I just did a schematic mind-map of the latest evidence about the existence of God.

Brought to you by some random Jehovah's witnesses who stopped me in the street. Pretty strong argument.

Being is so relaxing.

@freemo I talked with them for around 30 minutes. They couldn't get out of the circularity of the argument, I just gave up =D

@arteteco I dont consider myself atheist personally (or any other religion for that matter, or even agnostic). But I do insist that if a person believes something they can provide a well thought out interpretation of whatever that may be.

@freemo Well, 'well thought' is not enough for me, as logic can only get you that far. I also need evidence.

In any case, I always consider that I may be wrong, so when I am approached by religious people I give them a chance and I ask them why do they believe in it. Good display of classical fallacies, so far.

@arteteco There is a difference between what I can accept in others and what I accept for my own beleifs.

What is true does not frequently line up with what we have evidence for, something can be true and still be its nature be unfalsifiable such that no evidence could ever be generated to show that it is true.

There is also a distinction between personal evidence and reproducible evidence. A person can witness evidence of something that is entirely valid for they themselves to believe, even if they can't reproduce it for others (and thus it is perfectly acceptable for other people to be skeptical of it).

I try to consider all of this when I engage on the topic of religion.


@freemo Can you make me an example of something that is true but unfalsifiable at the same time? Of course, not personal/subjective truth like "I like ice cream".

I am quite aware of the troubles science has with the falsification of many hypothesis, but I don't want to get too sidetracked here.

Personal evidence is a good starting point, but doesn't get you far. As you say, it is just healthy for others not to believe you, and the person who experienced it should be wary of it too. We are easily tricked by the simplest optical illusions or cognitive biases.

I try to approach religious with an open mind, but frankly I never heard a valid argument which was beyond the "I believe it without evidence because I want to", which is fair enough, but still quite a dangerous ground as you may be basing your ethics on it.

@arteteco I can not give you an example of something that is both true and unfalsifiable, not if your criteria for true is something you can test against (provide evidence for). But just because it is impossible to prove something to be true, does not mean it isnt.

Take the general idea of a god, not related to any one religion. But the nature of god (As someone or something that is all powerful) it is unfalsifiable since any god figure that had that level of power could easily change all the evidence in the universe to whatever he wants.

So if logically reasoning about if a god were to exist the conclusion must be that unless god wants there to be evidence, there will be none.

Now I'm not saying that is a good enough reason to believe in god, but it does provide you an example and explanation as to why something could be true and unfalsifiable.

@freemo @arteteco an unfalsifiable truth is indistinguishable from a falsity.

@solanaceae @arteteco Well thats where the point about personal evidence vs reproducible evidence comes from. A person can witness evidence that may not be reproducible but for his own decisions should consider that evidence in his future decisions.

So what may be unfalsifiable to one person may be falsifiable to another.

@solanaceae @arteteco If I were a scientist and I studied endangered and extinct animals. Naturally if I were a reasonable person I'd beleive the dodo to be extinct.

If one day one landed on my boat out at sea all alone, and I inspected that bird, and with my expert knowledge I knew it to be the dodo. Then I turn my back and the bird flys off before I could put it in the cage. Well I just experienced personal evidence that the dodo existed still.

Even if i could never find another dodo bird in the wild and could in no way prove to the greater community that the dodo still exists, I would still be perfectly reasonable to use my personal evidence to conclude that it does.

It would further more be reasonable for me to spend my life trying to find evidence of the dodo bird, even if i never find any evidence again.

I see no problem with people who respond similarly to their personal evidence around god. Whether they are correct or not in their assertions; likewise it deserves skepticism from people who have not witnessed the evidence or are personally unable to reproduce it.


God is way more unlikely to exist than a dodo, and most of the 'proofs' brought forward in history about god have one after the other been correctly refused.

I have some problems with irrational thinking in general as people base their ethics on it, bringing to illegal abortions, killing homosexual people, wars, believing that "nature was created for us", and more.

That wouldn't happen with the dodo =D

In any case, if they have evidence I'll look at it =)


@arteteco @solanaceae I would argue that since god is unfalsifiable you can not make any assertion as to the odds of him existing or not. To do so you'd need evidence on which to base your probabilities, and that is not possible if something is unfalsifiable.

Well, god is quite falsifiable actually, otherwise its being true would have any effect on the world and it would be ruled out by Ockham razor. Believers have to state things like "he created the Earth in 6 days". Once proven false, is falsified. And it was.

The odds with the dodo are different in terms of how likely it is that an animal is not extinct (happened in the past, you can figure out an easy way for it to happen, would fit in what we know is true and so on) vs the whole universe is created by a single entity and so on, which has a huge attack area, has never been proven true, and would require a reshaping of everything we know. This makes it less likely.


@arteteco @solanaceae You are confusing the idea of proving if "a god, any god" exists vs disproving if a particular god that did particular things exists. The first is unfalsifiable, the second is, often, falsifiable.

Just because a god has effected the world doesnt mean that it is testable and that the effect can be measured. Particularly considering that any all-powerful god has complete control over the result any instruments used to test might produce, and even what you might see or expiernce.


Again, in this case would be indistinguishable from a non-existing and would be ruled out as an unnecessary step in explaining things. In both cases it wouldn't work.


@arteteco @solanaceae well i never said actually using god as an explanation was a useful thing. Thats another discussion entierly.

But as i said before it may be distinguishable to some people and not for others. Because such an all powerful god can also choose who is privy to the evidence and who is not.


Ah, I see what you mean. In this case is empirical knowledge, and again it can be alright for an individual to hold that up, but with a full, humble conscience that it doesn't give him any right and that people are, and should, completely skeptical about it.


@arteteco @solanaceae I dont disagree with that. They should not suggest authority over others. And yea, skepticism should be taken gracefully of course.

@freemo @arteteco @solanaceae You’ve reached an amicable conclusion. I’m late to the party (sorry). Your debate on the possible truth states of unfalsifiable propositions is interesting. I have recently realized (been convinced) that the “Popperian” views on fasifiability I thought I held are sort of out-of-date. The alternative view, which I now accept, is that in physics (& economics AFAIK) most hypoths. are never in fact falsified but rather “implausified” and everyone (or most) moves on to the next thing. I find this an attractive idea both from experience and for its Humean character (ie. his argument that our belief in causation is nothing more than a series of “more and more plausible” — eventually convincing — associations). The most intriguing discussion I have seen of this general subject is in connection with contemporary efforts to escape the “dead end” in the Standard Model of physics/cosmology: Sabine Hossenfelder’s “Lost In Math” — a book that I highly recommend, if you have not read it. Here’s a good, sympathetic, review/précis of the argument::math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpr


Hi, thanks for swinging by!

I agree that popperian falsifiability is quite imprecise and surpassed. Popper in general has quite some flaws, from the rejection of inductive reasoning to the very strict rules about falsifiability.

One point is completely spot on though: The theory must be falsifiable. That doesn't mean that a falsification should make it invalid point blank, of course, but if no testing is possible it should not be considered science at all (which is oftentimes the case with religious claims).

I have read about Hossenfelder on reddit (check out /r/philosophyofscience, it's a nice sub), but I was a bit skeptical because of the aesthetical approach, which I find limiting and biased in science. Can you confirm that's her way of trying to solve the most tricky matters?


@freemo @solanaceae

@arteteco @freemo @solanaceae

Hossenfleder is a critic of the idea that the “beauty” of a theorem is a useful guide to it’s likely success. She makes the point several times in her book but, in reality I would say she’s not so much interested in the ‘aesthetics’ of theory as the uncritical worship of mathematical “beauty”. It’s the screwiness of thinking that beautiful math is somehow cognate with “truth” that pisses her off. I must say, as someone who feels the same way about “mathematical” economists, I am sympathetic with that view. She argues that it gives energy to essentially un-falsifiable theories such as the excesses of string/multiverse theory that are in her view intellectual onanism (“wanking:” in Australian english).

Well, makes a lot of sense, I'll try to scrape the time to read her.


@freemo @solanaceae

@arteteco @solanaceae I dont see it as inherently irrational thinking. Obviously a lot of times the logic around a god is very irrational, other times it is very rational. It seems to depend on a case by case basis.

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QOTO Mastodon

Welcome to the QOTO instance

QOTO: Question Others, Teach Others

A Mastodon instance for scholars in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and all yearning to learn.

A free speech space. No censorship here.
We do not silence or block any instances.

Unique Features
  • Inline math Latex support - Use \ ( and \ ) for inline LaTeX, and \ [ and \ ] for display mode.
  • 65,535 character limit for toots (usually 500)
  • 65,535 character limit for profile bio (usually 160)
  • Full text searches - usually you can only search hashtags and usernames
  • Halcyon / Twitter clone front-end - Want the interface to look exactly like the Twitter interface? After you signed up just go here to login: https://halcyon.qoto.org.
  • PeerTube - We host our own PeerTube server with open registration for up to 100MB, but all of our active users get unlimited quotas. Sign up here: https://video.qoto.org.
  • Professionally hosted with nightly backups
  • light modern theme with full width columns (not fixed)
  • Several extra themes - including mastodon default and mastodon default with full width columns (not fixed)

Message to New Members

Welcome to the Qoto Mastodon instance, its like twitter but better!

Please don't hesitate to Direct Message me or tag me in Toots (what we call tweets here) if you have any questions or even if you just want to chat.

If you are new to Mastodon you may want to check out this official getting started guide: https://github.com/tootsuite/documentation/blob/master/Using-Mastodon/User-guide.md

We are a free speech, no censorship zone. Feel free to talk about whatever you want, say whatever you want, as long as it is legal you wont ever get banned from the server. With that said we do have a few rules: No spam, and no using multiple accounts to circumvent personal bans.

This server isnt a typical mastodon server either. I have personally modified the code on this server to give it several unique features you wont find on other servers.

If you are new to Mastodon here is some useful info.

First off, if your coming from Twitter and you'd prefer an interface that looks exactly like twitter, then just go here and login with your Qoto credential: https://halcyon.qoto.org/ No need to create an account there, your account on this server will work just fine. Just enter your username in the following format @[username]@qoto.org so for me it would be @freemo But personally I think our default skin here is way better.

Basically Mastodon is a decentralized twitter. That means anyone can run a server (like Qoto) that people can sign up to and use just like twitter. The unique part is how the servers talk to each other.

If you want to tag someone on the same server as you then you can just do @user however if you want to specify someone on a different server you can do @user@server. If someone follows you or mentions you on any server on the internet you'll get notified right here. So my full tag is @freemo@qoto.org.

So now a bit about the timelines, there are three (unlike twitter there is just one): Home, Local, Federated.

The Home timeline is just like what you'd expect on twitter, that is, everyone you are following.

The local timeline is any post made by anyone on your local server.

The federated timeline is what is cool. It combines the timeline of everyone on the server into one. This way you can see the posts of everyone that is followed by anyone on the server (assuming the post is public). So this timeline is a close representation of everyone on the internet who has Mastadon (though not really). Moreover we have a bot here that goes around and federates with everyone it can find, so our Federated Feed is rather robust covering thousands of instances.

Only other thing that is unique is listed vs unlisted posts. You have normal privacy settings like on twitter but you also can set a post to be listed or unlisted. If it is listed it acts just as i described. If it is unlisted then it acts just as a normal tweet would but it doesnt show up on local or federated timelines anywhere.

Also this goes without saying, but don't be racist, sexist, hateful, and don't harass people. Its a pretty shitty thing to do, don't be shitty!

The following is the list of QOTO administrators/moderators.
  • @freemo@qoto.org
  • @absolutus@qoto.org
  • @arteteco@qoto.org
  • @Surasanji@qoto.org
  • @hashtaggrammar@qoto.org
Note: The account @QOTO@qoto.org listed as the administrator is NOT an actively monitored account. It was selected so as not to show favoritism among our moderator group, we are a democracy and even our administrators and moderators are held to the same high standards of decency as the rest of the community.

***We will never advertise on QOTO or sell your information to third-parties***