PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
 
Comments: 710
Article views: 8262
 
 
Latest Badges:


 
 

The Null Hypothesis - One tool that destroys god.

16 July 2013, 13:33

Why does the Null Hypothesis demonstrate the non-existence of God?

Let us explore some critical thinking, used in the scientific method, which allows us to assess reality in a rational manner.

I would like to postulate four different claims.

1)         A Baptist claims that God exists

2)         My friend next door claims he bought a kitten

3)         A Roman Catholic claims God exists.

4)         My father claims he has a Loch Ness monster living in his garden pond.

Now ladies and gentlemen, is there any way that we can assess these four claims in a logical manner and decide, based on reason and evidence what claims are likely true, from those that are false? I believe so, and I would like the opportunity to demonstrate the Null Hypothesis which is an essential tool, if you want to be able to discern truth from falsehood.

Consider the idea that my father claims he has a Loch Ness monster. To most of you (I hope) this is a fairly extraordinary claim. Thus, you could reasonably expect some extraordinary evidence to support this claim. I might ask my father if I could come over and see this monster living in the pond at the bottom of his garden, so that I can verify this claim is true.

But ladies and gentlemen, what if my father says I would not be able to do this? It is very shy and only comes out when it feels safe in the presence of believers in the Great Loch Ness Monster. Instead he shows me a pile of dung, supposedly left behind, and asks that I use this as evidence for its existence.

I hope that most of you realise that in fact this is not an acceptable amount of evidence for an extraordinary claim. Most of us, including myself, would remain sceptical of my father’s claim and say, “there is no such thing as a Loch Ness monster” unless he provided some really good convincing evidence of its existence. The burden of proof, is in fact, on the shoulders of my father. It is absolutely correct to be able to say, there is no Lock Ness monster. Why? Because the default position that we take is to disbelieve a claim, unless it is backed by reason and evidence. This is called the Null Hypothesis - the pile of dung is not a clear demonstration of a Loch Ness monster.

What about my friend with the claim he has a new kitten. This is not an extraordinary claim. It’s pretty mundane, and in fact I would be prepared to believe him on his word. Why do I not insist on evidence that he has a kitten before believing him, unlike the Lock Ness Monster claim? Why do I not choose the null hypothesis, of disbelief unless he proves he has a kitten?

Simple, because evidence, is not only based on first person observation. I don’t actually need to see his kitten to have evidence that he has one. I already have past evidence, that humans like kittens. I already know that people buy kittens to keep as pets. I already have past experience of other people keeping kittens as pets. I know kittens indeed exist. I already have good evidence that a claim “I bought a kitten” is fairly normal, and does not violate anything that I already know about reality.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we don’t need to directly observe events to make reasonable predictions about what is actually true. The Null Hypothesis (my neighbour does not have a cat) is refuted here and the Alternative Hypothesis (my neighbour has a cat) is supported since there is sufficient evidence to lead a rational critical mind to draw a conclusion as to the positive (statistical) likelihood of the particular claim.

Now ladies and gentlemen, let’s review the last two claims. They sound almost identical, although they are actually two distinct claims. The claim by both parties, “God exists” is actually different, because both define God differently. One defines him as someone who created the earth in 6000 years, and therefore discounts evolution, and the other claims that they can actually convert molecules of wine and atoms of bread into blood and body of Christ. They overlap with many other claims of this deity, but there are salient differences so the claims can be rewritten as:

“A Baptist God exists” and “A Roman Catholic God exists”.

It should be clear to a rational critical mind that these two claims (that there is a supernatural being that created us and he defied the laws of physics with various miracles including the resurrection) are extraordinary. Thus it is reasonable, since these claims do violate my view of reality (no living human has met or seen evidence of someone who died and then lived again three days later) to expect extraordinary evidence to support the two distinct claims.

Thus the burden of proof is on either the Baptist or the Roman Catholic to provide extraordinary evidence. Ladies and gentlemen, it is perfectly acceptable for you to demand some evidence before you believe either of these two parties, or anyone else making a supernatural claim. The Null Hypothesis, that reality is not influenced by supernatural beings has to be refuted. The Alternative Hypothesis, that reality is influenced by supernatural beings has to be supported. The Null Hypothesis is the default position since it requires no work to demonstrate its veracity.

I am disappointed to find, however, much like the claim of my father that I must take a pile of dung as evidence, and I can only see the Loch Ness monster if I already believe, both groups of Christians here claim that the only evidence provided by the supposed most powerful force in the universe is in fact some copies of ancient texts dug out of the ground, and to find evidence for him, you have to believe unquestioningly, and only then through faith it will become apparent he exists.

Well I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, I find this dishonest. There I said it. It is dishonest to suggest this.

Instead, until the burden of proof is met, by a believer postulating one of the many forms and definitions of God, I have to choose the default Null Position and remain sceptical and a disbeliever. I hope you can see why you should too.

Kind regards

Pete

I would like to thank John Williams in helping me write this article. John has a BSc Hons in Geology and BCom and helped me to clarify my thoughts in a scientific manor. He is a very clear thinker and I am grateful to have been able to take some of his time, which he graciously set aside for me.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
710 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Terrylin Backpackers
The cheque is in the post

"I hear you are in bond collections. What are the latest excuses people are coming up with these days? I've run out of ideas." Read more...

0 comments 112 views
Submitted by
Meta
News in the digital age

How do you think that spreading your hate/bigotry and or intolerance helps anybody? Read more...

13 comments 936 views
Submitted by
Brian Faul
How and why a Dictator is born

One needs to remember looking back in history these hard times is when a dictator is more likely to get born. It is during these hard times that a dictator gets voted into power. Read more...

9 comments 1714 views
Submitted by
Prenisha Naidoo
I will be proactive...

This letter is in response to articles on the death of baby Jamie Naidoo, We have the tendency to be reactive…we wait for something to happen, then suddenly we care, writes a News24 User. Read more...

2 comments 423 views
Submitted by
woadstress
Celebration

Make a list of at least ten things that you can celebrate, and write two or three reasons why you can celebrate those things or events. Read more...

1 comments 148 views
Submitted by
Eric de Castro
Last squeak of the year

 Read more...

12 comments 197 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Hermanus

Houses R 2 680 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 2 690 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.