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Why doesn't science give us more evidence of God?

Postby Matthew » Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:58 pm

Why don't more scientific studies show evidence for God?

This is coming from an atheistic perspective, but I was wondering about other perspectives on this topic.

If a supernatural being interacts with the world in the ways that people often say that it does (e.g. hearing prayers, influencing events, speaking to people, visions), why are these interactions not measured in any meaningful way? If this being, for example, heard a prayer and acted upon it, there should be some resulting detectable influence in both the person's mind and the statistical result of the thing prayed for.

I honestly don't know what percent of people here believe in the impact of prayer, but if it is small, what other impact, if any, had God made in the past 2,000 years? Any interaction with the physical world should be detectible, and may change my beliefs if substantial enough. Thanks for reading that brain vomit.
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Re: Why doesn't science give us more evidence of God?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:58 pm

We have to use the right measure for the right medium. I don't use a thermometer to measure miles per gallon or a micrometer to determine velocity. Science is the wrong measure for giving evidence of God.

Science requires things like controlling the factors involved, reproducibility under controlled conditions, and measurement. There are inherent limitations to such things. It's not possible to apply the scientific method to God's existence.

If God were to answer prayer, how would you isolate all the factors involved, control every possible contingency, and measure via control groups to determine your hypothesis? It's just not possible. And if God were to do something in the world such as knock down part of the walls of Jericho with an earthquake or move water with a strong wind, how would a scientist determine the hand of God in it? It's just not possible. Even social phenomena are outside of the measure of science. Science was unable to predict the outcome of the last presidential election, just as science is unable to predict whether or not Brett Kavanaugh will be a good Supreme Court justice. These things are outside of the purview of science.

> why are these interactions not measured in any meaningful way? If this being, for example, heard a prayer and acted upon it, there should be some resulting detectable influence in both the person's mind and the statistical result of the thing prayed for.

How would you go about setting up a controlled situation where you were able to control very possible factor (know everyone who was praying and what they were praying, have a control group to know for sure what would happen in this situation the future if people were not praying, etc.)? There's just no practical or sensible way to do it.

> I honestly don't know what percent of people here believe in the impact of prayer

I do.

> but if it is small, what other impact, if any, had God made in the past 2,000 years?

It's not small, but there's no measure to determine its size. There is no test that can capture what science needs to capture to measure it. We can't use science to predict the final score of the Super Bowl, the outcome of the presidential election, the quality of a judge, to determine a defendant's motives in the courtroom, or even to predict the weather tomorrow (perfectly). Science has great power to arrive at knowledge, but there are many aspects of life outside of its reach.

Suppose a man had a debilitating, life-threatening stroke. The doctors pronounced the man a vegetable and likely to die. You could hook up every machine you want to analyze his condition and status. Then I pray, and he gets better. Would that even be a guarantee that my prayer was the determining factor? I imagine people would come up with all kinds of possible explanations. I really don't know what you think science to do to satisfy your query.
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Re: Why doesn't science give us more evidence of God?

Postby Matthew » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:49 pm

I'm not a scientist myself, and it is possible that I have no idea what I'm talking about, but from what I have seen that can't be true. If God has made any direct physical impact on the world, it is measurable in some way. It might be measurable from a physics perspective, measuring added energy to a system. Or maybe it could be measured through a study with a high sample size determining if patients given the same treatment are significantly effected if their family prays for them or not. If neither of these tests work I would start to wonder why no impacts that God makes on the world are detectable at all. It sure would convince a lot of people of God's existence given some shred of scientific evidence.
Matthew
 

Re: Why doesn't science give us more evidence of God?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:14 pm

> If God has made any direct physical impact on the world, it is measurable in some way.

Let's suppose (for real, just for the sake of discussion) that you were in your room one night and God suddenly appeared to you. Right there. Bright light, you could see him with your physical eyes, hear his voice—the real deal (for the sake of discussion). You asked him to do some tricks to prove himself, and he did whatever you asked him to: levitated your furniture, gave you a skin rash and took it away, whatever. Then he disappeared. What from that experience is now studiable by science? What can be proved or examined by science? Nothing. It's not that kind of thing.

Or suppose you were in a hospital room visiting a friend who was dying. Suddenly God was there with you (for real), and you asked him to heal your friend. He said OK and it was instantly done. Would the doctors credit God or assume some natural mystery? This is not measurable by science. There's just no way to do it, even though your friend may have been hooked up to a half dozen machines. The record on those machines may all record a sudden simultaneous change, but that still wouldn't prove God to others. Only you would know because you experienced it, but science couldn't possibly measure it.


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