Certain believers think a good comeback to an atheist who expresses the lack of evidence for any divinity is to ask why he believes in gravity. Gravity, the believer says, just like God, is invisible and everywhere. Most people believe in it without evidence, so why not believe in God?
Here is an example:
There are many good answers, but I am interested in how people in this forum might respond to the argument. It has been said that when Newton introduced the notion of a gravitational force, he was accused of bringing the occult into science.
Then by excluding god from the empirically verifiable which is measurable and material they seem to both refute their statement that believing in god and gravity is the same. They also seem to disqualify themselves on any discussions that relate to anything that is empirically verifiable. Based on their own definition of god and how he is experienced the only sphere of experience they have any authority speaking about is their own personal internal experience, nothing more. But in fact they believe in a god that does interact with the world by arranging parking spaces, winning sporting events for one side, and securing that promotion. The god they believe in may be immeasurable and immaterial but his interactions are not. I am not clear what point theists are trying to make with "god is immaterial" argument.
Well said. I see no such objection on their part from which we could conclude anything of value regarding this God. If, after all, this is indeed an immaterial, indecipherable, immeasurable entity: what then prevents us from applying any or all metaphors concerning Jupiter's teapot, flying spaghetti monster's, and the like?
Should they favour the experiential route, well, it seems to me their argument is with Islam, Judaism, or one of the other 2300 major religions that have come and gone. I'll spare myself the horrors of such a dialogue and let them fight it out amongst themselves, then debate the winner (yeah right).
One test of a scientific theory is its utility in new discoveries and new explanations of things. One discovery resulting from the theory of gravity was the planet Neptune. Astronomers had observed deviations in the orbit of Uranus from its predicted positions and hypothesized these were caused by the gravitational pull of another more distant planet and that proved to be the case. The moon's gravitational pull nicely accounts for tides.
Believers point out that there is no scientific explanation of what gravity or gravitational force is, but this is not quite the case—general relativity explains it as a distortion in the fabric of the space-time continuum. Quantum theory does not have a satisfactory explanation of gravity and the graviton has not been found yet.
Believers are correct in pointing out there is no real understanding on the mechanism behind gravity. But that seems to make our point, not theirs. Putting aside the mechanics of gravity and the mechanics of answered prayer, the effects of gravity are still there while those of answered prayer are not. We don't care what effected the change; it is not relevant to the point. We are simply confirming that a change happened.
I saw one site where the blogger argued that there must be something wrong with the theory of gravity since every planet has its own gravity, by which he meant that the force of gravity varies from one planet to another—of course that is fully accounted for in the original equation of Newton.
This seems one of the most common themes of gap-filling and arguing from ignorance, and unfortunately, one of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in front of theistic minds. Even when I point out the glaring miscalculations in their reasoning, they incite something I've heard nearly unanimously from theists: "well, then neither of us knows the answer, and we're both entitled to our opinion". Was it Dr. Tyson who described God as an ever-receding tide of scientific ignorance?
Pretty much, Mathew. The exact quote is:
God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on.
-- Neil deGrasse Tyson
That's a wonderful quote. It makes God sound like the vermiform appendix, an organ that can be removed without detriment.
More like a cancer. It needs to be removed for the health of organism.
God could be like gravity; a force in the universe similar to gravity or light, having no human or living organisms and having nothing to do with the fates and actions of human beings.
Why then bother calling it God? What's wrong with acknowledging that we have absolutely no clue? Why must people assign agency to physical phenomena that we do not understand? Atheists, unlike theists, seem to lend a good deal of credence to these problems.
Gravity, the believer says, just like God, is invisible and everywhere. Most people believe in it without evidence, so why not believe in God?
There's plenty of evidence for gravity. You can't get away from it! Anyone would love to have a break from the evidence for gravity, but it has no mercy on us.