Poll

I am actively searching for disconfirmation of my atheist/skeptic world view

Yes
4 (44.4%)
I already did that, some time ago, and, ended up confirming my original view
2 (22.2%)
What for? I already know that I am probably correct
0 (0%)
Perhaps, if there was some actual reasons to, I would
3 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Voting closed: September 02, 2015, 08:36:05 am

ParaclitosLogos

  • ***
  • 4902 Posts
    • View Profile
On different ocassions, I have understood skeptics/atheists to be saying that theists are biased, non critical, and not objective in their search for truth.

That they are the ones on the side of science and the critical thinking approach to truth, and these are the superior methodologies in the search for truth.

...
Indeed the great revelation of the scientific method is that we should search hardest for evidence that contradicts our beliefs. Evidence which merely confirms what we already know is actually not very informative, and does not lead to much improvement in understanding.

Edit: One of the nicest, and simplest, demonstrations of this I have seen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKA4w2O61Xo

So, I have some Questions for the atheists/skeptics community, which I will not follow with any argumet for or against, it is more a survey of their thinking, if they want to share it:

Which scientific hypothesis experimental confirmation has shown that we should search hardest for evidence that contradicts our beliefs?

Isn´t the scientific method predicated on the capacity of its hypotheses predicting observations?

Isn´t  the whole point of being informative  to provide further understanding on what to expect?

When was the last time any scientist tried to disproof the scientific method?

How is the search for evidence that contradicts atheism, going?

If a scientific theory predicts a result with an error of over 120 magnitudes,
what should we do with it? ( 10 ^120)


None of these question are meant to deny the importance of disconfirmation and falsability.

This is not a post for theists. I just want to read atheists thoughts on these questions.Thanks.


PS: To everyone, do watch the video Kurros posted, it is an excellent lesson.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 08:41:26 am by ontologicalme »

1

kurros

  • *****
  • 12244 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2015, 08:59:43 am »
Which scientific hypothesis experimental confirmation has shown that we should search hardest for evidence that contradicts our beliefs?
This is not a scientific hypothesis, it is philosophy of science. It is just experience which has revealed this as a good method for belief-improvement, and so far I don't know of anything better.

Quote
Isn´t the scientific method predicated on the capacity of its hypotheses predicting observations?
Yes.

Quote
Isn´t  the whole point of being informative  to provide further understanding on what to expect?
Yes.

Quote
When was the last time any scientist tried to disproof the scientific method?
It's a method, not a hypothesis to be proven or disproven. But as for the last time anyone tried to look for a better method, well if you look at the history of statistics you will see continuous debate raging on this very question, to this very day. It is not that anyone doubts that it works, it is a matter of whether we can do better, with less data.

Quote
How is the search for evidence that contradicts atheism, going?
Not very successfully. Though I learned a few new arguments from this place.

Quote
If a scientific theory predicts a result with an error of over 120 magnitudes,
what should we do with it? ( 10 ^120)
I assume you refer to the "prediction" of the vacuum energy, but this isn't a real prediction, it is a very naive back-of-the-envelope guess based on shaky assumptions using a theory that no-one expects to work for that calculation. But to answer the general question, if a theory gets something wrong but a huge amount of other stuff right, then the usual thing to do is try to find some way to extend the theory to correct the mistake. Sometimes this involves big changes in the foundations of the theory, but other times the required modifications are not so drastic. Theories often involve many simplifying assumptions, and sometimes they predict the wrong thing just because you are violating those assumptions without realising it.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 09:02:49 am by kurros »

2

ParaclitosLogos

  • ***
  • 4902 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 02:18:52 pm »
Which scientific hypothesis experimental confirmation has shown that we should search hardest for evidence that contradicts our beliefs?
This is not a scientific hypothesis, it is philosophy of science. It is just experience which has revealed this as a good method for belief-improvement, and so far I don't know of anything better.

Quote
Isn´t the scientific method predicated on the capacity of its hypotheses predicting observations?
Yes.

Quote
Isn´t  the whole point of being informative  to provide further understanding on what to expect?
Yes.

Quote
When was the last time any scientist tried to disproof the scientific method?
It's a method, not a hypothesis to be proven or disproven. But as for the last time anyone tried to look for a better method, well if you look at the history of statistics you will see continuous debate raging on this very question, to this very day. It is not that anyone doubts that it works, it is a matter of whether we can do better, with less data.

Quote
How is the search for evidence that contradicts atheism, going?
Not very successfully. Though I learned a few new arguments from this place.

Quote
If a scientific theory predicts a result with an error of over 120 magnitudes,
what should we do with it? ( 10 ^120)
I assume you refer to the "prediction" of the vacuum energy, but this isn't a real prediction, it is a very naive back-of-the-envelope guess based on shaky assumptions using a theory that no-one expects to work for that calculation. But to answer the general question, if a theory gets something wrong but a huge amount of other stuff right, then the usual thing to do is try to find some way to extend the theory to correct the mistake. Sometimes this involves big changes in the foundations of the theory, but other times the required modifications are not so drastic. Theories often involve many simplifying assumptions, and sometimes they predict the wrong thing just because you are violating those assumptions without realising it.

Thanks Kurros.

Anyone else?

3

Metaxia

  • **
  • 486 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2015, 02:40:28 pm »
I voted "I already did that, some time ago, and, ended up confirming my original view". I still keep an eye out, but I want to do the same for all my other views as well, and there's only 24 hours in a day. :P
-- This user has been banned for inappropriate behaviour --

4

Metaxia

  • **
  • 486 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2015, 02:54:16 pm »
And here's my thoughts on the questions in your post:

Quote
Which scientific hypothesis experimental confirmation has shown that we should search hardest for evidence that contradicts our beliefs?

I don't think that's a scientific issue. I think it's an epistemic issue, which is in the realm of philosophy.

Quote
Isn´t the scientific method predicated on the capacity of its hypotheses predicting observations?

Well, I don't think the scientific method exists. It seems pretty clear to me that different fields have variations in their methodologies. For example, you'll never see a theoretical physicist doing field work. If she did, she'd be doing applied physics! For some science, hypotheses predicting observations are important. But even something like "merely" collecting data is contributing to the thing we all refer to as science.

Quote
Isn´t  the whole point of being informative  to provide further understanding on what to expect?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Can you rephrase?

Quote
When was the last time any scientist tried to disproof the scientific method?

Never, because as I said above: 1, there is no 'the' scientific method, and 2, anyone who tried this would be doing philosophy, not science.

Quote
How is the search for evidence that contradicts atheism, going?

I found a few things that seemed to point somewhat in the direction of theism. But overall, the majority of the evidence pointed toward atheism. I learned a lot, though, so that's good.

Quote
If a scientific theory predicts a result with an error of over 120 magnitudes,
what should we do with it? ( 10 ^120)

Again, I'm not sure what you're asking here. If you're asking about a situation where an experiment where the result has only a 10^120 margin of error, then it's almost certainly correct and we should accept it (assuming that we can't find any flaws in the experiment's method). If you're asking about an experiment with a result that's so far off base that it contradicts everything else we think we know, then we should almost certainly reject it.
-- This user has been banned for inappropriate behaviour --

5

LADZDAZL

  • ****
  • 6483 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 05:25:08 am »
I voted for the second option and agree with kurros' answers.
Life is a box of chocolates!

6

ArtD

  • ***
  • 3595 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Natural Theology
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 06:45:54 am »
"I am actively searching for disconfirmation of my atheist world view"

I think there's a problem with the question above.

If a person is a "hard" atheist (is positive that no gods exists) how could they possibly confirm that all the thousands of gods humanity has worshiped in recorded history, and pre-historical gods, and gods possibly worshiped on other planets - in other words, all the gods worshiped since the last big bang anywhere in the universe - do not exist?

If a person is a "soft" atheist (doesn't believe any gods exist, lacks belief in any god) then all they have to do to confirm their world view is to ask themselves "Is it true I don't believe any gods exist? Yes, I don't. There, I've confirmed my world view." (i.e., they have confirmed that they don't believe any gods exist).

Natural Theology

7

kurros

  • *****
  • 12244 Posts
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 07:07:48 am »
"I am actively searching for disconfirmation of my atheist world view"

I think there's a problem with the question above.

If a person is a "hard" atheist (is positive that no gods exists) how could they possibly confirm that all the thousands of gods humanity has worshiped in recorded history, and pre-historical gods, and gods possibly worshiped on other planets - in other words, all the gods worshiped since the last big bang anywhere in the universe - do not exist?

If a person is a "soft" atheist (doesn't believe any gods exist, lacks belief in any god) then all they have to do to confirm their world view is to ask themselves "Is it true I don't believe any gods exist? Yes, I don't. There, I've confirmed my world view." (i.e., they have confirmed that they don't believe any gods exist).

The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.

8

ArtD

  • ***
  • 3595 Posts
    • View Profile
    • Natural Theology
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 07:20:13 am »
Quote
The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.
OK, you can disprove atheism by demonstrating a god exists.
Natural Theology

9

Jenna Black

  • ***
  • 2806 Posts
  • Truth is worth pursuing.
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 05:59:00 pm »
Quote
The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.
OK, you can disprove atheism by demonstrating a god exists.
Only God can demonstrate that God exists, and He has.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

10

aleph naught

  • ****
  • 7392 Posts
  • For the glory of the Canadian empire.
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 06:31:58 pm »
Quote
The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.
OK, you can disprove atheism by demonstrating a god exists.
Only God can demonstrate that God exists, and He has.

God is infallible. If he's demonstrated that he exists, why don't people believe? And, moreover, which argument is it that he used?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 06:37:54 pm by aleph naught »

11

Jenna Black

  • ***
  • 2806 Posts
  • Truth is worth pursuing.
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2015, 07:04:58 pm »
Quote
The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.
OK, you can disprove atheism by demonstrating a god exists.
Only God can demonstrate that God exists, and He has.

God is infallible. If he's demonstrated that he exists, why don't people believe? And, moreover, which argument is it that he used?
LOL. Only an atheist would assume that God uses an argument to demonstrate His existence.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

12

aleph naught

  • ****
  • 7392 Posts
  • For the glory of the Canadian empire.
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2015, 07:24:08 pm »
Quote
The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.
OK, you can disprove atheism by demonstrating a god exists.
Only God can demonstrate that God exists, and He has.

God is infallible. If he's demonstrated that he exists, why don't people believe? And, moreover, which argument is it that he used?
LOL. Only an atheist would assume that God uses an argument to demonstrate His existence.

There is only inferential and non-inferential demonstration. And since I haven't had any experience of or intuitions about God, if he demonstrated his existence to me then it must have been via inference from pre-established facts.

So, what argument did God use?

13

Jenna Black

  • ***
  • 2806 Posts
  • Truth is worth pursuing.
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 08:39:55 pm »
Quote
The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.
OK, you can disprove atheism by demonstrating a god exists.
Only God can demonstrate that God exists, and He has.

God is infallible. If he's demonstrated that he exists, why don't people believe? And, moreover, which argument is it that he used?
LOL. Only an atheist would assume that God uses an argument to demonstrate His existence.

There is only inferential and non-inferential demonstration. And since I haven't had any experience of or intuitions about God, if he demonstrated his existence to me then it must have been via inference from pre-established facts.

So, what argument did God use?
Consider these words from the book by Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits (1959, 2004) "God, Man and History" calls these experiences "encounters" with God, p. 16:

“The foundation of biblical religion, therefore, is not an idea but an event—an event that may be called an encounter with God….If the encounter is experienced in reality, what need of proofs? If, however, the encounter is not part of possible human experience, what use all proof?”
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

14

aleph naught

  • ****
  • 7392 Posts
  • For the glory of the Canadian empire.
    • View Profile
Re: Scientific Method/ critical thinking. For Atheists answers only
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2015, 08:42:13 pm »
Quote
The question is asking for the opposite though, i.e. whether we search for evidence which can *disprove* atheism. This is fair enough I think.
OK, you can disprove atheism by demonstrating a god exists.
Only God can demonstrate that God exists, and He has.

God is infallible. If he's demonstrated that he exists, why don't people believe? And, moreover, which argument is it that he used?
LOL. Only an atheist would assume that God uses an argument to demonstrate His existence.

There is only inferential and non-inferential demonstration. And since I haven't had any experience of or intuitions about God, if he demonstrated his existence to me then it must have been via inference from pre-established facts.

So, what argument did God use?
Consider these words from the book by Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits (1959, 2004) "God, Man and History" calls these experiences "encounters" with God, p. 16:

“The foundation of biblical religion, therefore, is not an idea but an event—an event that may be called an encounter with God….If the encounter is experienced in reality, what need of proofs? If, however, the encounter is not part of possible human experience, what use all proof?”


It's probably reasonable to say that atheists are those people who have not had an 'encounter'.