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  1. #51
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Interesting. We have faith in the things that fit our assembled structure of theories, yes?

    Otherwise, how would one explain the belief in, say for example, electrons?

    I've never seen an electron. I've never directly observed any phenomena that explicitly required the existence of electrons as discrete objects. However, I emphatically do believe that there are such things as electrons because they are predicted by the prevailing theories, and because their existence answers some theoretical questions that are otherwise problematic. Based on what I have experienced, I extend belief to that which I have not experienced.

    So when you write that "The belief in physical alien life falls within the realm of science and observation, while a metaphysical God does not," it tells us that your set of postulates is different from Lark's. Also, while telling us very little about the relative likelihood of the existence or non-existence of God, it tells us a fair amount about you.
    You haven't directly observed electrons or understood why we can infer the existence of electrons based on experiments and observation, but other chemists and scientists have, and you trust their authority because you trust in the way they think and understand things and explain things. You also might familiarize yourself with the experiments they conducted to infer the existence of electrons and determine that they're experimentally sound. You could even take it one step further and conduct the experiments yourself if you had the patience and determination.

    The same doesn't work for the belief in God. For one thing, when you examine the logic of the authority figures who profess a belief in God, you can often find holes in their arguments and inferences. You can also find holes in other arguments they make concerning the Bible, culture, ethics, etc. But the most important difference is that you can't conduct an experiment to infer the existence of God yourself. That's a major, major problem.

  2. #52
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    In all seriousness anyone who's on a UFO trip and an athiest should read Jung's Flying Saucers book and realise they're wrong about everything in their lives.
    EHHHHH

    How deeply have you investigated UFOs? There's some pretty compelling evidence that Jung's archetype theory doesn't account for.

  3. #53
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    But the most important difference is that you can't conduct an experiment to infer the existence of God yourself. That's a major, major problem.
    I see no particular obstacle to this. I bet you could figure out an experiment in short order if you put your mind to it. I know I could.

  4. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Big differences between believing in aliens and believing in God:

    1. Aliens don't transcend the laws of physics. God is metaphysical and defined in a way that he transcends the laws of physics.
    2. Something that does transcend the laws of physics and the physical universe would be impossible to prove by definition, so believing in it is as good as believing in anything you can't prove, like fairies or angels or fate.

    The belief in physical alien life falls within the realm of science and observation, while a metaphysical God does not. They're qualitatively different. Also, keep in mind, no one is actually saying they believe aliens are visiting Earth. They're entertaining the possibility that life exists somewhere else in the universe which is probably true, given that we know the universe is capable of supporting life and that the universe is virtually infinite. But that's really a side point. My main point is that it's very reasonable to entertain a belief in aliens without also entertaining a belief in a supernatural entity that eludes verification.
    +1

    I believe in God, and I have no idea why any religious person has a problem with this post. The fact that God's existence cannot be proven empirically is a basic tenet of all religions that I'm familiar with. Hence the concept of "faith". Extraterrestrial life would fall within the purview of empirical science and be falsifiable. God is conspicuously outside the world of empiricism.

    ThatsWhatHeSaid's statement is essentially no different than if he had said you can believe in the existence of hamsters without believing in God.
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  5. #55
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I see no particular obstacle to this. I bet you could figure out an experiment in short order if you put your mind to it. I know I could.
    Most religious people who you talk to say that religion is a matter of faith, not evidence, and define God in a way that you can't falsify the concept with evidence for or against.

    If you can think of a way to falsify God, you should share it with the world.

    [YOUTUBE="YP4NxwOeeAU"]Homer gets smart[/YOUTUBE]

  6. #56
    Nerd King Usurper Edgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    I'm highly sceptical that a secret that big could be so well kept for so long by multiple governments and non-government organizations.
    Everytime a secret leaks out, the whistleblower is labeled a wacko and is dismissed as such. It doesn't help that a lot of UFO fans are either idiots or schizophrenics who perpetuate the "I dun got raped in the butt" stories.

    And the idea that the catholic church would be included in the secret also strikes me as extremely unlikely.
    Why is that? A revelation like that isn't a simple matter of politics, it involves a fundumental change in the way we view ourselves. We are no longer on top of the food chain, but just another species on a long list that came before us and will come after we are long gone. That thought is quite unsettling to a lot of people. And when people are unsettled, they often times seek solace in religion.

    BBC News - Churchill ordered UFO cover-up, National Archives show
    "The reason apparently was because Churchill believed it would cause mass panic and it would shatter people's religious views."

    I'm also highly sceptical that Edgar would start a thread on this sort of topic if he actually believed it.
    This goes back to my original point: the idea of aliens has been so ridiculed in our society, its hard to discuss it without people thinking you're either being wacky or snarky.
    Listen to me, baby, you got to understand, you're old enough to learn the makings of a man.

  7. #57
    Oberon
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    If it's a secret, it's not exactly a well-kept one. There are tons of people out there who believe that we've been visited by space aliens. I'm agnostic on the matter myself... I'll believe it when I see it.

    There's kind of a big difference between "keeping a secret" and "having an official stance of denial." The latter is all that government agencies have had to do.

  8. #58
    Sniffles
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    Concerning the whole God vs Aliens argument, this is probably one of the best commentaries I've read on that issue -
    "Alien Ideas: Christianity and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life".

    It even gets into the basic philosophical presumptions necessary to believe in extraterrestrials in the first place(namely atomism and materialism).

  9. #59
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    For one thing, when you examine the logic of the authority figures who profess a belief in God, you can often find holes in their arguments and inferences. You can also find holes in other arguments they make concerning the Bible, culture, ethics, etc.
    Such as?

    But the most important difference is that you can't conduct an experiment to infer the existence of God yourself. That's a major, major problem.
    Why is that? How exactly can arguments about ethics and culture be determined by scientific experiments?

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    No. No he's not.
    Wait...I'm sorry. Did you just say that Stephen Hawking is not smart?

    You can disagree with him all you want to, but to say he isn't intelligent is just preposterous.

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