Ontological Silliness

HisWillness
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Ontological Silliness

In keeping with other discussions about the supernatural, I'd like to beat what appears to be a dead horse just a little longer. The slightly different angle with this one is this "existence" debate.

If gods (or sprites or ghosts) exist, they must exist in some other way than people (or turtles or chairs) do. Thus, the existence of a god is a bit of a silly debate, with a ready conclusion: a god does not exist -- at least as other things exist. Gods would require a special type of existence in order for us to say that such a non-thing "exists".

Now, is that special pleading, or equivocation? I'm stumped at exactly what error is being made, here, when a claim of "this here god exists" is presented.

I mean, if you were going to be straightforward with people, you'd have to have a disclaimer on "existence". It's weaselly from the get-go! Picking a special god doesn't make it any different: "Does God exist?" seems to mean, "If we can bend the rules of existence way out of wack, can I introduce the possibility of an impossible creature?"

And by that time, a thoughtful debater will be stuck with the mechanics of how insane the whole conversation is. Because yes, if we can change the rules, then the rules don't have to apply, and we can get anything we can imagine.

But does that give us anything resembling a reliable ontology? Of course not! It's dead in the water. So could a god exist? The problem is that anything we label as a god still cannot exist in any way that anyone uses the word exist. That's not a strictly semantic argument, either. If you want to know whether something exists, then there should at least be some parameters around what existence means. You have to have some kind of language to work with, after all.

So do gods exist? No, not unless we change the use of the word "exist" completely.

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I think the problem is in a

I think the problem is in a makeshift debate. We're a bunch of folks on the Internet, our possibilities are limited. Most of people here did not have the capacity to read at least a few books about spiritual realms of existence. Any information I can provide is necessarily simplified and thus distorted, because I can't copy and paste a whole book here. And I can't expect that people who care only superficially about the topic, will actually read it.
This is a big topic which must be systematically studied, before there can be any debate. Even local atheists had to read Bible thoroughly, before they became experts on refuting it. And now there is at least several books I can recommend for a beginning. And I don't threaten your freedoms unlike Christianic fundies, so there is no vital necessity of studying these books.

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Luminon wrote:This is a big

Luminon wrote:
This is a big topic which must be systematically studied, before there can be any debate. Even local atheists had to read Bible thoroughly, before they became experts on refuting it.

I know you believe in things that would falsify much of the physical sciences, so I have to ask you: why is it that you don't study the physical sciences even a little? You could just focus on the things that your beliefs would falsify, after all.

You wouldn't have to study quantum electronics to do it, either. You could start with Walter Lewin's excellent course on classical mechanics, or Kristie Boering's intro to general chemistry, or Graham Walker's introduction to biochemistry, and you'd at least have a handle on the measurable. All from the comfort of your own home!

These physical sciences all have demonstrations that can be performed consistently again and again, regardless of the mental state of the person performing them. As such, you may end up finding them convincing.

 

 

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Will, I might be forgetting

Will, I might be forgetting something here because it seems like you've talked me out of this line of reasoning before, but (ironically) I think Pineapple has come closest to framing an ontology for a god of any of the theists we've had here.  I don't think she's done it, but I give her props for at least trying to work within a describable universe of discourse.

There's a lot of "supposing" here, but suppose we found something in the cosmological model that allowed information to be conveyed over vast distances.  I dunno what it would be, but wormholes are theoretically possible, and there are still a lot of unknowns with black holes.  We don't really know what dark matter is yet.  There are still a lot of unanswered questions.  Anyway, supposing that some breakthrough discovery allows for the theoretical possibility of information transfer between vast distances, and suppose there is some kind of process (similar to evolution) by which groups of stars, or groups of galaxies, or whatever, transfer increasingly complex patterns of information between each other.  At the very least, this is a way to start talking about a "galactic consciousness" within a working ontology. 

Having said that, I must poop all over the concept.  First, there is no evidence for such a thing on several levels.  We don't know of any way for information to be transferred over vast distances fast enough for something like "consciousness" to be a meaningful term, as it implies dynamic interaction.  Even in cosmological terms, a computation that takes ten billion years is not a dynamic thing.  Second, we have no model for information itself having any properties that would initiate an evolution-like process, nor do we know how information (without an outside catalyst) would increase in complexity, or form any kind of discreet replicating unit.  Third, even if we discovered that there was a pattern of information exchange that had been accumulating complexity, that would not be a "god" in the sense that it would be complexity evolving from simplicity.  Fourth, it would be another huge leap to propose any way in which such an information exchange would have anything to do with biological life on Terra Firma.

In other words, I think Pineapple has proposed something that is perhaps on the outer fringes of what might be ontologically plausible, but as for calling it a god?  Nah.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote:it would

Hambydammit wrote:
it would be another huge leap to propose any way in which such an information exchange would have anything to do with biological life on Terra Firma.

In other words, I think Pineapple has proposed something that is perhaps on the outer fringes of what might be ontologically plausible, but as for calling it a god?  Nah.

I often try to avoid the problem of language in these questions, but it seems too difficult in this case. That is, what do we call this completely unknown, undiscovered thingamajig that wouldn't be a loaded word?

There could very well be another consciousness in space somewhere, but how could it be like our consciousness if it were not part of a biological creature? What such a creature may or may not have in terms of consciousness is just as mysterious as its location. It's possible that such a consciousness would be as different from ours as ours is from a monkey's. Again, possible, but inevitably tied to a biological creature, because anything we call "conscious" is biological.

How can I reach that conclusion? It's unfortunately in the language. If there were a non-biological creature behaving with what we considered consciousness, we'd really be stuck to expand our definition of consciousness, and it would be a drastic expansion. To posit a non-biological consciousness is a laughable contradiction in terms. Biological creatures exhibit consciousness, and all the non-biological things we know about do not display this same behaviour.

I suppose therein lies the gap: all the non-biological things we know about. Aha! What if we find a non-biological thing somewhere down the road that exhibits consciousness? After all, if you buy into abiogenesis, then we're only biological creatures by virtue of a natural process of chemistry. Could there be other processes of chemistry that produce similar behaviour? Like an entire galaxy behaving like a consciousness?

At that point, what are we really describing? How the universe mirrors us (the universe "has" consciousness) or how we mirror the universe (the universe "gave us" consciousness)? If we're a product of chemistry, then perhaps we have simply identified how our pattern of thinking echoes the dynamics of the chemistry that made us. That shouldn't be surprising at all, considering we're a product of energy bombardment and persisting chemical reactions.

This is why Eloise and I have little to argue about. The only point of contention I have is her odd propensity to call the dynamics of physical chemistry "God". It's a strange quirk, but certainly nothing offensive.

Our basic understanding of consciousness calls rocks and umbrellas unconscious. That, I suppose, isn't the issue. The issue is whether or not the great galaxies can behave like we do. I would argue that we already behave like they do, as both systems are following the same physical laws.

But far be it from me to tell Eloise that she can't call the universe of physical chemistry "God", or expand the definition of consciousness to include galaxies.

The question of existence is far easier, however. We have no question of whether something measurable exists. It's the immeasurable that presents the ontological problem, and the answer is simpler: we exist, and gods do not exist in the same way that we do. We would have to re-define existence entirely for gods to exist.

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HisWillness wrote:I know you

HisWillness wrote:

I know you believe in things that would falsify much of the physical sciences, so I have to ask you: why is it that you don't study the physical sciences even a little? You could just focus on the things that your beliefs would falsify, after all.


There is something I have always claimed and I always will. I don't have beliefs. I base my opinion on ocassionally repeated, objective observations. I sense things which majority of other people can't sense, but some yes, and interactively. My observations can't be falsified, they simply are. Some are part of my moment-to-moment everyday experience. The question is not their existence, but interpretation. Either there is an exact explanation in contemporary science, or the science needs to be expanded. Most probably the second choice is true. I don't say that science is wrong, I say that it's incomplete.

But why don't I study the physics and (bio)chemistry? Because...I'm dumb on that. I'm a right-hemisphere type, good at humanistic sciences, but traumatized by maths. I can inspire people, listen and advise right from my vast memory, use my empathy and so on, but my equations are full of errors. Basically, I'm a jack of all trades, but master of none. I don't even know where to start with broadening the science, I need to define scientifically that fundamental concept, which is described below.
 

HisWillness wrote:
You wouldn't have to study quantum electronics to do it, either. You could start with Walter Lewin's excellent course on classical mechanics, or Kristie Boering's intro to general chemistry, or Graham Walker's introduction to biochemistry, and you'd at least have a handle on the measurable. All from the comfort of your own home!

These physical sciences all have demonstrations that can be performed consistently again and again, regardless of the mental state of the person performing them. As such, you may end up finding them convincing.

Thank you for your care. This is all fine, I don't deny that. Some of these lectures look promising and I'm tempted to watch them.
But the point is, that I've got something to say as well, and to find the words, I need someone good at physics and gifted with a serious interest and good will. I can provide all data available to me, and the physicist would try to express them in scientific terms, in ideal case as a testable hypothesis. Perhaps the most important discovery will be a special property of matter, (yet unnamed) which determines a "frequency" of it's waves, or oscillations. All matter vibrates on a similar rate, and there are whole different universes diffcult to detect, because they vibrate on a much higher rate. I have no idea how is this concept called correctly, but this is exactly how the matter behaves. Maybe it's something really simple, just with unusual parameters.

Shortly said, I need someone who will
1) chew through all the equations and special terms instead of me, answer my questions and correct me when I'm wrong.
2) interpret the esoteric concepts in scientific terms (I think I can tell if the interpretation is correct)
3) take me seriously Smiling (at least hypothetically)


Hambydammit: what about a quantum entanglement as a method of Pineapple's information transfer?

Anyway, I disagree with Deism on the idea that God is something outside, not interfering with the universe. I rather agree with Carl Sagan (I hope that's his quote) that we are the means by which the universe realizes itself. So if the universe is THE God, it looks through our eyes, hears by through our ears and creates by our hands. And not only ours.

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I'm pretty sure that it was

I'm pretty sure that it was Eloise's idea that Hamby was describing, not mine. I may have said something similar a year ago, but I don't think I've said anything since.

 

My view was that it was a quantum computer, not a conciousness.

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:I'm

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I'm pretty sure that it was Eloise's idea that Hamby was describing, not mine.

[...]

My view was that it was a quantum computer, not a conciousness.

Ah. Maybe I've misunderstood Hamby, then. Or we're just all mixed up in this crazy, mixed up world.

...

Sigh. You know the situation is bad when the ironic cliches come out.

So do you know what Hamby means? That is, have you made an argument for a something-or-other recently? Quantum computer?

Y'know, I still don't get the quantum computer thing. Maybe it just strikes me as a crappy analogue because computers do very specific, mundane, and deterministic things, whereas quantum states are individually unpredictable.

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HisWillness wrote:This is

HisWillness wrote:

This is why Eloise and I have little to argue about. The only point of contention I have is her odd propensity to call the dynamics of physical chemistry "God".

Because Will, LOL We've been over this so many times.., consciousness just isn't special. The "dynamics of physical chemistry" or thereabouts anyhow, isn't less than what we are, and it's only the entrenched idea that it is which makes calling it God sound a bit odd.

 

Willness wrote:

It's a strange quirk, but certainly nothing offensive.

Aw thanks, that's so nice of you to say. Sticking out tongue

 

HisWillness wrote:

Our basic understanding of consciousness calls rocks and umbrellas unconscious. That, I suppose, isn't the issue. The issue is whether or not the great galaxies can behave like we do. I would argue that we already behave like they do, as both systems are following the same physical laws.

 

But far be it from me to tell Eloise that she can't call the universe of physical chemistry "God", or expand the definition of consciousness to include galaxies.

But?

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HisWillness wrote:There

HisWillness wrote:

There could very well be another consciousness in space somewhere, but how could it be like our consciousness if it were not part of a biological creature?

Quite easily if conciousness is not a "product" of biology as we have been supposing in our heretofore study of it.

If, say, we consider biology a function of some physical parameters; like location, electromagnetic properties, etc  then our familiar phenomenal consciousness just comes out somewhere as an ordinary characteristic element of (yes I'm going to say it) platonic structures. 

So in summary, what we think of ourselves as, then, is just really really boring (and kind of infantile in a certain manner of speaking), its the rest that secrets away all the interesting stuff about reality.

 

 

** probably should join this to my other post...

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HisWillness wrote:Now, is

HisWillness wrote:

Now, is that special pleading, or equivocation? I'm stumped at exactly what error is being made, here, when a claim of "this here god exists" is presented.

.

.

.

So do gods exist? No, not unless we change the use of the word "exist" completely.

 

Ontology, as mentioned, is the branch of philosophy that grapples with what it means to exist, and their is certainly no consensus on what it means to or not to exist. But no matter what approach one takes, I think it's probably special pleading, but I'm not sure if special pleading is avoidable in any attempt to define existence.

 

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Eloise wrote:HisWillness

Eloise wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

This is why Eloise and I have little to argue about. The only point of contention I have is her odd propensity to call the dynamics of physical chemistry "God".

Because Will, LOL We've been over this so many times.., consciousness just isn't special.

Yeah, I got that. I agree.

Eloise wrote:
The "dynamics of physical chemistry" or thereabouts anyhow, isn't less than what we are, and it's only the entrenched idea that it is which makes calling it God sound a bit odd.

This is the part that I still don't get. I agree that the workings of the universe isn't less than what we are. It can't be on several levels. I still don't get calling it God. That's the piece I'm missing in my understanding of what you mean, so if you could explain that part, maybe I'd get it. If you feel like you're repeating yourself, it's because I'm probably missing something really simple, and it's just a miscommunication.

Eloise wrote:
Willness wrote:

It's a strange quirk, but certainly nothing offensive.

Aw thanks, that's so nice of you to say. :P

As quirks go, you can't say that one would be particularly bothersome to anyone. It's not a facial tick or refusing to bathe or something like that.

"I'd like you to meet Eloise. She likes walks on the beach, math, puppies, and calling the universe 'God'".

Hehe.

Eloise wrote:
HisWillness wrote:

But far be it from me to tell Eloise that she can't call the universe of physical chemistry "God", or expand the definition of consciousness to include galaxies.

But?

But nothing. We'd have to redefine our understanding of consciousness, which is what you've been pushing for anyway, isn't it? That's my point. If we want gods to exist, they have to exist in some special way.

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:Ontology,

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

Ontology, as mentioned, is the branch of philosophy that grapples with what it means to exist, and their is certainly no consensus on what it means to or not to exist. But no matter what approach one takes, I think it's probably special pleading, but I'm not sure if special pleading is avoidable in any attempt to define existence.

Okay, but gods still don't exist in the same way we exist, right? I mean, I'm measurable, visible, tangible, sweet-smelling, etc., and accessible in a way that apparently gods are not, so the nature of my existence and the nature of a god's existence seems to me different.

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HisWillness wrote:Okay, but

HisWillness wrote:

Okay, but gods still don't exist in the same way we exist, right? I mean, I'm measurable, visible, tangible, sweet-smelling, etc., and accessible in a way that apparently gods are not, so the nature of my existence and the nature of a god's existence seems to me different.

I suppose that depends on what god we're talking about. Except if one perceives men (strictly speaking) to be gods, they would be different, yeah. Some religions suggest that a god could have human ontology as part of its own ontology.

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HisWillness wrote:Eloise

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:

Because Will, LOL We've been over this so many times.., consciousness just isn't special.

Yeah, I got that. I agree.

 

I know you do.

 

HisWillness wrote:

 I agree that the workings of the universe isn't less than what we are. It can't be on several levels. I still don't get calling it God. That's the piece I'm missing in my understanding of what you mean, so if you could explain that part, maybe I'd get it.

 

Well to put it in the manner contrary, what's entrenched is that it is as though we must assume God should be more.  And what we would base that criteria on is actually a superstition about ourselves, a figment; comparing the universe to a fantasy and we see the universe is not the fantasy, no surprise.

 

But neither are we, this fantasy, neither is anything really, so why should God be that?

 

HisWillness wrote:

If you feel like you're repeating yourself, it's because I'm probably missing something really simple, and it's just a miscommunication.

 

I don't mind repeating myself on this because I realise it's a really subtle point. I don't expect it to be immediately obvious.

 

And if you don't mind me saying so, in my experience here I've come to regard your comprehension ability pretty highly, Will. So I take that if You aren't getting it, then I've missed the mark in explaining it

 

Willness wrote:

As quirks go, you can't say that one would be particularly bothersome to anyone. It's not a facial tick or refusing to bathe or something like that.

 

Yeah, maybe. Hamby might beg to differ though, right Hamby? I mean, if I was just being stubborn here then by his estimation, as far as I gather, it can only serve to lend undeserved credibility to religion and it's lot. Which might be bothersome.

 

But I'm sure I'm not just being stubborn, for the record. I'm not in the business of proving god exists, so to speak, (actually I loathe the practice, let God deal with his own problems durn it!) if it was just about lending credibility to religious mores I wouldn't bother and I agree we can do without them.

 

HisWillness wrote:

 

But nothing. We'd have to redefine our understanding of consciousness, which is what you've been pushing for anyway, isn't it?

 

I'd say, in a sense, we're all pushing for it; because we want to understand consciousness anyway. If it requires a shift in perception of ourselves then I say do it. And if it leads us to discover that there really is a "God", so what?

 

HisWillness wrote:

That's my point. If we want gods to exist, they have to exist in some special way.

 

Special according to what? That's my contention. Special apart from the superstitious notions we have of our own existence? But everything exists in a way apart from that anyhow, why not God too? 

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HisWillness wrote:Okay, but

HisWillness wrote:

Okay, but gods still don't exist in the same way we exist, right? I mean, I'm measurable, visible, tangible, sweet-smelling, etc., and accessible in a way that apparently gods are not, so the nature of my existence and the nature of a god's existence seems to me different.

I don't know anything about gods, but when you're submersed in the world illusion, you can measure, see, hear and touch only a fraction of what is there to be measured. Something can exist just as well as you, but your brain is used to filter that out of your consciousness. Broaden your consciousness and you will be able to see and touch more of the universe. Then you will understand a bit more, that our existence is illusory. We exist, but not as we think. There are other worlds, other dimensions, possibly more real than our own. And we live in a few of them at the same time, just our consciousness is focused on this one. Model of human as a multi-dimensional being is quite interesting. As one Indian mystic  expressed it, 'under the blue sky, gods are walking, clothed in skin'.

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:I suppose

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

I suppose that depends on what god we're talking about. Except if one perceives men (strictly speaking) to be gods, they would be different, yeah. Some religions suggest that a god could have human ontology as part of its own ontology.

I can pick one, if you like. Let's take Thor. Thor controls the thunder and lightning with a magical hammer that can also slay giants. And he's invisible.

So Thor exists in a different way than human beings do. Thor doesn't work in a factory to support his giant-slaying habit, and I don't have access to things like magic hammers. We are clearly a world apart.

If you can think of a god that exists as I do, then that would just be a person. As you say, revering living people as gods is certainly not beyond the imaginative capacity of human beings, but "part of its own ontology" is hinting at something that you should probably explain. My example of Thor is clear enough, I'd say -- maybe you have another god in mind.

 

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HisWillness wrote:If you can

HisWillness wrote:

If you can think of a god that exists as I do, then that would just be a person. As you say, revering living people as gods is certainly not beyond the imaginative capacity of human beings, but "part of its own ontology" is hinting at something that you should probably explain. My example of Thor is clear enough, I'd say -- maybe you have another god in mind.

Zeus from the ancient Greek pantheon in many ways acted as humans act and even on occasion became a human himself. This sort of god would be tangible, knowable, etc. This would be a god that exists as humans exist in some ways, but not all ways. To use essentialist language, he has "humaness" as part of his ontology although his ontology was more not merely human, if that makes since.

If I'm hearing it right, you suggesting that god-talk is a slippery slope because one defines "existence" to conform  necessary ontological requirements of a given god, and such definitions do not map onto our existence.

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Eloise wrote:Well to put it

Eloise wrote:

Well to put it in the manner contrary, what's entrenched is that it is as though we must assume God should be more.  And what we would base that criteria on is actually a superstition about ourselves, a figment; comparing the universe to a fantasy and we see the universe is not the fantasy, no surprise.

But neither are we, this fantasy, neither is anything really, so why should God be that?

I think I've understood what you're saying here, but you're addressing what your conception of God is not. It's not a psychological projection. It's not the parental or egotistical fantasy. That's okay by me, but it's what your conception of God is (really, why we need to label what seems to be just the universe to me, because I think I keep missing a piece of information) that interests me.

If your idea of God is simply the universe as is, then I'm stuck (as I have consistently been) as to why it's necessary to call it God. If it's nothing more than the universe, then why not call it the universe and have done with it? Is it a kind of "whole being greater than the parts" kind of thing? Or a specific way of seeing the universe?

Eloise wrote:
And if you don't mind me saying so, in my experience here I've come to regard your comprehension ability pretty highly, Will. So I take that if You aren't getting it, then I've missed the mark in explaining it

Why thank you. Flattery will get you everywhere.

Eloise wrote:
I mean, if I was just being stubborn here then by his estimation, as far as I gather, it can only serve to lend undeserved credibility to religion and it's lot. Which might be bothersome.

But I'm sure I'm not just being stubborn, for the record. I'm not in the business of proving god exists, so to speak, (actually I loathe the practice, let God deal with his own problems durn it!) if it was just about lending credibility to religious mores I wouldn't bother and I agree we can do without them.

Seeing as your ideas about gods don't mesh with any of the symptoms of religious madness Hamby addresses, I don't know if you could help out the religious side. For all intents and purposes, you're an atheist. At least in respect to every god I've ever heard of.

I think we should call your god "Alfred", to distinguish it from Yaweh.

Eloise wrote:
I'd say, in a sense, we're all pushing for it; because we want to understand consciousness anyway. If it requires a shift in perception of ourselves then I say do it. And if it leads us to discover that there really is a "God", so what?

That would be fine, I suppose. I just don't know how we would figure that out once we got there. There really is a what? We hammer away at new concepts of the universe all the time. String theory is poised to fail spectacularly, the big bang theory isn't full of holes, it's filled with space-holders and bookmarks, and we still aren't sure about

Eloise wrote:
HisWillness wrote:

That's my point. If we want gods to exist, they have to exist in some special way.

Special according to what? That's my contention. Special apart from the superstitious notions we have of our own existence? But everything exists in a way apart from that anyhow, why not God too? 

That seems to me a bit of an equivocation, though. Saying "everything exists" doesn't really help me understand how you distinguish God from the universe. If God is just the universe, no more, and no less, then why call it "God"?

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Quote:If I'm hearing it

Quote:
If I'm hearing it right, you suggesting that god-talk is a slippery slope because one defines "existence" to conform  necessary ontological requirements of a given god, and such definitions do not map onto our existence.

Sort of.

Ontology requires a universe of discourse.  That is, whatever we're talking about has properties, and each of these properties can be positively described with terms that are all positively described.  If you can imagine something like a spider web, where everything is linked to something else, you're on the right track.  Any point I pick on a spider web has a link to everything else.  There is no point at which the web is floating in space with no attachment to any other thing.  So it is with concepts.  Everything we describe must be connected at all points to something that can be positively defined.

When I take "Hambydammit" and describe it, I can say, "It's the pen-name for a human who writes about atheism, science, and philosophy."  Though that description is far from complete, each term is grounded in something positively defined.  "Zeus," on the other hand, is not as well defined.  Sure, some of the words are positively defined -- he speaks, thinks, acts, feels emotions, etc.  The problem shows up when he has other properties that are "like" something else.  Analogy is one of the first signs of ontological trouble.  Saying what something is like is not saying what it is.  Zeus is "like" a human in many ways.  He "lives" in a way that is similar, but that doesn't actually tell us in what way he lives, or what he is that is somewhat similar to a human.

I am a human.  Zeus is a god.  A human is a biological organism in the primate family.  A god is... um... like a human, but not...

You see the difference?

 

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:To use

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
To use essentialist language, he has "humaness" as part of his ontology although his ontology was more not merely human, if that makes since.

Right -- the god's existence can be human plus something, and that something is what makes a god's existence different from ours.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
If I'm hearing it right, you suggesting that god-talk is a slippery slope because one defines "existence" to conform  necessary ontological requirements of a given god, and such definitions do not map onto our existence.

That's about it. Even if only in terms of abilities, clearly the human being does not have the same set as a god does. Gods can do things contrary to the observable behaviours of nature. Of course, we really don't know how that works, so how are we to understand this extra part of their existence if we have absolutely no way to comprehend it?

It's fine to imagine things, but to present something as actually existing, you'd have to have a reasonable argument for that being the case. In the most down-to-earth, conventional terms, I can show you a table that exists. It's made of stuff (wood, maybe) and it measures a certain distance across, etc. There could be more information about the table, but if we decided that it didn't exist, we would effectively be re-defining existence. If that table were an illusion, as Luminon suggests everything is, then would our discourse change? If it were also impossible to tell the difference between illusion and reality, then what difference would it make if I said the table was real or illusory?

My point is that there have to be conventions in communication and understanding that will never attain perfection. Perfection itself being a kind of vague and subjective thing, it makes little sense to apply it to a conversation about what should be considered real. Neither can it be applied to an understanding of the real, which resists every effort to define it in limited terms.

On the practical level, however, the real is what we can test. That idea has yielded more knowledge than any other epistemology to date, and by a large margin. Does that mean it holds perfect truth? Of course not. Again, perfection is a subjective and vague thing. We can chase after Platonic forms as long as we like, but does that actually get us anywhere? They're still concepts. If we want to say that concepts are real, then fine. But that doesn't really give us a helpful distinction between real and imagined.

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Luminon wrote:I don't know

Luminon wrote:
I don't know anything about gods, but when you're submersed in the world illusion, you can measure, see, hear and touch only a fraction of what is there to be measured. Something can exist just as well as you, but your brain is used to filter that out of your consciousness. Broaden your consciousness and you will be able to see and touch more of the universe. Then you will understand a bit more, that our existence is illusory.

Okay, given that the world is a giant illusion, which apparently my brain filters, why is it that we can have automated machines perform scientific tests?

Luminon wrote:
We exist, but not as we think.

How do you know what I think?

Luminon wrote:
There are other worlds, other dimensions, possibly more real than our own.

What would something have to do to be "more real"?

Luminon wrote:
And we live in a few of them at the same time, just our consciousness is focused on this one.

Help me out, here: if the world is an illusion, how do you know if you're not just falling for another part of the illusion?

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HisWillness wrote:Okay,

HisWillness wrote:

Okay, given that the world is a giant illusion, which apparently my brain filters, why is it that we can have automated machines perform scientific tests?

Because the physical world exists, it's illusory in a restrictive and deceptive sense. For example, matter is practically empty, but we perceive it as a full, solid thing. Or, the visible spectrum of light is only a tiny part of the electromagnetic waves around us. A fundamental esoteric postulate says, that just like there is a small part of spectrum as visible light, so there is a small part of spectrum as physical matter.

A difference between the investigation by machines and human spirit (both metaphorically and literally), is that machines detect what is physical or nearly physical, while a human being perceives a bit of physical world, and sometimes bit of etheric-physical, a bit of astral ocassionally, and a bit of manasic or higher on other ocassions. We are potentially much more sensitive than mechanical detectors, but in separate, chosen areas, and ocassionally. It is simply because human beings have one or two vehicles of various quality on almost every realm, doing better or worse in several of sub-realms, or sub-frequencies of matter, metaphorically said.

HisWillness wrote:
Luminon wrote:
We exist, but not as we think.

How do you know what I think?

Well, you're not particularly secretive about it. Atheist, naturalist, materialist, rationalist or perhaps even nihilist, something like that, I guess. Just like the majority of people here.

HisWillness wrote:
Luminon wrote:
There are other worlds, other dimensions, possibly more real than our own.

What would something have to do to be "more real"?

Maybe a causal principle. A world, in which the models or causes of human behavior exists, or where archetypes or memes exist as a real structures, ocassionally deciphered and "downloaded" by the brains of thinkers. Also, a cases when a harmless person somehow suddenly feels out of control and brutally murders someone without a reason.

HisWillness wrote:
Luminon wrote:
And we live in a few of them at the same time, just our consciousness is focused on this one.

Help me out, here: if the world is an illusion, how do you know if you're not just falling for another part of the illusion?

The nature of this illusion is mainly restrictive and hiding the true nature of things. It prevents us from seeing more of the world's content and what exactly it is. But it doesn't just make it out of nothing.
So if there is an individual who perceives more of the world's content, then he is probably less subjected to the illusion itself. This is valid specially if that kind of clairvoyance is controlled, reliable, healthy, relevant for the events in physical world, used with a selfless motivation, and there are no big drawbacks for using it.

Of course, there are pathologic cases, where the broadened perception is a signified by some violated principles of these I just mentioned. For example, drug usage may damage a natural (and beneficial) resistance to astral realm and the result may be schizophrenia. Or there is an unequal symbiosis between a man or woman and an astral discarnate. 
But I digress... You know, firstly I write a bit, then I decide that it's too brief and simplistic, so I write all the necessary details. And then the text is so big, that I have to delete a half of it, to not overload your precious and much appreciated attention.

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Luminon wrote:Because the

Luminon wrote:
Because the physical world exists, it's illusory in a restrictive and deceptive sense. For example, matter is practically empty, but we perceive it as a full, solid thing. Or, the visible spectrum of light is only a tiny part of the electromagnetic waves around us. A fundamental esoteric postulate says, that just like there is a small part of spectrum as visible light, so there is a small part of spectrum as physical matter.

I'm sure I don't understand what you're saying. The relatively large spaces between elementary particles has nothing to do with their solidity at the perceptual level. That is, stuff is still solid, even if we know there are spaces between its elementary particles. Solid is a state of matter. That doesn't seem illusory to me, so maybe that's not what you meant.

Luminon wrote:
The nature of this illusion is mainly restrictive and hiding the true nature of things. It prevents us from seeing more of the world's content and what exactly it is. But it doesn't just make it out of nothing.
So if there is an individual who perceives more of the world's content, then he is probably less subjected to the illusion itself. This is valid specially if that kind of clairvoyance is controlled, reliable, healthy, relevant for the events in physical world, used with a selfless motivation, and there are no big drawbacks for using it.

But those feelings are not reliable. If they were, then they'd be part of mainstream scientific study. They would be "psychology", or "neurology" and not esoteric at all. "True nature of things" is extremely vague. You might have a feeling that you understand the universe better than someone else, but unless you can contribute to the understanding, it seems a bit like you're trying an illusion yourself.

Luminon wrote:
Of course, there are pathologic cases, where the broadened perception is a signified by some violated principles of these I just mentioned. For example, drug usage may damage a natural (and beneficial) resistance to astral realm and the result may be schizophrenia. Or there is an unequal symbiosis between a man or woman and an astral discarnate.

You're not really giving me much, here. I can make assertions as to how schizophrenia works involving astral-whatsits, too. That doesn't make them real (or illusory, as the case may be).

You still haven't given me a way to discern reality from things made up. If everything is made up, then it's irrelevant, but how do we tell the made up from the real in the esoteric way of looking at things?

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Luminon wrote:How do you

Luminon wrote:
Well, you're not particularly secretive about it. Atheist, naturalist, materialist, rationalist or perhaps even nihilist, something like that, I guess. Just like the majority of people here.
Take that back, you dimwit!  I suspect that nearly no one here subscribes to the broken concept of nihilism.  Will is certainly no nihilist and neither is a majority, not even perhaps.

BigUniverse wrote,

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Thomathy wrote:Luminon

Thomathy wrote:

Luminon wrote:
Well, you're not particularly secretive about it. Atheist, naturalist, materialist, rationalist or perhaps even nihilist, something like that, I guess. Just like the majority of people here.
Take that back, you dimwit!  I suspect that nearly no one here subscribes to the broken concept of nihilism.  Will is certainly no nihilist and neither is a majority, not even perhaps.

You're feeling feisty today! Perhaps it's that second universe nihilism he's talking about: the one where "nihilism" means "people who like canvas pants".

 

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Isn't um... who is it...

Isn't um... who is it... AIGS... maybe?  There's someone who has a nihilist signature...

 

But yeah, pretty much nobody here is a nihilist.  I'm certainly not.

 

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HisWillness wrote:That's

 

HisWillness wrote:

That's okay by me, but it's what your conception of God is (really, why we need to label what seems to be just the universe to me, because I think I keep missing a piece of information) that interests me.

No, that piece of information is missing. You're not missing the part where I offer justification for putting a new label on the universe, I'm not offering it.

HisWillness wrote:

If your idea of God is simply the universe as is, then I'm stuck (as I have consistently been) as to why it's necessary to call it God.

And that's because it's not necessary to call it God, so you're stuck waiting for something that I won't say.

The reason I'm happy to identify as a Theist is that upon considering the nature of the universe of naturalism I see it has also been described and given a name in another of man's philosophical pursuits, "God". In essence that makes me a believer. Roughly, the way the books describe it is accurate enough that I am confident assigning meaning to their labels.

HisWillness wrote:

If it's nothing more than the universe, then why not call it the universe and have done with it? Is it a kind of "whole being greater than the parts" kind of thing? Or a specific way of seeing the universe?

It is most definitely nearer the latter. And the reason to not "call it the universe and have done with it" is the 'having done with it' bit.

"Universe" reflects a certain standpoint, one assuming certain naturalistic ontologies to be absolutely given. While we don't have to rigidly assume this standpoint just to employ the term universe (we need only contingently adopt it) being done with it at that basically requires we do become rigid in a certain ontology; and then it is is a different matter altogether.  

 

HisWillness wrote:

Why thank you. Flattery will get you everywhere.

everywhere huh?  

But seriously, it's not just a compliment, take it as a point. You're not easily confused, so more likely than you're missing something, is that it's not there.

 

HisWillness wrote:
For all intents and purposes, you're an atheist.

Quite exactly, I think. In intent and purpose I have no differences with atheists and/or naturalists. I believe the question of what exists should deal in existing things, without exemption, all else is Art.

 

HisWillness wrote:

I think we should call your god "Alfred", to distinguish it from Yaweh.

We can do that.

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
I'd say, in a sense, we're all pushing for it; because we want to understand consciousness anyway. If it requires a shift in perception of ourselves then I say do it. And if it leads us to discover that there really is a "God", so what?

That would be fine, I suppose. I just don't know how we would figure that out once we got there. There really is a what?

I think I probably answered this above, but for clarity - there really are entities which are valid as per the propositions of mystics, esoterics and/ortheistic visionaries.

HisWillness wrote:

We hammer away at new concepts of the universe all the time. String theory is poised to fail spectacularly, the big bang theory isn't full of holes, it's filled with space-holders and bookmarks, and we still aren't sure about

Even so, each concept regardless of it's completion, contributes to the practical freedoms of our kind while at once taking away an assumption we used to get there (with probably the exception of string theory, though, why bring that up?). Losing a relied upon assumption seems to be the natural trade-off for pragmatic accomplishment in science. When we get sure of something, we tend to become unsure of some other, related, thing as a consequence. That the universe is patently distinct from people, similarly, is an assumption which loses all traction as we reach natural conclusions about consciousness in reality.

 

HisWillness wrote:

 

That seems to me a bit of an equivocation, though. Saying "everything exists" doesn't really help me understand how you distinguish God from the universe. If God is just the universe, no more, and no less, then why call it "God"?

 

Again, I think I've pretty much covered this one already, so I'll just give you the summary.

I don't distinguish God from the universe, except in saying that each of these two labels reflect certain initial assumptions. Naturalistic assumptions are well known, as a result of having been well documented, unlike theistic ones, so it's far easier for me to plead the case for not becoming rigid in naturalistic ontology than the contrary (thanks to the beauty of science).

The distinction between ourselves and the universe is a documented naturalistic assumption. Essentially, "my" distinction, which you're seeking, is in employing distance from this assumption. With it, the universe is just the universe, and we get as far as we do consequently, in understanding the universe under it - then it weakens, and on inspection 'God' is an equally valid term in the resulting regime.

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Eloise wrote:You're not

Eloise wrote:
You're not missing the part where I offer justification for putting a new label on the universe, I'm not offering it.

Hah! Okay, I see. No wonder I was struggling with that.

Eloise wrote:
The reason I'm happy to identify as a Theist is that upon considering the nature of the universe of naturalism I see it has also been described and given a name in another of man's philosophical pursuits, "God". In essence that makes me a believer. Roughly, the way the books describe it is accurate enough that I am confident assigning meaning to their labels.

Oh. Is that some amalgamation of books? Have you picked parts in the books that you think match observable reality? (That is, are you making a "common ground" of sorts with theology?)

Eloise wrote:
"Universe" reflects a certain standpoint, one assuming certain naturalistic ontologies to be absolutely given. While we don't have to rigidly assume this standpoint just to employ the term universe (we need only contingently adopt it) being done with it at that basically requires we do become rigid in a certain ontology; and then it is is a different matter altogether.

So your criticism of a naturalistic ontology is that it's incomplete? Or truly lacking, where certain philosophical problems are concerned?

Eloise wrote:
You're not easily confused, so more likely than you're missing something, is that it's not there.

That's a very quotable sentence for an atheist!

Eloise wrote:
HisWillness wrote:

I think we should call your god "Alfred", to distinguish it from Yaweh.

We can do that.

I'm not actually going to hold you to that, it was just a funny thought. I have a great uncle Alfred, and he's a fantastic guy.

Eloise wrote:
there really are entities which are valid as per the propositions of mystics, esoterics and/ortheistic visionaries.

This is worth exploring, because it's the heart of the matter, and I argue vigorously against that very idea. I would appreciate any criticism. My contention is that those entities are just as real as anything imaginary. If there's something you can think of that makes them more real than imaginary, that's the kind of criticism I'm looking for.

Eloise wrote:
That the universe is patently distinct from people, similarly, is an assumption which loses all traction as we reach natural conclusions about consciousness in reality.

Making distinctions between things is just a function of the left hemisphere that makes certain activities easier, though. That doesn't mean that the distinctions we devise are correct, they're simply a convention for expediency. I can distinguish between things at an arbitrary scale, just like everyone can. The easiest example is measuring a shoreline. Good luck making a perfect measurement of a shoreline, for a variety of reasons. Its measurement ends up being a kind of fractal, and you can only approximate with calculus.

But I can tell you second to second where the beach is, despite the fact that the tide means that definition is constantly changing. So distinction is clearly arbitrary. But once a distinction is made, there's no harm in exploring it, seeing as it's only conceptual anyway.

Eloise wrote:
I don't distinguish God from the universe, except in saying that each of these two labels reflect certain initial assumptions. Naturalistic assumptions are well known, as a result of having been well documented, unlike theistic ones, so it's far easier for me to plead the case for not becoming rigid in naturalistic ontology than the contrary (thanks to the beauty of science).

Okay, I think I see now. I certainly have no argument with being more comfortable with one set of assumptions over another. Obviously assumptions have to be made in any endeavour. There's no getting around it. If you find that you're not quite comfortable with limiting yourself philosophically to the assumptions of naturalism, there's not much I could say, except that I'm curious as to which assumptions you are more comfortable with.

Eloise wrote:
The distinction between ourselves and the universe is a documented naturalistic assumption. Essentially, "my" distinction, which you're seeking, is in employing distance from this assumption. With it, the universe is just the universe, and we get as far as we do consequently, in understanding the universe under it - then it weakens, and on inspection 'God' is an equally valid term in the resulting regime.

That suffices as a justification for the God label (I thought you weren't offering it!). The extreme end of naturalistic assumptions would be logical positivism, which famously ate its own tail, but I'm still curious as to what assumptions you're more comfortable with that lead you to a more inclusive discourse. If naturalistic assumptions exclude certain concepts, what is your criticism with the exclusion? That is, what stinks about the naturalistic assumptions, other than our already solved problem of arbitrary distinction?

Because really, it comes down to this: you will accept certain things that I consider incoherent or self-contradicting. I'm wondering how we can reconcile our understanding, because there doesn't seem to be much distance otherwise.

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HisWillness wrote:That's

HisWillness wrote:

That's about it. Even if only in terms of abilities, clearly the human being does not have the same set as a god does. Gods can do things contrary to the observable behaviours of nature. Of course, we really don't know how that works, so how are we to understand this extra part of their existence if we have absolutely no way to comprehend it?


I'd agree, except the same problem occurs when one attempts to define one's own ontology. To ask it in essentialist language: what is "humaness"? I'm not necessarily looking for a perfect answer or even a tenable answer, but I bring this up to say that under such a paradigm we cannot discuss our own existence meaningfully if there is no clear answer for it. In short, any sort of discussion ultimately commits a Loki's Wager type fallacy.

But for arguments sake, suppose we can talk meaningfully about existence. Then how one answers this question opens up a whole other can of worms. The question here is how much of one's ontology does one allow to be a priori? Per our discussion on epistemology, at bare minimum, one has to accept that his or her senses are functioning properly, a priori. John Calvin's natural theology suggested the existence of the sensus divinitatis--a means by which we inherently know the existence of the divine.

HisWillness wrote:

It's made of stuff (wood, maybe) and it measures a certain distance across, etc. There could be more information about the table, but if we decided that it didn't exist, we would effectively be re-defining existence. If that table were an illusion, as Luminon suggests everything is, then would our discourse change? If it were also impossible to tell the difference between illusion and reality, then what difference would it make if I said the table was real or illusory?


Morpheus acts the question in the Matrix, "What is real?" Again, this is a tough question to answer, but at a minimal level, I think we can talk about some thing's existence in whatever reality one chooses to embrace. Even in an imaginary world, imaginary things exist or do not exist. Contemplating "What is real" seems to collapse into infinite regress at some point, but this is not necessarily the same thing as talking about whether something exists or does not exist in something's respective reality whatever it may be. We can factor out the imaginary qualifier and speak of these things as actual entities.

Also, I think we have to be clear with what we are talking about. Are we talking about something's essence, or are we talking about something's existence? We can speak of essence apart from that thing's actual existence. But take the coffee table in my living room for instance: could I talk about it as a table if it was still the raw sticks of wood and box of screws holding it together before I built it? I suppose I can talk about it as a concept, not as an actual entity.

HisWillness wrote:

My point is that there have to be conventions in communication and understanding that will never attain perfection. Perfection itself being a kind of vague and subjective thing, it makes little sense to apply it to a conversation about what should be considered real. Neither can it be applied to an understanding of the real, which resists every effort to define it in limited terms.


Yeah..but if this is the case, then we commit a Loki's Wager sort of fallacy, because any and all discussion would be nonsensical.

HisWillness wrote:

On the practical level, however, the real is what we can test. That idea has yielded more knowledge than any other epistemology to date, and by a large margin. Does that mean it holds perfect truth? Of course not. Again, perfection is a subjective and vague thing. We can chase after Platonic forms as long as we like, but does that actually get us anywhere? They're still concepts. If we want to say that concepts are real, then fine. But that doesn't really give us a helpful distinction between real and imagined.

There are two issues I see with this. First, these are subject to the same sorts of vague or subjective discussions as "perfection". I think our discussion per empiricism illustrated this. Second, one could permute an empirical system along with some other system and net a larger yield of knowledge. These aside, I see the point. I suppose we are contradicting ourselves by even discussing the matter. I'm not suggesting we waste our lives pining away hoping that some solution will answer all our questions, but at the same time I do not think we can write it off either. I think rational inquiry demands that these sort of discussion take place even if we have to spend most of our time converging on a definition for something.

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ubuntuAnyone

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

That's about it. Even if only in terms of abilities, clearly the human being does not have the same set as a god does. Gods can do things contrary to the observable behaviours of nature. Of course, we really don't know how that works, so how are we to understand this extra part of their existence if we have absolutely no way to comprehend it?


I'd agree, except the same problem occurs when one attempts to define one's own ontology.

I'm not sure how you're getting to this. Does a god exist the same way a human does? Can I push you for a yes or no answer?

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
To ask it in essentialist language: what is "humaness"? I'm not necessarily looking for a perfect answer or even a tenable answer, but I bring this up to say that under such a paradigm we cannot discuss our own existence meaningfully if there is no clear answer for it. In short, any sort of discussion ultimately commits a Loki's Wager type fallacy.

You gave me pause for a second with the Loki's Wager "fallacy". The only place I've been able to find anything about it is on Wikipedia, and it's not clear if it's actually a fallacy. It also doesn't make any sense that it would be. Nietzsche's objection in Beyond Good and Evil, as well as Sartre's in Being and Nothingness aren't fallacious. It really is impossible to talk about something demonstrably undefinable. The trick in the story of Loki's wager is funny, but isn't quite as rigorous.

You might be inadvertently referring to the weakness of the essentialist position, which has received nothing but punishment over the past 150 years or so. Simply extending the confusion caused by the Platonic forms leads invariably to an infinite regress.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
But for arguments sake, suppose we can talk meaningfully about existence. Then how one answers this question opens up a whole other can of worms. The question here is how much of one's ontology does one allow to be a priori? Per our discussion on epistemology, at bare minimum, one has to accept that his or her senses are functioning properly, a priori. John Calvin's natural theology suggested the existence of the sensus divinitatis--a means by which we inherently know the existence of the divine.

But the divine still exists in a different way than we do. Regardless of the "true nature" of existence, we still do it differently than gods.

We also don't necessarily assume that our senses are functioning properly a priori. We assume that logic works. If you'd like to attack bivalence in some way, I'm fine with that, but to keep repeating a sort of Münchhausen Trilemma doesn't get us any further in discussion. Unless, of course, you were just pointing out the trilemma.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
Also, I think we have to be clear with what we are talking about. Are we talking about something's essence, or are we talking about something's existence? We can speak of essence apart from that thing's actual existence. But take the coffee table in my living room for instance: could I talk about it as a table if it was still the raw sticks of wood and box of screws holding it together before I built it? I suppose I can talk about it as a concept, not as an actual entity.

Discussions of "essence" are inevitably fruitless, and have been for a long time. It's all fine and dandy to keep the idea of an essence in your head, but upon closer examination, the essence is a forever-receding target. If you know of a way to deal with that problem, I'm all ears.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
HisWillness wrote:

My point is that there have to be conventions in communication and understanding that will never attain perfection. Perfection itself being a kind of vague and subjective thing, it makes little sense to apply it to a conversation about what should be considered real. Neither can it be applied to an understanding of the real, which resists every effort to define it in limited terms.

Yeah..but if this is the case, then we commit a Loki's Wager sort of fallacy, because any and all discussion would be nonsensical.

Oh, Wikipedia. Okay, I'm going to correct that on Wikipedia, because unless you know of a book listing that as an actual informal fallacy, I'm having a hard time seeing that it is.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
I think rational inquiry demands that these sort of discussion take place even if we have to spend most of our time converging on a definition for something.

I have no problem with that.

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HisWillness wrote:Eloise

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
The reason I'm happy to identify as a Theist is that upon considering the nature of the universe of naturalism I see it has also been described and given a name in another of man's philosophical pursuits, "God". In essence that makes me a believer. Roughly, the way the books describe it is accurate enough that I am confident assigning meaning to their labels.

Oh. Is that some amalgamation of books? Have you picked parts in the books that you think match observable reality? (That is, are you making a "common ground" of sorts with theology?)

mmm, hard question. No, I wouldn't say that, exactly.

Comparative study of religion is incorporated, I guess. It would be unavoidable when there are so many tracts claiming the same things in essence, a single ultimate being originating everything, and various species of intermediates, for example.

So there is a common ground, regardless, but, individually, theologies flesh out unique labels and definitions, it would be deceptive to call them equal so I won't.

Consequently, I'm confident with, you might say, a certain number of specific theologies having a valid referent in a natural ontology (sans aforementioned assumptions), but I couldn't rightly support much more than that presently - though I suspect a general rule could apply vis a vis the psychological framework from which all concepts generically evolve.

 

HisWillness wrote:

So your criticism of a naturalistic ontology is that it's incomplete? Or truly lacking, where certain philosophical problems are concerned?

Neither. I mean, naturalism is "incomplete", decidedly, but it has an open end by design, so that's hardly a critique.

And I absolutely don't level that it is truly lacking in certain philosophical problems, challenged, perhaps, but nonetheless, a robust tool for probably anything we would want to explore.

It's really a second floor criticism which I have for the naturalists ontology. I would contend that naturalism is capable of accepting a broader contingent of propositions into inquiry. It is but for some obstructing and unnecessary secondary complications, only, that it doesn't already. I see those obstacles as basically stemming from psychological dependence on their order rather than an objective physical necessity and thus they can be weeded out to leave an intact a more progressively useful form of naturalism.

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
You're not easily confused, so more likely than you're missing something, is that it's not there.

That's a very quotable sentence for an atheist!

Oh, it is isn't it.

 

HisWillness wrote:

I'm not actually going to hold you to that, it was just a funny thought. I have a great uncle Alfred, and he's a fantastic guy.

Should I take that as some kind of petitioning the nature of my deity?

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
there really are entities which are valid as per the propositions of mystics, esoterics and/ortheistic visionaries.

This is worth exploring, because it's the heart of the matter, and I argue vigorously against that very idea. I would appreciate any criticism. My contention is that those entities are just as real as anything imaginary.

Oooh dem is fighting words. Sticking out tongue

HisWillness wrote:

If there's something you can think of that makes them more real than imaginary, that's the kind of criticism I'm looking for.

Well there had better be, or else I'm just wasting your time, aren't I?

In short and to the point what makes them more real than imaginary, so to speak, comes right down to the initial realisation that the identities we take for granted as the yardstick of what is real and possible are possessed of no such valid claim. When we measure reality in contrast against these identities, nothing else looks like them. Consequently then, for example, no anthropomorphic superbeings are found to exist.

On the other hand, disregarding those identities, which should be done because they are figments anyway, and replacing them with more precise parameters from pure physicalism we can form a model of the natural world which predicts superbeings. 

Once you have predictions of super-entities, it follows that you'd compare them to theology, as it predicts likewise, but that's academic. I know, you want to see the actual predictions, right?

 

HisWillness wrote:
So distinction is clearly arbitrary. But once a distinction is made, there's no harm in exploring it, seeing as it's only conceptual anyway.

Yeah, of course I agree, there's no harm. Actually theres a lot of good in it. There's no good in rigidly holding to divisions that outlive their usefulness, though, is there.

 

HisWillness wrote:

That suffices as a justification for the God label (I thought you weren't offering it!).

Well to be pedantic, I said I wasn't offering a justification for the label to be necessary. That justifies it's fit, not any necessity for making the fit.

Otherwise, I'm glad it suffices.

HisWillness wrote:

 

what stinks about the naturalistic assumptions, other than our already solved problem of arbitrary distinction?

Basically, that they are rooted in a psychological dependence on particular orders, is what sucks. You know the list from previous conversations we've had:

A transcendent linear axis of time underlying the evolution of events,

every compound assumption which relies on the above, such as causality.

And the supervenient intellect which is just the circularity of the lensing ego producing gawdy, boorish self-glorification.

These are the orders that the development of our psychology is limited to, not reality.

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HisWillness wrote:I'm not

HisWillness wrote:
I'm not sure how you're getting to this. Does a god exist the same way a human does? Can I push you for a yes or no answer?
Unless gods are men, categorically speaking, no they do not. But when dealing with particulars, yes, it is possible for a God to exist in the same manner as people. I do not want to bifurcate because I think there is some middle ground.
HisWillness wrote:

You gave me pause for a second with the Loki's Wager "fallacy". The only place I've been able to find anything about it is on Wikipedia, and it's not clear if it's actually a fallacy. It also doesn't make any sense that it would be. Nietzsche's objection in Beyond Good and Evil, as well as Sartre's in Being and Nothingness aren't fallacious. It really is impossible to talk about something demonstrably undefinable. The trick in the story of Loki's wager is funny, but isn't quite as rigorous.

I referenced the “Loki’s Wager type” fallacy because of the Wikipedia article on it. The “Loki’s Wager type” the formal definition is a slippery slope…the myth talks about the ambiguity of language collapsing into a slippery slope of sort. As mentioned, “humanness” is demonstrably indefinable. I’m not saying that Sartre or Nietzsche did not have a point, but rather suggesting that there is nothing that stops me or anyone else from picking and choosing what we call “indefinable” and dismissing it as nonsense. Speaking of the system from within the system is nonsense too, which was Kant’s critique of Hume, and it seems that Satre and Neitzche are just illustrating the same thing that Hume picked up on. I do not think that one has to commit to one and deny the other, per se, but be wary of the caveats of both.

HisWillness wrote:
You might be inadvertently referring to the weakness of the essentialist position, which has received nothing but punishment over the past 150 years or so. Simply extending the confusion caused by the Platonic forms leads invariably to an infinite regress.

Yeah…I agree that Plantonic forms can result into infinite regress. But a mitigate form of Platonism at a bare minimal form I think is necessary to have any sort of meaning discussion.

HisWillness wrote:
We also don't necessarily assume that our senses are functioning properly a priori. We assume that logic works. If you'd like to attack bivalence in some way, I'm fine with that, but to keep repeating a sort of Münchhausen Trilemma doesn't get us any further in discussion. Unless, of course, you were just pointing out the trilemma.

That’s what I’m getting at. But in any case, I am willing to accept basic beliefs, axioms, etc. before I am willing to question beg or commit to some sort of infinite regress. I suppose one could say that that this is special pleading, but that to me is the least fallacious of the three fallacies.

HisWillness wrote:
Discussions of "essence" are inevitably fruitless, and have been for a long time. It's all fine and dandy to keep the idea of an essence in your head, but upon closer examination, the essence is a forever-receding target. If you know of a way to deal with that problem, I'm all ears.

I’m not suggesting there is one, other than to ground it on some sort of axiomatic system of self-evident beliefs, which would be a mitigated form of Platonism.

HisWillness wrote:

Oh, Wikipedia. Okay, I'm going to correct that on Wikipedia, because unless you know of a book listing that as an actual informal fallacy, I'm having a hard time seeing that it is.

Call it a slippery slope.

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Hambydammit wrote:Isn't

Hambydammit wrote:

Isn't um... who is it... AIGS... maybe?  There's someone who has a nihilist signature...

 

 

Shit!  Now I have to actually read Luminon's silliness.  Usually, I can ignore him (sort of like how episode 1 works just fine with JarJar Binks fully edited out).

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Eloise wrote:Comparative

Eloise wrote:
Comparative study of religion is incorporated, I guess. It would be unavoidable when there are so many tracts claiming the same things in essence, a single ultimate being originating everything

There's something we can discuss, at least: a single ultimate being originating everything. The problem, of course, is that all the terms in that phrase are ambiguous except for "single"! How do we reason that such a being is possible? Help me with that, because I'm brazenly attacking even the possibility of such a thing. Can there be a "single ultimate being"? Aside from the imprecise language, are we sure we know what we're asking?

Let's make it even simpler. Let's say "an originating being". It's a something-or-other that caused the universe. Are there not any problems there with causality that you see? You seem to have a general problem with causality, and I don't disagree with you on that point, so I'm wondering if the beginning of a causal chain is problematic.

The way I've vaguely imagined Alfred is something that exists with the universe, but could only be said to have caused it because it also ends it. In fact, tense doesn't mean much when discussing Alfred, because of the space/time connection. In this sense, we can call Alfred the "universe mind" in the same way that people say that they have minds. "Mind" is an expression for an active brain.

Let me know if anything is missing from that description.

Eloise wrote:
I see those obstacles as basically stemming from psychological dependence on their order rather than an objective physical necessity and thus they can be weeded out to leave an intact a more progressively useful form of naturalism.

This strikes me as more of a point of view of naturalism than an actual criticism of its philosophical foundations. It was my understanding that psychological considerations were often made in a naturalistic understanding of the universe. Is there a particular objective physical necessity you're thinking of?

Eloise wrote:
HisWillness wrote:

I'm not actually going to hold you to that, it was just a funny thought. I have a great uncle Alfred, and he's a fantastic guy.

Should I take that as some kind of petitioning the nature of my deity?

Naw. Come to think of it, my other great uncle Wilfred (no kidding) would be a good candidate, too. Maybe I just have a weakness for names that end in "fred".

Eloise wrote:
On the other hand, disregarding those identities, which should be done because they are figments anyway, and replacing them with more precise parameters from pure physicalism we can form a model of the natural world which predicts superbeings.

We can? I'm dying to put that "O RLY?" owl here.

Eloise wrote:
Once you have predictions of super-entities, it follows that you'd compare them to theology, as it predicts likewise, but that's academic. I know, you want to see the actual predictions, right?

Well YEAH. I'm still stuck on how a physicalist model can lead to superbeings. Even just predicting superbeings. Do you have any idea what kind of apologist hero you would be if you could actually demonstrate that? (Okay, maybe that wouldn't necessarily be your favourite thing, but still.)

Eloise wrote:
Basically, that they are rooted in a psychological dependence on particular orders, is what sucks. You know the list from previous conversations we've had:

A transcendent linear axis of time underlying the evolution of events,

every compound assumption which relies on the above, such as causality.

And the supervenient intellect which is just the circularity of the lensing ego producing gawdy, boorish self-glorification.

These are the orders that the development of our psychology is limited to, not reality.

Right. The criticism is of time, causality and projection. Gotcha. Okay, now on to superbeings! You can start slow on that one, if you like -- I'm not asking you to write walls of text. I'm just at a loss going from physicalism to superbeings. It seems like such a huge jump.

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:Unless

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
Unless gods are men, categorically speaking, no they do not [exist in the same way]. But when dealing with particulars, yes, it is possible for a God to exist in the same manner as people. I do not want to bifurcate because I think there is some middle ground.

When is it possible for a god to exist in the same manner as people? It might be that I'm missing a myth where this happens. From what I remember, gods can always go back to being gods, even if they've taken the shape of a human. In that case, they would merely be gods in human form anyway.

The common ground is easy enough to find in stories. Gods are more often anthropomorphic than anything else. I'm not sure that tells us more about the gods than it does about ourselves.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
Speaking of the system from within the system is nonsense too, which was Kant’s critique of Hume, and it seems that Satre and Neitzche are just illustrating the same thing that Hume picked up on. I do not think that one has to commit to one and deny the other, per se, but be wary of the caveats of both.

Okay, that's fair enough. But I don't think that Sartre and Nietzsche were actually making exactly the same argument as Hume; nor in the same way. Wittgenstein joins the party in his Tractatus later to redefine those things that cannot be given truth or falsity (or are outside of an individual's metaphysical frame of reference) as meaningless. These equivalent points show roughly the same thing: that entering into a discussion of a very different type of existence becomes a meaningless endeavour.

I don't want you to misunderstand my effort here as an argument from authority. The name dropping is just short-hand for the arguments each philosopher has extended. In each case, the conclusion is that meaningless terms lead to meaningless discussion. While that may seem like semantic quibbling, it's not fair to cry "semantics" when a part of the argument reads like "The burgleflaggle jumped over the inkleydoodle." That's being disingenuous.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
Yeah…I agree that Plantonic forms can result into infinite regress. But a mitigate form of Platonism at a bare minimal form I think is necessary to have any sort of meaning discussion.

Which is the essential part of Platonism that allows for discussion of meaning? I'm not sure I follow.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
HisWillness wrote:
We also don't necessarily assume that our senses are functioning properly a priori. We assume that logic works. If you'd like to attack bivalence in some way, I'm fine with that, but to keep repeating a sort of Münchhausen Trilemma doesn't get us any further in discussion. Unless, of course, you were just pointing out the trilemma.

That’s what I’m getting at. But in any case, I am willing to accept basic beliefs, axioms, etc. before I am willing to question beg or commit to some sort of infinite regress. I suppose one could say that that this is special pleading, but that to me is the least fallacious of the three fallacies.

Haha! Okay.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
Call it a slippery slope.

It would only be a slippery slope if I were exaggerating the cataclysmic effect of the misunderstanding. For example, if I were to say, "this term is meaningless, therefore there is no hope of ever discussing the referent for which it is a sign," that would be fallacious. I'm not actually saying that. I'm suggesting that given no available referent, and a meaningless sign, a discussion of ontology is over before it starts.

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Quote:It would only be a

Quote:
It would only be a slippery slope if I were exaggerating the cataclysmic effect of the misunderstanding. For example, if I were to say, "this term is meaningless, therefore there is no hope of ever discussing the referent for which it is a sign," that would be fallacious. I'm not actually saying that. I'm suggesting that given no available referent, and a meaningless sign, a discussion of ontology is over before it starts.

Dammit, Will.  You made me get out of my armchair.  I think you've hit very close to the "real issue" you guys are dancing around.  Well, to be fair, I think Will is dancing on it like a big Mexican hat, and ubuntu is dancing around it, but whatever...

The irony in this discussion is that the important thing is the meaning of meaninglessness.  Discarding the opinion of deconstructionists (because that's what they would want... )  I think we ought to be able to agree that observing the ultimate fallibility of language is NOT equivalent to admitting the destruction of ontology.  The point Will is making is that the ontologies for humans and gods fall into two different categories. 

Humans:  The ontological "web" is complete.  That is, we can define an eye, a brain, a femur, etc, with words that are all ontologically sound.  They are all defined positively.  (I should also note that adding "humanness" as an inherent quality of humans is a red herring.  Humanness is in a different ontological category as well.  It is a conceptual box, not an empirical quality.)

Gods:  The ontological web is incomplete.  Some properties of gods are ontologically sound, but others are described by analogy only.  I think all the philosophers you guys have been name-dropping would agree that analogy is not sufficient for sound ontology.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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HisWillness wrote:I'm sure I

Thomathy wrote:

Luminon wrote:
Well, you're not particularly secretive about it. Atheist, naturalist, materialist, rationalist or perhaps even nihilist, something like that, I guess. Just like the majority of people here.
Take that back, you dimwit!  I suspect that nearly no one here subscribes to the broken concept of nihilism.  Will is certainly no nihilist and neither is a majority, not even perhaps.

OK, I take it back. But does it matter? I know that Answes in Gene... is nihilist, he has it written in his signature. He's also an atheist, so he's pretty much like the rest of you. To you all the woo-woo and theism seems to be the same, so why should I distinguish your cathegories? Sticking out tongue


 


HisWillness wrote:

I'm sure I don't understand what you're saying. The relatively large spaces between elementary particles has nothing to do with their solidity at the perceptual level. That is, stuff is still solid, even if we know there are spaces between its elementary particles. Solid is a state of matter. That doesn't seem illusory to me, so maybe that's not what you meant.

I meant it like there is no such thing as absolute solidity. Things are solid to each other, because they have similar atomic bonds. But things like cosmic radiation passes freely through us.

My experiments with etheric matter have showed me, that this kind of matter passes freely through any dense-physical matter, (for example, from my hand on table to my knee under the table) but is easily contained by conscious focus. Here, the rules say, 'thought over matter'.

 

HisWillness wrote:
But those feelings are not reliable. If they were, then they'd be part of mainstream scientific study. They would be "psychology", or "neurology" and not esoteric at all. "True nature of things" is extremely vague. You might have a feeling that you understand the universe better than someone else, but unless you can contribute to the understanding, it seems a bit like you're trying an illusion yourself.

Paranormal phenomena are far from mainstream, and are burdened by centuries of prejudice and disinformation.

There's several facts, which makes an investigation of this kind diffcult. Firstly, this kind of perception appears only to a small minority of people and needs to be trained. Without the right people and training it will remain unreliable and scarce. Of course, there are rare individuals who's clairvoyance is more than reliable to help them in their business. For example, not hiring an employee who will have diagnosed a cancer in several months is a wise choice. Such a people are very secretive and independent, they value their privacy and business more than Randi's million of dollars.

 

Such a research must respect these people, their privacy and their existential needs, otherwise they're not going to come out. Mainly overly self-confident people or those greedy for money and attention now can be seen in media as psychics

I don't understand the universe better than everyone else, but I know for sure that there remains much more to be understood, out of the mainstream investigation. As for the contribution, that needs also someone who can hear out the esoteric theory without his skin crawling off, and use it as an inspiration to design a scientific hypotheses about the universe.

Of course, I also have that broad all-encompassing feeling of cosmic unity in my heart chakra Smiling

HisWillness wrote:
You're not really giving me much, here. I can make assertions as to how schizophrenia works involving astral-whatsits, too. That doesn't make them real (or illusory, as the case may be).
Well, nevermind. I only wanted to make clear I don't claim that all sorts of seeing things are true or good. Not at all. It is still necessary to discern between grain and chaff. And sometimes the natural cure on astral hallucinations is psychopharmacology.

HisWillness wrote:
You still haven't given me a way to discern reality from things made up. If everything is made up, then it's irrelevant, but how do we tell the made up from the real in the esoteric way of looking at things?
Firstly, the greatest problem in esotericism or world in general is the astral illusion, or glamour. You can't know if a book is made up, but you can see if it's written in an emotional, florid style, instead of giving a clear statements. If the text is emotional and vague, then it's subjected to glamour and can't be taken very seriously. If it's not emotional, then it may be non-astral and therefore valuable.

Secondly, many of the good sources show a great modesty and respect to the reader's free will. They do not try to claim authority, they attract readers by the above mentioned quality of text. Not by bombastic statements of exclusive truth and awful things that will happen to unbelievers. This would be an emotional (astral) persuasion.

Thirdly, the good sources emphasize the practical aspects, like rational discernment and making a real changes and work in your life. For example, self-observation, meditation, charity work and vegetarianism are recommended and encouraged. (but not forced) Using your own intuition and reason is also encouraged, even if it would mean to reject this book. Self-reliance is recommended, instead of devotion and dependence. (and you guys don't meditate and usually rely on institutions to do all the research for you, this is something I don't appreciate)

Well, and when you've found a good source of information according to above mentioned criteria, then you can keep studying and compare your life experience according to what you read. You can also do various practical observations, comparisons and experiments with a community of like-minded people, if you can't by yourself. The process of searching is not easy and may take many years.

But when done succesfully, it is about active living according to the purpose of your life, which means a systematical improvement in the areas which you and the world itself needs to improve. And trust me, we're globally in such a deep shit, that we desperately need to live as we should. It is also the way to self-realization. An esotericist knows, that everyone have their own way of development, but we progress towards the same goal. Therefore, I don't mind you being an atheists, but it would be nice if you'd understand that not everyone can be like you. 

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HisWillness wrote:When is it

HisWillness wrote:

When is it possible for a god to exist in the same manner as people? It might be that I'm missing a myth where this happens. From what I remember, gods can always go back to being gods, even if they've taken the shape of a human. In that case, they would merely be gods in human form anyway.

I was thinking of something like deified people such as the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. This is not a myth, but a common belief among the people of the day. The pharaohs were probably not esteemed in the same way the gods of their pantheon were, but were nevertheless god-men. Would this satisfy the question?

HisWillness wrote:

The common ground is easy enough to find in stories. Gods are more often anthropomorphic than anything else. I'm not sure that tells us more about the gods than it does about ourselves.

This at least opens the door for divine revelation, which would be a god telling us about itself. But this is altogether another form of epistemology.

HisWillness wrote:

Okay, that's fair enough. But I don't think that Sartre and Nietzsche were actually making exactly the same argument as Hume; nor in the same way. Wittgenstein joins the party in his Tractatus later to redefine those things that cannot be given truth or falsity (or are outside of an individual's metaphysical frame of reference) as meaningless. These equivalent points show roughly the same thing: that entering into a discussion of a very different type of existence becomes a meaningless endeavour.

I think you' be right here. The contention, which is what I was asserting originally, is in the individual's metaphysical frame may be equipped with the faculties to understand the divine if one allows for something like a priori knowledge of the divine. Albeit, this sounds like special pleading, but any sort of axiomatic beliefs do.

HisWillness wrote:

I don't want you to misunderstand my effort here as an argument from authority. The name dropping is just short-hand for the arguments each philosopher has extended. In each case, the conclusion is that meaningless terms lead to meaningless discussion. While that may seem like semantic quibbling, it's not fair to cry "semantics" when a part of the argument reads like "The burgleflaggle jumped over the inkleydoodle." That's being disingenuous.

I realize that, and I do not perceive you to be the sort of person to do that and I hope I did not come across as if I was accusing you of such things. I mentioned Hume and Kant because they dealt with the same debate in their own way. I suppose one could chase it all the way back to Plato and Aristotle as that seems to be where it originated. I get what Sartre and Nietzsche (and dozens of other philosophers for that matter) were getting at. Trying to remember what each of them said is difficult at times, and really not the thrust of their work, although and important part of it.

 

HisWillness wrote:

Which is the essential part of Platonism that allows for discussion of meaning? I'm not sure I follow.

A mitigated form of Platonism....that is keeping what we accept as a priori truth to a bare minimum as mentioned above.

HisWillness wrote:

It would only be a slippery slope if I were exaggerating the cataclysmic effect of the misunderstanding. For example, if I were to say, "this term is meaningless, therefore there is no hope of ever discussing the referent for which it is a sign," that would be fallacious. I'm not actually saying that. I'm suggesting that given no available referent, and a meaningless sign, a discussion of ontology is over before it starts.

My original contention was perhaps that my own referent is not really all that well defined, so to speak of it would be meaningless. But this, I think as you said, would make any sort of discussion meaningless. I suppose a "good enough" sort of approach may be all I can get. But again, how far does "good-enough" go? The ontological status of a billionaire is certainly outside my referent, so can I meaningfully discuss what is like to be a billionaire? I am like the billionaire in many ways, but unlike him in other ways. We are categorically different in that the billionaire is that--a billionaire, and I am not, but at the same time we share a category in that we are both human.

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Hambydammit wrote:The point

Hambydammit wrote:

The point Will is making is that the ontologies for humans and gods fall into two different categories. 

To sum up, my contentions were that both categories are not as well defined as we'd like them to be, and that there is some overlap as the categories are not distinct categories.

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HisWillness wrote:Eloise

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Comparative study of religion is incorporated, I guess. It would be unavoidable when there are so many tracts claiming the same things in essence, a single ultimate being originating everything

There's something we can discuss, at least: a single ultimate being originating everything. The problem, of course, is that all the terms in that phrase are ambiguous except for "single"! How do we reason that such a being is possible? Help me with that,

Help you with what, Will? You're right, reasoning to the possibility of something so nebulous can't be done, apologists daily are verbally face-planting all over the interwebs to prove your point, you don't need my help there.

When you can't reason faithfully to the possibility of a proposition, you should just shelve it until such time as a compelling cause for re-examining it comes up, if one does at all.

HisWillness wrote:

because I'm brazenly attacking even the possibility of such a thing.

Can there be a "single ultimate being"? Aside from the imprecise language, are we sure we know what we're asking?

I'm going to stake my claim to that point, too. No, we really aren't sure what we're asking, this is also where I am coming from. Common themes in theology are interesting and somewhat relevant, but ultimately beside the point. They don't prove much of anything.

HisWillness wrote:

Let's make it even simpler. Let's say "an originating being". It's a something-or-other that caused the universe. Are there not any problems there with causality that you see? You seem to have a general problem with causality, and I don't disagree with you on that point, so I'm wondering if the beginning of a causal chain is problematic.

Yeah, actually, it is a little bit of a nuisance that causality is a very well developed concept we have, and that development has occurred in isolation from the propositions of an originator 'god'. In a nutshell those propositions don't say - "god is the originator" they simply say "originator" and to some degree more or less, the concept of cause which we use to analyse these propositions is what is developed from and around those notions. We only see it within them through projection.

HisWillness wrote:

The way I've vaguely imagined Alfred is something that exists with the universe, but could only be said to have caused it because it also ends it. In fact, tense doesn't mean much when discussing Alfred, because of the space/time connection.

No argument. I'm happy with that summary.

The meaningfulness of a tense is that it allows an interval between two points on a conceptual map. So it's not that there is no meaning to positing a "cause" preceding in "time", there is. It's just that the semantics of cause and time are an order bias which is not as universal, or important as we think.

HisWillness wrote:

In this sense, we can call Alfred the "universe mind" in the same way that people say that they have minds. "Mind" is an expression for an active brain.

Let me know if anything is missing from that description.

I think there's a lot missing from this part. Actually Alfred would be the universal entity, rather than 'mind'. Mind is laced with semantic bias that doesn't fit the picture too.

Alfred isn't important as a mind, so much, but it can be made evident that 'mind' is not the exclusive domain of a biological centre of activity. And as such, Alfred's sentience can be an established reality.

 

Eloise wrote:

This strikes me as more of a point of view of naturalism than an actual criticism of its philosophical foundations.

It probably is. But then Science is what I do, it would be pretty inconsistent of me to turn my back on the foundations of naturalism, wouldn't it?

HisWillness wrote:

It was my understanding that psychological considerations were often made in a naturalistic understanding of the universe. Is there a particular objective physical necessity you're thinking of?

You might have misread what I said here. I meant that it is not an objective physical necessity of events themselves that they are modelled and framed in the orders we use. I mean, the vast majority of physical models start with the extra assumption X=d/dt, because we need it. It's barely even a formal assumption, and that is, in my view, because our psychology tells us it's not, it tells us, the universe is ordered in time. But we don't formally know the universe is ordered in time, in fact we are quite formally aware that it bucks such an arrangement, and hard.

So then replace the failed assumption, propose that, not the universe but, the data stream that passes through some physical analogue of a logic gate is sorted thus. Assume the analogue is a structure of psychology and model reality wrt the logic gate or, preferably, wrt the known physical parameters of the logic gate; as we might with a detector instead of a 'human'.

 

HisWillness wrote:

Eloise wrote:
Once you have predictions of super-entities, it follows that you'd compare them to theology, as it predicts likewise, but that's academic. I know, you want to see the actual predictions, right?

Well YEAH. I'm still stuck on how a physicalist model can lead to superbeings. Even just predicting superbeings. Do you have any idea what kind of apologist hero you would be if you could actually demonstrate that? (Okay, maybe that wouldn't necessarily be your favourite thing, but still.)

You know it wouldn't, I loathe apologetics. What an irony, huh? I'd much rather be on your side sometimes.

 

HisWillness wrote:
Okay, now on to superbeings! You can start slow on that one, if you like -- I'm not asking you to write walls of text. I'm just at a loss going from physicalism to superbeings. It seems like such a huge jump.

Ok.. we are going to have to start slow, though. It's not a huge jump, so much, but it is one you make from some very precise definitions.  I would start with what I wrote two paragraphs above, so I'll read your reply on that before I go further.

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I think purging one's

I think purging one's conceptual universe of Platonic forms and related ideas is a great way to clarify one's thought processes in this sort of discourse. I think in many ways his ideas have been a serious and largely pointless distraction... 

 

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HisWillness wrote:There

HisWillness wrote:
There could very well be another consciousness in space somewhere, but how could it be like our consciousness if it were not part of a biological creature? What such a creature may or may not have in terms of consciousness is just as mysterious as its location. It's possible that such a consciousness would be as different from ours as ours is from a monkey's. Again, possible, but inevitably tied to a biological creature, because anything we call "conscious" is biological.

 

How can I reach that conclusion? It's unfortunately in the language. If there were a non-biological creature behaving with what we considered consciousness, we'd really be stuck to expand our definition of consciousness, and it would be a drastic expansion. To posit a non-biological consciousness is a laughable contradiction in terms. Biological creatures exhibit consciousness, and all the non-biological things we know about do not display this same behaviour.

 

I suppose therein lies the gap: all the non-biological things we know about. Aha! What if we find a non-biological thing somewhere down the road that exhibits consciousness? After all, if you buy into abiogenesis, then we're only biological creatures by virtue of a natural process of chemistry. Could there be other processes of chemistry that produce similar behaviour? Like an entire galaxy behaving like a consciousness?

 

At that point, what are we really describing? How the universe mirrors us (the universe "has" consciousness) or how we mirror the universe (the universe "gave us" consciousness)? If we're a product of chemistry, then perhaps we have simply identified how our pattern of thinking echoes the dynamics of the chemistry that made us. That shouldn't be surprising at all, considering we're a product of energy bombardment and persisting chemical reactions.

 

Fair enough but what would a non-biological entity look like?

 

On the one hand, I could posit some future computer system that can pass any test that we can come up with for strong AI. That would pretty clearly be something that did not happen spontaneously and therefore cannot be biological. However, it would be something that was made by men working in a factory and therefore not the sort of thing that gets any closer to any concept of god.

 

As a side note to that, I would expect that should such come to pass, the theists with their defective reasoning would take that as proof that minds can be made. If minds can be made them there must be a maker of minds or something like that. But ignore that for now.

 

On the other hand, we do not know where in the universe other life may exist. However, provided that it arises spontaneously from a natural process, then it is potentially accessible to scientific description. Even if the prerequisite chemistry happened to be radically different from what we are familiar with, if it can be understood scientifically, then why not call it biological?

 

Lacking any evidence, I will remain agnostic about such even existing. Even so, wherever life turns up, it is still accessible to science. Even if we eventually contact some race that is so far advanced that we do not today understand them or whatever technology they may have, well, perhaps they may seem godlike. However, accessible to science means that it is only an extension of the ontology that we already have.

 

So as far as I can see, even your galactic mind or Pineapple's universal quantum computer is still not an outside ontology.

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BobSpence1 wrote:I think

BobSpence1 wrote:

I think purging one's conceptual universe of Platonic forms and related ideas is a great way to clarify one's thought processes in this sort of discourse. I think in many ways his ideas have been a serious and largely pointless distraction... 

But so amazingly pervasive! I didn't even realize it until I had to translate Augustine. Plato is preserved specifically because he helps out the apologist, and has since the third century! It's amazing. Otherwise, Socrates' discussions are just so much babbling and bald assertions.

 

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Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
Fair enough but what would a non-biological entity look like?

I'm not arguing against the existence of mystery. We don't know what a non-biological entity would look like.

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
On the other hand, we do not know where in the universe other life may exist. However, provided that it arises spontaneously from a natural process, then it is potentially accessible to scientific description. Even if the prerequisite chemistry happened to be radically different from what we are familiar with, if it can be understood scientifically, then why not call it biological?

Yeah, why not? I have no problem with that. Saying "alien life may exist somewhere in the universe in a different form" isn't a statement I'm criticizing.

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
Lacking any evidence, I will remain agnostic about such even existing.

Right, but if you can't tell me what you're being agnostic about, then why mention it? You're just saying you can't know about something that is completely mysterious. That's obvious. It's when people say they know something about the mysterious that makes me think they're full of it.

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
So as far as I can see, even your galactic mind or Pineapple's universal quantum computer is still not an outside ontology.

Then so is anything. Just because I can imagine something, doesn't mean it's real.

 

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:I was

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

I was thinking of something like deified people such as the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. This is not a myth, but a common belief among the people of the day. The pharaohs were probably not esteemed in the same way the gods of their pantheon were, but were nevertheless god-men. Would this satisfy the question?

In that case, you have a man who is identified as a god, don't you? But we know that's a man, and not a god. If we were honestly still confused about that case, then you might have something, but as it is, I don't think anyone's convinced that those men were actually gods. Yes, they may have been at the time, but for the present discussion, that doesn't seem to apply.

At least, if we decide that those men were actually gods, then we would have quite the pantheon. Not only that, but theists of all stripes at that point would have to concede that god-ness isn't that special.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
This at least opens the door for divine revelation, which would be a god telling us about itself. But this is altogether another form of epistemology.

It really is, because there's literally no way to tell the difference between divine revelation and the hallucinations present in a mild psychotic episode.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
The contention, which is what I was asserting originally, is in the individual's metaphysical frame may be equipped with the faculties to understand the divine if one allows for something like a priori knowledge of the divine. Albeit, this sounds like special pleading, but any sort of axiomatic beliefs do.

But that's particularly weak. Axioms like the ones that exist for math and logic are there as a convention, and to help move things along. Allowing for a priori knowledge of a something-or-other for what seems to be the fun of it, that could apply to any creature from the imagination.

If one were to accept axiomatically that pygmy unicorns existed without reason in the same way, it wouldn't just be special pleading. It would become even more bizarre if we held that these pygmy unicorns were the magical creators of our universe, as sometimes happens with gods.

 

 

HisWillness wrote:

Which is the essential part of Platonism that allows for discussion of meaning? I'm not sure I follow.

A mitigated form of Platonism....that is keeping what we accept as a priori truth to a bare minimum as mentioned above.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
My original contention was perhaps that my own referent is not really all that well defined, so to speak of it would be meaningless. But this, I think as you said, would make any sort of discussion meaningless.

Only if we continue to have meaningless nouns that can be modified by meaningful verbs. "God does his own laundry" is a coherent statement at first glance, but then we realize that we're uncertain about God's laundry, or how God might do Godly laundry. If it were "Bob does his own laundry", it would be easy. We know Bob is a person (that much is implied). With God, it's just plain confusing.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
I suppose a "good enough" sort of approach may be all I can get. But again, how far does "good-enough" go?

It would be fine if we were discussing human beings, or other physical things, but "good enough" is difficult when an entity is introduced to discussion that does not appear to exist in the way that other things do (as you said, special pleading) and does not distinguish itself from a hallucination.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
The ontological status of a billionaire is certainly outside my referent, so can I meaningfully discuss what is like to be a billionaire?

Those aren't the same things at all. In one part, you're addressing the existence of a billionaire, and in the other, you're asking what it would be like to be a billionaire. Those aren't the same thing. Whether or not something exists isn't knowing how something feels.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
I am like the billionaire in many ways, but unlike him in other ways. We are categorically different in that the billionaire is that--a billionaire, and I am not, but at the same time we share a category in that we are both human.

Unless you're wondering if billionaires actually exist, that's sort of tangential.

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Eloise wrote:I think there's

Eloise wrote:

I think there's a lot missing from this part. Actually Alfred would be the universal entity, rather than 'mind'. Mind is laced with semantic bias that doesn't fit the picture too.

Alfred isn't important as a mind, so much, but it can be made evident that 'mind' is not the exclusive domain of a biological centre of activity. And as such, Alfred's sentience can be an established reality.

"Important" is an odd word to use there. There has to be a significance to this whatever-it-is, if it is responsible (even accidentally) for something that biological minds treat with such reverence (ourselves). The idea of emergent properties is what I was stabbing at, so when you say the material involved in the emergence is not as important as the result, I get all confused. That might be my putting words in your mouth, though. If you're not talking about an emergent property, then forget that part.

It's difficult for me to grasp the idea of mind outside of a biological context, but this type of mechinism would operate differently than a biological mind anyway. How are we to judge the sentience of something that isn't sentient like we are? It seems like it's outside of our understanding of sentience, and that we would be applying the label "sentient" to something to which the label cannot apply.

Eloise wrote:

But we don't formally know the universe is ordered in time, in fact we are quite formally aware that it bucks such an arrangement, and hard.

In what context is the time-ordered universe disagreeable? I'm not sure I know which arrangement is being bucked, here.

Eloise wrote:
Assume the analogue is a structure of psychology and model reality wrt the logic gate or, preferably, wrt the known physical parameters of the logic gate; as we might with a detector instead of a 'human'.

I thought we had to do that anyway, and that was part of our process of eliminating bias. We certainly cause ourselves great difficulties in finding out what is true and what isn't (or even just deciding how to discuss the way the universe works). We are learning the limitations of our psychology, so when would we know enough about them to model reality?

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HisWillness wrote:In that

HisWillness wrote:
In that case, you have a man who is identified as a god, don't you? But we know that's a man, and not a god. If we were honestly still confused about that case, then you might have something, but as it is, I don't think anyone's convinced that those men were actually gods.
Not only that, but theists of all stripes at that point would have to concede that god-ness isn't that special.

Unless being the practically the most powerful man on earth at that time is not special, I do not perceive that would there is any reason to think of him as special. If anything, I think it helps illustrate your point that god-talk can be meaningless because there really is no clear definition as to what a deity is, but at the same time, I think if one were to define a god as such, then one could relate in many ways to that deity. For arguments sake, suppose that he was a god that was born, lived a mortal life as a god-man, then crossed over into an afterlife. Would that work?
HisWillness wrote:
But that's particularly weak. Axioms like the ones that exist for math and logic are there as a convention, and to help move things along. Allowing for a priori knowledge of a something-or-other for what seems to be the fun of it, that could apply to any creature from the imagination.
If one were to accept axiomatically that pygmy unicorns existed without reason in the same way, it wouldn't just be special pleading. It would become even more bizarre if we held that these pygmy unicorns were the magical creators of our universe, as sometimes happens with gods.

I suppose this all hinges on whether or not one sees a god as an ontological necessity or in the manner of Gödel, Cantor, or Leibniz.
Also, in the Jamesian since of “live options”, I do not think that those who believe in a god like Yaweh or Allah would place pygmy unicorns or other ad hoc attempts at reductio ad absurdum in the same category.
HisWillness wrote:
Only if we continue to have meaningless nouns that can be modified by meaningful verbs. "God does his own laundry" is a coherent statement at first glance, but then we realize that we're uncertain about God's laundry, or how God might do Godly laundry. If it were "Bob does his own laundry", it would be easy. We know Bob is a person (that much is implied). With God, it's just plain confusing.

I suppose so, but at the same time, I do not know whether or not Bob uses a washing machine and dryer or whether he takes them down to the creek and uses as bar of soap and a board, then hangs them out to dry, either. I get the point, but at the same time I am not ready to right off completely either because we could define things ad infinitum on either side whether we are speaking of gods or humans.
HisWillness wrote:
It would be fine if we were discussing human beings, or other physical things, but "good enough" is difficult when an entity is introduced to discussion that does not appear to exist in the way that other things do (as you said, special pleading) and does not distinguish itself from a hallucination.

If the god in question were so obscure from anything understandable, I might grant this, but again, I am not so willing to dismiss because such things might not be all that obscure. I’d personally take it on a case-by-case basis.
HisWillness wrote:

Unless you're wondering if billionaires actually exist, that's sort of tangential.

I was speaking about categories, not whether billionaires actually exist. The point was I have no personal point of reference empirically speaking of “billionaireness” but categorically I have a personal point of reference on “humaness”. I was relating this to a god who may have humanness as part of its ontology. Does this make sense?

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:Unless

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
Unless being the practically the most powerful man on earth at that time is not special, I do not perceive that would there is any reason to think of him as special. If anything, I think it helps illustrate your point that god-talk can be meaningless because there really is no clear definition as to what a deity is, but at the same time, I think if one were to define a god as such, then one could relate in many ways to that deity. For arguments sake, suppose that he was a god that was born, lived a mortal life as a god-man, then crossed over into an afterlife. Would that work?

I'll see birth, mortal life, and death, but let's stick to things we understand and cut out the afterlife. Basically, you haven't distinguished this man from other men, other than social status. Alexander the Great was once the most powerful man on earth, but presumably, he was still a man.

I don't think this matches with what you were originally suggesting anyway. The idea was that there were gods with humans within their ontologies. This scenario is humans with other humans labelled as gods.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
suppose this all hinges on whether or not one sees a god as an ontological necessity or in the manner of Gödel, Cantor, or Leibniz.

No matter whose conception of it, a great responsibility falls on someone who would want to show one thing as an ontological necessity. Regardless of the nature of that thing, it would be a tough row to hoe.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
Also, in the Jamesian since of “live options”, I do not think that those who believe in a god like Yaweh or Allah would place pygmy unicorns or other ad hoc attempts at reductio ad absurdum in the same category.

Maybe not, but what reason would they have for making the distinction? James' "live options" were a kind of cross between a God of the gaps and non-overlapping magesteria, both of which aren't strong cases for distinction between different unknowable creatures.

Alternative sets don't actually make a reductio ad absurdum, though. There is no logical self-contradiction in replacing Allah with another invisible something. Just because a sentence like "Allah is merciful" is written down, doesn't mean that saying "Inspector Gadget is merciful" is in any way less valid, true or fictional by reductio ad absurdum.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
I suppose so, but at the same time, I do not know whether or not Bob uses a washing machine and dryer or whether he takes them down to the creek and uses as bar of soap and a board, then hangs them out to dry, either.

But Bob has lots of options when doing his laundry that you can suggest. How would you suggest God do his laundry?

Do you see the problem? With a physical person, we can claim that we are ignorant of how he might do something, but the knowledge could possibly be accessible to us. We can even think of different possibilities, just like you did. With God, the nature of the conversation becomes blather because God's laundry is just as mysterious as God.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
I get the point, but at the same time I am not ready to right off completely either because we could define things ad infinitum on either side whether we are speaking of gods or humans.

But we can't with gods. We can with humans. You can describe humans, and even be wrong. With gods, there's a sort of impossible "place" they inhabit within our field of discourse that's untouchable and unknowable.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:
If the god in question were so obscure from anything understandable, I might grant this, but again, I am not so willing to dismiss because such things might not be all that obscure. I’d personally take it on a case-by-case basis.

That would imply that not all gods are created equal.

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

I was speaking about categories, not whether billionaires actually exist. The point was I have no personal point of reference empirically speaking of “billionaireness” but categorically I have a personal point of reference on “humaness”. I was relating this to a god who may have humanness as part of its ontology. Does this make sense?

You're implying that you have no personal reference to "godness", is that it? That would make sense, as nobody does. On more reason it's very difficult to believe anyone who says they have information about gods.

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HisWillness wrote:I'll see

HisWillness wrote:

I'll see birth, mortal life, and death, but let's stick to things we understand and cut out the afterlife. Basically, you haven't distinguished this man from other men, other than social status. Alexander the Great was once the most powerful man on earth, but presumably, he was still a man.

I was not trying to distinguish this man from other men per se.  Rather I was suggesting that pharaohs were believed to be gods--nothing more. For arguments sake, I was supposing that if they were indeed gods would this not make them knowable? Otherwise, it is really not a matter of defining gods but a limit of empirical observation.
HisWillness wrote:

I don't think this matches with what you were originally suggesting anyway. The idea was that there were gods with humans within their ontologies. This scenario is humans with other humans labelled as gods.

Right. I supposing this as a deity of sort that was human as opposed to a god that became human.
HisWillness wrote:

No matter whose conception of it, a great responsibility falls on someone who would want to show one thing as an ontological necessity. Regardless of the nature of that thing, it would be a tough row to hoe.

It would not satisfy an empiricist, that's for sure. But for one who spends most of his time pondering the theoretical, maybe it was all they needed.
HisWillness wrote:

Maybe not, but what reason would they have for making the distinction? James' "live options" were a kind of cross between a God of the gaps and non-overlapping magesteria, both of which aren't strong cases for distinction between different unknowable creatures.
Alternative sets don't actually make a reductio ad absurdum, though. There is no logical self-contradiction in replacing Allah with another invisible something. Just because a sentence like "Allah is merciful" is written down, doesn't mean that saying "Inspector Gadget is merciful" is in any way less valid, true or fictional by reductio ad absurdum.

The distinction is a practical one in that no one is seriously supposing Inspector Gadget, Bob Dobbs, the Fly Spaghetti Monster, or an Invisible Pink Unicorns as gods yet others do suppose Yahweh, Allah, and Vishnu as gods.
HisWillness wrote:

But Bob has lots of options when doing his laundry that you can suggest. How would you suggest God do his laundry?

I suppose a god could use its divine washing machine or its divine washboard to do its divine laundry. At the end of the day, it is tired and kicks up in its divine Lazyboy and watches the Cowboys play football. Smiling
HisWillness wrote:

Do you see the problem? With a physical person, we can claim that we are ignorant of how he might do something, but the knowledge could possibly be accessible to us. We can even think of different possibilities, just like you did. With God, the nature of the conversation becomes blather because God's laundry is just as mysterious as God.

This gets back to what I was getting at earlier with a pharaoh-type deity. I suppose such a god would wash its laundry in much the same way you and I do.
HisWillness wrote:

But we can't with gods. We can with humans. You can describe humans, and even be wrong. With gods, there's a sort of impossible "place" they inhabit within our field of discourse that's untouchable and unknowable.
That would imply that not all gods are created equal.

Not all gods are the same and I think it would be a hasty generalization to say so. Strictly speaking, if a god was strictly transcendent and we are bound only what we can know through our senses, then yes, we could not describe such a deity. But per this conversation, I think I have touched on a couple of ways that one might know--the possibility that humans have knowledge apart from what one can know empirically or the possibility that a deity makes itself known through empirical means.
HisWillness wrote:

You're implying that you have no personal reference to "godness", is that it? That would make sense, as nobody does. On more reason it's very difficult to believe anyone who says they have information about gods.

If there is no union categorically between "godness" and "humaness" I would say there is no way to empirically know about gods, but this is not true in all cases.

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:If there

ubuntuAnyone wrote:


If there is no union categorically between "godness" and "humaness" I would say there is no way to empirically know about gods, but this is not true in all cases.

I see you're in lack of a serious metaphysics. There are clearly defined concepts, which can be further discussed. Otherwise, you're in a dead end, because of a lack of information.

Surprisingly, esoteric teachings do not have a notion of gods as such. There is only one God that is All, and all is God. Shortly said, God is both immanent and transcendent, and beings (including people) are potentially divine, but practically it depends on their ability to express God actively and correctly.

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.