I got into a fb discussion with someone and this is his argument.
The "existence" of a god is wholly dependent on the definition that we ascribe to the word "god." Humans have traditionally assigned that which is unknown to a god (wind, fire, life, etc.). As science has evolved, we have transferred the meaning of the unknown to a vocabulary of known, reproducible, human experiences, mathematics. It is possible to ascribe a definition to the word god that makes god scientifically provable. It is also possible to ascribe a definition to the word god that makes god scientifically impossible, if not improbable. The we can prove the possibility of creating both hypothesis results in a duality...such duality being a common occurrence of quantum systems...Schrödinger's cat is both alive and dead (a quantum superposition) until it is observed. Likewise, we may conclude that God is a superposition that exists and does not exist...until we discover/observe the result. Q.E.D. It is not silly.
Assuming there is a God, I don't think he would care one fig whether people "believe in him" or think that He exists or does not exist. I do think He would care that some people use (misuse) him to abuse and use other people. I do think he would care that some people use and abuse this marvelous creation we live in. The whole question of the existence of God is beyond us as is infinite knowledge of the here and now and the extent of the universe or universes. Some people find it hard to live in the unknowable. Is it pride or ego? But accepting the unknowable is fundamental to attaining real knowledge and wisdom. (The two are not the same.) Happiness and our survival hangs on recognizing and accepting the unknowable.
The "existence" of a god is wholly dependent on the definition that we ascribe to the word "god." Humans have traditionally assigned that which is unknown to a god (wind, fire, life, etc.). As science has evolved, we have transferred the meaning of the unknown to a vocabulary of known, reproducible, human experiences, mathematics.
It is possible to ascribe a definition to the word god that makes god scientifically provable.
It has not been done nor is there a conceivable way to do it so saying it's possible is unjustified. AFAIK, there has never been any definition of god(s) which has been amenable to experimentation. One can experiment on the claims of texts about gods (prayer, miracles, etc) but ultimately those are claims made by people about gods and not solid, universal definitions of what god(s) are or want.
So the front part of the argument is sound but the premise that it's possible to make a scientifically provable definition of god(s) is unsound until someone is able to do so...
His argument is bullshit. He relies on needless complexity and obscure references to obfuscate the point. If he had a solid argument, he could state it simply.
For example: The speed of light is constant to anyone viewing it regardless of their own motion relative to the light source.
That's Einstein's principle of light speed at its essential core. The genius level mathematics that support it would give us all a brain aneurysm so the more complex the idea, the more useful it is to simplify it for mass consumption. In fact, Einstein himself famously said "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
The bottom line is; to believe in god you have to accept as reality an invisible magical being who lives in the sky -- a concept with zero evidence to support it. QED -- god is most likely not real.
I think the orthodox definition of God is "any being that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent." At least that is so in my field. Of course, anyone can use the term differently, but they are then expected to define their special usage of the term so the conversation can proceed from there without ambiguity.
This sounds akin to the fallacy of moving the goal posts. Part of having a rational conversation about these things at all is making sure everyone is talking about the same thing to begin with. Using physical things to describe god is going to result in a completely different conversation than the one you'd have with the person who says "scientific instruments cannot explain god because he's not of the physical world."
using semantics to prove something physical is ridiculous. you can prove grapes are marsupials by renaming all kangaroos grapes. you can prove that arsenic isn't poisonous by renaming it milk (and everyone who dies from ingesting it is just lactose intolerant, right?) you can't prove anything about god by redefining the word. all you can prove is that people will do anything to prove their points.
Because of all the confusion brought on by the term “God”, I prefer not to say that word. It doesn’t bother me for others to speak of God, but I prefer to say Ultimate Reality.
Reality is just reality. The “ultimate” part is only because our ordinary perception of reality is only symbolic. The real reality is beyond our comprehension.
Ultimate Reality is not supernatural—it is nature.
I generally don’t gravitate toward worldviews that lean on quantum mechanics for an explanation, because I doubt that non-physicists really understand its implications for the macro world, especially when the most famous physicists in the world claim not to understand it themselves. I’d rather lean on a historical explanation.
For example, before the germ theory of disease was proposed, people spoke of patients as being possessed by demons when they became ill. Now that we know better however, we don't tell people, Nah you're not ill, there is no such thing as demons! We tell them instead, the demon that is inhabiting your body is better described as a microorganism... and yes, it makes you sick. Something real was happening, just as the primitives knew, they just didn't know the deeper nature of that thing.
Likewise, primitive people have always understood, intuitively at least, that the combined forces of the universe are, collectively, more powerful than they are. They knew that those collective energies created them, and would someday reclaim them. They knew that those collective forces provided everything they needed for sustenance and survival, and sometimes threw them curveballs like tornadoes, and famine. They named this abstraction God, and generated all manner of superstition and ritual to try to appease this entity and cope with its overwhelming power. They got a lot of the details wrong. Many still do. But telling them that "God" doesn't exist is observably false, just like telling sick people they aren't sick because demons don't exist.
That thing that unscientific people refer to as God most certainly does exist, if anything at all exists. Its nature isn't what they think it is, but it is very real. Reality itself is the "entity" they are referring to, and if we don't like the old word they used for it, then we will have to find another one, in the same way we replaced "demons" with 'microorganisms." But in the meantime, we can easily just do the translation in our head when we hear the word God, we know they are referring to reality, no matter how unscientifically they may envision it. There is no benefit in telling them they are crazy. You will never get them to believe reality does not exist. You don't believe it yourself.
Sounds like a very "physicsy" way to say: 'You can't prove my god doesn't exist.'
Which is true; we can't. That doesn't make it a possibility worth orienting our lives around and it definitely does not mean we should treat the goatherders' guide to the galaxy as anything other than a fairy tale.
I don't get it about the cat being both dead and alive at the same time. I do not get "brains in a vat" or the "multiverse" or so many other ignorant ideas that have no logic and no evidence. Certainly some of science must be speculative. All of god is speculative and then some.
Because something can be defined does not make it real. A definition could be produced that would make a rainbow-shitting unicorn scientifically testable. Not provable, mind you; because science doesn't "prove". Science merely gives us the most likely explanation based on observed data. Also, because something contains/produces a duality does not make it scientifically sound. There are too many leaps in this argument that are simply not logically sound.