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W/r/t to “creationism”, fine whatever, it is a loaded term, but I guess you’re technically right. I am still trying to figure out where I started talking about “absolute knowledge”, though. I totally understand that you know with certainty that apodictic certainty is unattainable (alright I’m being kind of a jerk here, but it is a pretty loopy/paradoxical concept). I was and still am talking about reasonable scientific evidence.You first said that belief without “reproducible evidence” is “ridiculous”. Now you’re saying that you’re “not asking for proof of anything”. If that’s just concerning this conversation and you don’t want proof from an anonymous commenter, that’s understandable albeit a little close-minded. If you mean it in general because you’re already resolved to the lack of proof and believe that it can never be surmounted, that’s a fairly unscientific stance to take, in fact it may be the most unscientific stance. If you were making a distinction between “proof” and “evidence” I think that’s silly, but I can still work with it.
It seems that you really like the reductio ad absurdum technique but I think you jump to generalizations far too quickly, and don’t really seem to want to deal in specifics. So you switched from bigfoot to voodoo and ghosts, because they apparently don’t fall into a discrete realm of science as easily? I beg to differ. Voodoo could probably be taken up in biological terms if you’re talking about bringing the dead back to life or most of the other stuff like dolls, etc. Ghosts would be found wanting in proof in probably every field of science, because they are necessarily supposed to have discernible characteristics which could be measured/observed. God, on the other hand, has so many different and broad definitions and meanings that he/she/it doesn’t seem to have many if any generally accepted aspects that could be measured/observed, besides creating the world/universe/what-have-you, of course.
Off the top of my head I can think of at least one widely accepted scientific idea that actually seems to have no “reproducible evidence”, namely man-caused climate change. Now I do believe in that, but I’ve never heard of any hard evidence. Of course there is evidence of climate change, but not the cause. I know it’s quite tricky to pinpoint causes, just like the cause of the universe (which I’ve noticed you keenly didn’t address). In any case if you believe in man-made climate change, I think you’re pretty much a hypocrite. Of course there are things that are accepted within the scientific community without as much scrutiny as others and most people don’t follow every tenet of the skeptical scientific method in every aspect of their lives (they would probably go crazy if they did). But I think this wavering scrutiny should be recognized.
@catweazle, thanks (taking more words from the kinda similar “truth serum”) “it’s a good song”.
Waitasecond, if belief in a creator = creationism, I need to get refunds for all the biology/evolution courses I’ve taken. Anyway, my whole point was that legitimate fields of science study animals and/or life on earth and create a framework for what is and isn’t acceptable data. There isn’t such a thing for god, and as far as I can tell there can’t be. One can prove that narwhals exist using the tools and the framework of biology, and one can say that there isn’t sufficient data to say that bigfoot exists. A precedent exists for proving animals’ existence. There isn’t any precedent for proving God’s existence. Really what is the amount of proof (I’m not saying there is or isn’t proof)? Is there any way to determine what is the acceptable amount of proof? There’s plenty of logical proofs, but the simplest one is the un-moved mover. So Bertrand Russell wants to call God “the universe” that’s fine, but he shouldn’t pretend that he’s not just switching labels for what could be the same thing. I think Bill Callahan has the best statement on the question with, “God is a word and the argument ends there.”
Well, I never thought I’d take the time to defend a Gabe “Ed. Note” put-down, but I guess you never know, or whatever. Anyway, just to stick to the basic facts, I’ve got to point out that saying “atheists [are] just as ridiculous as any other religion” is in no way calling atheism a religion, but isn’t that obvious? To stick with the super loose sports metaphor, this would be much more akin to saying “I find golfers just as ridiculous as republicans”- this type of comparison doesn’t need like things at all (I’m sorry, coz I already realize how patronizing, patriarchal, and every other evil “p” this sounds, but I feel like it’s sort of turned into a mini emperor’s new clothes type of thing, so I felt the need to point out the obvious).
Since I’m already writing stuff, I think that bigfoot thing isn’t mainly facetious or insensitive, but actually deceptive and inaccurate. If there were any established scientific field that studied (or even could study) deities (in bigfoot’s case biology or zoology) or any type of physical evidence that dealt with God, etc. (and most believers would take the universe at large to be this evidence, but that clearly isn’t acceptable to you) that was accepted by the scientific community, then that comparison could accurately be made, but it be should obvious that these arenas or areas of study are extremely different and can’t be compared.