Re: God

Dan Clemmensen (
Sat, 10 Jan 1998 16:50:35 -0500

David A Musick wrote:
> My belief is that unless a theory is logically inconsistent or disagrees
> with experiential evidence, then it cannot be rejected entirely. Of
> course, theories with much supporting evidence should be considered more
> applicable to reality than those with little or none. But there is no
> rational basis for *rejecting* a theory without sufficient evidence
> against it.
> When atheists state there is no God, they are making a very bold,
> unsupported claim, since there are so many possible variations on the God
> concept. I don't consider it rational to make such claims without any
> supporting evidence or logical proofs.
> Now, I'm not saying there is a God; I have no idea. But possibilities
> are possibilities until proven otherwise. I prefer not to close my mind
> prematurely on any subject. That way, I don't limit myself with my own
> mental fixations.

Your line of argument sounds reasonable and is frequently cited by
of various types (UFO people, religious people, etc.) It has a big
however: There are an infinite number of non-refuted theories to explain
any phenomenon. (Proof: if there is a valid theory to explain something,
you can add any non-refutable hypothesis to it to derive another
theory.) I don't have time to deal with an infinite number of
theories. It there are two theories, one with hypothesis set "A" and one
with hypothesis set "A" + "B", where "B" is non-refutable, then I am
to ignore the second theory. "B" adds nothing to the theory, and the
predictive power of the theory "A"+"B" is identical to the predictive
power of "A". Therefore, the predictive power of the theory provides
no support for "B".

>From a practical standpoint, this means that you will have to show me
some evidence if you want me to evaluate a new theory. This habit of
thought is often referred to as "Occam's razor."