Does God Exist?
James C. Rocks
Creationists & fundamentalists often make a number of claims about or attributed to a deity yet fail to provide any evidence in support of it. This article attempts to deal with such claims of deity. Despite the fact that there is no evidence to support their existence many that make the claim that a god or gods exist ... for the remainder of this article such phenomena will all be referred to as God or god. In the case of Christianity, Judaism (Jehovah) or Islam (Allah) and, indeed, many other religions the god in question is an all-powerful, divine force or entity that "created" or "is" or "contains" the universe and/or watches over it and/or permeates every aspect of our lives.
DiscussionTo my knowledge there are no reliable instances of God being seen, heard, touched or smelt nor is it possible to design an experiment to test for its existence or non-existence. Available evidence at least implies that men wrote whatever religious scriptures currently exist and there is no evidence to indicate that a god or gods were involved in any way. In other words there is no physical or naturalistic evidence to support the existence of God/deity. The accepted method of investigation (science) is to propose a clearly stated hypothesis and to support that hypothesis with evidence and reasoned logical deductions based upon the same. That is how science works and is the method by which humans have discovered things about our surroundings since we were able to reason. It is also understood that if a hypothesis does not "fit" in any way with other knowledge already accepted about our universe, if it cannot be supported by evidence and it cannot provide information about our universe previously unknown then it is assumed to have no value and is dismissed. Given the above (and my statement in the second paragraph) I can draw the following assumptions to test or discuss:
- God is claimed to be an all powerful, divine entity, force or effect that watches over us and permeates every aspect of our lives.
- There exists no empirical (measurable physical or naturalistic) evidence to support the claimed existence of God that cannot be interpreted (or potentially so) in a different fashion.
- There are no reliable or verifiable instances of God being seen, heard, touched, smelt, tasted or otherwise observed.
- It is not possible to design an experiment to prove or disprove God's existence.
- Humans (it would seem) physically wrote whatever scriptures or other written material supporting the claimed actuality of God and there is no evidence to indicate the direct or indirect involvement of God.
- Hard scientific evidence to support the claimed existence of whatever god or gods are being claimed to exist.
- Given that such evidence can, potentially at least, be provided an experiment designed to prove the existence of whatever god or gods are being claimed to exist and an indication of what kind of data would be required to disprove the existence of the same.
- Demonstrable evidence that whatever scriptures support the existence of the claimed god or gods were not (as is reasonably assumed) written and designed purely by men or women without divine involvement.
- God exists.
- God does not exist.
- God existed once but does not anymore (dead).
- Part of the explained universe.
- Part of the unexplained universe.
ConclusionIt is evident that, if God exists and affects us, God must exist within the confines of our universe; by definition the universe is everything that is observable and can be considered a boundary across which information does not flow. If God does exist in our universe then God must be observable. Also if God was not observable then God cannot observe us. If God is not observable then it is impossible for anyone to have experienced the presence of God, so if God is unobservable then God cannot exist and anyone who ever claimed to have experienced god (personally or otherwise) has merely experienced a delusion. There is no validatable evidence (that cannot be more reasonably interpreted) to support the existence of God so it is hard to see why any reasoning human being should consider that one should exist since our entire investment in knowledge (by which I refer to those things we "know" or have discovered about our universe) is based on empirical data. With that in mind and with specific (& somewhat cynical) reference to claims of a "god/gods of the gaps (which presumably is where God must exist in the absence of any other evidence) it must follow that at one point that god was potentially huge but nowadays is getting somewhat smaller ... indeed one imagines that the sceptic should be careful lest he tread on the apologetic's "god of the gaps" without realising it. Richard Dawkins wrote "It is often said that although there is no positive evidence for the existence of God, nor is there evidence against his existence. So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal's wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?"
- E-mail discussions with a friend.