Re: virus: Faith (consolidation)

David McFadzean (
Wed, 28 May 1997 15:18:31 -0600

At 09:36 AM 28/05/97 -0400, John \"Dry-Roasted Army Worm\" Williams wrote:

>As far as "physically impossible," Santa may be physically impossible, but
>Santa is rather well defined. God -- for the purposes of Athiesm -- is not;
>and the "physically impossible" argument cannot apply:

When God is not explicitly defined you can safely assume the common
definition: an entity that is all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good.
If an atheist professes to not believe in God, you can safely assume
she does not believe the aforementioned entity exists. If you want to
use another definition, you must make it explicit to avoid confusion.

>1) The Iranaean version of God created the Universe, and all physical laws.
>He has the power to violate them at will, since he is their author and not
>bound by them.

Fine. But if this version is detectable (affects the universe in any way)
then the claim that it exists enters the realm of science.

>2) The Whitehead version of God did not create the Universe but must act in
>accordance with physics, etc. A formulation of God which violates known
>physical laws is impossible; actions he may take that appear to violate
>physical law are merely acting in accordance with physical law we haven't
>discovered yet.
>On the basis of (2), it is impossible to say that a Whitehead-God is
>physically impossible, expecially since we don't know all there is to know
>about physics. It must be conceded as a possibility -- if not a probability
>-- that God operates/exists on some yet-to-be-discovered set of physical
>laws. Hence: not a logical/rational reason to disbelieve in the Whitehead God.

Is Whitehead's God detectable? Does His existence imply anything? If so,
then the claim that He exists is a scientific claim and therefore refutable
in theory.

>On the basis of (1), physical possibility is not an issue. To claim that it
>is physically impossible for something to exist outside of physics is
>subject to the same "ignorance of Physics" statement in (2), and, besides,
>is circular reasoning. Kinda like using the Bible to prove the Bible.

Question: would you say I am taking an illogical position by claiming that
there does not exist a living adult blue whale in my office?

>Now: last time I checked (fairly recently), athiest meant the same thing I
>always thought it did: "one who claimed that no god (of any sort) exists."
>Since a God inside-physics cannot be disproven, and a God outside-physics
>cannot be disproven, I stick to my claim that athiesm is *not* a logical

Don't confuse belief in the non-existence of something with absolute conviction.
Just because I don't believe God exists now doesn't mean I don't allow for
the possibility that I will have to re-examine that belief in the light of
newly discovered physical laws. You seem to be attributing atheists with faith
when they have only rational assent.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus