Re: Battleground God

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Wed Feb 20 2002 - 06:42:54 MST

And I allegedly "took a hit" for claiming that atheists would need definite
negative evidence in order for a certain rejection of God to not be "based on
faith", after saying that the mere lack of positive evidence was sufficient to
reject the existence of the Loch Ness monster. This ignores the higher
Bayesian prior for the existence of God (e.g., due to some previous
transcending civilization Going All The Way), and the higher prior probability
that God might be successfully hiding from investigators or merely not
providing any evidence (whereas Nessie would have been expected to show up by
now). We have enough evidence to say with near-certainty that there is no
Judeo-Christian God active in our solar system; but as for the existence of an
abstract God entity, one has the Bayesian prior for existence minus the
Bayesian prior for intervention given existence, and what's left over can't be
eliminated at this time. Although we can eliminate the possibility of there
being any legitimate grounds for warm-n-fuzzy wishful thinking about the
existence, psychology, or moral implications of noninterventionist Gods.

Moral of the story: J. Random Online Philosopher is not up to the rigorous
formal standards of logic that prevail on the Extropians list.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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