I've read through a lot of philosophical and religious debates here on the hub, and I've come across a lot of comments concerning proof, particularly as concerns religion and science.
I've seen a lot of this:
"this has happened to me, so it proves that God is real."
"I won't believe is unless science proves it to me."
"This is proof of [whatever's being discussed]. Why don't you accept that?"
For being the entire foundation upon what we believe, the definition of proof seems to vary along with the individual.
So I would like to ask you all: what, in your opinion, constitutes something as being "proof" of something else? What makes something "evidence" of something else?
Just curious on your thoughts...
Proof is always communicable and repeatable between people. The same results come from the same tests no matter who does the testing. Absolute proof is seldom possible because of variations in testing procedures.
For instance, if you let go of a ball will it fall to the floor? Yes? How about in a wind tunnel? How about if it's setting on a table? How about if you're in orbit in the space station? Variables always exist and are not always recognized, making proof difficult.
Evidence, on the other hand, does not require the same standards. Bad evidence, but nonetheless evidence of a sort, can come from individual experiences that cannot be reproduced. Good evidence comes from reproducible tests that anyone can carry out. Lots of bad evidence "proves" little to nothing; lots of "good" evidence is generally accepted as proof by those that are interested in reality rather than desired results.
Somewhere in between is what we usually have, whereupon interpretation and opinion come into play. Those wanting truth and knowledge go to great lengths to eliminate both (as well as their own desires and emotions) as much as possible; those wanting a preordained "fact" don't.
So if I am understanding you correctly, the ability to repeat an experiment and produce the same outcome, over and over, is a high indication that the hypothesis attempting to be proved through the experiment, is proof? (Although I do note you said that absolute proof is impossible, due to unknown variables.)
Thank you for your insight. What you said makes sense, which I hope I understood you correctly
It also helps if anyone can repeat the experiment with the same results...
If we are speaking about prayer... for example... It is not really proof or even good evidence to say that someone was cured of cancer by praying. Unless any cancer patient that prays receives the same results.
Yes I did mention that in my reply...sorry maybe I wasn't quite clear
So you agree that conducting an experiment and having those repeated experiments get the same results is one of the best ways of determining proof?
I think it's the best way of getting objective proof that would should convince any rational person.
I don't believe it is necessary for forming personal opinions and/or beliefs. I think it is perfectly reasonable to use subjective evidence for that. However it should be remembered that your standards of proof when using subjective evidence are completely yours. It short... you can't reasonably expect to convince anyone else of your personal opinions and/or beliefs unless you meet THEIR standards of subjective evidence.
Now, what would happen if the Big Bang were re-created in the lab? How many times do you think they have done that? ZERO. How many times do you think they have turned a chimpanzee into a human being? ZERO...although, they have managed, reportedly, to have caused evolution, in one generation, in the lab. According to Darwin, adaptation takes hundreds of thousands of years...if not millions.
So what would constitute as acceptable proof, to you, then?
I do believe scientific proof...and spiritual proof. I see them as mutual human truths. I believe that we were given the capacity to figure out everything, including God. Believing in physics, I think that the prime candidate for what we call 'God' is what Einstein called Energy. The question is: Is that Energy sentient? Is it conscious? Everything exists because of energy, and, it was present at the beginning...if, indeed, there was a true beginning, and Stephen Hawking's prime force is still reliant on the presence of energy. It is a possibility...and, again, just as unprovable. That is why the discussion goes on...because there really is no proof that God doesn't exist, nor is there proof that God does. If God proves to me that God is there, my proof may not be good enough for you. I saw four stars, at least one of which was a planet in our solar system. It was an alignment, but, it was timed and in conjunction with thoughts, ideas, that were occurring to me, but, not being generated by me.(Sounds crazy, hard to really explain) but, in short, my conscious mind knew the alignment would be there before my eyes had seen it. The alignment occurred around March 1st, 1980, and was viewed by me from Corvallis, Oregon. Had you been standing next to me, all you would have seen was a curious alignment, but, happening the way that it did, told me that it is something inherent in the being, not just me, but all human beings. What followed was a thirty year search, which ended just prior to my joining hubpages.
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