By Gary Berg-Cross
The ontolog-forum can be a fun thing to read about semantic topics and our understanding of reality.It can also generate off-topic discussion thread and a recent one concerned Dennett’s God meme ("an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.) as the primary application of memes that seems to interest both Dawkins and Dennett.
Memes were already being discussed when someone through in a reference to Giussani's "The Religious Sense"some reflection of an driving need for truth, goodness, and beauty. Giussani is the founder the lay Catholic ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation (CL), similar to the Neo-Catechumenal Way, Foculare, and Opus Dei. He writes popular books to spread memes, I guess, and in "The Religious Sense" his pushes the idea that values of truth and beauty constitutes the fabric of the religious sense, which is evident in every human being everywhere and in all times.
Ontologists on the forum are not shy about taking shabby arguments to task. I thought thatreaders of this Blog be interested in here some of the argument and exchange.
Polymath John Sowa responded briskly, and tongue in cheek, as it were:
But I also believe that all arguments *against* the existence
of God are equally unscientific. It's actually harderto develop
a solid proof that something does *not* exist.
should be based on a study of gods such as Zeus, which don't
seem to be tied up with much emotion, either pro or con.
An equally deep and insightful Pat Hayes added to the put down with an appeal to the flying spaghetti monster.
absolutely no observational evidence for the existence of a God, nor any reason to hypothesize such an entity in order to explain anything that is observable. A very straightforward application of Occam's principle then suffices. Of course this is not a *proof*, but it is a sound *scientific* argument. Proofs are irrelevant here. There is no proof that the flying spaghetti monster does not exist, but that does not shake the faith of the true Pastafarian.
Matthew West picked up in the proof idea to add:
All one can say scientifically is that the existence of God is a hypothesis that it is unlikely that we will ever be able to prove or disprove scientifically, because there is no experiment that we can conduct (or at least I cannot think of any) that would prove or disprove the hypothesis. (Of course you can always set up God hypotheses that you can disprove, but they are not generally ones the "faithful" actually believe in).
As to Pat’s There is no proof that the flying spaghetti monster does not exist, but that does not shake the faith of the true Pastafarian.
And that is the essence. It is a matter of faith, not science. So any
scientific argument is irrelevant. Irritating though that may be to those
who believe only in science.
No, this makes the situation seem symmetrical. But science is not symmetrical
in this way: one only has a burden to show something that is hypothesized in
order to explain something else. God does not explain anything that cannot be
explained better without using that hypothesis. Every attempt throughout
history to offer an argument for the existence of God (e.g. to explain the
cosmos, to explain life, to explain morality) has turned out to be wrong. Every
one, without exception. I would say that this was pretty convincing argument, myself.
As for experiments, how about the recent empirical tests of the efficacy of prayer? (In sum: it has zero effect.)
Oh brave freethinking people out there.
John Sowa: http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/
Pat Hayes: http://www.ihmc.us/groups/phayes/