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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Thomathy wrote:You're not

Thomathy wrote:

You're not suggesting that human had a creator, are you?  I'm not sure you are ...

I'm not suggesting that human had a creator, or anything of the sort, as that's not my concern.

I'm not sure that one could make a computer analogous to the human brain because a processor and a program are, by virtue of the means of creation, designed thereby have purpose. This seems to create an is-ought problem if one starts to retroactively apply this sort of thinking to human-brain. If this is true, then it seems to be that thoughts in and of themselves do not have meaning. But they do, and that's the problem.

Thomathy wrote:
In fact, it seems silly to even talk about meaning in regards to human minds.  They are simply a step in evolution.  Extrapolated out, it doesn't seem necessary that any given thing have any meaning, except what a mind arbitrarily gives it (such as meaning or purpose to one's life), because it is all merely the result of an ostensibly purposeless process.

But I'm not satisfied with that. The phenomenon itself (that is a thought) has meaning, which by virtue of what it is, is not arbitrary. This seems to make the mental process in the brain consequential rather than the other way around.

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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BobSpence1 wrote:Now you

BobSpence1 wrote:

Now you seem to have gone in the other direction to start assigning 'purpose' to a bunch of things that you seemed to be denying 'meaning' to before.

These were instances, rather than prescriptions of purpose and meaning. What I was getting at with Thomathy was that if one retroactively applies the sort of thinking to the human brain, it creates an is-ought problem.

The 'purpose' of processor and a program is that of the person or group of people who designed and constructed and then use it.

BobSpence1 wrote:

'Phenomena' have no intrinsic purpose or meaning. Thoughts have meaning to the thinker, words have meaning to the speaker/writer and the listener/reader. Meaning and purpose are not intrinsic attributes of any object or event: they describe a relationship, a connection of some sort to a mind or group of minds or a culture.

So your saying that the relationships and connections are not phenomenon then?

BobSpence1 wrote:

A specific collection of shapes can have definite 'meaning' to a reader of a particular language, and none at all to someone who does not read that language. They will have or had a 'purpose' in the mind of the person who caused them to be formed into a specific instance that was spoken or written, and such 'purpose' may be inferred by the audience.

I do not like to make meaning contingent upon language, but rather language as a mode of communicating meaningfully.  'Dog' in English and 'hund' in Norwegian have the same meaning...

BobSpence1 wrote:

Some of what you say is consistent with what I have been saying, here and in earlier posts, other parts make no sense at all to me.

As is Thomathy, I am confused, not about my ideas and thoughts on these things, but about just what ideas you are trying to express.

Maybe because I do not understand how you understand meaning and purpose. All I have gleaned is that such things are relationships between phenomenon. Thomathy suggested that this is an arbitrary constructs of a brain, but that really does not solve the problem, but rather only makes it more problematic.

 

 

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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ubuntuAnyone wrote:Thomathy

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

You're not suggesting that human had a creator, are you?  I'm not sure you are ...

I'm not suggesting that human had a creator, or anything of the sort, as that's not my concern.

I'm not sure that one could make a computer analogous to the human brain because a processor and a program are, by virtue of the means of creation, designed thereby have purpose. This seems to create an is-ought problem if one starts to retroactively apply this sort of thinking to human-brain. If this is true, then it seems to be that thoughts in and of themselves do not have meaning. But they do, and that's the problem.

Thomathy wrote:
In fact, it seems silly to even talk about meaning in regards to human minds.  They are simply a step in evolution.  Extrapolated out, it doesn't seem necessary that any given thing have any meaning, except what a mind arbitrarily gives it (such as meaning or purpose to one's life), because it is all merely the result of an ostensibly purposeless process.

But I'm not satisfied with that. The phenomenon itself (that is a thought) has meaning, which by virtue of what it is, is not arbitrary. This seems to make the mental process in the brain consequential rather than the other way around.

Thought only has a meaning in the context of the mind having the thought. The meaning is intrinsic to the thought itself.

The mental process in the brain is indeed consequential - to other mental processes and sensory inputs, so its meaning is derived from the meaning of the prior thought processes. The ultimate root of the thought processes is raw sensory experience and built-in structures/mechanisms, whose 'meaning' derives from the content of the sensory input and the evolutionary process which evolved those built-ins.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:Thought

BobSpence1 wrote:

Thought only has a meaning in the context of the mind having the thought. The meaning is intrinsic to the thought itself.

The mental process in the brain is indeed consequential - to other mental processes and sensory inputs, so its meaning is derived from the meaning of the prior thought processes. The ultimate root of the thought processes is raw sensory experience and built-in structures/mechanisms, whose 'meaning' derives from the content of the sensory input and the evolutionary process which evolved those built-ins.

Is the thought then an abstraction from the mental process in the brain?

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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ubuntuAnyone

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Thought only has a meaning in the context of the mind having the thought. The meaning is intrinsic to the thought itself.

The mental process in the brain is indeed consequential - to other mental processes and sensory inputs, so its meaning is derived from the meaning of the prior thought processes. The ultimate root of the thought processes is raw sensory experience and built-in structures/mechanisms, whose 'meaning' derives from the content of the sensory input and the evolutionary process which evolved those built-ins.

Is the thought then an abstraction from the mental process in the brain?

That is close to the way I see it. 

Our internal, mental 'awareness', our consciousness, is what those complex processes 'feel like' from the inside.

Thought is not a thing, composed of some ethereal substance, it is a dynamic process, a pattern, which relies on some substrate of matter, in our case, the brain. The particular patterns, the dynamic structures which supports the process are what give rise to our consciousness. In principle I think they could 'run' on any substrate capable of supporting the same patterns of interactions, probably on appropriately structured computer circuitry. The brain is massively parallel compared to even the latest multi-processor hardware, so translating its structure and dynamics into semiconductor circuitry is certainly non-trivial. We are only just getting devices to display the 'smarts' of insects in a genuine, emergent sense, ie, without the higher level behavior being programmed in.

An important point is that intelligence and awareness are not special fundamental properties in themselves, as seems to be the idea of Panentheists, who insist that even the basic particles of matter must contain some elements of awareness or sentience, because they cannot accept that sentience can emerge from non-sentience.

Acceptance and understanding of 'emergence', where higher-level phenomena emerge from particular structures and processes composed of interacting simpler elements. Just as atoms have properties that don't apply to the particles they are made of - there are no 'iron' or 'carbon' electrons and protons - assemblies of atoms into molecules open up the world of chemistry and ultimately the components of living cells, and so on up the hierarchy to intelligent life. In so many cases, the 'whole' is most definitely more than the sum of of its parts. The fallacy of the 'fallacy of composition' has a lot to answer for in blocking understanding.

Complexity has to ultimately arise from simplicity, otherwise we are faced with the worst kind of infinite regress, where a God capable of creating the Universe implies an even greater meta-God to create him, and so on. That is the ultimate fallacy of the God-hypothesis as an explanation of ultimate origins.

Luckily we now see, with the help of scientifically derived insights, that this happens all the time, requiring only a flow of available energy in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:Thought is

BobSpence1 wrote:


Thought is not a thing, composed of some ethereal substance, it is a dynamic process, a pattern, which relies on some substrate of matter, in our case, the brain. The particular patterns, the dynamic structures which supports the process are what give rise to our consciousness. In principle I think they could 'run' on any substrate capable of supporting the same patterns of interactions, probably on appropriately structured computer circuitry. The brain is massively parallel compared to even the latest multi-processor hardware, so translating its structure and dynamics into semiconductor circuitry is certainly non-trivial. We are only just getting devices to display the 'smarts' of insects in a genuine, emergent sense, ie, without the higher level behavior being programmed in.



My inquisition is not with the mechanics of thought, which is how the "program" if you will runs of the "hardware". Even with current technologies, we can make things that perform behaviors and tasks.

BobSpence1 wrote:
An important point is that intelligence and awareness are not special fundamental properties in themselves, as seems to be the idea of Panentheists, who insist that even the basic particles of matter must contain some elements of awareness or sentience, because they cannot accept that sentience can emerge from non-sentience.

Acceptance and understanding of 'emergence', where higher-level phenomena emerge from particular structures and processes composed of interacting simpler elements. Just as atoms have properties that don't apply to the particles they are made of - there are no 'iron' or 'carbon' electrons and protons - assemblies of atoms into molecules open up the world of chemistry and ultimately the components of living cells, and so on up the hierarchy to intelligent life. In so many cases, the 'whole' is most definitely more than the sum of of its parts. The fallacy of the 'fallacy of composition' has a lot to answer for in blocking understanding.


I would agree that the sum is definitely more than the sum of its parts. My struggle, I suppose, is the jump from mechanical processes to meaning and the larger category in which it exists, sentience. Rather than processes dictating behavior, it seems to be the other way around in which behaviors dictate processes. This is the difference between natural processes (strictly speaking) and free agency. Natural processes do not look back and attempt to understand how it works itself, nor does it care about causal relationships between them. Even more so, the processes do not create other causes with intended goals, call it purpose.

BobSpence1 wrote:


Complexity has to ultimately arise from simplicity, otherwise we are faced with the worst kind of infinite regress, where a God capable of creating the Universe implies an even greater meta-God to create him, and so on. That is the ultimate fallacy of the God-hypothesis as an explanation of ultimate origins.

Luckily we now see, with the help of scientifically derived insights, that this happens all the time, requiring only a flow of available energy in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics.



I'd agree that complexity arises from simplicity, but to use that is a defeater for the quote, "god-hypothesis" is rather sloppy (at least the way Dawkins presents it in his "Ultimate 747 Gambit" ) and really an entirely different subject altogether.

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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please reply to me seriously i gotta hear you haha

Im just gunna say this right now....You people that think there is no god....have nothing to look forward too, you have nothing to be proud of...you dont even read the bible to understand the word that is written. You can say there is no god out there but the point of the matter is, is that we came from somewhere and it sure as hell wasnt from monkeys and if you would learn a little bit of knowledge from the book you understand that your views are simply distorted and you are gunna end up being the ones left on this earth for the trials and tribulations to come. Like what the big problem accepting that theres a god and one who gave his son to die for us so that death wouldnt take the beleivers. Its not hard to accept that gods there unless you have a control issue and you have to say your the boss of yourself and you make the rules cause if there was no god everyone would be like that and wed all be dead cause there wouldnt be right or wrong your right could be someones wrong vise versa and if you think you your own god and can get away with it then the other persons gunna think the same way. All i can say is that the people that do not beleive are gunna get a huge eye opener when the day comes when people they know that beleive in jesus arent here on the earth and they are left on the earth to suffer the pain and the wrath of the anti-christ.

 


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smitchler wrote:Im just

smitchler wrote:

Im just gunna say this right now....