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  1. #21
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Allow me to modify his/her argument.

    1) Science requires testable and reproducible observations and measurements.
    2) Our Universe marks the boundary of testable and reproducible observation and measurement.
    3) God exists outside of His creation (i.e. outside the Universe).
    4) God does not interact with the World in a predictable or reproducible way.
    5) Therefore Science alone is incapable of handling the question of God's existence.
    6) Arguments for atheism based on a lack of Scientific evidence are methodologically unsound.
    I can accept the above argument, save for premise 3 - I think it is redundant and unprovable.

    Regardless, the scientific argument for atheism isn't usually based on "lack of scientific evidence" but direct contradiction of scientific knowledge. For example, claims of miracles contradict established physical laws, and therefore are considered false unless sufficient proof is produced. Therefore, the scientific method is still useful for determining whether the God claim is true or false - for the God claim does not exist in isolation but is coupled with numerous other extraordinary claims.


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    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Individual theist claims are irrelevant. Their claims have not been verified to be actual observations or measurements of God.
    I cited those claims to show you that your first premise is not only thoroughly unsupported, but also contradicted by numerous accounts. So please substantiate your first premise.
    Last edited by Trendem; August 1st, 2008 at 05:44 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    Trendem

  2. #22
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    1. God is not observable or measurable.
    2. The scientific method is based solely on observation and measurement.
    3. Therefore, the scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.
    4. Therefore, claiming to be an atheist based on a lack of scientific evidence for God is not logical.
    are you attributing to this concept "God" any other properties apart from "something that cannot be observed or measured" if not, then you just made a statement over the definition of the siceintific method, and no statement about the notion of God that is shared by religions nowadays. I could rephrase your premises as

    1. Something (I call it A) is not observable or measurable.
    2. The scientific method is based solely on observation and measurement.
    3. Therefore, the scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if something called A that is not observable or measurable exists.
    4. Therefore, claiming that A does not exist based on a lack of scientific evidence for A is not logical.
    Would this be equivalent to your argument?

    What if now I said...following these premises:
    A created the universe, A is intelligent, A is moral, A intervenes in our lives, A loves me. Would this be absurd? If yes, why don't we just discuss "A" and refrain from naming it God (this word can be easily confused with a different concept by religious people)


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Allow me to modify his/her argument.

    1) Science requires testable and reproducible observations and measurements.
    2) Our Universe marks the boundary of testable and reproducible observation and measurement.
    3) God exists outside of His creation (i.e. outside the Universe).
    4) God does not interact with the World in a predicptable or reproducible way.
    5) Therefore Science alone is incapable of handling the question of God's existence.
    6) Arguments for atheism based on a lack of Scientific evidence are methodologically unsound.
    premise 3) you assume that this something that cannot be measured or observed actually created the universe
    premise 4) you assume that this something that cannot be measured or observed actually actively intervenes with the universe it also created

    where did you get these assumptions from?
    Last edited by ians25; August 1st, 2008 at 06:18 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  3. #23
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by ians25 View Post
    What if now I said...following these premises:
    A created the universe, A is intelligent, A is moral, A intervenes in our lives, A loves me.
    I did not give any of those attributes to God.

  4. #24
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I did not give any of those attributes to God.
    OK so then we agree that you define the word "God" as simply something that cannot be measured or observed, and that's it. If so, this is not a religious discussion (as God has a completely different meaning for religious people). So my argument with "A" would be equivalent to yours? Do we still have a debate if we are just making a statement about the definition of the scientific method? I think we would all agree on that.

  5. #25
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem
    Regardless, the scientific argument for atheism isn't usually based on "lack of scientific evidence" but direct contradiction of scientific knowledge.
    Since when did this happen? Last time I checked the tactic most used by atheists was a demand for scientific evidence of God's existence (since many simply refuse to accept philosophical arguments without this) and then claim that the lack of evidence is the basis for atheism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem
    For example, claims of miracles contradict established physical laws, and therefore are considered false unless sufficient proof is produced. Therefore, the scientific method is still useful for determining whether the God claim is true or false - for the God claim does not exist in isolation but is coupled with numerous other extraordinary claims.
    False Dilemma. Questions of God's existence are not always tied to other extraordinary claims, such as miracles. You know full well that Deism is not only a valid position, but a common one. Many of the founding father's were Deists, Slipnish would be a Deist, and I know many personally.

    Therefore, your insistence that God be tied to such claims presents us with a false dilemma, which we must either accept that God's existence is tied to miracles or He doesn't exist.

    What your "contradiction of science argument" does is attack specific notions of God, it does not address the core issue itself.
    Quote Originally Posted by ians25
    premise 3) you assume that this something that cannot be measured or observed actually created the universe
    premise 4) you assume that this something that cannot be measured or observed actually actively intervenes with the universe it also created

    where did you get these assumptions from?
    Be more specific. The assumptions regarding God or the assumptions regarding the limits of Science. I hope it is the latter and not the former, because it annoys me when people ask questions that are so blatantly obvious that I know they know the answer. I'm not even assuming in this instance that God actually exist. I'm assuming certain attributes about God that show why Science is an invalid tool for answering the question of His existence.

    Those assumptions are:

    1) God is independent of His creation, meaning that He is not apart of it, He exists outside it. That is an incredible basic and well understood assumption about God.

    2) That God, if He intervenes in the Universe, does not do so in a manner that we can predict or cause. Meaning that if He acts, it is by His will, and not something that we choose or force upon Him. Another very basic assumption. If we assume God doesn't intervene, then my argument is made all the more valid by it, because then there is really no way to test Scientifically His presence. If we do accept that He intervenes, then what my assumption does is show that this intervention is not possible to really be Scientifically studied. That is because Science needs testable and reproducible observation and measurement. If you cannot control or predict when God will intervene, then there is no way to reproduce it or set up a controlled situation where you can accurately measure it. I noticed by the way that when you paraphrased my two premises that you left out the key word reproducible. Next time be sure to include it, because it makes a big difference.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  6. #26
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Since when did this happen? Last time I checked the tactic most used by atheists was a demand for scientific evidence of God's existence (since many simply refuse to accept philosophical arguments without this) and then claim that the lack of evidence is the basis for atheism.
    I would ask for a clarification on what constitutes "scientific evidence" vs ordinary evidence. I think if by evidence you mean something that can be observed or experienced, then that is not necessarily "scientific". It just is.

    One reason I don't believe in God or ghosts because I've never observed or experienced God or ghosts, just like I've never observed or experienced invisible pink unicorns prancing around in the 5th dimension. Should I put them on par with this God you keep talking about that I have not observed?

  7. #27
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Be more specific. The assumptions regarding God or the assumptions regarding the limits of Science.
    Assumptions regarding the definition of God of course, the definition and limitations of science are of common knowledge. I am still wondering what is the definition of God you are defending here, if you could provide one, with the attributes of this God also specified please? (According to Evensaul God is just and only something that cannot be observed or measured)

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    I'm not even assuming in this instance that God actually exist. I'm assuming certain attributes about God that show why Science is an invalid tool for answering the question of His existence.
    You cannot ascribe attributes to something that doesn't exist in the first place, so if you talk about the attributes of God you are invariably implying it exists. Again could you provide a specific set of attributes for this God?
    I will analyze the attributes that I think you have mentioned so far.


    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Those assumptions are:

    1) God is independent of His creation, meaning that He is not apart of it, He exists outside it. That is an incredible basic and well understood assumption about God.
    attribute 1) "God" is something that is not part of our universe


    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post

    2) That God, if He intervenes in the Universe, does not do so in a manner that we can predict or cause. Meaning that if He acts, it is by His will, and not something that we choose or force upon Him. Another very basic assumption. ......If you cannot control or predict when God will intervene, then there is no way to reproduce it or set up a controlled situation where you can accurately measure it.
    attribute 2) even though this something called "God" is not part of our universe, if it could intervene in the universe (does it or not, maybe you could specify this in your definition??), it would do so in ways we cannot understand.

    so if this something called God:
    1)is not part of our universe
    2)if it could intervene in our universe it would do so in ways we could not understand

    I couldn't agree more that this something called "God" would be something that could not be addressed scientifically.

    Now I would ask you, would any human (scientist or not) that assumes these two attributes to be true would be able to claim (and expect to be taken seriously) that this something called "God" can think and has actually transmitted him/her specific directions about ways it wants him/her to act if, by your definition, God's intervention (if any) is beyond human understanding?
    Last edited by ians25; August 1st, 2008 at 11:43 AM.

  8. #28
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Since when did this happen? Last time I checked the tactic most used by atheists was a demand for scientific evidence of God's existence (since many simply refuse to accept philosophical arguments without this) and then claim that the lack of evidence is the basis for atheism.
    Really? Zhavric, the atheist you always bash heads with, loves to use the "God cannot create energy" argument to disprove the God hypothesis. In fact, the "please show evidence for God" argument is not an argument for atheism per se, but a challenge to theists to prove their God.

    The evidence doesn't even have to be "scientific" in the form of repeatable experiments - for example, if we witness a man's amputated leg spontaneously regenerating after prayer to God, it would be considered strong evidence for God. We don't demand that legs regrow each and every time amputees are prayed over. Thus, the claim that atheists demand "scientific evidence" for God in the form of repeatable observations and experiments is really a straw man - no atheist I know of asks for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    False Dilemma. Questions of God's existence are not always tied to other extraordinary claims, such as miracles. You know full well that Deism is not only a valid position, but a common one. Many of the founding father's were Deists, Slipnish would be a Deist, and I know many personally.
    Deism is a "common" position? Please. I do not know of a single deist in real life. ODN doesn't even have a religious affiliation symbol for "deist", while it has symbols for Unitarian Universalists, Pagans, Messianics (whatever that is), etc. I think deists would be outnumbered even by atheists, so pardon me if I - and most atheists - choose to attack the bigger target which is the Judaeo-Christian conception of God.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Therefore, your insistence that God be tied to such claims presents us with a false dilemma, which we must either accept that God's existence is tied to miracles or He doesn't exist.

    What your "contradiction of science argument" does is attack specific notions of God, it does not address the core issue itself.
    I am perfectly content to use science to refute only those versions of God that are tied up with miraculous claims. After all, the version of God most people believe in - and the one whose authority fundies appeal to when seeking to curtail the rights of others in society or encourage suicide bombings - is the Judaeo-Christian God. I could care less about what deists believe in - as far as I'm concerned, their God is a completely different entity from the Judaeo-Christian God.

    It is unfortunate the English language doesn't have two different terms for the deist God vs. the theist God; it would prevent theists from using such switcheroo tactics when pressed to defend their version of God.
    Trendem

  9. #29
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    The OP maintains that the scientific method is not a valid process to obtain evidence. I did not say "there is no way of obtaining evidence", but only maintained that the scientific method is not a valid process for doing so.
    The scientific method is not a method for gathering evidence at all in any way, ever. It is a method for determining the meaning of that data and testing a hypothesis.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  10. #30
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    Deism is a "common" position? Please. I do not know of a single deist in real life.
    I used to be a Deist, but couldn't come to reconcile a logical Creator. Perhaps an illogical God exists, but I find it hard to wrap my brain around something illogical and abstract. I guess others are good at it.

  11. #31
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    God has only been observed when He chose to be. This has not happened in modern times. Therefore, God is not observable or measurable by modern science.
    If God is choosing to make itself known selectively, then God is selectively deciding not to allow those who could believe in it the opportunity to do so. I suspect, of course, this only confirms your importance on faith, and is only an affirmation that those who don't have faith don't deserve to know God.

    In other words, such a belief is obviously incredibly self-serving.


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    It is unfortunate the English language doesn't have two different terms for the deist God vs. the theist God; it would prevent theists from using such switcheroo tactics when pressed to defend their version of God.
    I'm a deist

    The problem isn't in the language, it's in the assumption. If you're referring to Christians or Jews, then refer to Christians or Jews.


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    The evidence doesn't even have to be "scientific" in the form of repeatable experiments - for example, if we witness a man's amputated leg spontaneously regenerating after prayer to God, it would be considered strong evidence for God. We don't demand that legs regrow each and every time amputees are prayed over. Thus, the claim that atheists demand "scientific evidence" for God in the form of repeatable observations and experiments is really a straw man - no atheist I know of asks for that.
    Ok, then just tell us--what ARE you asking for?
    Last edited by thrashee; August 1st, 2008 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    "Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves." --Bill Hicks

  12. #32
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    "1. God is not observable or measurable."

    I left off "unless God chooses to be." for the sake of brevity. Same with defining God as supernatural.

    The God in each major religion that holds God to exist, or gods, if we include the Hindu, have the attributes not observable and not measurable in common. Also, I believe the average person who believes in God without being a member of a particular religion would agree to those attributes. I cannot include what atheists believe because, not believing God exists, they have no attributes to believe in. So, a supernatural God that is unobservable and unmeasurable is the common denominator used in the OP.

    Having "not observable or measurable" also makes sense as a default. The positive claim "is observable and measurable" has the burden of proof and has not been proven. So the negative is default.

    The God(s) of major religions do not all share the same religious texts, the belief in Creation, and other attributes, so these are left out of the OP.

    1. God is not observable or measurable.
    2. The scientific method is based solely on observation and measurement.
    3. Therefore, the scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.
    4. Therefore, claiming to be an atheist based on a lack of scientific evidence for God is not logical.

    The steps could probably have been articulated a bit better, but I'll leave it for now.

  13. #33
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    "1. God is not observable or measurable."
    1. God is not observable or measurable.
    2. The scientific method is based solely on observation and measurement.
    3. Therefore, the scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.
    4. Therefore, claiming to be an atheist based on a lack of scientific evidence for God is not logical.
    The problem with this still remains. What you're essentially stating is that an atheist must believe in the attributes of a God they don't believe in, in order for not believing in him to be logical.

    Does that make sense to you?
    "Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves." --Bill Hicks

  14. #34
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    If we use the normal definition of atheism, and the way atheists usually describe themselves on ODN, with an active disbelief saying "there is no God" and ridiculing the belief in God, then there is no problem with the OP or the logic.

    This is because the default state of belief is neutral, or "no belief and no disbelief". To move off that center neutral position to either belief or active disbelief carries a burden of proof.

    Some may argue that to have atheism, we must first have theism. They argue that only theism carries a burden. That opinion is absurd. Moving from theism back to the neutral "I don't know" would not require proof, but moving back beyond neutral to atheism's active declaration that "there is no God" clearly carries a burden of proof.

    However, if you want to loosely define atheism to include "I really don't know" or "I have no opinion", then my OP is not valid.


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by thrashee View Post
    The problem with this still remains. What you're essentially stating is that an atheist must believe in the attributes of a God they don't believe in, in order for not believing in him to be logical.

    Does that make sense to you?
    No.

    I understand that it can be argued logically that a lack of evidence of God may cause someone to return to the neutral "I don't know" default position.

    But using a lack of evidence for the existance of God to move beyond the neutral default to an active disbelief, saying "there is no God", is not logical, because the burden of proof has not been met.
    Last edited by evensaul; August 1st, 2008 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  15. #35
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    The God(s) in each major religion..., including Hinduism, have the attributes not observable and not measurable in common.
    I challenge you to support that claim with concrete evidence.


    Having "not observable or measurable" also makes sense as a default. The positive claim "is observable and measurable" has the burden of proof and has not been proven. So the negative is default.
    No, even "not observable or measurable" is a positive claim. For all we know, the thing could be observable or measurable, and we cannot claim otherwise without evidence. The default state would be "possibly observable or not observable, measurable or not measurable." (The last part of your reasoning was a False Dilemma)
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  16. #36
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muse View Post
    I challenge you to support that claim with concrete evidence.
    How about we skip going through every religion and every text. Just educate me. Which religion states that God is observable without His wanting to be?

  17. #37
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    How about we skip going through every religion and every text. Just educate me. Which religion states that God is observable without His wanting to be?
    I see; I forgot the part about "wanting to be". Let's incorporate that part into your argument.

    Your old argument, with your one suggested modification:
    Argument version 1.2
    1. God is not observable or measurable, unless he wants to be.
    2. The scientific method is based solely on observation and measurement.
    3. Therefore, the scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.
    4. Therefore, claiming to be an atheist based on a lack of scientific evidence for God is not logical.

    As is clear, the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises. If we phrase your argument rigorously, this is what results:

    Argument version 1.3
    1. God is not observable or measurable, unless he wants to be.
    2. The scientific method is based solely on observation and measurement.
    3. Therefore, the scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists, unless he wants to be.
    4. God does not want to be observed or measured.
    Conclusion: Therefore, claiming to be an atheist based on a lack of scientific evidence for God is not logical.

    As you can see, you have to change a lot of things to accomodate "wanting to be", if we want to preserve your conclusion. If you agree with Argument 1.3, then I challenge you to support its Premise 4 ("God does not want to be observed or measured"). If you disagree with Argument 1.3, then provide your own logically correct version.
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  18. #38
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by thrashee View Post
    Ok, then just tell us--what ARE you asking for?
    I gave an example in the very section of my post you quoted - if I see an amputee's limb regrowing after prayer to God, then it would be strong evidence that God exists. Or if a pastor is able to tell me something about myself (or about the future) that is highly improbable of being known to him, and attributes the knowledge to God speaking to him, I would see it as evidence for God too.
    Trendem

  19. #39
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muse View Post
    If you disagree with Argument 1.3, then provide your own logically correct version.
    How about we change Premise 4 from "does" to "may".

    Argument version 1.3
    1. God is not observable or measurable, unless He wants to be.
    2. The scientific method is based solely on observation and measurement.
    3. Therefore, the scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists, unless he wants to be.
    4. God may not want to be observed or measured.
    Conclusion: Therefore, claiming to be an atheist based on a lack of scientific evidence for God is not logical.

    But once 4 is changed to "may" then 4 might as well not be there, right?

  20. #40
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    Re: The scientific method is an invalid tool for determining if God exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    The God in each major religion that holds God to exist, or gods, if we include the Hindu, have the attributes not observable and not measurable in common.
    Please cite the specific verses in the holy texts of "each major religion" where their God is defined as "not observable and measurable".

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Having "not observable or measurable" also makes sense as a default. The positive claim "is observable and measurable" has the burden of proof and has not been proven. So the negative is default.
    Nonsense. The burden of proof lies on whoever makes a claim, whether positive or negative. Otherwise I can just say that "God does not exist" is the default, and you ought to prove the positive claim that he exists.
    Trendem

 

 
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