Why God Doesn't Exist - Proof
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Can we prove the existence of God? How about the non existence of God? What test or experiment do you propose?
"Prove to me that God exists." That's the famous challenge an atheist casts at a theist. The defender of the faith now runs through a list of reasons and arguments that make perfect sense to anybody... except to the atheist. Frustrated, the theist lashes back, "Prove to me that God doesn't exist." Now it's the challenger's turn to turn red with anger. "You don't understand the scientific method. The onus is on you to prove God!"
And so they go, back and forth, conference after conference, century after century. How many times have we seen the scene? A thousand? A million? Is there a solution to this dilemma? Can we break the impasse and move on?
Well, let's look at something a little less emotionally charged and more obvious than God. Can you prove the existence of THIS chair? What experiment would you propose we run? Or what logic are we going to apply to test the hypothesis? Should we touch the chair with our hands or will visual contact suffice? What if the blind man can't see the chair? What if the quadriplegic can't sense it with her fingers? Does the chair vanish? Does it not exist? Does your existence depend on my senses? Did the Sun not exist before life appeared on Earth?
We can brainstorm questions and answers all year long and won't come up with an experiment or test that will satisfy everybody. And all proposals will nonetheless end up being subjective.
How about evidence? That seems to be a sure way. Doesn't a large, fossilized bone objectively prove that T-Rex existed?
So now the theist changes tactics and lists evidence in favor of God. "Look at the wonders that God wrought. Look at the beauty of the mountains and oceans, the perfection of a starfish, the delightful smell of flowers. If that isn't proof of God's existence..."
The atheist is unpersuaded and comes up with an impromptu list of contrary evidence. "Yeah? Look at the misery and war and pestilence that God also showered upon us. Either God doesn't exist or He must be blind or evil!"
And so they continue for hours.
When it comes to matters of proof, Science is quite unlike Law. For instance, testimony -- a hallmark of Law -- is totally inadmissible in Science, for else Science would deteriorate into a subjective discipline. And the purpose of material evidence is political rather than to prove. Evidence is used to sway the jury in the prosecutor's favor, to lend support to the proponent's argument. It does not prove a theory. We certainly cannot prove existence indirectly or by inference. Proof by implication of a qualitative issue is necessarily founded upon opinion.
For instance, are footprints proof of the existence of Big Foot? Do crop circles prove the existence of extraterrestrial aliens?
Footprints and crop circles merely serve to persuade the listener that the presenter can back the instant theory with more than just words. However, the same evidence can just as well be used to justify alternative explanations.
Therefore, a fossil does not prove that T-Rexes existed. A large femur is just that: a bone. The prosecutor is not really arguing that the bone proves the existence of a dinosaur any more than the presence of iridium proves their non-existence. The prosecutor attempts to convince the jury that there is a rational explanation for this bone to be found within a particular cross-section of the Earth's crust. And whether the animal lived 65 million years ago or looked like the picture the artist reconstructed after faithfully following the paleontologist's guidelines is again a matter of theory. The alleged architectures and behaviors and clades of dinosaurs have changed over the years as more evidence and ideas have poured in. Evidence is not per se an explanation, much less conclusive, but rather what the theorist attempts to interpret. And existence is not something we explain (theory), but something we define and assume (hypothesis) in order to explain.
Will bringing the leprechaun in person conclusively prove to the skeptic that this wealthy green elf really exists and is not just a figment of the presenter's imagination?
Well, let's look at it in reverse. Will being unable to produce the leprechaun prove that this elusive little Irishman doesn't exist?
Nevertheless, by bringing the leprechaun in person we come back to the chair scenario. We have the chair right there in front of us. Prove to me that THIS chair exists!
In Science, we don't prove that God exists or doesn't. The existence of God is not one inch closer to proof or fact even in the case where God descends from heaven and sits next to me so that everybody can see Him. In Science, we define the word exist. Then, it's a piece of cake. God either exists or doesn't pursuant to the definition.
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