REPEATABLE OBSERVATIONS ARE GOOD EVIDENCE

I’m sometimes challenged to ‘prove’ that God doesn’t exist. Well, firstly, ‘proof, prove and proven’ are words for detective story writers and mathematicians. I’m a Science teacher and good Scientists deal in evidence, not proof, because nothing in Science is ever fully proven; Scientific facts are based on a consensus of acceptance of convincing evidence, nothing more, although some facts have a really big consensus - everyone accepts them as true, like ‘the heart circulates the blood’ for example.

Secondly, no-one can ‘prove’ a negative. If I believed in fairies and challenged you to prove that they don’t exist, whatever you claimed I would be able to counter simply by saying that my fairies exist in a form undetectable by any currently known means.

No-one can ‘prove’ the non-existence of anything. That’s why the onus of ‘proof’ is on the supporter of a proposition not the denier.

 

Remember, in the immensity of Astronomical Time,

 

Convincing evidence, however, is very important because it is discovered, not invented, and in the form of repeatable observations recorded in the public domain that will live on long after you and I, and our opinions and beliefs, are dead and gone.

 

Evidence is priceless, belief is valueless.

 

Some people like to claim that a beautiful sunset, landscape or flower, or a lovely piece of music or art means there must be a god. These things are wonderful, but they are NOT evidence. In fact there is no connection; if there was, the opposites would be equally true and the grotesqueness of a tapeworm, the stench of a sewer and the cruelty of a children’s terminal cancer ward would also ‘prove’ there’s a god; there is no justification for selecting just the attractive things.

 

Beware of Confirmation Bias.

 

When Galileo offered to show the Pope’s representative the four moons of Jupiter he had just seen with his new telescope, the man said, ‘I refuse to look at something which my religion tells me cannot exist.’

Sadly, some believers (choosers) do not willingly expose their minds to evidence. They prefer activities and sources of information which reinforce their existing position. This is known as ‘confirmation bias’ or, as the old saw says, Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up! It’s hard to debate with people who hold such entrenched attitudes based on nothing more than their own opinions.

 

Don’t you think we should always keep our minds open?

 

In that respect, you may be surprised to hear that I would like there to be a (good) god just as much as you, but ‘wishin’ n’ hopin’,  a-thinkin’ n’ prayin’’* doesn’t make him appear.  

 

If you have any convincing evidence of his or her existence

email me and I might alter my view.

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But They are NOT Proof!

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* Apologies for the use of David J Wolinski’s great lyrics

“If the evidence shows I am wrong, I will change my mind. Changing your

mind when the evidence changes is a sign of intelligence”  

Prof Edzard Ernst

 

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

 

Aldous Huxley English author (1894 -1963)

“The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions but you can’t have your own facts”

Ricky Gervais

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