Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fictional character with the largest fan base in the world – god


Many people around the globe believe many things, things that are true, but also things that are known to be false. Some even believe figments of other people’s imaginations, which give base to many large religions. However, if a person wants to be almost certain about some fact, whether something exists, or happens, they should follow the scientific method, which proves occurrence or existence of someone’s figment of imagination (albeit it’s usually heavily based on rational thinking and known facts) using experimentation. Someone makes a hypothesis, that something probably will happen given specific conditions and experiment (or series of them) either proves this assertion to be correct within a certain extent, wrong or sometimes inconclusive.

Question asked by many believers is, how science can prove that god doesn’t exist. It didn’t prove non-existence of god, therefore he does exist. This claim is however logical fallacy, it’s not rational. Does this mean that he doesn’t exist? No. It means neither one of these, because it’s practically impossible to prove non-existence of anything. There’s always possibility that something might exist or occur somewhere, but until the existence is proved, we can’t say for sure, it’s all just a speculation, a figment of someone’s imagination with no confirmation whatsoever.

Basically any experiment can prove that something exists or happens most of the times given specific conditions. Imagine an experiment, which proves hypothesis that when a potato changes to an elephant, the sky turns red. But imagine there’s another variable that we don’t know of, which changes the outcome in very small number of cases, like one in a billion experiments, turning the sky purple instead, when the potato imagines an exact model of a purple BMW just shortly prior the change, . But we do only a hundred, all having the outcome that potato changing to an elephant always turns the sky red. It proved that potato changing into an elephant does change sky to red at least most of the time.

Now imagine that we are unaware of this another variable, which would change the outcome. Can we say for sure that potato changing into an elephant always turns sky red? To an extent yes. It’s doubtful that we can claim anything to be absolutely true all the time and I’ll show you why in a little bit, but within a certain constrained range of situations, the assertion is true.

Now, someone will claim that in some cases the potato changing into an elephant might turn sky purple instead of red, given some additional condition. Since you, as a reader, are an external observer that already knows that this is true since you read about this fictional universe and how it works (since I as an author decide how it works and tell you about it), but do  the people living in this fictional universe know? No, they only speculate about that at this point. However, they might perform experiments to test if it is true, given the condition, but since it’s very rare for a potato to think about a certain model of a purple BMW and all potatoes refuse to listen to silly human commands (even if it’s for the science!), many experiments will be inconclusive, not proving that it’s true. But do they prove that it’s not true, that such situation doesn’t exist? No, we as external observers know it is true. Imagine that they get lucky, after doing billions and billions of experiments and they actually find out, that when a potato imagined a certain model of purple BMW, the sky indeed turned purple when the potato changed to an elephant.

Now they know that it’s true also, since they finally proved it in experiment – it happened according to the prediction. However, imagine that someone claims that sky will instead rain fish, when the potato imagines three wooden sticks and two pieces of a string arranged in a specific pattern on a 3x3 grid. I, as an author of this say that it won’t happen, but I also say that potatoes won’t ever imagine this, unless I tell them to. Then people in this fictional universe can keep doing an experiment, over and over again, without the potato ever imagining the aforementioned configuration, so they’ll never know whether this assertion is true or not. They can’t say that it’s not true (even though it’s really not, a fish raining from the sky? Pfff, who would believe that!), because using the same logic, they could say that sky won’t turn people based on the billion minus one experiments they did, before it was proven to actually be true. So how are they supposed to distinguish the two? How are they going to prove that something doesn’t happen, when a situation in which it’s supposed to happen never occurs during any of the experiments? And what if there are other underlying variables they don’t know of?
Similarly, we cannot claim that something doesn’t exist with absolute certainty, because there might be scenario or place where it actually does. We might be either not be aware of some existing variables that cause the changes or it might be simply impossible for us to study that part of the universe, which we inhabit and which laws of physics govern us, we would have to be objective independent observers outside of this universe, not affected by any part of it and be able to observe and measure every last bit of it. Then we could say anything objectively about it, but the objectivity would be only in the scope of this universe we’re not part of, but because we would inhabit another, enclosed one, which might affect us similarly and prevent us from measuring and studying it objectively from within.

In order for us to prove that god doesn’t exist, we would have to perform experiments accounting for every single scenario, every single variable that might change the outcome, to determine that his existence doesn’t affect any of them. We would actually have to form an exact hypothesis, how the existence of god even affects our universe and how can we definitely prove it. In what form and where is he even located? 

Assuming that he’s not actually part of our universe (which is the most likely situation) and only served as an original creator (designer) with no intervention afterwards, then it’s basically impossible to prove his existence, since it doesn’t affect any aspect of our universe. However if he does intervene, then we can test for such interventions. If we in fact do measure these, we can be certain that the interventions do exist, but their source must be apparent as well, otherwise their attribution to some sentient creator will be again just an unproven figment of someone’s imagination. We cannot attribute results of some experiment to anything arbitrary, it must prove the connection as well, in this case the connection between apparent intervention and an existence of a sentient being.

However, what if we don’t prove it? We do one experiment after another, but nothing happens. Does that mean he doesn’t exist? No. Does it mean he does exist? Again, No. It’s something that’s impossible to prove, you cannot prove the non-existence of something, unless you are an external observer with a total access to every last bit of the subsystem you’re proving something for. However, does this make it logical to believe there is any god? The answer is no.

Faith has very little to do with logic and rational thought. It’s faith that something does exist, even though there’s no evidence to prove it. Somebody comes up with some fictional idea that doesn’t get proven and others start believing it, without using a rational thought for this. It’s just a speculation. It makes just much of a sense as believing that Darth Vader really does exist. He’s just a fictional character, yet some might claim that he exists somewhere out there and how are you going to disprove them? Check every single planet in the whole universe? Or I can claim that our universe was created by the extensive smell of pope’s socks, which caused the floating strawberries in some metaspace to collide in the smelly terror, making the collided, smelly strawberry blob de facto the god. How are you going to prove it’s not like that? That it doesn’t exist? It’s another fictional thought and just as worth believing as any of the large (or smaller) religions, it just has next-to-none fan base.
Faith has nothing to do with the science. We can make whatever assertions we want, about existence of preposterous scenarios, whatever insane bits our imaginations can come up with and claim that they are legitimate and true. They might be, but they’re not unless proven so. The correct, rational way is to prove the existence of something, instead of the non-existence, because otherwise it’s just a speculation with varying levels of insanity. Therefore believing in a god is not rational, it’s just a belief in some fictional character, because he’s nothing more than that, until proven otherwise, at least to a scientifically based person.

The most important part of science is that it makes sense and that it works, because anything that goes in has to be proven true, it’s filtered, so any preposterous figments of someone’s mind are prevented from entering the world of the facts. If they remain in speculations, that’s fine, everyone is entitled to them, but they should realize what they are – just a product of an imagination. Asserting that it’s true is just wrong, illogical and not scientific, not a thing a modern person should believe. Facts from science are solid and it’s possible to build on them, create new technologies and solutions, as opposed to building on something that probably doesn’t even exist: something like that will crumble very quickly.

However, many people are irrational to an extent and they come up with these fictional ideas, self-suggestions that help them feel better and possibly get through bad times, but everything they build upon is just a figment of imagination, so whenever someone challenges that, they might get very defensive and even more irrational, protecting the weary base they have built and based upon, so it doesn’t crumble under their feet. These are usually people that are heavily based upon the religion, it’s their whole life, and they’re obsessed with it, so every sign if it being just an unsupported fiction is like a huge earthquake.

On the other hand more rational religious people don’t base their lives solely on the beliefs, it’s an addition, one of many parts, so they are generally more tolerant and peaceful and that’s fine. Science still leaves unexplained matters for us to ponder about (though they might get eventually filled and explained rationally), imagine and guess what they might be, but that’s all it is: an opinion, an imagination, with no proof proving or denying it. It’s not rational, but people are not always purely rational, so unless they push it as the only truth (or actually certain truth) and they are tolerant and peaceful to other opinions, everything is fine, but it should never be pushed as something it’s not: a rational idea.

So what’s rational? Science has a very interesting thing for it, called Occam’s’ Razor and simply put, it says that the most probable explanation is the most simple one. Therefore since there’s no proof for existence of any form of god (at least not yet), the most rational assumption is that there’s none. You could think of various insane explanations, that the world was created by a clown with five arms by burping a diamond tulips at giggling crocodile, or perhaps by some kind of sentient cloud raining down a lemonade full of despair, but Occam’s Razor cuts all these crazy ideas away, because they’re not logical, they’re not rational, at least, until there’s a solid evidence for them.

And as there’s no solid evidence to prove god’s existence, he’ll remain a figment of imagination, a fictional character that people made up ages ago and that gained a really large fan base over the centuries. And that’s all there’s to it.

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