HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Possibilities and God and Faith in Religion

Anything that is unable to be tested well enough is a possibility not a probability.  If it looks beautiful and explanatory and wise then these attributes are only cosmetic.  Nothing is really precious unless the truth shows it is and it is evidence that has the job of showing.

 

Don’t say, "I don’t know if this is the truth but maybe it is" and don't say, "I don’t know if this works but maybe it does." That is too biased. There should be a maybe it does not in there as well. Instead say, “I don’t know if it works or is true or not!

 

Those who say that the chance of atheism being true is 50:50 are saying that the chance of God existing is also 50:50. But possibility and probability are not to be confused. They are confusing them. Their argument is saying that if atheism has a half a chance of being true then it makes it likely that one view of God or the creator if you like is equally likely. It is not saying that God is more probable than atheism but that both a version of God and atheism are equally probable. They are not. There are as many gods and Gods that are possible but that does not mean that any one of them can make up the half of the 50:50. There is no way anybody can figure out what the possible explanations for the universe are.  They could be innumerable.

 

To say God is possible therefore he is probably real is to tell people, if they choose, to say atheism is possible so it is probably right.  There is no logic in that.  All assumptions are not equal so to assume God is possible cannot be equal to assuming atheism is possible.

  

Atheism when defined as simply the rejection of the supernatural is simple.  Once you say there is a supernatural you cannot say any more about it than that it exists.  Saying God or something is its source is saying too much.  To say there is a supernatural is to say that countless supernatural explanations for things may be possible.

 

You hear arguments and examine evidence. You form a conclusion after that. You are careful to base the conclusion on what you have heard and learned and checked. If you do not, it is not really a conclusion.

What if an idea may be true or could be. You do not argue, "It may be true so it is true." That is a contradiction and makes no sense. So be careful to avoid anything along the lines of: "I think it could be true therefore I conclude that it is true."

Epistemic possibility is not the same as metaphysical possibility.  The first is about what you know may be possible.  The second is about what actually is possible. It is not about what you know or what you think you know.  If something is about what is actually and really possible then clearly it is about what is impossible as well. Clearly epistemic impossibility is not the same as metaphysical impossibility either.

 

You might say that it is possible that the devil killed Charlie and mean that it is possible in the sense that you don’t know what or who did it. Metaphysical possibility is about the logical ways in which somebody may have killed Charlie. Jane cannot be in two places at the one time so if she was in Spain when Charlie was stabbed to death in London it means the metaphysical possibility is that some person other than Jane did it. It is metaphysically impossible for her to have done it. And if Satan is absurd then it is metaphysically impossible for him to have done it.

Believers in God have no evidence that God can exist - they just assume he is metaphysically possible. Yet there is no evidence at all that a mind like God or anybody, can exist without a body. Assuming that God is possible that way and then saying there is evidence for him is cheating.  Evidence for nonsense is an abuse of evidence.

Sensible people realise that you cannot believe in something because it seems possible. Seems is not good enough.

Sensible people realise that you cannot believe in something because it IS possible either.  Something being possible does not mean it happened or probably happened.

Sensible people do not see the idea, "Magical and miraculous things are possible. Perhaps tomorrow the sun will turn green permanently" as very sensible. They see more sense in, "Anything natural is possible. I don't believe that miracles and magic are possible for they are not natural." What exactly is the problem? The problem is that you don't need to imagine miracles and magic are possible. If they are not possible, then you are guilty of exaggerating what is possible. You are a crank in principle.

Sensible people base their beliefs on what is probably correct. They look for probabilities. To believe in something merely because it is possible is stupid and biased and unfair. What would you think of a man who believed his wife committed adultery without having any evidence but just because it was possible?

You have to show that magic and beings who can bring things from nothing make sense and that cannot be done. If you assume that God is possible that does not mean he really is. If you hail science, you would have to produce an experiment that shows how magic can work and does work.  If magic is nonsense then evidence for it is no good.  If miracles are nonsense then evidence for them is no good.  Thus to say that evidence and testimony supports the existence of magic or miracle is to already assume they are real and to use evidence as window-dressing to make yourself look logical and careful and rational and devoted to truth.

Believer in God, "God does miracles."

Suppose an amputee suddenly grows a leg. All we see is the leg appearing. We do not see how it happens. We don't see who is doing it or if it is God. The believer is jumping from, "Maybe it's God" to "Yeah it's God." That is illogical and biased.

Wanting to believe it is God, is not the same thing as caring about God or adoring him. A real devotee sees truth and freedom from bias as ways to connect with God.

Believer in God, "You say we cannot be that sure God exists. But how do you know that you are not dreaming now? Perhaps you think I am standing there in front of you and I am not and it is some kind of magical illusion? You might call it far-fetched but how do you know it is really far-fetched? It is rational for you to believe I am standing in front of you without evidence so it is rational for you to believe in God even if there is no evidence for his existence."

You can argue that you have the evidence that you are not dreaming. The toast you half ate yesterday is still in the bin. The smelly socks you wore last week are still in the laundry basket. These things make it unlikely that you are really being tricked by magic. And why would any demon or whatever go to all that trouble?

To think like scientists and like reasonable people, we have to forget about these things even if they are possibilities. We have to figure out what is likely to be true and go by probabilities.

Possibilities do not count.

People who try to make possibilities count are usually worrying about certain possibilities. For example, instead of saying, "It could be anything that is doing x. It could be some possibility we cannot even imagine. There are countless possibilities that man has never thought of or imagined" they will concentrate the possibility of God. By cherry picking what possibilities count and which ones do not they show how unfair they are being. Possibilities either count or they do not. There is no middle-ground.

Whether they count or not, possibilities are not as important as probabilities.

If you keep trying to fight a probably with a possibly or turn a possibly into a probably you will soon not be able to see that something probable is probable. You are inflicting a blind spot on yourself. You are trying to find a way around the evidence. If the evidence is good enough, you don't want to see.

Possibilities do not count but some possibilities count less than others.  A possibility either counts or it does not but that does not mean every possibility is on the same level.  It is possible that Queen Victoria was Jack the Ripper.  That possibility is less strong than the possibility that some insane man did it.  So if there is a choice to be made then the weakest possibilities or the least testable ones are to be discarded first.

Suppose a communion wafer bleeds. It is possible that somebody has created the perfect magic trick. It is possible that aliens are doing it. Or that somebody is able to do mind over matter and cause nature to change though on a small scale. Leaving aside the fact that God cannot really be a possible explanation, then why pick God out of many possibilities? The honest person would say, "There are many possibilities." The person would leave it at that.
 
Notice that the possibility that there is some far-fetched natural explanation is superior to any magical one. You must prioritise the natural possible explanations.  If you get the absolute belief that the bomb will not go off that does not entitle you to just ignore the bomb and risk people's lives.  Nature comes before your supernatural or clairvoyant impressions.  The possibility that your belief is a revelation from God means nothing.

Christians want you to do more than just believe in God. It has to be a God who makes viruses to torment children with in order to punish the universe for a primeval sin, who told his son to get crucified to save the world, who commands you on pain of hell to believe that his son is saviour though Christians show no more sign of being saved from sin and evil than anybody else does. Of all possible versions of God that people come up with, that is one of the worst. It could be the worst!

Religion likes to present its victims with warnings about possible punishment from God and different horrors. It induces fear in the vulnerable who fail to see that possibilities do not count and no decent God would expect you to make them count.

 

A possibility is something that can happen no matter how unlikely it is.


Only evidence can show if something really is a possibility.  And how much of a possibility it is.


That is why a possibility taken out of thin air with no regard for evidence is not a possibility at all. It creates clutter and noise and makes it hard for the evidence to speak.  It blocks out the sound of the real possibilities. 

 

Absence of evidence against something is not evidence for it. It has nothing at all to do with meaning it is true. The need for evidence for it still comes first.

To finish off, not all things that are called possibilities really are possibilities. The best way to differentiate is to assume that magical possibilities are not really possibilities. And if you embrace natural and supernatural possibilities, the natural ones are the ones that matter the most and should matter. Probabilities are what matter not possibilities. And if possibilities matter they do not matter much in comparison to probabilities.