http://www.escape.ca/~acc/reading/godofgap.php

http://spot.colorado.edu/~vstenger/Cosmo/anthro_skintel.html

http://quasar.as.utexas.edu/anthropic.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_hurben/univ.html


[Saijita]

Now the question is does God exists? Let me take the few things from the Bible and show you whether God exists or not? If you read the Bible, you will see a relationship between God and human being. There are many people in the Bible who had direct contact with God. They spoke to God, they saw God. And even many see today in this modern age. Why? Because yes, there is a God who is the designer and creator of universe.

My response : I am not sure what exactly your point is. In one of my previous responses to you I mentioned that For me, A clear definition of 'God', plus some objective and compelling supporting evidence, would be enough. The evidence must be objective, though; anecdotal evidence of other people's religious experiences isn't good enough. And notably - a strong, compelling evidence is required, because the existence of god/supernaturalism is an extraordinary claim -- and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Personal "spiritual" experience is not a conclusive proof to me. One should not overlook the fallacy of Anecdotal evidence while any one attempts to prove god/spiritual being through personal spiritual experience. One of the simplest fallacies is, no doubt, to rely on anecdotal evidence to prove god/fairy tales/ monster/ghosts etc. You claimed that there are many people in the Bible who had direct contact with God. Similarly many hindu followers in India claims that their spiritual Gurus can contact with god. Hearing their stories, are you willing to accept Hindu god, such as Bishnu, Brohmma, Kali ?  Actually Sajita, those who claim to have a "direct contact" with god are just mentally/psychologically  retarded persons or they are fraud.

 


[Saijita]

These books of Bible were written many thousands of years ago when they had no chance to even imagine all these things.

My Response: you see, you are among those who always search science in religious scriptures. There are many "scientific" books written by Hindu apologists who claim to find space station, atomic bomb, test tube baby, robot, theory of evolution, gravitation, unified field theory, cosmic egg, black hole, time-dialation everything in Vedas. Muslim apologists claims to find those in Quran and you claim to find those in Bible.  Aparthib already pointed out those falacies many times in various e-forums:

"Trying to find out  modern science in ancient religious book  is just a flawed attempt that is often made by apologetics of all religions, some more than others. If one likes to see science in anything they can see it anywhere. Some Joe may have said "All is relative" before Einstein's theory of relativity. By this stretch of imagination that Joe can legitimately claim that he already knew about relativity and claim originality. Any vague phrase, pun, quote etc by humans, scriptures etc can be customized and made to fit any scientific principle which also have been phrased in a very general way for popular consumption hiding the underlying precise sense of these principles. Its an insult to science and the scientists whose painstaking research has helped unravel the complex workings of the laws of nature and reality. None of these scientific revelations were inspired from, dependent on, or utilized any of the religious revelations. If religious revelations could not and did not lead to any of these scientific truths in a stand alone way then by any criterion and logic they cannot be used to corroborate science. There are many unanswered questions in the basic understanding of the universe. Why can't the verses of scripture throw any light on them? For example we don't at this time know for sure if the universe is closed, open or flat. No body dares to make a prediction based on any revelation. But if it is ever found out by science I am sure one can dig out some vague words of a verse from some book of some religion and claim to "see" the answer that science has finally managed to find. Its always AFTER the fact that these semblances are found. It has never been found BEFORE the scientific discovery. Is that a coincidence?.  

We must realize that Einstein need not read Quran/Bible to discover his theory of relativity, rather than, only after Einstein discovered the basic fact, some of the Muslim/Christian interpreters made a loud noise to dig some silly suras/verses from Quran/Bible to make analogy with relativity by force.

"Religion can never vindicate or falsify science. If Bible is really a book of science then then what branch of science is this? Physics ? Chemistry ? Biology ? Social science? Library science? Political science? No answer. Apologists can only give the answer in the line of technological/medical science relating blurry wordings of the book with practical examples of embryology, astronomy, Big-Bang, etc. Moreover, if one considers Quran/Bible/Gita as a super-scientific book then, they should be able to show us us at least one scientific principle that is disclosed in Qur'an without using any mumbo jumbo words and hocus pocus boring tricks of difficulty with confusing mis-interpretation. The truth or falsity of a scientific principle lies within science itself. Religious scriptures cannot speak of any scientific principle. Religious revelations are absolute directives and narratives for humans to follow as faith unquestioningly. Many revelations clearly contradict many accepted scientific principles. No scientist of any repute have ever tried to substantiate scientific principles by religious beliefs. Most scientists and theologicians would rather not mix faith with objective and rational field of science. Koran/Bible/Gita etc are not books of science. Any coincidental vague semblance between a verse and a popular phrasing of a complex scientific principle is solely due to the very general and vague wordings admitting of any interpretation that one chooses to impose on it. All one needs is some vague reverse fitting argument to connect the two. One can find Quantum Mechanics in Tagore's poems, or relativity in the Buddhist Monk Nagarjun's writing. Just seeing what one likes to see because of a preset belief in a favored belief system doesn't make it so by any objective criterion. My purpose is not to disrspect religion or its revelation, but to question the attempt to reconcile the two in an illogical way. They can be irreconcilable and yet can continue and thrive as separate ways as long as one does not get in the way of the pursuit of the other. (~Aparthib)"

You may read the following articles for references:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/vic_stenger/schrev.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1991/1/1boobo91.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/anthony_garrett/esct.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1993/1/1brain93.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/clarence_darrow/bible_absurdities.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/clarence_darrow/bible_absurdities.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/science/physics/index.shtml

http://www.humanists.net/avijit/article/10_myths_about_Quran.htm

http://humanists.net/avijit/letter_of_debate1.htm

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/mirza_refute_ahmedullah.htm

 

[Sajita]

And more than that I am sure that what you believe(Atheism), you do not have proof of it. You cannot prove that there is no God. Because you do not have whole-knowledge so when you say that, "there is no God", this sentence is a lie itself. .... it means you should have complete knowledge of everything otherwise you can not say that there is no God.

My response: I think Sajita, it is nonsense to say that nobody has proved the non-existence of god. Why ? if you believe that the god exists, it is you who have to bring the scientific proof, cause, it is your duty to establish your concept, not my duty to disprove it first. This is called "BURDEN OF PROOF". The burden of proof is always resides on the person making an extraordinary assertion or proposition (for e.g existence of god, angel, devil, alien, ghost etc.). It is a fallacy to push the burden of proof on the person who denies or questions such an assertion. [ see : http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html ]

"If I were asked to prove that Zeus and Poseidon and Hera and the rest of the Olympians do not exist, I should be at a loss to find conclusive arguments !!????!!!" -- Bertrand Russell

Please check :

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/debate/eshomabesh/argumant_to_oppose_response_avijit.htm

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/martin-frame/tang.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/keith_parsons/mcinerny.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/ipnegep.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/steven_conifer/ar.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/steven_conifer/al.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/3/3burde97.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/6/976proof.html

 

[Sajita]

Second thing is, if you believe on big-bang, earth's age is millions of years, man evolved from monkey or lower organisms.. what is the proof of it? Big-bang can not produce LIFE. There is no evidence of millions of years but it is all assumption and day dreaming of scientist because Carbon Dating Method does not work more than 35,000 years.

My response: I am not believing anything. I rely on science and scientific methodologies. Science is not a belief / faith, anyway. Believing or having faith  in something cannot constitute a knowledge, unless the object of the belief is defined unambiguously and then verified objectively resulting in a consensus that crosses all religious/cultural/ethnic boundaries. I am sure in your school days, you have faced those questions in physics - "How rainbow is formed?" or "Why the sky is blue" etc, right ? You certainly tried to give the answer from theknowledge of physics.  But, how much number a student  expect if  he explains - "Rainbow is formed .... because god has created it" ? Absolutely zero. Similarly "God has created the universe" - this statement do not add any extra knowledge in our mind rather than enforce to escape scientific methodologies and relies on (blind) faith/belief.   "OH God !  you created us" - illustrates the attitude of total surrender of the individual to the god of his faith which does not require any further (scientific) investigation. Unlike religious belief, science is not based on faith , but science is a genuine knowledge acquired through scientific method through checking/counter checking . It is not a dogma that clings to its veracity doggedly like religion. 

Big bang is not in a business to define the creation of life. "Big Bang" is a model to describe the beginnings of the Universe. It is a model of the Universe beginning at very high density and temperature, which expands and cools to become the Universe we observe now. "Big Bang" which conjures up the picture of some huge firecracker exploding,  a gigantic thermonuclear explosion may be more apt, though even that does not do the event justice. There are many supportable evidence for Bigbang. . Edwin Hubble, substantially building on initial velocity measurements of Slipher, determined that the vast majority of galaxies are moving away from us, and that the velocity of their recession is proportional to their distance from us. Therefore close galaxies possess small velocities, distant galaxies are receeding with the largest velocities. This is commonly referred to as the Hubble expansion. This expansion would be observed from any galaxy, not just ours. Another supportable evidence for Bigbang  is Element abundance predictions based on the creation of light atomic nuclei (eg. Deuterium, 2H; 4He; 3He; 7Li) during the first few minutes of the Big Bang agree extremely well with those observed. And of course, the discovery of background radiation in 1965, consistent with relic energy from the Big Bang was a landmark finding that firmly consolidated the model.

 

[Sajita]

And there is no other method to know the millions of years old things. And there is no evidence transitional forms of animal or insects or birds or even human being. Why we do not see any transitional forms if we are evolved from other species?


You have a very wrong concept of evolution. You said, "Why we do not see any transitional forms if we are evolved from other species?" To clarify you, Biologists define evolution as a change in the gene pool of a population over a large period of time (not the short period like in front of your eyes). One example is insects developing a resistance to pesticides over the period of a few years. Even most Creationists recognize that evolution at this level is a fact. What they don't appreciate is that this rate of evolution is all that is required to produce the diversity of all living things from a common ancestor. Even without these direct observations (direct observation is not possible because no body has such a huge life-span to observe evolutionary changes, but, it would be wrong to say that evolution hasn't been occurred. Evidence isn't limited to seeing something happen before your eyes. Evolution makes predictions about what we would expect to see in the fossil record, comparative anatomy, genetic sequences, geographical distribution of species, etc., and these predictions have been verified many times over. The number of observations supporting evolution is overwhelming. But what you want is direct evidence that is one animal abruptly changing into a radically different one, such as a frog changing into a cow or apes turns to human. That's what evolution never claims. This is not a problem of evolution because evolution doesn't propose occurrences even remotely like that. In fact, if we ever observed a frog turn into a cow, it would be very strong evidence against evolution, because it would then be thought of "god's miracle" rather than gradual process of evolution!

When you hear talk of evidence for evolution, the first thing that frequently comes to mind for most people are fossils. Fossils that show intermediate characteristics are generally called transitional fossils. Transitional fossils are fossils that have characteristics that are intermediate in nature to organisms that existed both prior to it and after it. As such, transitional fossils are strongly suggestive of evolution. There are many examples of transitional fossils in the fossil record. Examples include large-scale transitions such as from reptiles to birds (like the controversial archaeopteryx) and from reptiles to mammals, as well as more detailed transitions, such as those among the many hominids or the development of horses. The fact that, despite the rarity of fossilization, we have a wealth of transitional fossil data and that the fossil data generally conforms to the phylogenetic tree is strongly supportive of the idea of evolution.

Humans are also not exceptions. They also had to pass under the systematic process of evolution. There are many examples such as ER 1813 (510 cc), Java(940 cc), Peking(915-1225 cc) ER 1470(750 cc) -they are almost or very near to apes. And even, creationists (Who think God created Humans) themselves cannot agree on the point which fossils are humans and which are apes. ( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/compare.html  ) This is exactly what we would expect if evolution had occurred. If, on the other hand, creationism was true and there was a large gap between humans and apes, it should be easy to separate hominid fossils into humans and apes. This is not the case. It would not matter even if creationists could decide where to put the dividing line between humans and apes. No matter where it is placed, the humans just above the line and the apes just below it will be more similar to one another than they will be to other humans or other apes.

BTW, Another popular wrong idea of evolution is  that evolution claims that hominid directly came from apes, which is not true. Evolution tells that both of these species had the common ancestors.

 

[Sajita]

Third thing is, do atheism have answers for our problems? 

My response: No. I never claimed. I took this path because it seems to be most rational choice for me. Atheism will not solve each and every problem of the universe, but it certainly a first step  to become a rational being.

 

Best regards.

Avijit
=========================================================================

http://humanists.net/avijit/article/sajita_god_life.htm



Does God exist? Most probably not

By Ashraful Alam

E-mail : masud80@yahoo.com 

Avijit and Aparthib bhai have beaten more technical and complex arguments to death at least a dozen times before my very eyes. I wish they would make available a break-down of the arguments and the refutation in their respective websites, which will spare them of spending time on addressing the same motifs again and again and again. Anyway, here's my $.02.

In response to :

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/5518 



 

[Ms. Sajita]

OK you do not believe in God and other stuff but believe in science. Let me start with human body. Did you ever think that how complex human body is? Every tiny cell that is not visible with our naked eyes contains whole genetic information of the person. Every person's DNA is unique. Movement of your body, cells are differently programmed to their particular functions. For example if you want to move your figures, there are hundreds and thousands of cells that does the job. And if you want to close your eyelids or move your eyebrow, the cells are differently programmed. Only a small alteration can cause it dysfunction.


Ok my turn.

1. Did you know human body is far from perfect? The bone that stays on the base of your spine has absolutely no functionality other than causing you tremendous amount of pain if you fall right onto it.

2. Do you know there's no need for the optic nerve and blood vessels to run across the frontal part of retina?

3. Are you aware that in male body the urethra passes right through the prostate gland making them prone to infection and subsequent enlargement of the gland?

4. Have you come across the info that human elbow has an appalling design flaw? At the knob on the lower end of the humerus the ulnar nerve is exposed just under the skin. Therefore, a jolt by a hard object causes a mighty painful sensation.

5. Did you know that human brain is highly redundant? A great mass of synapses exists in the brain without contributing to the memory capacity?

More examples can be provided if requested.



[Ms. Sajita]

" Brain is very small part of human body but it stores tons of data with color images in it. Brain is sharper than any sophisticated computers."

What's your definition of 'sharpness' here? If being able to "recall things that took place many years ago" is to be considered as brain being sharp, then you are *not* entirely correct. Provided no external damage is received, computer magnetic disks are more reliable than human brain, as data is more prone to be corrupted in brain. Unlike brain, information in computer disks don't fade away with time. A huge database consisting of millions of entries can be sorted through and feeded to users within seconds; human brain is hopeless in this case. Mathmatical computations in computer memory are way faster than brain. Yes, brain is more sophisticated in the sense that it can perform more complex actions and react to bodily impulses with the in-house conductive cells.

 

[Ms. Sajita]

"You can recall the things that took place many years ago within split seconds. Few months back when my Dad had a stroke, he was seeing double vision. Doctors could not understand what was wrong because CT-Scan did not show any reason for it. "

 

Subjective experiences like NDE (near death experience) or your dad's case (if that's not NDE) can not be peddled as proof for the existence of God. People have been reported to have communicated with aliens, dead people, dead pets, none of which are proofs for God. If someone is bent on believing subjective experiences, then s/he should rather prefer Sai-baba-esque miracles, which are at least visible and can be observed, than NDEs experienced internally by other people. Here's a mind-warping(!) experience by a Sai baba fan:

"Das Ganu once had an unforgettable experience. On a festive occasion, he sought Baba's permission to go to a place called Singba on the banks of the Godavari to have a bath in the holy waters. "No," Baba replied resolutely, "where is the need to go all the way when the Godavari is here right at my feet?" Das Ganu was vexed. He was willing to concede that Ganga the holy river (Baba frequently referred to Godavari as Ganga) rose from the feet of Sri Narayana (one among the Hindu trinity of Gods) himself, but his faith was not deep enough to believe that the waters of the Godavari could spring form the feet of his master, Sri Sai. Baba who was reading Das Ganu's mind decided that this was the time to strengthen Das Ganu's faith. He told his devotee: "come closer to me and hold the hollow of your palms at my feet!". As soon as he did so water flowed freely out of the toes of the master's feet and filled the hollow of Das Ganu's palms in no time. His joy knew no limits. He sprinkled the water on his head and his body and distributed some more among the assembled devotees as tirtha (holy water)."

( http://www.saibabaofshirdi.net/miracles_of_sai_baba.htm )


 

[Ms. Sajita]

"Just a small difference made his vision abnormal. And more than that with all our modern technology our scientists are unable to produce (create from scratch) the same kind of model or any living being. I am not talking about cloning or genetically identical copy of existing creation. I am talking about creating from scratch. Life is a mystery to our scientist."


Ahem! Well, of course. It was more mysterious say 1000 years ago than it is now, it was more puzzling 2000 years ago than 1000 years back, so forth and so forth. The mystery is being unwound everyday, little by little, much to the dismay of great many believers. If you are intellectually honest, you'd rather put your trust on science and scientists than the vague, outdated verses of holy(!) book that lend themselves to myriad of interpretations, for getting a veritable look to mystery of life. In our life time, the look might be partial, but we're better off believing in partial but objectively provable facts than objectively intangible mythology of scriptures.


[Ms. Sajita]

" Now my question is how this complex structure came in existence? Who designed it? Do you think without a designer human being came in this planet? If there is no powerful designer then the question is how this complex organization could assemble itself?"

The gradual assembling of the elements of universe is perfectly within the realm of science, but what triggered that assembling isn't. But either way you cannot prove God's existence through falsifiable theory.

An important question would be: How did you come to the conclusion that it was the work of a supreme being, and not Invisible Pink Unicorn, or One-eyed-alien-pirates? More importantly, how did you even decide universe isn't uncaused? Your line of reasoning, i.e., Argument from design, is one of top-five popular arguments for believers, which has never been shown to have much basis. Now to see the problem with the argument, let's see the logical setup of it:

Premise1: If God didn't exist, life on Earth would be unfriendly.

Premise2: Life on Earth is friendly.

Conclusion: God exists.
 

According to Weak Antropological Principle, life on Earth can be friendly sans existence of God. So, there goes out of window Premise1. Premise2 isn't true at all, since life on Earth is not necessarily friendly. Thus the conclusion is unsound and should be rejected.

 

 [Ms. Sajita]

Not only that but take the example of earth sun and moon. Sun and moon's distance from earth is so precise and so accurate that if sun comes little nearer, it will consume the whole earth with extensive heat. And if sun goes little far away then life is not possible on earth it will freeze you to death. How is it possible that without a designer sun, moon and earth are in perfect position?

They will be in their respective positions so long as the Sun keeps burning its fuel. After that the Solar System is supposed to be inhabitable.

But why we concern ourselves with only Solar system evolution, when there're thousands of other such Star systems which have gone through the creation-destruction cycle. Moreover, the evolution of Solar system can be explained by Protoplanet hypothesis, which has more evidential support than God hypothesis. If God hypothesis is better, then you must show it through scientific means, and not by emotive assertions.


[Ms. Sajita]

" Now the question is does God exists? Let me take the few things from the Bible and show you whether God exists or not? If you read the Bible, you will see a relationship between God and human being. There are many people in the Bible who had direct contact with God."


You haven't even proved God's existence and yet have claimed the sheep had direct contact with God!


........

<This area contained a Bible thumping session. Snipped because of

circular logic and throat irritation :-)

........


[Ms. Sajita]

" And more than that I am sure that what you believe(Atheism), you do not have proof of it."

Atheism is not a belief, for God's sake. Atheists just claim they don't believe in God. There's a distinct difference between not consenting to believe in an entity because of lack of proofs, with claiming the entity doesn't exist. While the latter is a positive claim, the former is just a denial, nothing more and nothing less. If I challenge you to prove Invisible Pink Unicorn doesn't exist, you cannot prove it, can you? But you still won't believe in it. Why? Because nobody has ever packed you with objective proofs of it. So, to the existence of Invisible Pink Unicorn, you're an Atheist.


[Ms. Sajita]

"You cannot prove that there is no God."


A negative statement can not be proven. That's a logical fallacy. You cannot prove there's no Green elephant, four-eyed zombies, alien pirates etc. [Ms. Sajita] " Because you do not have whole-knowledge so when you say that, "there is no God", this sentence is a lie itself. Because if someone asks me, "Do you have candle in your home." There are three type of answers are possible from me, "Yes", "No", "I do not know" Whole knowledge is never a requirement for denying the existence of assertions. "There is no God" is a meaningless sentence, so its being lie is moot. As for you candle analogy, the definition of the entity 'candle' is properly defined, it's attributes clearly identified. Besides, a candle be observed in an objective basis. Now contrast that with your God - it's vaguely defined, attributes poorly demarcated with objective observation of it being an impossibility (at least so far). Hence, while the answer to the question "Do ... home" can be satisfied in one of the aforementioned three ways, existence of God cannot. "No" seems to be a tempting answer, but when Atheist say they don't believe in God, that's not what "No" refers to in the case of the candle analogy.



[Ms. Sajita]

" Second thing is, if you believe on big-bang, earth's age is millions of years, man evolved from monkey or lower organisms.. what is the proof of it? Big-bang can not produce LIFE."

Which scientist claimed Big-bang produced life? Reference please.



[Ms. Sajita]

"There is no evidence of millions of years but it is all assumption and day dreaming of scientist because Carbon Dating Method does not work more than 35,000 years. And there is no other method to know the millions of years old things. And there is no evidence transitional forms of animal or insects or birds or even human being. Why we do not see any transitional forms if we are evolved from other species?"

Standard young-earth creationist argument, refuted some 20000 times! That ~30000 years come from the fact that the decay rate of carbon-14 in our atmosphere matches production rate, which in turn leads to the equilibrium in approximately 30000 years. But that bound is hardly refutation for the validity of radio carbon dating. Because the concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere is calculated by performing same dating method on an object with its age known and finding |dating age - the real age|. To refute radio carbon dating method, you need to show the equilibrium is broken, instead of jumping gun on the bound. For additional, relevant information check these two sites:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/isochron-dating.html 

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html


As for transitional fossils, we do have evidence for transitional fossils (transitional vertebrate). What you probably meant to say was why the transition between species in fossil record is so rare. That's because of the rarity of preservation and the fact that speciation occurs in small population during geologically short time.

 

[Ms. Sajita]

Third thing is, do atheism have answers for our problems? Two days back Supreme Court decision on child pornography which overthrew the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 will do nothing better but lead to more immorality. The high court ruled that the act violates First Amendment rights to free speech. Ironically enough in one TV news it was said that those computer-generated images are not pornographic but a form of art. Humanists have no solution to our problems but in the name of "Free Speech" they are adding more violence and immorality in our society. It is not free speech or freedom of mind but bondage of sin. If anybody wants to be free from their lust and sin there is only one way - Jesus.

And now ladies and gentleman, in return for the above bone-shattering panegyric, Jesus will be raining upon you buckets and buckets of salvation-liquid. To protect yourself from being overwet, you can sporadically flap my patented Alam's umbrella(TM) toward the sky. Amen!

-Alam

 

More debate on God Issue in Mukto-mona :

  Subject Author Date
5696 Re: Does God Exist? Avijit Roy Tue  4/30/2002
5679 How to believe in God Shamsul Arefin Tue  4/30/2002
5672 Re: Does God Exist? Probably Not Ashraful Alam Mon  4/29/2002
5669 Re: Does God Exist? (Believer) Tim Dunkin Mon  4/29/2002
5664 Re: Does God Exist? Probably Not (Believer) Tim Dunkin Sun  4/28/2002
5637 Israel/Palestine conflict- My perspective Avijit Roy Fri  4/26/2002
5578 Re: Does God exist? Kajimel Raisuddin Tue  4/23/2002
5577 Re: Does God exist? Most probably not Ashraful Alam Tue  4/23/2002
5576 Re: Does God exist? Gaurav Agarwal Tue  4/23/2002
5575 Re: Does God exist? bkledek Tue  4/23/2002
5560 Re: Does God exist? ( Believer) Muhammad Abdullah Mon  4/22/2002
5555 Re: Does God exist? Parvin Darabi Mon  4/22/2002
5547 Re: Does God exist? Avijit Roy Sun  4/21/2002
5518 Does God exist? ( Believer) Sherly Isaac Sajita Sat  4/20/2002

 

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