Author Topic: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?  (Read 60895 times)

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #435 on: July 07, 2014, 10:18:27 AM »
Could you give me some of these "many studies"? I don't seem to be able to find any beside that one who is saying quite the opposite of what you are telling us.
Did you even bother looking?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_intercessory_prayer

There's nine listed on the wiki page alone.

EDIT:  It occurred to me that I should probably respond to this study you cited supposedly linking prayer and recovery only after I'd already written the post.

One critical flaw in the study is that they could not control for whether other people prayed for those people or not.  As he stated, "some of the patients in the control group would be prayed for, whereas all of the patients in the prayer group would be (i.e., by both nonassociated people and by the designated intercessors of the study)".  It is not acceptable in a scientific study to leave such a loophole in the very variable you're trying to examine.  It would be like trying to perform an experiment involving measurements of light photons in a well-lit room, and trying to 'control' for it by assuming that the stuff that you were trying to examine would be even brighter than the stuff you were trying to use as a control.

A second flaw in the study is that it involves a very small number of people (approximately 200 in each group).  While this does not disqualify it, it is necessary to do multiple studies, especially when they're involving small groups of people, to rule out the possibility that it could simply be random chance which caused the differences.

A third flaw is that it does not apparently control for overall health (at least, I could find no mention of it).  As healthy people are more likely to recover and avoid additional complications, this is not something which can safely be disregarded.

As a result of these flaws, I can hardly consider this study any kind of definitive evidence of the efficacy of prayer.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 10:38:40 AM by jaimehlers »
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #436 on: July 07, 2014, 02:10:44 PM »
I think you mean that you believe that the investigation of a miracle is a genuine investigation, although any conclusion that "God did it." is open to question as (a) some other deity or supernatural being might have done it (ii) there is a natural but undiscovered cause.
There is a cause. God is the cause in the miracle cases.
Have you seen other deities passing all the tests demanded by miracles?
When you say "it can be some other deity" I read "It can be some other Boson" For me, it doesn't make sense because of all the research and test done about that particular event.
I am not saying there are nothing else than God that could cure illness. I come from a culture where vodou is strong and can cure terminal illness. But in these cases there was always 3 victims who had to "pay the price" with their health.
I am saying that in the particular case of miracles recognized by the Vatican, there are no more doubt that it is an act of God. Proof of his existence as an independent being.
When you say "God did it" I read "It's the Higgs Boson" I understand that there is a theory about how saying "God did it" is not a valid answer in some cases. But there is at least one case where it can be said. Like saying "it's the Higgs Boson" is not a valid answer in some cases but there is at least one case where it can be said.
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #437 on: July 07, 2014, 02:28:58 PM »
The reason yours is circular reasoning is that you're asserting that people healed by magic in your initial question, and further assuming that this magic is caused by a being you call "God" (which you state in your hypothesis).  Therefore, when you conclude that people are healed by "God", you are essentially assuming your premise (that people are healed by magic, caused by God) is true, and thus sabotaging the whole thing through the fallacy of circular logic.  In order to remove the fallacy, you must remove the assumption (that magic causes the healings), as I already advised you in #426.  I know you read it because you responded to part of it, so I am not sure why you are still having trouble here.

I explained why Graybeard's argument is not circular earlier in this post.  But what it boils down to is that he isn't making an assumption as to what is causing things to fall.  He hypothesized something that could cause this phenomenon, and cited experiments that had been done which supported his hypothesis.  The mere fact that he suggests relative masses as a cause in his hypothesis does not make it circular reasoning.
I don't get you at all. You want so much to prove that I used circular reasoning that you diminish Graybeards assumption by saying "The mere fact that he suggests relative masses as a cause in his hypothesis does not make it circular reasoning." And you don't seem to be able to say "The mere fact that I suggests magic as a cause in my hypothesis does not make it circular reasoning."
I don't know how to present it differently. We both used circular reasoning or we did not. You should not prefer on method for the only reason that it goes towards proving me wrong. It has to actually be flawed.
I don't really care if Graybeards example is flawed, I will also admit that mine is flawed.
You have to remember something. I am using the scientific experiment to prove the existence of God because you guys told me it was the only manner that you could eventually accept it. For me, I did not need that scientific experiment to believe in the existence of God outside my body. Only logic and testimonies sufficed to convince me.
If you want to have another Go at the scientific experiment and use it to prove that the Higgs boson exist outside your body. I will then be able to follow "your" scientific method and adapt it to prove that God exist outside your body.
What my scientific experiment boils down to is that I am not making an assumption as to what is causing people to heal. I hypothesized something that could cause this phenomenon, and cited experiments that had been done which supported my hypothesis.  The mere fact that I suggests magic as a cause in my hypothesis does not make it circular reasoning.
Thank you.
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #438 on: July 07, 2014, 02:32:37 PM »
Did you even bother looking?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_intercessory_prayer

There's nine listed on the wiki page alone.
Yes I did. Which one of these nine do you want to discuss? Aren't most of them not Catholic prayers?
Wich one support the best your following claim? :
There are plenty of studies showing that praying for someone who's ill has no more effect than not praying for them, and if they know people are praying for them, there's even a negative effect.

One of these 9 studies : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305403/
Even concluded "These data support the possibility of a DH (distant healing) effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research."
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 02:34:19 PM by Lukvance »
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Offline Astreja

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #439 on: July 07, 2014, 02:35:31 PM »
There is a cause. God is the cause in the miracle cases.
Have you seen other deities passing all the tests demanded by miracles?

The "tests" don't appear to be all that stringent regarding the elimination of all other allegedly divine causes.  It appears that the RCC makes an enormous and extremely premature leap of faith:

{haven't found natural cause} + {patient is devout Catholic} = {god of Catholicism did it}

What if the real source of healing is an aloof entity that doesn't care whether or not it gets credit for miracles?   What if the research into natural causes simply isn't stringent and exhaustive enough?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #440 on: July 07, 2014, 02:51:06 PM »
One of these 9 studies : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305403/
Even concluded "These data support the possibility of a DH (distant healing) effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research."

from the report:
Quote
DH [distance healing] treatment was performed by self-identified healers representing many different healing and spiritual traditions.
...
Practitioners included healers from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Native American, and shamanic traditions
as well as graduates of secular schools of bioenergetic and meditative healing.

So, not all were catholic.  Some were new-age crystal healers, shakra specialists and the ilk.  This would suggest non-catholics can also do "miraculous" healing. 

Also:
Quote
There were no significant differences in CD4+ counts.

which is to say, no actual difference in the disease.


edit: corrected facts about background of "healers"
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 02:55:12 PM by screwtape »
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #441 on: July 07, 2014, 03:54:51 PM »
The "tests" don't appear to be all that stringent regarding the elimination of all other allegedly divine causes.  It appears that the RCC makes an enormous and extremely premature leap of faith:

{haven't found natural cause} + {patient is devout Catholic} = {god of Catholicism did it}

What if the real source of healing is an aloof entity that doesn't care whether or not it gets credit for miracles?   What if the research into natural causes simply isn't stringent and exhaustive enough?
The key word here is do not APPEAR to be. You might want to look further into it. There is A LOT more that is done than you can think of. The few I know is just the surface.
You ask what if the real source of healing is "an aloof entity that doesn't care whether or not it gets credit for miracles". What makes you think that God is not such an aloof entity?
"What if the research into natural causes simply isn't stringent and exhaustive enough?" Then you can add whatever you think is missing. But first, have a look at it! I'm telling you, it's huge!
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #442 on: July 07, 2014, 04:08:32 PM »
One of these 9 studies : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305403/
Even concluded "These data support the possibility of a DH (distant healing) effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research."
from the report:
Quote
DH [distance healing] treatment was performed by self-identified healers representing many different healing and spiritual traditions.
...
Practitioners included healers from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Native American, and shamanic traditions
as well as graduates of secular schools of bioenergetic and meditative healing.
So, not all were catholic.  Some were new-age crystal healers, shakra specialists and the ilk.  This would suggest non-catholics can also do "miraculous" healing. 
Also:
Quote
There were no significant differences in CD4+ counts.
which is to say, no actual difference in the disease.
edit: corrected facts about background of "healers"

Thank you for your input screwtape. How does your reply support jaimehlers claim?

There are plenty of studies showing that praying for someone who's ill has no more effect than not praying for them, and if they know people are praying for them, there's even a negative effect.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #443 on: July 07, 2014, 04:35:21 PM »
I can give you a real-life concrete example where knowing that someone was praying had a negative effect on a patient-- me:

I was being taken into a complicated surgery for a serious condition, and I was feeling calm and fairly positive. I had done all that I could to prepare myself for the outcome, whatever it might be. Then one of the operating nurses said to me, with a sad look on her face, "May god bless you."

I began to freak out. Why did she think I needed her god's blessing? What did she know that I did not know? Was my situation worse than previously thought? Was my surgeon drunk? I was upset and on the verge of tears by the time they came to do the anesthesia.

I was now anxious and tense about the surgery. The outcome might have been worse than otherwise, maybe it took more anesthesia than normal to calm me down, maybe my blood pressure was higher. Who knows?

If only I had had the moxie to respond, "Eff you. I don't need your god's blessing, just do a good goddamn job on my surgery." To this day, I wish she had kept her stupid religion to her damn self.  >:(
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #444 on: July 07, 2014, 05:11:01 PM »
You have still not linked us to anything concrete Luk,just propaganda ,hearsay,and biased opinion. Do you think that other faiths and cultures don't have the same stuff from their deitys? With the same stuff you hold up as proof?
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #445 on: July 07, 2014, 05:37:53 PM »
The "tests" don't appear to be all that stringent regarding the elimination of all other allegedly divine causes.  It appears that the RCC makes an enormous and extremely premature leap of faith:

{haven't found natural cause} + {patient is devout Catholic} = {god of Catholicism did it}

What if the real source of healing is an aloof entity that doesn't care whether or not it gets credit for miracles?   What if the research into natural causes simply isn't stringent and exhaustive enough?
The key word here is do not APPEAR to be. You might want to look further into it. There is A LOT more that is done than you can think of. The few I know is just the surface.
You ask what if the real source of healing is "an aloof entity that doesn't care whether or not it gets credit for miracles". What makes you think that God is not such an aloof entity?
"What if the research into natural causes simply isn't stringent and exhaustive enough?" Then you can add whatever you think is missing. But first, have a look at it! I'm telling you, it's huge!

The point is, that without strict criteria to identify the cause of the healing, there is no certain way to tell! You are arbitrarily saying that, if science can't figure it out, it has to be a miracle from your god. But you have yet to explain why it has to be that. There are at least four different possibilities that have to be considered:

1) It could be a miracle performed by the god you and the priests think it is.

2) It could be a miracle performed by different god altogether--maybe one that nobody knows about yet.

3) It could be a powerful but helpful alien from a different planet-- not a god at all-- who wants to keep its presence hidden from us.[1]

4) It could be a scientific principle that we have not yet discovered, something that we will be able to detect when a new instrument is invented next year. At that point we will be able to eliminate 1, 2 and 3, because we will then have a scientific explanation.

In 1 and 2, there is something magical going on that has to do with a god. In 3 and 4 there is a natural explanation.

How do you decide that only 1 has to be true? How did you rule out 2, 3 and 4 when there is currently no way to test for these possibilities? I am really curious as to how a priest can say that the healing could not have been done as described in 3.

At best, as of now, all you can say is that it could be any of the four possibilities--or even something else not listed here. In other words, you do not know who or what did the healing or how it was done.
 1. It secretly implants the idea that their god did the healing into the brains of all religious people in the vicinity. The religious people cannot tell the implanted idea came from an alien being.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #446 on: July 07, 2014, 05:45:46 PM »
I don't get you at all.
That much is plainly obvious.  But you don't really 'get' yourself, either.  Your belief in God is so central to your mindset that you literally don't understand people to whom the idea isn't central, or who don't have it at all, but you don't recognize that this is the case, so you keep misunderstanding what people are trying to say.

Quote from: Lukvance
You want so much to prove that I used circular reasoning that you diminish Graybeards assumption by saying "The mere fact that he suggests relative masses as a cause in his hypothesis does not make it circular reasoning." And you don't seem to be able to say "The mere fact that I suggests magic as a cause in my hypothesis does not make it circular reasoning."
The problem is that your idea that they were 'magically' healed was present from the very start, before you even formed a hypothesis.  As you said in #203, "Ask question: “Why do people get magically healed?”"  You assumed from the very beginning - before you even formulated a hypothesis - that they were magical healings (caused by God).  That is why your argument is circular.  You had already assumed that they were magically healed before you started to formulate your hypothesis.

And before you come back with yet another "well, Graybeard did the same thing" retort, he did not make that mistake, because he recognized that he needed to not assume that gravity was the cause in order to avoid making a circular argument.  So he simply asked the question of why things fell, identified relative masses as a possible cause, and then cited an experiment showing that relative masses were the likely cause, thus allowing him to state that as his conclusion.  That, after all, is the point of having a hypothesis.

Quote from: Lukvance
I don't know how to present it differently.
In short, you don't understand the scientific method well enough to recognize that you don't understand it.  I'm not trying to be rude here, but if a person's understanding of something is poor enough, they will actually think they understand it fairly well (better than the median).  This is a form of cognitive bias known as the [wiki]Dunning-Kruger effect[/wiki].

Quote from: Lukvance
We both used circular reasoning or we did not.
This is a false dichotomy.  You are presenting this as if it is either one or the other, when it can in fact be a different option entirely (specifically, Graybeard avoided using circular reasoning while you did not).  Given your apparent lack of understanding of how to use the scientific method, the third option is most likely the case.

Quote from: Lukvance
You should not prefer on method for the only reason that it goes towards proving me wrong. It has to actually be flawed.
Believe me, you've made enough logical fallacies that I could take my pick.  I'm focusing on a specific fallacy in the hope that you will eventually pick up on it.

Quote from: Lukvance
I don't really care if Graybeards example is flawed, I will also admit that mine is flawed.
If I show that Graybeard used the scientific method correctly and you didn't, can you admit that you were wrong?

Quote from: Lukvance
You have to remember something. I am using the scientific experiment to prove the existence of God because you guys told me it was the only manner that you could eventually accept it.
The scientific method isn't a means to convince anyone of anything, or a means to prove the existence of something.  It is a means to identify things that are false and remove them from consideration as possible explanations, leaving only things that might be true.  It may be true that we can never actually prove that a miracle didn't happen, but that will not make it a believable reason, especially when the scientific part ends at "we can't explain how this happened".  I am perfectly willing to admit that I don't know how those people were healed, but you'll need more than that to convince me that it was your god.  Your problem is that you don't have more than that.

Quote from: Lukvance
For me, I did not need that scientific experiment to believe in the existence of God outside my body. Only logic and testimonies sufficed to convince me.
I'd be willing to bet real money that you already believed that God existed long before you got to the point of being able to assess logic and testimonies, and therefore they were simply the icing on the cake for you.  It's not very difficult to convince someone of something when they already pretty much believe it to be true.

Quote from: Lukvance
If you want to have another Go at the scientific experiment and use it to prove that the Higgs boson exist outside your body. I will then be able to follow "your" scientific method and adapt it to prove that God exist outside your body.
I'm guessing you don't realize how utterly ignorant you just came across with this single statement of yours.  If I needed additional evidence to show that you don't really understand the whole point of the thing, this would have been more than sufficient.

Watching you butcher the scientific method to try to prove that your god exists outside of your mind is like watching a train go off the rails - it's so awful that it's difficult to pull the eyes away from.  It would be one thing if you actually understood that your attempts were deficient, even if you didn't recognize how.  Then I would be okay with going over it with you as many times as necessary to help you understand what you're doing wrong.  But you've made it clear that you're just humoring us so you can try to spread your belief, and that you aren't able, let alone willing, to consider that your belief might not be right.

I'll keep trying - after all, that's kind of the point of this website, to try to break through false certainties no matter how firmly a person clutches to them - but given how abysmally bad your understanding of science is, trying to talk to you in those terms is worse than useless.

Quote from: Lukvance
What my scientific experiment boils down to is that I am not making an assumption as to what is causing people to heal. I hypothesized something that could cause this phenomenon, and cited experiments that had been done which supported my hypothesis.  The mere fact that I suggests magic as a cause in my hypothesis does not make it circular reasoning.
First off, you aren't actually doing a scientific experiment.  You're trying to present "miracle-finding" in the lingo of science so that you can pretend that you've proved it scientifically, but you're actually making a mockery of the whole thing (and the worst part is that you don't even realize just how ridiculous you look by so doing).  Second, you assumed that the healings were magical before you ever started trying to present your beliefs using scientific lingo, which is why your argument was circular.  Third, the 'experiments' you cited were simply statements that scientists didn't know how to explain the healings at Lourdes.  There is no reason to take the opinions of theologians - whether Catholic, Protestant, or some different religion - as being relevant to science, or to act like asking them for those opinions was at all scientific.

You are welcome to try again, but subsequent efforts will be no more fruitful than this one was as long as you continue to make the same faulty assumptions and faulty arguments.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 06:25:54 PM by jaimehlers »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #447 on: July 07, 2014, 06:23:42 PM »
Yes I did. Which one of these nine do you want to discuss? Aren't most of them not Catholic prayers?
I'd rather not discuss any of them with you, given that attitude.  When you indicate that you're fully prepared to dismiss studies as irrelevant if they don't cover Catholic prayers, you're indicating your bias on the subject.

Quote from: Lukvance
Wich one support the best your following claim? :One of these 9 studies : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305403/
Even concluded "These data support the possibility of a DH (distant healing) effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research."
The study I was thinking of was actually the STEP project, which showed no appreciable difference in complications between those who received prayer and those who didn't receive it (in fact, those who didn't fared slightly better), but a significant jump in complications for those who received prayer and knew it.  Which suggests that if prayers do in fact have an effect on health, they work best when the recipient isn't aware of it.

I'll grant that the subject isn't as clear-cut as I originally thought.  I heard about that study some time ago, and it seems it grew somewhat in the intervening time (much like "the one that got away").  Do you see why I keep cautioning you about bias, Lukvance?  I've worked hard to keep myself from being biased about things, and yet I still made a bad assumption which led to overstating my case here.  Don't you think that you might want to take that as a cautionary tale?
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Offline eh!

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #448 on: July 07, 2014, 06:57:18 PM »
My guess luk will not get a dam thing from the above two posts.

jame you are a true saint for trying but i fear you are casting pearls before swine.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #449 on: July 07, 2014, 07:26:54 PM »
It does not really matter if Lukvance ever understands the scientific method.

The point of explaining it is for everyone else who might stop by this site and read, not just Lukvance. He is just a vehicle, if you will, for organizing and expressing our thoughts.[1] 

It would be gratifying if he could at least acknowledge that the way the Catholic Church evaluates miracles is not at all scientific. There are no control groups to compare the miracle healing to; and there is no specific criteria to identify what would constitute a miracle from one god, vs a miracle from a different god, or something else disguising itself as a god. And there is no criteria given to distinguish a godly or alien miracle from an as yet undiscovered medical principle.

The procedure he describes is nowhere near the meticulous criteria used for decades before identifying the Higgs Bosun. If he accepts that his viewpoint on miracle healings is not supported by science, that would be progress. He can still believe in miracles and god and prayer if he wants to, but he cannot say that any of it is based on scientific research.

He would then be in the same position as Old Church Guy, or any of us in terms of whatever irrational things we hold onto for emotional reasons.
 1. Lukvance will be happy to know that some of my responses to him will end up in the atheist book I am writing. I also thank Jst and skeptic for their help in furthering the cause of rational thinking.
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Offline SevenPatch

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #450 on: July 07, 2014, 07:30:26 PM »
I apologize but I haven’t taken the time to read all of the posts in this thread.  I see a lot of discussion about circular reasoning or logic regarding posts number 199, and 201, which I’ll be quoting from in this post. 

Maybe I can squash this discussion right now.  We’ll see I guess.  I’m probably being somewhere between overly optimistic to downright unrealistic.

Perhaps I’m missing something here but I don’t necessarily see any circular reasoning/logic here.   Maybe a different post that I missed?

Now, the problem I do see with Lukvance’s attempt to use the scientific method is that his background research and hypothesis offer no means to be falsified, where as Graybeard’s example does. 

Ask question: “Why do things fall downwards?”
Do background research: “Hmmm, most things fall down to earth, but some go up!
Things that go up do so because the displacement buoyancy is greater than the force pulling them down.
What is that force that pulls things down?

The scientific method isn’t just about verifying a hypothesis, it is also employs a healthy attempt to falsify the hypothesis as well.  Any good scientist will go to great lengths to prove their own hypothesis is false.  If predictions hold true and no evidence can be found to falsify a hypothesis then it can be “graduated” to a working theory which can be useful in explaining how things work.  That is the goal of science, to explain how reality works. 

Graybeard skipped the part of the background research where many, many objects were experimented with to determine what falls and what goes up due to displacement buoyancy.  The background research allows us to form a hypothesis that “what causes things to fall downwards” has something to do with the mass of the “thing”. 

From the hypothesis we can make predictions, which can be verified or falsified.  If the predictions are shown to be incorrect then there is a problem, either with the testing methods used, the prediction made or the hypothesis entirely.

Now, let’s look at Lukvance’s example relating to background research:

Ask question: “Why do people get magically healed?”
Do background research: “Most people who get sick go the the hospital and get cured by following medical assistance, but some of them just pray and get cures without medical assistance.
What is that force that cure them?"

First, the use of the word magically in the original question is unusual.  I’ll look the other way and assume the intention is “unexpectedly without any type of known treatment”. 

Second, the “Do background research” is completely dissimilar to the example provided by Graybeard.  It is actually a piss poor attempt at mimicry.  In Graybeard’s example, we know that a bowling ball is going to fall, every time if dropped above a surface, on the Earth just as we know that hot air will always cause a hot air balloon to rise from a surface, on the earth (once the air has been heated to around 212*F (100*C) and assuming there is enough cubic feet of air to lift the weight of the balloon and attached objects).  In Lukvance’s example however, we do not know that everyone who goes to a hospital are cured, in fact quite the opposite, not everyone who goes to a hospital is cured even when the problem is curable (most of the time it is cured, but not all the time).  Not going to a hospital results in even less chance of being cured.  Very few people who don’t seek medical assistance survive and most suffer and/or die.

To make things complicated, prayer is included.  Where is the background research related to prayer? 

IIRC, there is plenty of research on prayer and its effect has actually ranged from no effect to detrimental to survival rates.   I would be willing to guess that prayer is much more effective when a person goes to a hospital versus when they do not.  Weird huh, I know. 

Seeking medical assistance at a hospital and not will produce vastly different results with different results within each subset (going to a hospital versus not going to a hospital) further complicating the matter.  I don’t see how any hypothesis could be drawn from this background research other than it is better to go to a hospital. 

Yet somehow we get to:

Construct hypothesis: It is something to do with God.

In what way exactly does the background research “Most people who get sick go the the hospital and get cured by following medical assistance, but some of them just pray and get cures without medical assistance” lead to constructing a hypothesis relating to “God”.  It is complete non sequitur.  Where exactly does it become apparent that “God” is involved?  The only thing I see related to “God” is the action of “praying”.

How many people are cured who don’t go to the hospital and did not pray?

How many people are cured who don’t go to the hospital and did pray?

How many people are cured who did go to the hospital and did not pray?

How many people are cured who did go to the hospital and did pray?

From my perspective, the background research relating to going to a hospital versus not going to a hospital might lead me to constructing a hypothesis that the human body is capable of healing itself but does better if aided by other means (assuming no medical conditions which prevent healing).  For example, if I get a two inch long cut on my hand (not very deep), my body will heal the cut without going to the hospital.  Although there is a chance the cut could become infected, but if I go to a hospital and get some medical assistance, then there is less chance of infection.   If I pray and my body does what it was already going to do (heal the cut) does that mean my prayer was answered?  If I don’t pray, then what?  What happens if I pray and then get an infection?  What happens if antibiotics cure the infection?  Am I supposed to thank Louis Pasteur or “God”?

If we look at the example provided by Graybeard:

Ask question: “Why do things fall downwards?”
Do background research: “Hmmm, most things fall down to earth, but some go up!
Things that go up do so because the displacement buoyancy is greater than the force pulling them down.
What is that force that pulls things down? 

Construct hypothesis: It is something to do with relative masses.
This would explain planetary motion and why Australians do not fall off the earth!

We see there are links between the question, background research and eventual hypothesis.  Cause and effect.  Things falling downwards is an effect, the background research shows that mass is involved and thus the hypothesis can be constructed as the cause.  Predictions are then made based on the hypothesis which can be further tested to verify or falsify the hypothesis.

This would explain why God is living outside our head.

This part is text book begging the question logical fallacy. 

In Graybeard’s example, planetary motion and Australians not falling off the Earth is observed.  To be fair, I think Graybeard’s example skipped over the predictions part of the hypothesis.  While it is nice when a hypothesis fits the observations, it doesn’t necessarily verify the hypothesis.  One of the key predictions made by the Newtonian mathematics was that the Earth would be oblate spheroid shaped as opposed to a perfect spherical shape.  At the time, it was unknown exactly what shape the Earth was and (pretty much) everyone thought the Earth was perfectly spherical.  Newton’s prediction, based on the hypothesis of relative mass (aka gravity) causing the attraction between objects, was later verified.  Additionally, predictions can be made of small unknown objects (comets and asteroids) as well in which we would have no way of knowing what the trajectory would be.  The hypothesis would be falsified if objects behaved based on some different cause unrelated to relative mass (like if bowling balls flew up into space while tennis balls fall to the center of the earth at light speed). 

“God” living outside our head however, is not observed.  If “God” is observed, as Mars orbiting the Sun can be observed, then please, let me know how to observe “God”.  Will I need a telescope?

I don’t have access on my current PC to review the pdf that is supposed to represent an experiment.  I’m somewhat doubtful that the Lourdes water can be used to make any useful predictions.  Wikipedia states that an estimated 200 million people have visited the shrine since 1860 and the Roman Catholic Church has officially recognized 69 healings as miraculous.  What does that mean?  I can only guess that there is no known answer, so we have to admit ignorance.  By the way, 69 people out of 200 million is 0.0000345%.  Am I to believe that only 69 people actually touched the water?  Perhaps it has to be the right time of day?  Or perhaps they prayed the right way?  OH wait, I know, only 69 people deserved to be cured.  Maybe the Catholic Church was being too conservative and more people were actually cured? 

I really don’t see how Lourdes water provides a reliable prediction to test the hypothesis.  It’s completely inconclusive and provides no means to verify or falsify the hypothesis which was incorrectly derived from incomplete background research.

Lukvance, the only thing you got right was “Ask a question” but you failed on every other step, miserably.  Asking questions is pretty easy though dude, you better step up your game.

Check this out:

Ask a question: “Why do some people heal unexpectedly without any type of known treatment?”

Do background research: “Most people who pray for a cure without medical assistance are not cured, some people who pray for a cure without medical assistance are cured.
What is that force that cure them?"

Construct hypothesis: It has nothing to do with “God”.
This would explain why praying to “God” has no distinguishable effect.

Test with experiment: http://skepdic.com/lourdes.html

Does it work? Yes

Analyse data and draw conclusions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo

Results align with hypothesis

Communicate results to you : “God” is not the cause of people healing unexpectedly without any type of known treatment.

Oops.


EDIT: The skepdic.com article notes that more people have been injured / harmed (and I suspect died) on the way to or from Lourdes than have actually been cured.  I would submit a hypothesis that Lourdes actually has a harmful impact rather than helpful.  Ironically, this would support skeptics hypothesis that the Catholic Church is being manipulated by “Satan”.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 07:40:59 PM by SevenPatch »
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #451 on: July 07, 2014, 07:58:36 PM »
The better question is why if God is everywhere why would a pilgrimage  to a certain location for God to heal you be a need or even necessary?  Luke why can't you just pray and be healed? Is it to show God you are serious? If you need to show God and travel to the healing destination,and he says no,what then?

 A deity that says no,is a deity that is imaginary
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 08:00:07 PM by 12 Monkeys »
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #452 on: July 07, 2014, 08:19:38 PM »
Praying is apparently the key to everything. So, if praying is the key then I guess Heaven must be the lock. Most keys and locks work on a tumbler system. You have to have the right key to unlock the right door. Or you must have the proper knowledge to be able to hack the lock.

My best guess is that God doesn't answer prayers. If there is a god...he just leaves it to us to figure out how to get in...I don't think s/he cares either way.



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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #453 on: July 07, 2014, 10:14:12 PM »
The point is, that without strict criteria to identify the cause of the healing, there is no certain way to tell! You are arbitrarily saying that, if science can't figure it out, it has to be a miracle from your god. But you have yet to explain why it has to be that. There are at least four different possibilities that have to be considered:
1) It could be a miracle performed by the god you and the priests think it is.
2) It could be a miracle performed by different god altogether--maybe one that nobody knows about yet.
3) It could be a powerful but helpful alien from a different planet-- not a god at all-- who wants to keep its presence hidden from us.[1]
4) It could be a scientific principle that we have not yet discovered, something that we will be able to detect when a new instrument is invented next year. At that point we will be able to eliminate 1, 2 and 3, because we will then have a scientific explanation.
In 1 and 2, there is something magical going on that has to do with a god. In 3 and 4 there is a natural explanation.
How do you decide that only 1 has to be true? How did you rule out 2, 3 and 4 when there is currently no way to test for these possibilities? I am really curious as to how a priest can say that the healing could not have been done as described in 3.

At best, as of now, all you can say is that it could be any of the four possibilities--or even something else not listed here. In other words, you do not know who or what did the healing or how it was done.
 1. It secretly implants the idea that their god did the healing into the brains of all religious people in the vicinity. The religious people cannot tell the implanted idea came from an alien being.
Alright. We disagree on the fact that there is not enough strict criteria. I told you, add as much criteria as you see fit. The result will be the same.
Nevertheless isn't it the same for everything else in the world?
I could say "NO! The point is, that without strict criteria to identify the cause of *insert whatever you want here*, there is no certain way to tell!" Who are you to tell me that the "strict criteria" has been met? Do you have the monopoly on what a "strict criteria" is?
I mean let's take the example of the Higgs Boson finding that I like so much :
1) It could be the Higgs boson that you and the experts think it is.
2) It could be a different boson altogether -- maybe one that nobody knows about yet.
3) It could be a powerful alien from a different planet who wants to mess with us.
4) It could be a scientific principle that we have not yet discovered, something that we will be able to detect when a new instrument is invented next year. At that point we will be able to eliminate 1, 2 and 3. (because we will then have a scientific explanation!?)

There is proofs, books, volumes written about miracles and how to detect them. It is not something secret.
I admit some things are too complex for me to understand fully. (would it be the Higgs Boson or the miracles) but I trust the experts (in both cases) because the little knowledge I have of it seems legit to me.
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #454 on: July 07, 2014, 10:30:52 PM »
The problem is that your idea that they were 'magically' healed was present from the very start, before you even formed a hypothesis.  As you said in #203, "Ask question: “Why do people get magically healed?”"  You assumed from the very beginning - before you even formulated a hypothesis - that they were magical healings (caused by God).  That is why your argument is circular.  You had already assumed that they were magically healed before you started to formulate your hypothesis.
You don't make sense. We observe that things falls without apparent reason. We observe that people get healed without apparent reason. Right? Am I lying here?
I agree Graybeard didn't say that "stuff magically falls" but I understand that it was implied that the stuff was "dropped" and not thrown toward the floor. If you prefer changing the question to something that implies the fact that people weren't heal by medical means you can but it would make things more complicated to understand afterwards.

Quote
If I show that Graybeard used the scientific method correctly and you didn't, can you admit that you were wrong?
Of course. But I don't see how you could show me the method I use is radically different than the one presented by Graybeard. Maybe if correct the method that I presented so it won't be wrong? I doubt you would do that as it goes against your goal. (which is to disprove the existence of God outside your body)
Usually, don't you know that something is wrong because you know how to make it right? I don't think you know how to make it right in this instance.
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #455 on: July 07, 2014, 10:43:56 PM »
I'd rather not discuss any of them with you, given that attitude.  When you indicate that you're fully prepared to dismiss studies as irrelevant if they don't cover Catholic prayers, you're indicating your bias on the subject.
I don't understand. Did you forget that I was catholic? That miracles and the God I pray to is the Catholic God? Of course there will be bias from me on the subject.
If not, what keeps you to find a study where people prayed Satan? And has the result you wish it to have? (prayer makes things worse)

Quote
I'll grant that the subject isn't as clear-cut as I originally thought.  I heard about that study some time ago, and it seems it grew somewhat in the intervening time (much like "the one that got away").  Do you see why I keep cautioning you about bias, Lukvance?  I've worked hard to keep myself from being biased about things, and yet I still made a bad assumption which led to overstating my case here.  Don't you think that you might want to take that as a cautionary tale?
I know all about bias. Don't worry. I will keep your story as a cautionary tale.
Does this mean that you agree with me? There is no proof that prayer to God (Catholic God of course) makes things worse? Only the opposite?
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #456 on: July 07, 2014, 10:49:07 PM »
It would be gratifying if he could at least acknowledge that the way the Catholic Church evaluates miracles is not at all scientific. There are no control groups to compare the miracle healing to; and there is no specific criteria to identify what would constitute a miracle from one god, vs a miracle from a different god, or something else disguising itself as a god. And there is no criteria given to distinguish a godly or alien miracle from an as yet undiscovered medical principle.
That's a really strong claim you just dropped on us. Are you now an expert in miracles? Did you find some kind on proof that support your claim?
"There are no control groups" and "there is no specific criteria" is what I think is the most blatant lie in your statement. Please back it up or retract it.
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Offline Airyaman

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #457 on: July 07, 2014, 11:09:07 PM »
What are the qualifications to be an expert in miracles?
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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #458 on: July 07, 2014, 11:32:28 PM »
The "tests" don't appear to be all that stringent regarding the elimination of all other allegedly divine causes.
The key word here is do not APPEAR to be. You might want to look further into it. There is A LOT more that is done than you can think of. The few I know is just the surface.

What I was getting at is this:  After eliminating "natural causes" as an explanation, do the miracle-hunters actually test for any other gods besides the god of the Bible?  If they had to set up experiments to eliminate each and every one of the literally thousands of gods worshipped by humans over the centuries, it would probably bankrupt the Vatican.

What if the real source of healing is an aloof entity that doesn't care whether or not it gets credit for miracles?
What makes you think that God is not such an aloof entity?

Well, in the context of the many Biblical exhortations to praise Yahweh, it does seem somewhat out of character to do stealth healing (although it would be in the spirit of Matthew 6:3, "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.")
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #459 on: July 08, 2014, 12:18:33 AM »
Lukvance, are you just trolling us?  Because I cannot believe that after more than a month of posts, you still think that mirroring someone's arguments is actually going to accomplish anything except to greatly annoy them.  Never mind all this other stuff that you keep trotting out in the hopes that you'll be able to equalize your belief and science and make them equally plausible.  Let's take your bullet points below.

"1) It could be the Higgs boson that you and the experts think it is." - If by "could be" you mean "is".  The observed properties of the boson generated at the LHC matched the ones predicted by Peter Higgs well within the margin of error.  That isn't the end of the story, though.

"2) It could be a different boson altogether -- maybe one that nobody knows about yet." - This makes no sense.  I can only assume that you don't understand what finding the Higgs boson actually meant.

"3) It could be a powerful alien from a different planet who wants to mess with us." - Okay, I'll grant that there's a possibility - an infinitesimal chance, really - of there being a Q-like entity which just likes to mess with lesser beings like us.  But it's absurdly unlikely that such a being would waste its time with something like the Higgs boson.  It would be the equivalent of a trillionaire getting his jollies by dripping water from an eyedropper onto the heads of people a thousand feet below.

"4) It could be a scientific principle that we have not yet discovered, something that we will be able to detect when a new instrument is invented next year. At that point we will be able to eliminate 1, 2 and 3. (because we will then have a scientific explanation!?)" - The thing is, Lukvance, we already have a scientific explanation for the Higgs boson.  However, it is very likely that as we refine our instruments and get better data, that we will refine and modify the existing one based on it (the way that science actually works).  After all, the Higgs field was theoretical until two years ago, and we still know very little about it.  About the only thing that finding the Higgs boson accomplished was to demonstrate that the Higgs field existed, which is still really (really, really, really...) important.

The problem with your rebuttals here is that they don't actually detract from science, whereas the same rebuttals used against your belief cause it very severe problems indeed.  Scientific theories aren't certain, and scientists in general know this.  The fact that we have to refine theories over time as our instruments get better doesn't bother people who know how science works.  Compare that to your belief in God (such as miracles), and how you invariably react when it's challenged.  Every single time someone has countered your claims that miracles have a scientific explanation (which they don't, and cannot as long as there's no actual explanation), you've come right back by saying something akin to, "well, same back at you about science!"

"There is proofs, books, volumes written about miracles and how to detect them. It is not something secret." - The problem that these proofs, books, volumes, and whatnot is that they don't even come close to being scientific, never mind satisfying any reasonable burden of proof.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they're useless.  For example, your church's intent to investigate possible 'miracles' does accomplish some useful things.  And I'm certainly not trying to tell you, "don't believe in miracles".  But you aren't succeeding in using science to 'prove' that they're miracles.  In fact, you're failing so badly at it that you'd be better if you stopped trying entirely.

"I admit some things are too complex for me to understand fully. (would it be the Higgs Boson or the miracles) but I trust the experts (in both cases) because the little knowledge I have of it seems legit to me." - It's a step, at least (I know how tough it can be to admit that I don't know about something).  Now you just need to take the second step and stop trying to compare science and miracles.  You know the old saying about oil and water mixing?  Your comparisons work about as well as water and oil mix together, and you're just making things worse by trying.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #460 on: July 08, 2014, 12:42:35 AM »
I don't understand. Did you forget that I was catholic? That miracles and the God I pray to is the Catholic God? Of course there will be bias from me on the subject.
Of course I didn't forget.  The point is that you need to keep that bias from influencing you.  Please understand that bias is not the same as belief.  You can hold your beliefs while not allowing them to bias your arguments, or to lead you into logical fallacies like circular reasoning.  Honestly, Lukvance, you'll do a lot better here once you get your mind wrapped around the idea that the atheists can accept that you believe even though they don't think your god really exists.  But you need to stop trying to act like if you just find the right argument, the people here will suddenly agree that your belief is correct.  Even a apatheistic skeptic like myself wouldn't do that without solid, unambiguous, irrefutable evidence.

Quote from: Lukvance
If not, what keeps you to find a study where people prayed Satan? And has the result you wish it to have? (prayer makes things worse)
Every time I think we're starting to make some small amount of progress, you say something like this.  Can you at least try to understand that to most of the people on this forum, your god is no more real than Odin, or Zeus, or whatever other god I might name in any pantheon?  I realize that you might have trouble with this, but you have to try (just as atheists can accept that you believe something is true, even if they themselves think it's imaginary).  Otherwise there's going to be no end of frustration on both sides of the conversation.

Quote from: Lukvance
I know all about bias. Don't worry. I will keep your story as a cautionary tale.
Does this mean that you agree with me? There is no proof that prayer to God (Catholic God of course) makes things worse? Only the opposite?
I wouldn't say that.  That STEP project showed that when people know that others are praying for them, it tends to cause more complications.  This is probably a...hmm...I don't remember the actual term, so let's just call it anti-placebo.  Aside from that I would say that there's not sufficient evidence to determine what or how much actual effect prayer has, or whether it matters which god is being prayed to, although I will concede that I found no studies which showed a net negative effect on people being prayed for unknowingly.  You should not assume that it's your god that's responsible for the effects, though, because that leads straight back to the circular reasoning I was criticizing you about earlier.
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Offline eh!

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #461 on: July 08, 2014, 01:07:49 AM »
The better constructed arguments you give him the more he thinks his mirror parrot arguments are improved.


why keep feeding him fine words and thoughts that he mince, mangle de-intelligetise and puke back at you.


he even said anyone can repeat his miracle experiments like a science experiment and get the same miracle result....WTF.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #462 on: July 08, 2014, 01:18:41 AM »
The problem is that your idea that they were 'magically' healed was present from the very start, before you even formed a hypothesis.  As you said in #203, "Ask question: “Why do people get magically healed?”"  You assumed from the very beginning - before you even formulated a hypothesis - that they were magical healings (caused by God).  That is why your argument is circular.  You had already assumed that they were magically healed before you started to formulate your hypothesis.

You don't make sense. We observe that things falls without apparent reason. We observe that people get healed without apparent reason. Right? Am I lying here?
Okay, first off, saying that something happens "without apparent reason" doesn't justify inserting a reason in order to have a reason.  But yes, we observe that things fall towards the Earth; we observe that people heal from wounds and illnesses, sometimes grave or even ones considered incurable.  Naturally, there is a reason - though explanation would be a better term - for why these things happen.  But we have to have evidence (that is to say, solid physical evidence) that supports that explanation, or else it's speculation.  Do you understand this?

Quote from: Lukvance
I agree Graybeard didn't say that "stuff magically falls" but I understand that it was implied that the stuff was "dropped" and not thrown toward the floor. If you prefer changing the question to something that implies the fact that people weren't heal by medical means you can but it would make things more complicated to understand afterwards.
Actually, it would make it far less complicated.  Your problem is that you automatically assume that your god is responsible for any phenomena that you can't explain which is consistent with what you believe about him.  The problem is, this is still a set of assumptions - that your god exists, that your god does those things. 

Quote from: Lukvance
Of course. But I don't see how you could show me the method I use is radically different than the one presented by Graybeard. Maybe if correct the method that I presented so it won't be wrong?
The problem is that you don't understand the method very well, so you're using it incorrectly.  It's like if you had two people trying to fix two computers with the same problem, using the same procedure; one of them has fixed computers before and thus knows how to follow the steps, while the other doesn't know the RAM from the CPU from the bus.  Even if they're using the same procedure on the same problem, the one who understands the subject is going to be able to follow the procedure far more effectively than the one who doesn't.  Graybeard understands the scientific method pretty well; you do not appear to.  Therefore, he will be able to construct a better example of how to use it than you will, even if you copy his form and make it look and sound like his.

Quote from: Lukvance
I doubt you would do that as it goes against your goal. (which is to disprove the existence of God outside your body)
And just what makes you think this is my goal?  My goal is to find out if a given explanation actually models reality or not.  I seriously don't care whether your god actually exists outside your mind or not.  If he can be shown to exist in reality, fine.  But you have to actually show this, which means evidence is necessary.  It's the same with science; I accept many scientific theories as probably true because they fit the facts in evidence, but I don't accept something that a person claims is scientific just on their word alone.

Quote from: Lukvance
Usually, don't you know that something is wrong because you know how to make it right? I don't think you know how to make it right in this instance.
As I keep trying to tell you, that's not how science works.  Science works by examining explanations and trying to see if something contradicts them.  It has nothing to do with what you put here.  For example, if I try to explain why objects rise or fall using Aristotle's theory of elements - that objects rise or fall based on their elemental nature - then I or someone else can find evidence which contradicts this, thus proving it wrong.  That doesn't mean I know what the 'right' explanation is.  It simply means I found something contradictory which disqualified that explanation.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Does God exists as a separate entity - separate from human brains?
« Reply #463 on: July 08, 2014, 01:20:40 AM »
Eh, have you ever heard the saying about what happens if someone bad at chess plays against good players long enough?
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.