Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

gwern comments on An Alien God - Less Wrong

80 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 November 2007 06:57AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (137)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: gwern 19 October 2009 02:35:49AM *  0 points [-]

Odin messed around with humans all the time; certainly his offspring did. Leaving aside Siegfried the dragonslayer (and the whole Volsung cycle) and Odin's general interference in wars, he is depicted as wandering the human world checking up on humans (usually rulers), as in the Grímnismál where he executes a king for violating hospitality.

(Arguments about Norse myth are hard to do in general, though, as there isn't very much to go on.)

Comment author: jafl 11 April 2010 03:28:24AM -1 points [-]

Fair enough. I only picked Odin since the article mentioned him. My point was that lack of evidence doesn't prove non-existence. It's certainly true that there is plenty of evidence against a God who constantly meddles and makes everybody's life perfect, but there is no evidence for or against a hands-off God, e.g., http://www.fullmoon.nu/articles/art.php?id=tal -- admittedly pretty much by definition :)

For that matter, there are enough crackpots among us that a weak signal will be lost in the noise. That applies equally well to acts of God and the existence of UFOs. To be clear, my only claim is that we don't actually know for sure one way or the other, regardless of how many claims for their existence have been disproved. Enough dearly held beliefs about the physical world have been overturned in the past century, e.g., Einstein on quantum physics, that we shouldn't assume we know everything now, either.

Comment author: Jack 11 April 2010 04:21:26AM *  5 points [-]

New user, folks. Be nice with the karma

Hey, welcome to Less Wrong. Introduce yourself here if you like.

My point was that lack of evidence doesn't prove non-existence. It's certainly true that there is plenty of evidence against a God who constantly meddles and makes everybody's life perfect, but there is no evidence for or against a hands-off God, e.g.,

In the same way you might say that there is no evidence against a silent and invisible dragon in my driveway. But none of us believe in invisible dragons in our driveways because they're so unlikely we would require a lot of evidence to convince us they are there. The same goes for God. God, as it is usually described, is such an extraordinarily complex entity that the chances of one happening to exist are so small as to be irrelevant until we have a lot more evidence in favor of it's (His) existence. See this and the articles listed as prequels at the top of it for deeper discussion.