Evidence That A God Exists …
There has been a lot of banter about evidence between theists and atheists and I’m sure agnostics got into the fray as well. It is a troubling issue. We can all agree that France exists, that belief that France exists is a true belief and that there is plenty of evidence to support this. Oddly, when it comes to deities the same evidence we use for the existence of France is not acceptable or somehow not valid to the discussion.
There might be a lot of reasons for this: Evidence for god is not as visceral as a pile of god crap to examine; gods are meant to be ‘not of this world’ and so on. If we’re to get to the bottom of all this there must be a better way to evaluate evidence for and against. I’m not saying that the way courts do so is wrong but it doesn’t seem to work where belief is involved so we need to examine what it means to have evidence and what it might mean in real terms.
In the case of the existence of gods who is the defendant? I will argue that the defendant is the groups who say, to the persons claiming that gods exists, that there is no credible evidence for such a claim. In this picture we can easily see that evidence is not necessarily always about proof. This works in the theists favor, or could.
Problematically, the design of the scales example does not require absolute or objective evidence and this is where much of the argument happens. Theists do not have absolute evidence while non-theists tend to use only what is the best knowledge available which includes all the physical evidence available to theists.
The Premise – there is more than one
When the theist asks what evidence a non-theist needs to believe it is assumed that both absolute and subjective evidence will work. When the non-theist asks for evidence, subjective evidence will not work. Over time theists have offered a great many arguments as evidence and these have been rejected for as many reasons if not more. This dichotomy of understanding drives the question in different directions and I’d like to examine the question as asked by the theist: what evidence is necessary to prove the existence of a god.
I’ve seen several attempts to example what kind of evidence would prove the existence of a god to an atheist, yet theists are never happy with that answer. Here I want to try to make the answer palatable, even if they can’t provide the evidence.
To provide ‘proof’ or evidence we can see from the picture that it need only outweigh the counter evidence. Seems simple enough but it is complicated by the sheer number of arguments made in favor of the existence of a god and the counter arguments against it. This is not a simple action of dealing with one claim that has one argument such as I believe Shelly has an Aston Martin. For this we would simply go to Shelly’s house and take a ride in the Aston Martin, argument over.
For the existence of a non-physical being to be proven the evidence will have to outweigh all the argument against such a claim. At no time in recorded history has such ever been achieved. As an example lets look at Answers in Genesis’ claim that the Earth is less than 10000 years old. The profession of geology argues against this. We can assess the success of AiG’s arguments and evidence in a simple but truly effective manner: How many PhD geologists convert to young earth creationism every year? I don’t mean how many believe in YEC, but how many convert to it? If ALL geologists converted to YEC on viewing the evidence then we can be reasonably sure that the evidence is compelling. This is not happening because AiG would not keep such news a secret for more than a couple of microseconds. The evidence for YEC does NOT outweigh the counter evidence.
With that example set, I will say that evidence for the existence of a god would have to counter all arguments against the existence of a god. Not just one counter argument or even some counter arguments but ALL of them.
The reason for this seemingly unbearable burden is simple, if there is truth to the claim that a god or gods exist then that truth will disprove all counter arguments. If you think you have evidence or an argument for the existence of a god it will need to be able to disprove all counter arguments. That is the level of evidence required.
Before you bother me with arguments you should spend a little time on the Internet to find out what those counter arguments are. If you don’t I will continue to cut your arguments into pieces and hand them back to you. Remember, your evidence has to disprove ALL counter arguments to be objective truth. A feeling you have is not evidence.
So there is the bar, the ‘thing’ that I would call evidence for the existence of a god. Good luck with that…