The following is a portion of a comment response to a Christian commenter (commenting on this post) who suggested that there is no real contradiction between the methods of science and those of faith, and that there was necessarily too much inherent subjectivity and unsubstantiated assumptions for the scientifically minded to appropriately assess god claims.
Here are some basic steps to follow when assessing the existence of any god.
- Determine which god is being posited.
- Determine whether the god being posited is logically coherent.
- Does the god posited claim to be loving and “slow to anger”, then become so impatiently wrathful upon the very first offense of humans that he damns then to eternal torture?
- Does the god posited claim that a 3-day death of his “son” pays the price of eternal torture for the offender?
- Does the god posited make the personal acceptance of his son a requirement for salvation, then let much of the world die without knowledge of this fact?
- Does the god posited claim to offer an absolute morality, then suddenly decide that slavery, polygamy, genocide and men taking women as booty of war to be suddenly immoral after years of complicity in these actions?
- Does the god posited claim to be omnipotent, then find himself impotent against chariot of iron?
- Does the god in question claim the bible to be inerrant, then have one of the “inspired” writers take another writer completely out of context?
(Matthew 2:15 -> Hosea 11;1)
- Does the god posited suggest that believing MORE upon LESS evidence is “blessed”?
If the answer is yes to even one of the questions above, the god posited is as illogical as a square triangle, and deserves no further consideration.
- Determine whether the god being posited can be distinguished from an imaginary god.
- Does the god posited make any promises that can be tested?
- Can the god posited affect the material causal chain in a way that can be tested?
Unless the answer is “yes” to any of the sub-questions above, there is no sense in continuing, and belief in such a god is foolish as he is either impotent or non-existent.
- If there is a way to test the claims of the god posited, apply the test to a sufficient sample size within a properly designed experiment to determine whether the results are statistically significant and above placebo.
- Determine what channel of communication the god posited has dispatched for clear communication to humans. This can be done by assessing the agreement among those claiming to be in contact with such a god through that particular channel.
- Determine whether any “personal” relationship with the god posited is merely psychogenic. This can be done by assessing the predictive power of believers. It is this predictive power that places science above any god-belief posited to date.
When it comes to science, you’ll find that objectivity is a central goal. For this reason, ideas and theories that emerge from subjectivity must be vetted in a community of scientists that reduce any subjective influence to a minimum. Have scientists been able to achieve this through the methods of peer review, blinded studies and the like? Look at the technologies we use every day, and consider their exponential growth since the introduction of rigorous objective filters into the scientific method.
Here is the dichotomy between science and faith.
- Faith places MORE belief upon LESS evidence.
- Science places MORE belief upon MORE evidence.
These opposite concepts cannot be coherently held in a unified epistemic disposition.
Placing MORE belief where there is LESS evidence is always wrong. Even those committed to “faith” selectively fall back on this foundation of truth assessment when someone among them defects to the “wrong” religion.
The foundation of “faith” has yielded no advances in any field of inquiry, but has merely produced voluminous amounts of incoherent and contradictory dogmas.
The foundation of science has given us the predictive power that has lead to the medicinal and technological advances the world enjoys today.
This link offers an example of how scientific methodology can be first applied, then, by the same mind, be absurdly dismissed out-of-hand due to “faith” in an incoherent holy book.