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No religious beliefs
I have heard about these prayer studies but I do not consider them scientific.
There is no way to know bout the effects of prayer. One can only believe.

Nor I. I was trying to suggest how they might be made more scientifically robust.

There's something you have said that I need to acknowledge. I'll put it a slightly different way. How do you investigate a being that is (supposedly) so much more powerful than you? Looking at science, we (humans) always have more power than the subject of the investigation (we can put it on microscope slide or whatever), or at the least, it will sit still to be investigated. Not so God. If God doesn't want to be found he won't be.

Investigating prayer is a good example. God would know that he was part of an investigation and could refuse to cooperate. Double blind studies can't apply to God, by definition.

The big problem is that this highly logical train of thought leads to lots of problems. But enough for now.

I may start a thread on this, once I rest a bit from this one.


Well-Known Member
..It's as if God is absent and doesn't exist. How else do you explain how your fellow Muslims are suicide bombers doing God's will?
This thread is about "evidence".
The only evidence I see as to regards people's misdemeanors, is that human beings are capable of evil.

People who point at others, have 3 fingers pointing at themselves.
All human beings are capable of evil, yet you speak as if you are incapable of it.
We all know that that is not true. It is just a ploy to blame religion,
rather than any other reason .. such as a political one.


No religious beliefs
Apologies if this has already been answered. Yes, if I recall this has been done. And the results did not show prayer was more effective than the control group on recovery.

But! I am still a little confused about it, because of QM. If I understand, and I might not, observation interferes / effects the outcome of quantum phenomena. If so, and if prayer operates on a quantum scale, then the act of measuring the results would perhaps interfere with the phenomena causing a false negative.

Yes if you see prayer as tapping into some kind of unintelligent "power", like the Force. But prayer is generally considered to be a conversation with God, which has its own problems as I said a few minutes ago.

Subduction Zone

Veteran Member
Can't get divorced if you don't get married, so yes, good point.
Except it is the rate of divorce that has dropped, not just the number. In other words if the divorce rated dropped from 50% to 40% and there was a drop in the marriage rate as well then the number of divorces would drop as a combination of both of those rates.


No religious beliefs
What ever gave you the idea that God wants *everybody* to believe in Him?

It's just an inference from other things that are said about God. I could dig out some Bible texts I suppose, but I don't have time now.

Not everyone is going to be convinced by the only evidence that God provides.
Have you never heard of separating the wheat from the chaff?
The wheat are the ones who accept the evidence that God provides, the chaff don't accept it.

Matthew 3:12 King James Version (KJV)

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 13:29-30 King James Version (KJV)

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Even if those verses refer to belief rather than other things, it doesn't mean that God doesn't want to have everyone believe (which would be a prerequisite to the other things he supposedly wants from us, like obedience). I'll say that again, it's important. God wants us to obey him. Nobody obeys something they don't know exists. Therefore God wants us to believe he exists.

You're sounding like a Calvinist. Please don't, I'm starting to like you. :)


No religious beliefs
It does not puzzle me. Why don't all students get an A+? Should the teacher give very student an A+ just because they want one?

God does not want to *make sure* you know about Him, He wants you to work to find out, and since not all students have the same capacities some will have to work harder than others to find out.

This assumes several things that I find dubious.

1. God considers belief to be more important than other things that he wants from us.

2. God doesn't already know the outcome of his "test". If that's not true then why test?

3. God gives no allowance for differing circumstances, like upbringing and culture.

It Aint Necessarily So

Veteran Member
Premium Member
You either need to find more evidence, or admit that you have failed to present compelling evidence.

Agreed, but that won't be meaningful to somebody that doesn't really understand what critical thought is or what it can do. He likes his evidence and thinks he has a compelling argument, and doesn't know why you disagree. A transformation occurs in minds that recognize the power critical analysis, which only comes with learning it, and understanding the difference between belief justified by this method and all other belief. So, one can admonish faith-based thinking, but what does that mean to somebody who believes that everybody decides what's true the way he does because that's the only way he knows that anybody can come to any belief - hunch, what feels right. Isn't that what we're seeing here? Those arguing that their messengers' lives and words are evidence of a god don't understand what evidence of a god is to an empiricist. So how can they comply with your request, agree with it, or even understand why you make it?

There are several problems with the fine tuning argument. It is based on the values of various constants of the universe. The first and biggest problem is that they assume that hose values could be different. We do not know that. We don't know if they could be different or not and it is an error to assume that they can vary. There are even examples of constants of the universe being solved. Another problem is that they assume that life would be impossible if those constants could be changed. We don't know this. Perhaps human life could be impossible, but we do not know enough to say that all life would be impossible.

The one I like to give is that the idea that there are only a very narrow range of parameters possible for life and mind to evolve rules out an omnipotent deity, who would be constrained to choose certain settings of the fundamental physical constants. Who created the laws that this God is limited by? How can one call this a tri-omni God and author of reality if it could only have created this world one way if it were to support life and mind? If that's the case, this God didn't actually design anything. It merely discovered and obeyed rules imposed on it just like man.

No matter how haphazard that cut is, the two pieces have an indubitable relationship to one another -- they still fit together very neatly. Now, do the same thing with another piece of paper, a different haphazard cut. Those two pieces are also related to one another, but the two pieces from your first sheet have no relationship to those from your second. What I'm trying to suggest is that it may just be possible that as subatomic particles (and then larger particles) are formed out of the essential nothingness of quantum foam, there may well be many ways in which a reality could arise -- capable of sustaining radically different physical and chemical properties: possibly even forms that could be thought of as living that in our own reality would be impossible.

That's the understanding with the multiverse hypothesis - that there are countless ways that symmetry breaking in the initial instant of the universe's expansion. Symmetry breaking, in case you're not familiar, includes the original single force breaking into the four forces we recognize today, with gravity separating out first, then the strong nuclear force, then the remnant dividing into the weak nuclear force and electromagnetism. By this reckoning, the multiverse generates multiple copies of every possible way this can happen including this one.

Isn’t it also a big issue because: of course the planet we live on just so happens to have a series of great “coincidences” that allow life to exist; life is complicated and requires complicated nature to cause it. But also, if life did not exist here we would not be discussing it. Do you think The Lack of Martians ever think about how Mars is NOT fine tuned to support life? (Not asking you, just an argument against fine tuning)

Be careful not to conflate the conditions necessary for a universe to generate life and mind, and those for a moon or planet generating life. Fine tuning in this context generally refers only to the former. You can use it for the latter - it's not illogical, and if it didn't already have another meaning would be good choice for your purpose - but you want to make sure that you keep the two distinct in your mind. Man may be able to "fine-tune" habitats to make them hospitable to life, but only because the universe is one where man can arise naturalistically.

Often, the police ask members of the public to call in with what they think are sightings of some wanted suspect. They get thousands of responses, most of which are quite useless, but a precious few actually lead to the apprehension of the wanted suspect. Let's say the police then take all the responses and put them in a box labelled "evidence". What I'm asking is how we determine what is evidence and what is not. Before the police start sifting through he responses, it's all evidence, at least potentially. After they complete their investigations, only the few that bore fruit were useful as evidence, so we could say that those were the only ones that should be called "evidence". What about those that were never investigated because the subject was already caught? What about those that could reasonably be evidence, but it was impossible to check for some reason?

The tips are evidence that there are people who want to inform the police, and will always be that even if debunked, but some may also be evidence of a crime.

Hypothesis: Prayer has effects on Earth. Method: Choose groups of sick people, and have them examined by doctors. Assign different groups of people to pray for the sick people. Make it as "double blind" as possible. For example, the sick people should not know about the prayers. All medical treatment given to the patients should be "placebo" and look the same as their regular drugs. Examine the patients again and note any changes. I haven't set out all the methods to ensure that prayer could be the only factor, it should be obvious.

This has been done with the STEP study. There were three cohorts - those not prayed for, those prayed for without knowing whether they were in the prayer or no prayer group, and those prayed for and told that, and post-op outcomes for cardiac patients were compared. Prayer was shown to be ineffective at improving post-op outcomes. It was, however, shown to have a negative influence in outcomes if the patient was told he was being prayed for.

As a Bahai, I offer that, Baha'u'llah did not have any education in religion, nor did He have any teachers, or books to study. Then the question would be, where did get His knowledge from to write over 100 volumes of Books? In our view, the knowledge must have come from Himself, from His own mind, a clear evidence of being Manifestation of God.

I don't call that knowledge (or truth), a term I limit to demonstrably correct belief.

And no, nothing about that life suggest that any god exists by academic standards. I understand that those are not the same standards that those who claim that it is supporting evidence of god use. They go by gut feeling. Their belief feels right, so they point to something and say that that something justifies the belief in homage to empiricism, but they can't make sound arguments connecting that evidence to their beliefs. How many Baha'i here have shown us one fact about this life or those words that indicates that their beliefs follow from that evidence?

It Aint Necessarily So

Veteran Member
Premium Member
What .. just for your benefit, you mean?

Does this god want to be known? If so, for its benefit. Is this god benevolent, and do good things from knowing that it exists? Then the benefit is to those who need a sound reason to believe before believing.

You can just as easily choose to believe like we do.. ..but no, we are apparently gullible fools

No believing by faith is no longer possible for me. As a child unable to think critically, it was a necessity, but once I learned critical thinking, there was no turning back. I simply cannot make myself believe anything by willing belief.

And what makes a person worthy of being called gullible? "Gullible - easily persuaded to believe something; credulous." The critical thinker is not easily convinced of anything untrue, but his definition of truth (or knowledge) likely isn't yours.

That's just a load of drivel. You'd be much better off studying Divinity than being negative

To the critical thinker, theology is drivel. By theology, I don't include secular studies such as comparative religions or the influence of religions on human history - just the things that only believers believe and assumes the existence of a god. Nothing of value to the critical thinker comes from such study, because sound conclusions are ruled out as soon as one accepts an unproven premise as fact.

Sure, Baha'u'llah had a fair number of followers, but that was not because He was trying to convince anyone of who He was. They followed Him because they recognized who He was.

You remind me of a scene from the Life of Brian. Brian had followers he didn't want, like Forrest Gump. Let's think about what constitutes knowledge and what is gullibility while watching

The fact that the Messengers have no effect upon you and other atheists who disbelieve in them has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether God is weak and ineffectual.

So what would a weak and effectual god look like?

the all-knowing God knows that Messengers are the *best way* to communicate to humans.

And people aware of more effective ways to reach people know that it is not. Manipulating matter in a super-human way sends a clearer message, one that more people will respond to than messengers. Also, through a conscience or other intuitions is a better way to communicate - directly to the mind without mediation (messengers) - assuming a god has the power to do so and wants to communicate to humanity. What Baha'u'llah chose was the only means available to him - pretty good indication that no superhuman agent was involved.

Use the word Educators then. They proved they are the greatest Educators of Humanity.

They are not among the greatest thinkers. Prophets and messengers say things anybody who want to be one can say, and their words can always be improved upon. Their messages might be known by large numbers of people, but not because they are good ideas. Originally, the words of Jesus and Mohammed were spread at the point of a sword, without which their names would be unknown today. Geater thinkers and educators include Aristotle, Euclid, and Buddha, whose words spread without force and shaped thought for millennia because they resonated with thinking minds and still do even today.

The point being made was as to the amount of times a few people on RF keep saying a thiest has no evidence, when in reality there is a truckload of evidence.

I keep seeing the same error over and again. Conflating evidence with its proper interpretation, or "evidence of." No progress will be made by anybody not making this distinction. It is a simple fact that what you offer as evidence is that by virtue of being evident to the senses - we can see it or hear it read to us - but it is not "evidence of" a deity. Like all prose, it's evidence that somebody wrote the words down, but not evidence that they are correct. That requires other evidence than the words.

I will give only one quick example as to prove a simple fact of character based on the evidence of a person. It is evident that Baha'u'llah was a Kind and Generous Person, he was known as the "Father of the poor". This fact was evident to all those that knew Baha'u'llah, before he accepted the Bab and later gave a Message. I am able to offer this as proof to you of the character of Baha’u’llah, as this statement is made by pursuing the Evidence available of the records of His life and one is able to offer facts and proofs from those records.

His character isn't meaningful to an assessment of his claims. They would mean no less to me if he were known to be a scoundrel.

The evidence is provided so people can Judge and that is exactly what the OP is saying.

The Messenger
The Revelation
The Word

Are all submitted as Evidence so we can judge the Claim.

You already know the verdict of those who are trained to judge the significance of evidence. Why continue?

What other humans have attracted Billions of followers? To negate this is really not reasonable and not logical.

Billions of believers don't mean much of anything to the empiricist. Most (all) believe without sufficient evidentiary support, and so their beliefs aren't meaningful to those who require that for themselves before belief. Consensus is only meaningful in a population of qualified judges, like climate scientists and evolutionary scienctists


No religious beliefs
I want to take a risk and attempt to address this. Is it really illogical to say God needs?

Does God need anything? I think so. Why? Because God is more than just omnipotent, God is also complete. In order to be complete, God needs to be engaged in relationships with others. God cannot be complete without filling the role as parent, spouse, monarch, child, adherent, rebel, jailer, prisoner, tycoon, pauper, murderer, etc... The way God achieves this is thru creation of individuals and then sharing their experiences as they happen.

One of these experiences / relationships is God-worshiper. In order to acheive this, in order to be complete, God needs belief, needs congregation, needs ritual, needs clergy, needs liturgy, needs service. Without these things God is not complete.

If God by defintion is complete, then God needs us, needs people, and needs us to do certain things. Conversely, there's a dark side. God also needs criminals, murder, disease, suffering, torture, etc... all in order to satisfy the condition of "complete".

Feel free to laugh at me, and critisize me for this idea. But it answers a lot of questions, and makes each and everything thing that exists ( even the bad stuff ) vitally important to God.

Worship is needed. Kindness is needed. Justice is needed. All of it is needed.

Diversity in gender? needed
Diversity in sexuality? needed
Diversity in belief? needed
Diversity in non-belief? needed

Complete diversity is needed for God to be complete.

We need to differentiate "need" and "want".

We need things that are essential to something, like survival, or even fulfilling wants. If I want to have steak for dinner every day, I need to get a better paying job. If I want to continue living, I need to keep breathing.

I would say that God could have no needs (if he is considered to be totally self sufficient), but demonstrably wants things, otherwise why do anything?

(This assumes various beliefs in and definitions of God, not my own views.)


Veteran Member
This thread is about "evidence".
And we see theists refer to gods as if they are factual yet can’t provide any evidence that they are correct. So we point out the error.

The only evidence I see as to regards people's misdemeanors, is that human beings are capable of evil.
Which includes believers in God, like your fellow Muslims. You avoid this, and avoid answering questions about why they act with evil intent.

People who point at others, have 3 fingers pointing at themselves.
All human beings are capable of evil, yet you speak as if you are incapable of it.
As if. I don’t claim to be incapable. I do assert that I have high moral standards and have no intention to harm others. No belief in any gods. I am capable of morality via my own wits.

We all know that that is not true. It is just a ploy to blame religion,
rather than any other reason .. such as a political one.
When theists claim a superior moral authority and framework then we would see evidence of that. We don’t. We even see the contrary, like your fellow Muslims decapitating journalists for being journalists. Explain.


No religious beliefs
No, God cannot make people understand what they have no capacity to understand. Humans were born with a human mind but the Messengers were born with a divine mind and that is why they alone can understand God.

It all boils down to this, doesn't it?

The obvious response is "How can we possibly know that?"

I would welcome a thread (maybe several threads) setting out why Baha'i believers consider that to be true. Yes it's a huge job, but you (plural) can't seriously expect us to embark on such an enterprise without at least some guidance. To narrow it down, you can leave out anything that your Messenger said about God, and concentrate on why we should accept that he had a "divine mind". Once that is established, the rest follows, I would think.

(On second thoughts I don't want to limit this if you think anything is pertinent.)

This is a general request, not just to @Trailblazer, who probably deserves a rest!


Well-Known Member
2. God doesn't already know the outcome of his "test". If that's not true then why test?
..this is a common misunderstanding.
The fact that Almighty God knows what will happen in our future, does not negate th fact that we have free-will.
It is just that it is our choices that help to form the future.

One can come up with a whole heap of paradoxes about time to confuse .. our perception of the future as "not happened yet" is a perception. It is one that forms part of reality.
It doesn't necessarily mean that our perception of time is the only one possible.


No religious beliefs
Anything that God wills is God's choice, not His fault. God cannot be at fault since God is infallible.

That's "divine command theory". In short, God is good because he defines "good". It's not only unanswerable, but the most chilling idea I have ever known. If God said rape was good, then it would be.

Back in my brief excursion into religious belief, I knew I had to make certain assumptions, even against the evidence. The most important one was "God is good, in terms that I can understand". The alternative to that was too horrible to contemplate.


Well-Known Member
To the critical thinker, theology is drivel..
I beg to differ .. you say theology is drivel, as if people would study it for many years, like they would study what is written on public toilet walls. ;)

By theology, I don't include secular studies such as comparative religions or the influence of religions on human history - just the things that only believers believe..
..such as the existence of God, you mean?

Theology: the study of the nature of God and religious belief. :D


No religious beliefs
I used to ask God to speak to me to confirm he exists but gues what? "The number you have dialed is currently not awailable. Please try again later..."

Ah, but you didn't ask sincerely. God knows when you aren't sincere.

How can you know if you are sincere enough, you ask?

If you are sincere God will answer.