Brian and Kelly: Please explain what you mean by "theism is irrational"

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Brian and Kelly: Please explain what you mean by "theism is irrational"

Brian and Kelly have claimed that theism is irrational. I’ve asked them to clarify what they mean by this claim. Now, they don’t have to explain the very nature of rationality itself; that would be an unfair demand. My request is modest. Just provide the rough definition of rationality that you’re working with when you claim that theism is irrational. You can do this by filling in the blank of the following schema:

A person’s belief in some proposition is rational if and only if, roughly, _________________________________________________________________.


I want to know what exactly Brian and Kelly would write here. They make the claim about theism being irrational. What precisely do they have in mind when they say this? So far they haven’t answered, and no doubt this is due to their busy schedules. As we’ve been waiting for their response, Scottmax (in another thread) has tried to answer my question from his own perspective. Here’s his answer:

"A person's belief in some proposition p is rational if and only if, roughly, all propositions supporting that belief are non-contradictory and all objections proposed for that belief can likewise be answered without contradiction. "


I am a theist. That is, I believe in the proposition God exists. So am I rational or not, given Scottmax’s definition? Well, I cannot find any contradictions among the set of propositions in favor of that belief, nor have I asserted any contradictions in response to objections. So it appears to me that I've satisfied the conditions in Scottmax’s definition; given his view of rationality, he shouldn’t hesitate to count my belief in theism as rational. Of course, it doesn't follow from the fact that one is rational in believing that God exists, that God in fact exists. People have rational but false beliefs all the time. As I stated in another thread, the truth value of a proposition is to be distinguished from the reasons one has for believing in that proposition. Remember, what we’re concerned with here is not whether God exists, but whether it’s rational to believe he exists. So far it seems to me that Scottmax should say that I’m rational for believing in God, given that I’ve conformed to his view of rationality. I await his objections to this.

Tilberian also attempted to answer the question. I cannot hold my theistic belief on rational grounds, says Tilberian, “because there is no evidence for God and God as described in all theologies violates logic and known natural law.” But it’s unclear what Tilberian means by “evidence”. Under what conditions, according to Tilberian, does something count as good evidence for something else? It’s also unclear what he means by “violates logic and known natural law”. So I’ll wait for him to be more precise before we discuss his view of rationality.

Cheers,

 

W. Gavagai

 

P.S. For the interested reader, I have provided a list of some contemporary analytic philosophers and logicians who are theists. The list includes Alexander Pruss, Peter Forrest, Michael Bergmann, William Vallicella, Lynn Rudder Baker, Robert Koons, Douglas Groothius, Nicholas Rescher, Bas van Fraasen, Timothy McGrew, John Hawthorne, Dean Zimmerman, Hud Hudson, Richard Davis, Eleonore Stump, Robin Collins, Peter van Inwagen, William Alston, Keith Derose, Michael Sudduth. There are hundreds more. (Send me a private message for more resources.) The reason I provide this list is so we have something against which we can test the definitions different people proffer. A plausible definition should be such that if we were to apply it as a rule of thumb to the relevant theistic beliefs expressed in the writings of these philosophers, we would be able to legitimately classify the philosophers as irrational to the extent that they hold those theistic beliefs.


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Scotmax,  When I say God

Scotmax, 

When I say God can't do something that's broadly logically impossible, that just means God can't e.g. create round squares or married bachelors. These would be metaphysically impossible states of affairs. It seems like instead of pointing out contradictions in my conception of God -- which was supposed to be your task from the beginning -- you've merely refused to accept certain definitions I offer as part of that conception. I can hardly be said to be irrational merely because you don't like my definitions. Wouldn't you agree?

Moreover, I've asked you to give me some good reasons to believe a particular premise of your argument, and you think this means I've thereby "refused to respond" to your argument. I've tried to explain the difference between rebuttals and refutations to you several times now, but to no avail. I'd like to continue our discussion, but if you're not willing to agree to the standard rules of argumentation, I'm not sure where to go from here. What do you suggest?

Cheers,

Gavagai 

 

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Some people have argued

Some people have argued that omnipotence would have to mean possessing an infinite amount of power or the ability to do absolutely anything. But I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think that omnipotent could mean possessing all the power that it is possible to possess in the system that you are in. If a state completely dominated the world then on this planet it would be an omnipotent state. I don’t know if that necessarily helps the case for god though.

I like Eloise and Gavagai but it seems like two people as intelligent as they are would just be able to tell you a) what a god is and b) why we should suspect that there is one. That would go pretty far in convincing me that theism is at least not completely irrational.

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 So god is bound by logic,

 So god is bound by logic, as in logic defines god? So should we not worship logic?  I mean it controls god...

Sounds made up...
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gatogreensleeves wrote:

gatogreensleeves wrote:

I am aware that some naturalist philosophers dismiss such questions (can God make a rock he can't lift?) as incoherent in themselves (Carrier is one), but isn't that because the idea of the possibility of omnipotence is absurd in itself?

No. That would be selective reasoning, omnipotence is a perfectly reasonable idea it just has more in its set than logic. There are a lot of arguments going round in my head and I've written and erased probably six of them already, I realise it's hard to grasp and I want to give you something that you can find clearly relevant. I've decided to go with pointing out that the Hindu worked this same logic a very long time ago and simply decided God was this very absurdity its called 'neti neti' and it is their long held definition of omnipotence.

edit: this is often construed as a negative theology but that is a very cursory judgement of neti neti. Brahman is all and Brahman is neti neti, which is to say this is a positive theology asserting that God is in what you see, but seeing conceals it, he isn't that. It is consistent also with a popular gnostic Gospel (St Thomas) "Lift a stone and you will find me, split a piece of wood and I am there."

So completely theological understandings of omnipotence are quite consistent with p = p^~p , it simply means that omnipotence is both (at least), not one or the other. "Not one, Not the other" means omnipotent (can do anything). This has a scientific name and Many Worlds Theory is based on the proposition that it is tangibly real.



Quote:

Even still, at the end of the day, if there was a truly omnipotent god, why couldn't he make even logical absurdities coherent?

Who says he can't? The cat can be dead and not dead.

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Gavagai wrote: When I say

Gavagai wrote:

When I say God can't do something that's broadly logically impossible, that just means God can't e.g. create round squares or married bachelors. These would be metaphysically impossible states of affairs. It seems like instead of pointing out contradictions in my conception of God -- which was supposed to be your task from the beginning -- you've merely refused to accept certain definitions I offer as part of that conception. I can hardly be said to be irrational merely because you don't like my definitions. Wouldn't you agree?

Gavagai, I need to understand your definition before I can create useful arguments. I tried to restate your definition of omnipotence as "must produce a system of reality that is internally consistent". Why did you reject my restatement? If anything, my definition seems to be a subset of yours.

Gavagai wrote:
Moreover, I've asked you to give me some good reasons to believe a particular premise of your argument, and you think this means I've thereby "refused to respond" to your argument. I've tried to explain the difference between rebuttals and refutations to you several times now, but to no avail. I'd like to continue our discussion, but if you're not willing to agree to the standard rules of argumentation, I'm not sure where to go from here. What do you suggest?

I covered this. You can simply reject any statement I make and hide behind your own lack of need to address my position. While saying nothing does project your ability to claim that you have said nothing irrational, it does not lead to any sort of meaningful dialogue. So I suggest that you begin an actual discussion of the substance of theism rather than continuing to hide behind technicalities of debating rules. Don't tell me, "I am not required to answer that". Just answer to the best of your ability and then revise your answers if I point out inconsistencies. I thought that was what we agreed to in the beginning?

Otherwise, I'm done. I came for dialogue, not games.

Cheers,

Scott


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Scottmax,

Scottmax,

I'm relying on the standard rules of logic that govern argumentation. This doesn't mean it's all a game, and that I'm "hiding behind" this or that. It just means I'm trying to have a serious, rational discussion with you. I asked you to defend a premise of yours, and you simply won't do it. So you've provided no good reason for me to think your argument succeeds.

Quote:
Don't tell me, "I am not required to answer that".

I never said this. I have been answering you. My answer is, "please give me some good reasons why I should believe your premise." Maybe you don't like this answer, but that doesn't mean it stops being an answer.

Regarding omnipotence, I rejected your restatement of my definition because I wasn't sure what you meant by "internally consistent system of reality". What's a "system of reality"? And when is a system of reality "internally consistent"? If you just mean metaphysical possibility, then why not simply stick with my definition?

Cheers,

Gavagai

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Eloise wrote: The question

Eloise wrote:

The question of absolutes such as omnipotence which you have elocuted in the argument "Can God make a rock so heavy he can't lift it." does not demonstrate a real logical problem of omnipotence to me, it provides a logical boundary of logic which we already know exists without invoking God at all. Any absolute on the fringe of logic will result in a paradox, "omnipotence that cannot" is not logical, whatever God can do, we can't do that we cannot apply logic to the illogical.

If you wish to point to our inability to create logical definitions of an omnipotent God, I'm with you. I'd just request that we apply that principle fully and honestly, across the board, and  in all our discussions of God.

We now have an unknowable being, the proverbial sound in a forest that no one hears. We cannot even admit honestly of his existence, because to do so is to establish a logical boundary that addresses only our knowledge, not his actual status. A perfect Mystery, unknown, unknowable, undefinable.

Nothing.

 

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Gavagai wrote: It just

Gavagai wrote:

It just means I'm trying to have a serious, rational discussion with you. I asked you to defend a premise of yours, and you simply won't do it. So you've provided no good reason for me to think your argument succeeds.

No, Gavagai. I asked you to give me any rational explanation of the problem of animal suffering and you simply stated that we cannot know that it is really a problem. You have erected an impenetrable wall known as "we cannot know the mind of God." The only way I can prove that my premise is true is to prove to you that we can still use logic in the face of the ineffability of God.


Gavagai wrote:
I never said this. I have been answering you. My answer is, "please give me some good reasons why I should believe your premise." Maybe you don't like this answer, but that doesn't mean it stops being an answer.

It stops the conversation before it even begins and is thus useless as an answer.

Gavagai wrote:
I rejected your restatement of my definition because I wasn't sure what you meant by "internally consistent system of reality". What's a "system of reality"? If you just mean metaphysical possibility, then why not simply stick with my definition?

Our "system of reality" is our universe. God could conceivably create a "system of reality" other than a universe so I am going for a broad statement. I am trying to restate your original definition to make sure I understand what you mean.

Cheers,

Scott


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Let me see if I have this

Let me see if I have this right. According to Gavagai "omnipotent" means "the ability to do anything within broadly logical possibility."

The problem I have with this is that violations of the laws of physics ultimately are logical violations. At bottom, they come down to saying 2+2=5.

Feeding hundreds of people from a few loaves and fishes? 

Stopping earth's rotation so the sun stood still in the sky?

Creating light before creating a light source?

Foretelling the future?

Assembling all the components of the earth and all life together in seven days?

 Walking on water?

We're looking at violations of the laws of thermodynamics, light speed, gravity, electromagnetic theory, cause and effect...how do these violations of basic laws of physics count as "broadly logical"?

If we are not supposed to consider the Bible to be literally true, what evidence do we have of God's power at all? 

 

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Eloise

Eloise wrote:
gatogreensleeves wrote:

I am aware that some naturalist philosophers dismiss such questions (can God make a rock he can't lift?) as incoherent in themselves (Carrier is one), but isn't that because the idea of the possibility of omnipotence is absurd in itself?

No. That would be selective reasoning, omnipotence is a perfectly reasonable idea it just has more in its set than logic. There are a lot of arguments going round in my head and I've written and erased probably six of them already, I realise it's hard to grasp and I want to give you something that you can find clearly relevant. I've decided to go with pointing out that the Hindu worked this same logic a very long time ago and simply decided God was this very absurdity its called 'neti neti' and it is their long held definition of omnipotence.

edit: this is often construed as a negative theology but that is a very cursory judgement of neti neti. Brahman is all and Brahman is neti neti, which is to say this is a positive theology asserting that God is in what you see, but seeing conceals it, he isn't that. It is consistent also with a popular gnostic Gospel (St Thomas) "Lift a stone and you will find me, split a piece of wood and I am there."

So completely theological understandings of omnipotence are quite consistent with p = p^~p , it simply means that omnipotence is both (at least), not one or the other. "Not one, Not the other" means omnipotent (can do anything). This has a scientific name and Many Worlds Theory is based on the proposition that it is tangibly real.



Quote:

Even still, at the end of the day, if there was a truly omnipotent god, why couldn't he make even logical absurdities coherent?

Who says he can't? The cat can be dead and not dead.

This all seems a bit too complicated for a discussion on gods and the supernatural .... I mean, if there existed a creator of the universe, wouldn't it's nature have to be understandable even to toddler, or an adult with a toddlers mental/intellectual capacity ... it just seems odd that the the most powerful and most creative intelligence in the history of history would not have a way to be known simply ... and would rather allow itself to be discussed with reference to obscure and alienating mathematical formulas and Schrödinger's cat (which I had to look up). 

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Eloise wrote:No. That

Eloise wrote:

No. That would be selective reasoning, omnipotence is a perfectly reasonable idea it just has more in its set than logic.

So completely theological understandings of omnipotence are quite consistent with p = p^~p , it simply means that omnipotence is both (at least), not one or the other. "Not one, Not the other" means omnipotent (can do anything). This has a scientific name and Many Worlds Theory is based on the proposition that it is tangibly real.

If our only logical definition of omnipotence is inadequate, because it does not contain the parameters of the "illogical," how can you have a logical conversation about God?  Why even bust out the p = p^~p or the 0 x 0 = e^iπ + 1, etc.?  The most "selective reasoning" is to reason outside of logic, as the selections (and deselections, evidenced by your choice to omit the "illogical" representation "does not equal" next to "=" in these equations) are infinite.  It goes back to faith based epistimology, where anything goes.  If you want to appeal to Schrodinger's cat or the dualistic ontological propositions of some eastern religions, will you also import omnipotent God asepistemologySchroedinger's simultaneously good and evil (and I don't mean that He could sin, but chooses not to- in order to know everything, He must know the experience of committing sin) into Christianity?  Will you also argue for relativism?

One more point.  If you believe in a God with simultaneously logical/illogical parameters, doesn't your belief infer support for the utility of irrationality or is the "illogical" quality just some dormant/useless quality God happens to posses?  (Does this get us any closer to the "theism is irrational" issue?)

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Conn_in_Brooklyn wrote:

Conn_in_Brooklyn wrote:
This all seems a bit too complicated for a discussion on gods and the supernatural .... I mean, if there existed a creator of the universe, wouldn't it's nature have to be understandable even to toddler, or an adult with a toddlers mental/intellectual capacity ... it just seems odd that the the most powerful and most creative intelligence in the history of history would not have a way to be known simply ... and would rather allow itself to be discussed with reference to obscure and alienating mathematical formulas and Schrödinger's cat (which I had to look up). 

Yeah, I've always been bothered by that verse that we must "become as little children."  Most Christians will say this has to do with humility and subservience though and not reasoning... I would argue that anyone with children will see that they are certainly no more humble or subservient than adults- just more ignorant... perhaps that's what Jesus meant.

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Conn_in_Brooklyn

Conn_in_Brooklyn wrote:
Eloise wrote:
gatogreensleeves wrote:

I am aware that some naturalist philosophers dismiss such questions (can God make a rock he can't lift?) as incoherent in themselves (Carrier is one), but isn't that because the idea of the possibility of omnipotence is absurd in itself?

No. That would be selective reasoning, omnipotence is a perfectly reasonable idea it just has more in its set than logic. There are a lot of arguments going round in my head and I've written and erased probably six of them already, I realise it's hard to grasp and I want to give you something that you can find clearly relevant. I've decided to go with pointing out that the Hindu worked this same logic a very long time ago and simply decided God was this very absurdity its called 'neti neti' and it is their long held definition of omnipotence.

edit: this is often construed as a negative theology but that is a very cursory judgement of neti neti. Brahman is all and Brahman is neti neti, which is to say this is a positive theology asserting that God is in what you see, but seeing conceals it, he isn't that. It is consistent also with a popular gnostic Gospel (St Thomas) "Lift a stone and you will find me, split a piece of wood and I am there."

So completely theological understandings of omnipotence are quite consistent with p = p^~p , it simply means that omnipotence is both (at least), not one or the other. "Not one, Not the other" means omnipotent (can do anything). This has a scientific name and Many Worlds Theory is based on the proposition that it is tangibly real.



Quote:

Even still, at the end of the day, if there was a truly omnipotent god, why couldn't he make even logical absurdities coherent?

Who says he can't? The cat can be dead and not dead.

This all seems a bit too complicated for a discussion on gods and the supernatural .... I mean, if there existed a creator of the universe, wouldn't it's nature have to be understandable even to toddler, or an adult with a toddlers mental/intellectual capacity ... it just seems odd that the the most powerful and most creative intelligence in the history of history would not have a way to be known simply ... and would rather allow itself to be discussed with reference to obscure and alienating mathematical formulas and Schrödinger's cat (which I had to look up).

Hi Conn,

The obscure mathematical formula is basically science handling it's observations in it's own formal language, underneath it all are rather simple (though strange) facts. In science we narrow down very specific mathematical terms to describe them to avoid conflating the formal logic with notions which are clearly false and untenable (ordinary results are ridiculous sometimes and they need to be filtered out in a formal way), the mathematics is obscure because it emerges from several types of geometric and mathematical operations, in steps, all needing to be understood to grasp the final one. It's the formal steps (as of our current models of geometry, especially) which are complex, not the actual observations. Those are simply rather strange. This is why so many books about it can be, and have been, written in lay language, it's not quite that complicated to begin with, the complication comes when you try to take another formal step toward resolution.

Now *if* there exists a creator of the universe such as theology describes then it wouldn't be a long stretch from there to 'if you ask him he will show you neti neti' the young and less intellectually inclined could grasp it if they were to see it but only on a personal (mystical) non-formal level, it takes the learned to formalise and to infer or propose rationally. Since I am speaking, here, to learned atheists who are far more partial to the physicalist mantra 'if it exists then it's in nature', there's little point saying 'have a conversation with a God you don't believe in', so the option is to consider the basic results of the observations in nature and discuss the metaphysical proposition therein.

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gatogreensleeves

gatogreensleeves wrote:
Eloise wrote:

No. That would be selective reasoning, omnipotence is a perfectly reasonable idea it just has more in its set than logic.

So completely theological understandings of omnipotence are quite consistent with p = p^~p , it simply means that omnipotence is both (at least), not one or the other. "Not one, Not the other" means omnipotent (can do anything). This has a scientific name and Many Worlds Theory is based on the proposition that it is tangibly real.

If our only logical definition of omnipotence is inadequate, because it does not contain the parameters of the "illogical," how can you have a logical conversation about God? Why even bust out the p = p^~p or the 0 x 0 = e^iπ + 1, etc.? The most "selective reasoning" is to reason outside of logic,

That is precisely my point Gator. Omnipotence remains within reason but you can't go outside logic to decide if it's coherent or incoherent in its whole definition, that would be selective. To the point there is a part of omnipotence which is not classically logical, like the Euler identity since you're mentioning it, it's true but why is it true in spite of it's obvious classical faults? Well what right do we have to say anything to that if we don't even look at it?

 

Quote:

as the selections (and deselections, evidenced by your choice to omit the "illogical" representation "does not equal" next to "=" in these equations) are infinite.

hmm, I think you have to look more closely at the context of my statements, to be honest. I was saying that p= p^~p was an original theology, I wasn't submitting it as a proposition sanctioned by formal logic. The object of that was to point out that God makes a rock he cannot lift does not argue against theological definitions of omnipotence it actually captures the essence of the definition in a more than a few cases.

As for the Euler identity there is absolutely no reason to add DNE to that, it's a proven formula, it is true e^(ipi) + 1 equals zero. e^(ipi) draws a hemisphere of the unit circle from 1 to -1, it is a valid mathematical argument that you can add a valid integer (1) to, to reach integer 0.

 

Quote:

It goes back to faith based epistimology, where anything goes. If you want to appeal to Schrodinger's cat or the dualistic ontological propositions of some eastern religions, will you also import omnipotent God asepistemologySchroedinger's simultaneously good and evil (and I don't mean that He could sin, but chooses not to- in order to know everything, He must know the experience of committing sin) into Christianity? Will you also argue for relativism?

See this gets difficult now because it is more acceptable to just presume that the epistomologies aren't convergent, and I can just import to Christianity as well. It doesn't work that way, I'll make that case now. If Christian theology doesn't make it's own case for a superpositional state of visible matter then it simply doesn't have any share in this, it doesn't frame its godhead in those terms, if it does, then there is no importing involved it's a convergence.

I would probably argue for relativism, just a little, but I wouldn't count on it to hold up my argument entirely.

 

Quote:

One more point. If you believe in a God with simultaneously logical/illogical parameters, doesn't your belief infer support for the utility of irrationality or is the "illogical" quality just some dormant/useless quality God happens to posses? (Does this get us any closer to the "theism is irrational" issue?)

I don't need to make a case for the utility of irrationality, there already is one and we would all agree on it except that the RRS purpose, which is entirely noble in principle, makes for a very one-eyedness about irrationality. Is there such a thing as a rational responder who enjoys base jumping, mad magazine, picasso? I think so, and I rest my case, irrationality does more than get people believing silly things, it makes them laugh and cry and race cars too, it's the spice of life.

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Tilberian wrote: Eloise

Tilberian wrote:
Eloise wrote:

The question of absolutes such as omnipotence which you have elocuted in the argument "Can God make a rock so heavy he can't lift it." does not demonstrate a real logical problem of omnipotence to me, it provides a logical boundary of logic which we already know exists without invoking God at all. Any absolute on the fringe of logic will result in a paradox, "omnipotence that cannot" is not logical, whatever God can do, we can't do that we cannot apply logic to the illogical.

If you wish to point to our inability to create logical definitions of an omnipotent God, I'm with you. I'd just request that we apply that principle fully and honestly, across the board, and in all our discussions of God.

We now have an unknowable being, the proverbial sound in a forest that no one hears. We cannot even admit honestly of his existence, because to do so is to establish a logical boundary that addresses only our knowledge, not his actual status. A perfect Mystery, unknown, unknowable, undefinable.

Nothing.

 

Actually that is why I directed us to the multiverse, it crosses the boundary for us so we don't have nothing on the other side of the logic boundary, we have knowable data and a coherent interpretation in which to frame a proposition from that data. 

 The multiverse is the proverbial tree in the forest that noone hears falling. What we have in that theoretical framework is a logical reconstruction of the sound we did not hear, it is then less of a mystery to us and definitely not nothing.

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Quote: That is precisely

Eloise wrote:
That is precisely my point Gator. Omnipotence remains within reason but you can't go outside logic to decide if it's coherent or incoherent in its whole definition, that would be selective. To the point there is a part of omnipotence which is not classically logical, like the Euler identity since you're mentioning it, it's true but why is it true in spite of it's obvious classical faults? Well what right do we have to say anything to that if we don't even look at it?

 So, we cannot have a coherent conversation about God's omnipotence (or His morality for that matter [see Job 40-41]- and consequentially, His salvation plan) that is accurate, because there are parameters outside of human understanding.  Since the parameters of omnipotent God lie in the ambiguous realm outside of classical logic and this epistemological problem may ultimately thwart the ultimate truth of any logical or empirical claim, why would God allow such useful systems to exist for humans, with so much applicable consistency, if they are ultimately misleading?  Since there are elements of God’s nature and morality that humans simply cannot understand without faith, and consequentially, elements of the coherency of the salvation plan that humans simply cannot understand without faith, why should humans be eternally damned for their innate lack of enough essential knowledge to coherently grasp the salvation plan of Christian theology?

Quote:
  hmm, I think you have to look more closely at the context of my statements, to be honest. I was saying that p= p^~p was an original theology, I wasn't submitting it as a proposition sanctioned by formal logic. The object of that was to point out that God makes a rock he cannot lift does not argue against theological definitions of omnipotence it actually captures the essence of the definition in a more than a few cases.

But why wouldn't/couldn't your proposition, theological or not, not also contain DNE?

Quote:
As for the Euler identity there is absolutely no reason to add DNE to that, it's a proven formula, it is true e^(ipi) + 1 equals zero. e^(ipi) draws a hemisphere of the unit circle from 1 to -1, it is a valid mathematical argument that you can add a valid integer (1) to, to reach integer 0.

Yes, but how does the Euler identity prove the existence of God (you capitalized "One" in "From nothing, everything and One in everything&quotEye-wink

Quote:
If Christian theology doesn't make it's own case for a superpositional state of visible matter then it simply doesn't have any share in this, it doesn't frame its godhead in those terms, if it does, then there is no importing involved it's a convergence.

So which is it?

Quote:
I don't need to make a case for the utility of irrationality, there already is one and we would all agree on it except that the RRS purpose, which is entirely noble in principle, makes for a very one-eyedness about irrationality. Is there such a thing as a rational responder who enjoys base jumping, mad magazine, picasso? I think so, and I rest my case, irrationality does more than get people believing silly things, it makes them laugh and cry and race cars too, it's the spice of life.

If (what is perceived as) irrationality in experience brings more happiness than it detracts (you gave some good examples), isn't it ultimately rational?  There are limitations on potentiality, as viable and inviable possibilities in the universe.  The cat may be dead or alive, but it is never a grilled cheese sandwich.  Why is it never a grilled cheese sandwich? (or is it?!)

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


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scottmax wrote: Gavagai

scottmax wrote:
Gavagai wrote:

No, Gavagai. I asked you to give me any rational explanation of the problem of animal suffering and you simply stated that we cannot know that it is really a problem. You have erected an impenetrable wall known as "we cannot know the mind of God." The only way I can prove that my premise is true is to prove to you that we can still use logic in the face of the ineffability of God.

 Yes, Scottmax. I asked you for good reasons to believe your premise, and you simply stated that I've "refused to respond" (?). You have erected an impenetrable wall known as the "I don't have to defend my argument if I don't want to." the only way I can respond to your argument, in your view, is if I offer some complicated theodicy about what I think God's reasons are. This indicates that you lack familiarity with the way the argument from evil is currently discussed in the literature, despite your claims that you've studied it for so long. Moreover, you aren't familiar with the standard rules of argumentation.

Quote:
It stops the conversation before it even begins and is thus useless as an answer.

No, refusing to defend your argument is a conversation-stopper.

Quote:
Our "system of reality" is our universe. God could conceivably create a "system of reality" other than a universe so I am going for a broad statement. I am trying to restate your original definition to make sure I understand what you mean.

Ok, metaphysical possibility is fine, then.

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


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Scottmax,There were

Scottmax,

There were problems with the quote function in my last post. Here's the fixed version, with an added comment at the bottom:

scottmax wrote:

No, Gavagai. I asked you to give me any rational explanation of the problem of animal suffering and you simply stated that we cannot know that it is really a problem. You have erected an impenetrable wall known as "we cannot know the mind of God." The only way I can prove that my premise is true is to prove to you that we can still use logic in the face of the ineffability of God.

 Yes, Scottmax. I asked you for good reasons to believe your premise, and you simply stated that I've "refused to respond" (?). You have erected an impenetrable wall known as the "I don't have to defend my argument if I don't want to." The only way I can respond to your argument, in your view, is if I offer some complicated theodicy about what I think God's reasons are. This indicates that you lack familiarity with the way the argument from evil is currently discussed in the literature, despite your claims that you've studied it for so long. Moreover, you aren't familiar with the standard rules of argumentation.

Quote:
It stops the conversation before it even begins and is thus useless as an answer.

No, refusing to defend your argument is a conversation-stopper.

Quote:
Our "system of reality" is our universe. God could conceivably create a "system of reality" other than a universe so I am going for a broad statement. I am trying to restate your original definition to make sure I understand what you mean.

Ok, metaphysical possibility is fine, then.

I want to ellaborate on what I mean when I say you're unfamiliar with the standard logical rules governing arguments. Throughout our discussion, you've employed an argument that depends on premises you've not bothered to defend. (I've asked you for good reasons to believe one of those premises, and you still haven't provided any.) You insist that I need to give you some kind of theodicy. But why would I do something like that when you don't even have a defensible argument to begin with? The reason why you accuse me of not responding to your argument is that you've conflated refutation and rebuttal.

I've tried to explain the distinction several times now, but you reject it. Everybody who's taken the time to seriously understand logic and argumentation knows there's a big difference between (i) a claim that is shown to be false (ii) a claim for which there's no good reason to believe . Responses to arguments can involve either (i) or (ii). But you reject this idea, placing yourself at odds with nearly all logicians and philosophers. And you've said you don't even care what all philosophers think about this. You've also accused me of "hiding behind" something, whenever I use logic. It's pretty clear from all this that you simply don't understand logic and the way arguments work. I don't say this to offend you; it's just something that's become obvious from talking to you for a month or so. And frankly, it reflects poorly on you when you don't even know as much logic as those who you accuse of having a "mental disorder".

Take care,

Gavagai

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


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Gavagai wrote: You've also

Gavagai wrote:

You've also accused me of "hiding behind" something, whenever I use logic. It's pretty clear from all this that you simply don't understand logic and the way arguments work. I don't say this to offend you; it's just something that's become obvious from talking to you for a month or so. And frankly, it reflects poorly on you when you don't even know as much logic as those who you accuse of having a "mental disorder".

Gavagai, what has become clear to me in talking to you for the past month or so is that we have had virtually no actual dialog. I asked you to explain how an omni-omni God can be possible in light of the problem of animal suffering and all you did was proclaim that you have no need to come up with an explanation unless I can absolutely prove that there is no possible way that there was not some greater good as a result of God allowing animal suffering. This is an impenetrable wall. You could use this defense against absolutely any absurd premise about God. That is why I accuse you of hiding from actual dialogue. I don't care if the rules of logic allow you to hide behind this wall. We can have no conversation as long as you do so.

Rules of logic are meant to be a means of discerning truth from falsehood, not a means of maintaining an illusion of rationality by avoiding the difficult questions. If truth is on your side, you should have no fear of discussing the hard problems in great and gory detail.

Scott


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gatogreensleeves

gatogreensleeves wrote:

Eloise wrote:
That is precisely my point Gator. Omnipotence remains within reason but you can't go outside logic to decide if it's coherent or incoherent in its whole definition, that would be selective. To the point there is a part of omnipotence which is not classically logical, like the Euler identity since you're mentioning it, it's true but why is it true in spite of it's obvious classical faults? Well what right do we have to say anything to that if we don't even look at it?

So, we cannot have a coherent conversation about God's omnipotence (or His morality for that matter [see Job 40-41]- and consequentially, His salvation plan) that is accurate, because there are parameters outside of human understanding.

Well actually we're winding back here on what I have already said. It's not outside human understanding to converse about an omnipotent God. Yes, to have a strong logical discussion about it is demanding, but no it's not impossible.

Quote:

Since the parameters of omnipotent God lie in the ambiguous realm outside of classical logic and this epistemological problem may ultimately thwart the ultimate truth of any logical or empirical claim, why would God allow such useful systems to exist for humans, with so much applicable consistency, if they are ultimately misleading?

The ambiguity doesn't make it impossible, it simply makes for a little more thought. It's not so difficult to handle using some simple probability distribution. The ultimate truth of any logical or empirical claim is that it is true within it's own density function. This doesn't thwart logic or empiricism, it preserves them as consistent and absolute as ever, unto themselves. The probability that x can take any value is p(x), the probability that x is logical is a function of logic, that it is empirical is a function of empiricism, that it is consistent is a function of consistency. Same rules as always, just more carefully delineated into individual state spaces.

Quote:

Since there are elements of God’s nature and morality that humans simply cannot understand without faith, and consequentially, elements of the coherency of the salvation plan that humans simply cannot understand without faith, why should humans be eternally damned for their innate lack of enough essential knowledge to coherently grasp the salvation plan of Christian theology?

Hmmm. You don't honestly believe the average Christian is grasping the salvation plan of christian theology do you? I'm not a card carrying Christian and I don't apologise ludicrous ideas.

In all seriousness this particular concern about damnation really isn't an issue, the christians themselves say it's all about letting Jesus into your heart, I don't know how you figure that to be a tangible action but it seems to me if you're being genuinely peaceful, kind and respecting of truth (not the made up claptrap of bible fundies either) then you're doing okay at it, surely, and have no need of worrying about whether the rest is perfectly understood in the meantime.

 

 

gator wrote:
Quote:
hmm, I think you have to look more closely at the context of my statements, to be honest. I was saying that p= p^~p was an original theology, I wasn't submitting it as a proposition sanctioned by formal logic. The object of that was to point out that God makes a rock he cannot lift does not argue against theological definitions of omnipotence it actually captures the essence of the definition in a more than a few cases.

But why wouldn't/couldn't your proposition, theological or not, not also contain DNE?

Because theologically it is an equality. God is Alpha and Omega, first and last, Brahman is all and nothing, as above so below... etc etc.. theologically omnipotent clearly equals omnipotent and not omnipotent, if I was to add does not equal to it I'd be lying.

 

gator wrote:

Quote:
As for the Euler identity there is absolutely no reason to add DNE to that, it's a proven formula, it is true e^(ipi) + 1 equals zero. e^(ipi) draws a hemisphere of the unit circle from 1 to -1, it is a valid mathematical argument that you can add a valid integer (1) to, to reach integer 0.

Yes, but how does the Euler identity prove the existence of God (you capitalized "One" in "From nothing, everything and One in everything&quotEye-wink?

Ahh yeah, that's opinion I'm expressing there, Gator. But mind you e, i and pi are supra key constants in our universe representing all forms of mathematical understanding and the way they appear in that function is quite remarkable too as they form a new constant in and of themselves, 1 and 0 are the other two very important mathematical constants (the identity element and the null element). It's widely held that Euler's identity brings everything together as one beautiful function anyway. I add my opinion to it simply as a form of expressing my own theism.

 

gator wrote:

Quote:
If Christian theology doesn't make it's own case for a superpositional state of visible matter then it simply doesn't have any share in this, it doesn't frame its godhead in those terms, if it does, then there is no importing involved it's a convergence.

So which is it?

LOL, you asked! Oh dear... Sealed

IMO they all (theologies) make the case, some clearer and more succinctly than others. I don't count that as an absolute proof of God, mind you, it could equally be proof that man innately and subconsciously understands his own condition better than we have realised. Truthfully I tend to favour that explanation, myself, but I also choose to believe that a God exists.

gator wrote:

Quote:
I don't need to make a case for the utility of irrationality, there already is one and we would all agree on it except that the RRS purpose, which is entirely noble in principle, makes for a very one-eyedness about irrationality. Is there such a thing as a rational responder who enjoys base jumping, mad magazine, picasso? I think so, and I rest my case, irrationality does more than get people believing silly things, it makes them laugh and cry and race cars too, it's the spice of life.

If (what is perceived as) irrationality in experience brings more happiness than it detracts (you gave some good examples), isn't it ultimately rational?

Yes I agree with you, it ultimately is rational to push experience to the edges. But it takes a more inclusive and openminded view to accept that. I wouldn't accuse anyone here of being closeminded, I think we all would easily agree on a little fun and wackiness being important to a sane person. I'm not sure, however, that we could all agree on percieving a possible God as a sane entity in those terms, for whom irrationality has the same function, even though it would follow from the most basic theology: "man made perfect in God's image" that he must be.

Quote:

There are limitations on potentiality, as viable and inviable possibilities in the universe. The cat may be dead or alive, but it is never a grilled cheese sandwich. Why is it never a grilled cheese sandwich? (or is it?!)

Everything is everything else somewhere at some time according to basic chemistry. The fundamental unit of biological matter, ie carbon, has probably been around through cats and cheese sandwiches a few times in the billions of earth years, so yes. Even in our own empirical terms the cat is not never a cheese sandwich.

OTOH If you open the box and find a cheese sandwich instead of a cat you're definitely not in Kansas anymore Dorothy, actually you're probably not Dorothy anymore, either, as the physical laws dictate. However, in multiverse theory this can only happen if your entire history and the cat's entire history dissappears, upon that happening your universe could conceivably cross the path of a parallel one and you would find yourself there instead.

 

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Quote: Well actually we're

Quote:
Well actually we're winding back here on what I have already said. It's not outside human understanding to converse about an omnipotent God. Yes, to have a strong logical discussion about it is demanding, but no it's not impossible. The ambiguity doesn't make it impossible, it simply makes for a little more thought. It's not so difficult to handle using some simple probability distribution. The ultimate truth of any logical or empirical claim is that it is true within it's own density function. This doesn't thwart logic or empiricism, it preserves them as consistent and absolute as ever, unto themselves. The probability that x can take any value is p(x), the probability that x is logical is a function of logic, that it is empirical is a function of empiricism, that it is consistent is a function of consistency. Same rules as always, just more carefully delineated into individual state spaces.

Dear Eloise, I am writing to say, a number of funny things I heard today... (do you know that great song by the Hollies?).  I think we must simply disagree about this.  I would say we could talk about it, but to no end- even evidential arguments (which you alluded to), become useless when there are supposedly inaccessible qualifications.  Doesn't God violate density function in order to do miracles (paraphrasing Spinoza)?

Quote:
Hmmm. You don't honestly believe the average Christian is grasping the salvation plan of Christian theology do you? I'm not a card carrying Christian and I don't apologise ludicrous ideas.  In all seriousness this particular concern about damnation really isn't an issue, the christians themselves say it's all about letting Jesus into your heart, I don't know how you figure that to be a tangible action but it seems to me if you're being genuinely peaceful, kind and respecting of truth (not the made up claptrap of bible fundies either) then you're doing okay at it, surely, and have no need of worrying about whether the rest is perfectly understood in the meantime.

No, the average Christian isn't grasping the salvation plan of Christian theology, but apparently, according to Jesus, that's a-okay, as long as there's a bare minimum.  I am curious about your personal theology.  I have noticed some theists here with deistic arguments that seem to head in the direction of the kind of god I alluded to in an earlier post- something more along the lines of panentheism (which would make more sense to me), but then, at some point, the arguments are reigned back into Christian theology.  As I have noted in another post, one of my best friends is a panentheist who derives his deism from eclectic sources like Taoism, Gnosticism, various eastern religions, and Heidegger's ontological interpretation of Being as it relates to the PreSocratics (though not necessarily swallowing whole any of the above, except maybe Heidegger).  He acknowledges this teleological force as beyond morality (incorporating Nietzsche), so he can get away with the argument from evil to some extent.  Neither does he need to redefine or even use the terms "omniscient" or "omni-benevolent."  I went over some of these posts here and I have to say I got a little choked up.  Even with all of the disagreement here, I was emotionally hit, and proud (if just for a minute) of all of the posters here seeking truth (which I realize may be a generous assumption in some cases).  Perhaps it's because I have no one in my daily life that cares about this stuff.  No one here is forced to bounce their ideas off of anyone and yet we come with this craving to clarify.  It seems no one here will be "spit out of God's mouth" for being lukewarm. 

Gatogreensleeves wrote:

But why wouldn't/couldn't your proposition, theological or not, not also contain DNE?

Eloise wrote:

Because theologically it is an equality. God is Alpha and Omega, first and last, Brahman is all and nothing, as above so below... etc etc.. theologically omnipotent clearly equals omnipotent and not omnipotent, if I was to add does not equal to it I'd be lying.

My point is that if you're going to make an equation that attempts to harmonize every contradiction (or, if you prefer, the integral harmony in every dualistic notion), why is the equation itself exempt?

Gatogreensleeves wrote:
Yes, but how does the Euler identity prove the existence of God (you capitalized "One" in "From nothing, everything and One in everything&quotEye-wink?

Eloise wrote:

Ahh yeah, that's opinion I'm expressing there, Gator. But mind you e, i and pi are supra key constants in our universe representing all forms of mathematical understanding and the way they appear in that function is quite remarkable too as they form a new constant in and of themselves, 1 and 0 are the other two very important mathematical constants (the identity element and the null element). It's widely held that Euler's identity brings everything together as one beautiful function anyway. I add my opinion to it simply as a form of expressing my own theism.

Right.  I'm no mathematician, but from what I have read, the aesthetic aspect of the formula (using the 5 constants) does a lot for its subjective appeal.  I'm sure you know there are other ways to get there that are not as pretty. And some quadratic equations don't have real solutions (e.g. the square root of -1), so in order to get i, imaginary solutions were suggested (A: i!).  The ambiguity in applying numbers and geometry to the natural world is also disconcerting (e.g. does one drop of water plus one drop of water necessarily equal two drops of water? Do perfect circles exist in nature? etc.), but at the end of the day, equations do nothing to prove teleological desire.

Quote:
LOL, you asked! Oh dear... Sealed

IMO they all (theologies) make the case, some clearer and more succinctly than others. I don't count that as an absolute proof of God, mind you, it could equally be proof that man innately and subconsciously understands his own condition better than we have realised. Truthfully I tend to favour that explanation, myself, but I also choose to believe that a God exists.

Okeedoke.

Quote:
Yes I agree with you, it ultimately is rational to push experience to the edges. But it takes a more inclusive and openminded view to accept that. I wouldn't accuse anyone here of being closeminded, I think we all would easily agree on a little fun and wackiness being important to a sane person. I'm not sure, however, that we could all agree on percieving a possible God as a sane entity in those terms, for whom irrationality has the same function, even though it would follow from the most basic theology: "man made perfect in God's image" that he must be.

Now were in the particulars of Christian theology and I have a problem with this "being in God's image" notion. In what significant ways were we made in God’s own image (Gen 1:27) even before The Fall, when we were supposedly more like Him than after Adam and Eve sinned?  Were we like God in that we were omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent, or omnipresent?  Were we like God in that we were unlimited in every way?  Were we like God in that we were unable to do or be wrong (i.e. righteous)?  Were we like God in that we were unable to be afraid?  Were we like God in that we were compositionally unable to lie, sin, or hurt others unfairly?  Were we like God in that we were incorruptible?  Were we like God in that we were aware of all the consequences of every action?  Were we like God in that our bodies were undefined and not physically limited?  Were we like God in that we could realize our destiny (i.e. His plan)?  Were we like God in that we were unable to be curious?  (God Himself proposes more questions along these lines in Job 40-41).  Considering the many fundamental ways we were not in the image of God even before The Fall (which only got worse after the Fall, with the burden of a biological urges for sustenance, survival, sex, etc.), was there any other possible option for us than the path we chose and are now on?  Since 100% of us were not created with the predisposition for righteousness, why weren’t the consequences of The Fall treated as inevitable natural consequences of the venal human condition that God created before The Fall, rather than as punishment for our supposed “choice” to indulge in evil? 

Quote:

Everything is everything else somewhere at some time according to basic chemistry. The fundamental unit of biological matter, ie carbon, has probably been around through cats and cheese sandwiches a few times in the billions of earth years, so yes. Even in our own empirical terms the cat is not never a cheese sandwich.

OTOH If you open the box and find a cheese sandwich instead of a cat you're definitely not in Kansas anymore Dorothy, actually you're probably not Dorothy anymore, either, as the physical laws dictate. However, in multiverse theory this can only happen if your entire history and the cat's entire history dissappears, upon that happening your universe could conceivably cross the path of a parallel one and you would find yourself there instead.

Sure, particles recombine into different forms, etc, and I agree with all that, but obviously, formally (as in terms of transition of form), there is a problem.  Hence, there is still inviable potential for some things in this universe.  If I say poetically, that I am going to jump over the sun tomorrow, the mind is the only place where that is going to happen.  If you want to propose that all possibilities actually play themselves out in multi-verses, I can't disprove that, but there's no reason to assume so, nor any reason to assume that that has necessarily theological implications.

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


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gatogreensleeves wrote:

Dear Eloise, I am writing to say, a number of funny things I heard today... (do you know that great song by the Hollies?). I think we must simply disagree about this. I would say we could talk about it, but to no end- even evidential arguments (which you alluded to), become useless when there are supposedly inaccessible qualifications. Doesn't God violate density function in order to do miracles (paraphrasing Spinoza)?

Hmmm yes, I see you have a point. I was focusing quite intently on the one specific contradiction in answering you and thereby evading the question of miracles altogether. Quite successfully, I might add, Eye-wink Okay, so now you bring it up, I have to concede, miracles are apparently defined by their laying outside of the accessible scope. In answer, I can only appeal to the consequence, historically miracles and magics are explained upon the discovery of their natural cause, I would say it is worthwhile anyway to presume miracles can be understood upon discovery, and negative to presume that miracles are an example of what will always be outside our understanding. When we violate density functions, (another thing that quantum theory likes to boast it is capable of on small scales (ie tunnelling)) then I suppose we can say we have the extent of miracles that we know of so far covered... at least to a degree of our knowledge (if not application). OTOH if we've reached the end of our reasoning approach before the miraculous becomes natural knowledge to us, I'd recommend we throw them out as false, along with their baggage, that would be a pointy ended, fatal contradiction of keyturn theology, if 1. Humans=Gods in every aspect but mortality then 2. Miracles=Natural to humans. According to theology 1 is true therefore if 2 is not chuck 1 with it. 

Edit: just adding for a bit of fun, some Arthur C Clarke.  

Clarke's Third Law:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

 

gato wrote:
Quote:
Hmmm. You don't honestly believe the average Christian is grasping the salvation plan of Christian theology do you? I'm not a card carrying Christian and I don't apologise ludicrous ideas. In all seriousness this particular concern about damnation really isn't an issue, the christians themselves say it's all about letting Jesus into your heart, I don't know how you figure that to be a tangible action but it seems to me if you're being genuinely peaceful, kind and respecting of truth (not the made up claptrap of bible fundies either) then you're doing okay at it, surely, and have no need of worrying about whether the rest is perfectly understood in the meantime.

No, the average Christian isn't grasping the salvation plan of Christian theology, but apparently, according to Jesus, that's a-okay, as long as there's a bare minimum. I am curious about your personal theology. I have noticed some theists here with deistic arguments that seem to head in the direction of the kind of god I alluded to in an earlier post- something more along the lines of panentheism (which would make more sense to me), but then, at some point, the arguments are reigned back into Christian theology.

You know why that is, Gato, is because Christ aligns with every possible good in any ideology, he's ludicrously infallible that way. If there's a good psychologically healthy ideology you're on to, without a doubt you will find evidence of Jesus promoting it in his day, everybody does and hence things get reigned in with the words attributed to him simply because it's obvious he was a character who knew what he was on about, however you percieve the origin of his story, historical or mythological.

Early Pantheism came directly from the ancient religions, especially the Kabbalah and Upanishads. Spinoza was seen by a few others to have been appealing relativistically to the enlightenment by deliberating towards pure materialism in spite of himself and the theology he was drawing from. There is a pantheistic approach that is more spinozian than even Spinoza was which isn't recognising of it's ancient religious roots, you can probably count me as separate from that movement, but still along the lines of Pantheism anyhow. I don't distinguish Panentheism and Pantheism personally as I'm not strictly dualist in any sense and don't have a need to draw absolute lines about God for the sake of a philosophical statement. The All God is a good enough description of the One in all God for me, and I have a foot in each side there.

 

Quote:

As I have noted in another post, one of my best friends is a panentheist who derives his deism from eclectic sources like Taoism, Gnosticism, various eastern religions, and Heidegger's ontological interpretation of Being as it relates to the PreSocratics (though not necessarily swallowing whole any of the above, except maybe Heidegger).

I can relate to that much quite well, you could be describing my beliefs there. Thanks for the warm fuzzies too, If nothing else a good battering out of the truth has to be the way to go IMO, God or no God.

Gatogreensleeves wrote:
Eloise wrote:

Because theologically it is an equality. God is Alpha and Omega, first and last, Brahman is all and nothing, as above so below... etc etc.. theologically omnipotent clearly equals omnipotent and not omnipotent, if I was to add does not equal to it I'd be lying.

My point is that if you're going to make an equation that attempts to harmonize every contradiction (or, if you prefer, the integral harmony in every dualistic notion), why is the equation itself exempt?

Good point there Gato, if we didn't exempt it we'd get a transcendent sum of things not being what they're not being winding off into infinity. So I just concede basically what such an equation could be saying about a possibly infinite potential of nothing or room for being, and infinite potential in everything that occupies it. It throws all sorts of questions at our own being right there and then which can only briefly be asked without sending yourself thoroughly mad. I guess you could say I evade it because it's Alice in Wonderland stuff; when we're looking for one positive ontology it's not wise to cast doubt on the notion of ontic itself.

Clarke's Second Law:

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

 [emphasis mine..]

 

Gatogreensleeves wrote:

Right. I'm no mathematician, but from what I have read, the aesthetic aspect of the formula (using the 5 constants) does a lot for its subjective appeal. I'm sure you know there are other ways to get there that are not as pretty. And some quadratic equations don't have real solutions (e.g. the square root of -1), so in order to get i, imaginary solutions were suggested (A: i!). The ambiguity in applying numbers and geometry to the natural world is also disconcerting (e.g. does one drop of water plus one drop of water necessarily equal two drops of water? Do perfect circles exist in nature? etc.),

There is mathematical beauty and there is beautiful mathematics, eulers identity certainly fits the latter most of all, because it doesn't rely on perfect formulation outside of nature to exist. It rests entirely on the most natural reality IMO; internal consistency (e), angles (pi), orientation (i), identity (1) and null (0) but thats only he beginning of my mathematical teleology and far from the end.

 

Quote:

but at the end of the day, equations do nothing to prove teleological desire.

LOL, not sure I should answer that... you'd be surprised at some of my own stuff n nonsense, then.

 

Quote:

Now were in the particulars of Christian theology and I have a problem with this "being in God's image" notion. In what significant ways were we made in God’s own image (Gen 1:27) even before The Fall, when we were supposedly more like Him than after Adam and Eve sinned? Were we like God in that we were omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent, or omnipresent? Were we like God in that we were unlimited in every way? Were we like God in that we were unable to do or be wrong (i.e. righteous)? Were we like God in that we were unable to be afraid? Were we like God in that we were compositionally unable to lie, sin, or hurt others unfairly? Were we like God in that we were incorruptible? Were we like God in that we were aware of all the consequences of every action? Were we like God in that our bodies were undefined and not physically limited? Were we like God in that we could realize our destiny (i.e. His plan)? Were we like God in that we were unable to be curious? (God Himself proposes more questions along these lines in Job 40-41). Considering the many fundamental ways we were not in the image of God even before The Fall (which only got worse after the Fall, with the burden of a biological urges for sustenance, survival, sex, etc.), was there any other possible option for us than the path we chose and are now on? Since 100% of us were not created with the predisposition for righteousness, why weren’t the consequences of The Fall treated as inevitable natural consequences of the venal human condition that God created before The Fall, rather than as punishment for our supposed “choice” to indulge in evil?

Those are good questions. The plain and simple statement in Judeo-Christian Theology is that humanity was in God's image with the notable exceptions of a/ knowledge of Good and Evil and b/ life age-enduring. In the short version one of these we have embarked into and the other is hidden from us for some meantime good cause, but I would suppose that, if anything at all, we would actually be all characteristics and none at the same time in the Alice in Wonderland sense over the bigger picture, it's probably not best to think about that too long unless you're superkeen for coining a new breakthrough -ism (or a mental illness). In that way I think the Judeo-Christian texts have a reductionist beauty to them stating basically, somewhere between infinity a and infinity b, you are here between these two points. My opinion is that there's little else to read into the whole fall business than that essentially.

 

Quote:

If you want to propose that all possibilities actually play themselves out in multi-verses, I can't disprove that, but there's no reason to assume so, nor any reason to assume that that has necessarily theological implications.

 

Well, there is an essential need to account for all possible states fundamentally, it crops up on many levels of science these days that what is is very very dependent on what it isn't, it's become difficult to explain a coherent universe without such a notion anymore, basically we might have gotten a little too smart for our own good, but that's where we are at.

Without a grand unified theory we are slightly stuck with the notion that everything plays out all the time, for now, but most are expecting that figure to return to finite and predictable eventually upon breakthrough discovery.

As I said to Tilberian, all we can say is that more is now concievable and go back to looking at existence. God in that case, is rather academic, it all points in the same direction regardless. I never say that it's necessarily theological, but I do say that if you're looking for God, Theology points to the same arena.

 Clarke wrote a first law too.... Eye-wink

Clarke's First Law:

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

 

 

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scottmax wrote:Gavagai,

scottmax wrote:

Gavagai, what has become clear to me in talking to you for the past month or so is that we have had virtually no actual dialog. I asked you to explain how an omni-omni God can be possible in light of the problem of animal suffering and all you did was proclaim that you have no need to come up with an explanation unless I can absolutely prove that there is no possible way that there was not some greater good as a result of God allowing animal suffering. This is an impenetrable wall. You could use this defense against absolutely any absurd premise about God. That is why I accuse you of hiding from actual dialogue. I don't care if the rules of logic allow you to hide behind this wall. We can have no conversation as long as you do so.

Now you and I both know, Scott, that I've not once asked you to "absolutely prove" anything. I've asked you to provide good reasons to believe a premise of your argument. You've refused to do so.  I agree with you that our dialogue hasn't progressed much. This is because you won't actually support the premises of your argument when asked to.  And you say that I'm hiding behind things? Nonsense. Why would I need to provide explanations in response to questions that presuppose the existence of something I have no good reasons to believe in? Given your understanding of logic, all manner of bizarre arguments could be advanced in support of any conclusion whatever.

Quote:
Rules of logic are meant to be a means of discerning truth from falsehood, not a means of maintaining an illusion of rationality by avoiding the difficult questions. If truth is on your side, you should have no fear of discussing the hard problems in great and gory detail.

Scott, listen carefully:

 Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.


Why you can't recognize this obvious feature of argumentation and rationality is a complete mystery. Suppose someone asserted that little green men exist on the star Sol, and then demanded that you explain why they're there. In response, you ask the person for good reasons why you should believe this. But then the person says, "Ah hah! See? You can't explain it! I asked you to give me an explanation, but you won't. If truth is on your side, you'd provide the details! You refuse to answer my question!" You then patiently try to tell the person that rationality and logic don't require you to offer such an explanation, because he hasn't given you any good reasons to believe the phenomenon in the first place. The person then accuses you of "hiding behind" logic. That person is doing exactly what you have done in our discussion, Scott, and it would be reasonable for us to conclude that he simply doesn't understand how arguments work.

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


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Eloise wrote: In answer, I

Eloise wrote:

In answer, I can only appeal to the consequence, historically miracles and magics are explained upon the discovery of their natural cause, I would say it is worthwhile anyway to presume miracles can be understood upon discovery, and negative to presume that miracles are an example of what will always be outside our understanding. When we violate density functions, (another thing that quantum theory likes to boast it is capable of on small scales (ie tunnelling)) then I suppose we can say we have the extent of miracles that we know of so far covered... at least to a degree of our knowledge (if not application). OTOH if we've reached the end of our reasoning approach before the miraculous becomes natural knowledge to us, I'd recommend we throw them out as false, along with their baggage, that would be a pointy ended, fatal contradiction of keyturn theology, if 1. Humans=Gods in every aspect but mortality then 2. Miracles=Natural to humans. According to theology 1 is true therefore if 2 is not chuck 1 with it. 

Edit: just adding for a bit of fun, some Arthur C Clarke.  

Clarke's Third Law:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

  I like his 3rd Law!  But of course, this is only true temporarily.  Sure, a true miracle (by definition- no No True Scotsman Fallacy) is one that violates the viable limits of the universe, or it is not a miracle.  I think it would have been something if God (or whoever) put a couple of chapters of advanced mathematics instead of genealogies (also used as divine support), with the footnote "not to alter them, they will prove God's magnificence someday."  That would be a perpetual miracle that many more people could take part in, not the miraculous claims that were ubiquitous in the day (I don't have to list the mountains of supposed miracles claimed- Richard Carrier once mentioned a whole town in which the dead fish came back to life!).  Seriously, what is the more reasonable answer: miracles or mythology?  Tilberian noted above some of the miracles that no natural fiddling will ever actualize, except maybe in virtual reality (this includes the mind).  Yes, it seems we are on the road to godhood with our increasing capacity to create "miracles."  But again, there are always limitations- even if we could replicate fish and bread like on Star Trek, it wouldn't be the same as turning a few fish and loaves into hundreds/thousands by putting them in a basket.  Laws were violated.

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You know why that is, Gato, is because Christ aligns with every possible good in any ideology, he's ludicrously infallible that way. If there's a good psychologically healthy ideology you're on to, without a doubt you will find evidence of Jesus promoting it in his day, everybody does and hence things get reigned in with the words attributed to him simply because it's obvious he was a character who knew what he was on about, however you perceive the origin of his story, historical or mythological.

That's debatable, especially when considering the consequences psychologically: first, there are people who undeniably use Jesus as a prop for self-righteousness, and history has not been significantly (as it should be) on the side of the people who allow this disposition into their minds.  There should be a radical distinction of consequential nobility in history and there is none- quite the opposite in many cases.  Also, there are people who suffer the psychological and physical consequences of hyper-guilt and the fear of God- walking on eggshells every minute (I know- I was there), so as to not offend a perfect being.  Rarely, if ever, is this hyper-guilt considered a mental disorder (to come full circle) in Christian circles.  It is often revered.  I was positively suicidal when I was a Christian, because I wanted to be with God so badly.  I even asked my pastors if it was possible to do it and not go to hell.  You know what they said?  Some said yes and others said no (Calvary Chapel, CA).  Whether or not I had a physiological condition, the religious reverence for, and the imposition of, a "not good enough" mentality had residual damage on me that took years to slough off.  I think that's one thing that many ex-Christians really empathize about.

Quote:
Early Pantheism came directly from the ancient religions, especially the Kabbalah and Upanishads. Spinoza was seen by a few others to have been appealing relativistically to the enlightenment by deliberating towards pure materialism in spite of himself and the theology he was drawing from. There is a pantheistic approach that is more spinozian than even Spinoza was which isn't recognising of it's ancient religious roots, you can probably count me as separate from that movement, but still along the lines of Pantheism anyhow. I don't distinguish Panentheism and Pantheism personally as I'm not strictly dualist in any sense and don't have a need to draw absolute lines about God for the sake of a philosophical statement. The All God is a good enough description of the One in all God for me, and I have a foot in each side there.

Yeah, one problem with panentheism, when incorporated with Christian theology, is that if God is constantly tinkering with the universe (as some theistic ID people contend), and is not separate from it, how is it that the world is "broken" by the Fall.  How can God have anything to do with ontologically soiled, sinful, creation if He can't have anything to do with sinful humans?  If, when He created it, He saw that it was "good" (and many Christians will say this means ontologically good), then every physical thing in nature supposedly ruined by free will (which was/is not necessarily ontologically good, but neutral, and so was the only necessary X-factor in an otherwise perfectly "good" place), such as the plethora of "broken world" things creationists point to as consequences from the Fall, should be untouchable too.  It would seem that along the lines of Christian panentheism, God could not interact with the sinful universe until after the Great Sacrifice, but the opposite seems to be the case as evidenced by His overt interaction with the world in the bible and His lack of obvious interaction afterwards.  I guess one could say I am a naturalistic pantheist, but I prefer more the more practical label of secular humanist.

Gatogreensleeves wrote:

My point is that if you're going to make an equation that attempts to harmonize every contradiction (or, if you prefer, the integral harmony in every dualistic notion), why is the equation itself exempt?

Eloise wrote:

Good point there Gato, if we didn't exempt it we'd get a transcendent sum of things not being what they're not being winding off into infinity. So I just concede basically what such an equation could be saying about a possibly infinite potential of nothing or room for being, and infinite potential in everything that occupies it. It throws all sorts of questions at our own being right there and then which can only briefly be asked without sending yourself thoroughly mad. I guess you could say I evade it because it's Alice in Wonderland stuff; when we're looking for one positive ontology it's not wise to cast doubt on the notion of ontic itself.

Clarke's Second Law:

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

 [emphasis mine..]

I like the 2nd Law too, but it is incomplete.  It doesn't address any need to come back!!  Out of orbit.  Yes, Alice in Wonderland, the fairy realm, Dorothy in Oz.  Coming back to what we can consistently observe seems crucial to me.

Gatogreensleeves wrote:
 

Now were in the particulars of Christian theology and I have a problem with this "being in God's image" notion. In what significant ways were we made in God’s own image (Gen 1:27) even before The Fall, when we were supposedly more like Him than after Adam and Eve sinned? Were we like God in that we were omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent, or omnipresent? Were we like God in that we were unlimited in every way? Were we like God in that we were unable to do or be wrong (i.e. righteous)? Were we like God in that we were unable to be afraid? Were we like God in that we were compositionally unable to lie, sin, or hurt others unfairly? Were we like God in that we were incorruptible? Were we like God in that we were aware of all the consequences of every action? Were we like God in that our bodies were undefined and not physically limited? Were we like God in that we could realize our destiny (i.e. His plan)? Were we like God in that we were unable to be curious? (God Himself proposes more questions along these lines in Job 40-41). Considering the many fundamental ways we were not in the image of God even before The Fall (which only got worse after the Fall, with the burden of a biological urges for sustenance, survival, sex, etc.), was there any other possible option for us than the path we chose and are now on? Since 100% of us were not created with the predisposition for righteousness, why weren’t the consequences of The Fall treated as inevitable natural consequences of the venal human condition that God created before The Fall, rather than as punishment for our supposed “choice” to indulge in evil?

Eloise wrote:

Those are good questions. The plain and simple statement in Judeo-Christian Theology is that humanity was in God's image with the notable exceptions of a/ knowledge of Good and Evil and b/ life age-enduring. In the short version one of these we have embarked into and the other is hidden from us for some meantime good cause, but I would suppose that, if anything at all, we would actually be all characteristics and none at the same time in the Alice in Wonderland sense over the bigger picture, it's probably not best to think about that too long unless you're superkeen for coining a new breakthrough -ism (or a mental illness). In that way I think the Judeo-Christian texts have a reductionist beauty to them stating basically, somewhere between infinity a and infinity b, you are here between these two points. My opinion is that there's little else to read into the whole fall business than that essentially.

hmmm... well if we are also all characteristics, but some were hidden while others actualized, what was the point of the second tree, the tree of life, the one we were never allowed to taste?  Did God change His mind?  Was He saving that for later?  Maybe if they ate from that tree, they would have known enough not to eat from the other tree!  HAHA... it's all pretty convoluted to me.  I prefer the reductionist beauty of the scientific method. 

Quote:
Well, there is an essential need to account for all possible states fundamentally, it crops up on many levels of science these days that what is is very very dependent on what it isn't, it's become difficult to explain a coherent universe without such a notion anymore, basically we might have gotten a little too smart for our own good, but that's where we are at.

Without a grand unified theory we are slightly stuck with the notion that everything plays out all the time, for now, but most are expecting that figure to return to finite and predictable eventually upon breakthrough discovery.

As I said to Tilberian, all we can say is that more is now concievable and go back to looking at existence. God in that case, is rather academic, it all points in the same direction regardless. I never say that it's necessarily theological, but I do say that if you're looking for God, Theology points to the same arena.

Seems to me like Orthodox Christian theology is shrinking, while other theologies are more durable.  To allow too much modification is innately deleterious to orthodox religion.  If there is going to be some future convergence of the world's major religions into only the irrefutable notions that consistently lie at the limits of our understanding, why give them any more credence than sociological data in the search for happiness.

Quote:

 Clarke wrote a first law too.... Eye-wink

Clarke's First Law:

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

HAHA- now this one is ambiguous at best.  The distinguished scientist, if he is truly distinguished, will usually only say something is possible if it falls within certain limitations that he is aware of, so those things he thinks are possible would be notably fewer than the common person.  The need to qualify this with "distinguished scientist" hides a conflation with "regular folks."  Those were fun though, and I liked how you counted down through your post.

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Gavagai wrote:scottmax

Gavagai wrote:
scottmax wrote:

Gavagai, what has become clear to me in talking to you for the past month or so is that we have had virtually no actual dialog. I asked you to explain how an omni-omni God can be possible in light of the problem of animal suffering and all you did was proclaim that you have no need to come up with an explanation unless I can absolutely prove that there is no possible way that there was not some greater good as a result of God allowing animal suffering. This is an impenetrable wall. You could use this defense against absolutely any absurd premise about God. That is why I accuse you of hiding from actual dialogue. I don't care if the rules of logic allow you to hide behind this wall. We can have no conversation as long as you do so.

Now you and I both know, Scott, that I've not once asked you to "absolutely prove" anything. I've asked you to provide good reasons to believe a premise of your argument. You've refused to do so.  I agree with you that our dialogue hasn't progressed much. This is because you won't actually support the premises of your argument when asked to.  And you say that I'm hiding behind things? Nonsense. Why would I need to provide explanations in response to questions that presuppose the existence of something I have no good reasons to believe in? Given your understanding of logic, all manner of bizarre arguments could be advanced in support of any conclusion whatever.

Quote:
Rules of logic are meant to be a means of discerning truth from falsehood, not a means of maintaining an illusion of rationality by avoiding the difficult questions. If truth is on your side, you should have no fear of discussing the hard problems in great and gory detail.

Scott, listen carefully:

 Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.

Rational people don't have to go about falsifying a premise in an argument when no good reason has been provided for them to believe the premise in the first place.


Why you can't recognize this obvious feature of argumentation and rationality is a complete mystery. Suppose someone asserted that little green men exist on the star Sol, and then demanded that you explain why they're there. In response, you ask the person for good reasons why you should believe this. But then the person says, "Ah hah! See? You can't explain it! I asked you to give me an explanation, but you won't. If truth is on your side, you'd provide the details! You refuse to answer my question!" You then patiently try to tell the person that rationality and logic don't require you to offer such an explanation, because he hasn't given you any good reasons to believe the phenomenon in the first place. The person then accuses you of "hiding behind" logic. That person is doing exactly what you have done in our discussion, Scott, and it would be reasonable for us to conclude that he simply doesn't understand how arguments work.

Wow, I've yet to see you get so upset here. Perhaps it would be better for you two to start with an argument along the lines of "Is there superfluous animal suffering (as a result of the Fall?)", concede that it is evidential and then attempt (probably unsuccessfully) to apply it to the logical argument concerning God's omni-benevolence.  Evidence for the first argument lies in Christian theology itself: if there is no problem with the consequences of the Fall in nature, then there is no need to reconcile it with a Great Sacrifice.  If the reconciliation was/is for humans only, why was there collateral damage to the rest of nature to begin with?  If there is comparable compensation/punishment in the afterlife for animals, parasites and viruses, etc., and it is distributed by their actions, wouldn't those ultimately be moral consequences (which brings up problems concerning free will and whether self- awareness determines personhood, etc.)?  Other avenues would be to consider whether or not there are isolated instances of animal suffering that have no consequential related effect upon humans.  I believe there are.  You may argue for the Butterfly Effect, but I think that that notion has been shown to be inconsistent, at best.  These first two are weighty enough IMHO, but then we could consider whether or not there are instances of animal suffering that outweigh their pleasure (which is relevant if there is no morality in the animal kingdom), such as animals that are born suffering and then die shortly thereafter.  You may ask for evidence how causing suffering to an animal without morality can be "bad."  I would refer to my first argument to start. 

Getting from here to proving that the evidence for superfluous animal suffering contradicts a definition of "omni-benevolence" that incorporates an afterlife is epistemologically impossible (hence Scottmax's justified reluctance).  It can't, as the epistemologically challenged will never be able to fully demonstrate the "greater good" beyond the grave. 

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gatogreensleeves

gatogreensleeves wrote:

Getting from here to proving that the evidence for superfluous animal suffering contradicts a definition of "omni-benevolence" that incorporates an afterlife is epistemologically impossible (hence Scottmax's justified reluctance). It can't, as the epistemologically challenged will never be able to fully demonstrate the "greater good" beyond the grave.

Exactly, gatogreensleeves.

Gavagai, I asked you to explain the problem of unnecessary animal suffering. I can imagine no "greater good" that could possibly require this of an omni-potent and omni-benevolent God. You have asked me to give you a reason to think this is a problem since such a situation is conceivable yet you have failed to establish how it is conceivable. A reason to believe this may be a problem is implicit in the question itself.

I can understand why you don't want to have to come up with a theodicy. But as long as you continue to avoid actual dialogue, I'm done.


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Is it impertinent to expect

Is it impertinent to expect a salvation plan without collateral damage to innocent victims from a perfect, omni-benevolent, Intelligent Designer?  Is collateral damage to nature really a necessary element in the salvation plan?  I've heard someone propose that a) perhaps the suffering in the animal kingdom is an illusion (they don't really suffer) and that b) it's so humans will learn that there are irreparable consequences to sin, requiring recompense, even when forgiven.  While the lesson may be true sometimes, there are multiple problems with this argument, especially in the context of Christian theology.  First, a in itself is not only highly implausible empirically, but would also have God bearing false witness of the animals' suffering, and worse, both a and b together would infer false consequences of sin (I'll call this the Argument from Virtual Reality LOL), since the animals don't really suffer at all, let alone eternally.  Second, b is totally contingent upon a, or it would elevate an abstract lesson above the act of actually causing suffering, which would negate itself as a good moral lesson- especially when considering that God knows other options for humans to learn this lesson without collateral damage to nature.  Last, don't forget that when Christians die, every tear will be washed away in heaven... POOF!  No more recompense necessary.  Ultimately, the lesson is meaningless with the imminent departure of the responsibility- out of sight and out of mind.  The very consequences are illusory and forgotten after a gazillion years of heavenly mantras.  Why aren't humans, who will be the only ones suffering eternally, the only ones affected by the Fall?

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scottmax wrote:Gavagai, I

scottmax wrote:
Gavagai, I asked you to explain the problem of unnecessary animal suffering. I can imagine no "greater good" that could possibly require this of an omni-potent and omni-benevolent God. You have asked me to give you a reason to think this is a problem since such a situation is conceivable yet you have failed to establish how it is conceivable. A reason to believe this may be a problem is implicit in the question itself.

Response: please provide some good reasons -- beyond what you personally have trouble "imagining" (as an atheist) --  to believe that there is suffering such that we know there can't possibly be any reason why an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, infinitely wise and omniscient being would permit that suffering.  Scott, you can't demand that a rational person explain something x when you haven't offered a good reason for thinking x exists in the first place. 

 The only support you've offered is that it seems to you (qua atheist) that suffering must be gratuitous. But why should others believe such a thing? You won't say. So you've provided a pretty flimsy basis for an argument that purports to be a serious evidential challenge to theism. You can't rightly claim I'm irrational merely because you don't have the same modal intuitions as I do.

 

Quote:
But as long as you continue to avoid actual dialogue, I'm done.

I've been giving you responses and engaging in actual dialogue the whole time. Please support the presuppositions in your questions. As long as you continue to avoid doing this, I'm done.

Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.


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Gavagai wrote:scottmax

Gavagai wrote:

scottmax wrote:
Gavagai, I asked you to explain the problem of unnecessary animal suffering. I can imagine no "greater good" that could possibly require this of an omni-potent and omni-benevolent God. You have asked me to give you a reason to think this is a problem since such a situation is conceivable yet you have failed to establish how it is conceivable. A reason to believe this may be a problem is implicit in the question itself.

Response: please provide some good reasons -- beyond what you personally have trouble "imagining" (as an atheist) --  to believe that there is suffering for which there can't possibly be any reason why an omnibenevolent would permit it.  You see Scott, you can't demand that a rational person explain something x when you haven't offered a good reason for thinking x exists in the first place. 

 The only support you've offered is that it seems to you (qua atheist) that suffering must be gratuitous. But this is a flimsy basis for an argument that purports to be a serious evidential challenge to theism. Why should others who don't share your worldview believe such a thing? You won't say. You can't claim I'm irrational merely because your atheistic worldview strips you of modal intuitions that my worldview easily accommodates.

 

With supernatural parameters, DCT, and an omnipotent God at the helm, your world view can accommodate anything that your intuition muses, because it can't substantiate modal limitations, nor identify the difference between good and evil!  Start with anything goes> end with anything goes.  What's the point?  Is there any identifiable horrific action in history that may not have been for the greater good?  Can there be/ has there ever been a qualifiable moral action or any identifiable moral progress?  Does intuition trump empiricism as the most accurate method for identification and qualification?

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Gavagai wrote: Response:

Gavagai wrote:

Response: please provide some good reasons -- beyond what you personally have trouble "imagining" (as an atheist) -- to believe that there is suffering such that we know there can't possibly be any reason why an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, infinitely wise and omniscient being would permit that suffering.

Gavagai, what possible reason could I give that you would accept? You can put up this sort of wall to any dialogue. I can assert that my name is Scott and you can say, "Yes, you believe that but please provide a good reason that I should believe that." Then I could say, "Well, it is on my birth certificate, my driver's license and my passport, and all of my friends and family call me Scott." Then you could say, "What good reason can you give that i should believe all of that?"

Unless you can demonstrate why my statement is illogical, you should address my question. Why have we had a dozen exchanges consisting of nothing other than you asserting that you don't see any reason to address my perfectly reasonable question?

So tell me, what do you think is wrong with my question? Why are you so strongly avoiding actually answering the question? How about just indulging me and taking a shot at it? Yes, it might expose you to criticism but at least we would make some forward progress.


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Quote:Gavagai, what

Quote:
Gavagai, what possible reason could I give that you would accept?

Any good reason will do. 

 

Quote:
You can put up this sort of wall to any dialogue. I can assert that my name is Scott and you can say, "Yes, you believe that but please provide a good reason that I should believe that." Then I could say, "Well, it is on my birth certificate, my driver's license and my passport, and all of my friends and family call me Scott." Then you could say, "What good reason can you give that i should believe all of that?"

Not at all. You're leaping from

(i) Gavagai wants reasons to believe a questionable claim in a very controversial argument of mine

to

(ii) Gavagai would want reasons to believe any claim whatever, no matter how obvious the claim is.

But that's ridiculous, Scott. Nothing I've said in our discussion merits your derivation of (ii) from (i), short of you misportraying my position.

Quote:

Unless you can demonstrate why my statement is illogical, you should address my question. Why have we had a dozen exchanges consisting of nothing other than you asserting that you don't see any reason to address my perfectly reasonable question?

So tell me, what do you think is wrong with my question? Why are you so strongly avoiding actually answering the question? How about just indulging me and taking a shot at it? Yes, it might expose you to criticism but at least we would make some forward progress.

 As readers can see for themselves, I directly responded to your question above by asking you to support its presupposition, much the same as you would respond to my question if I asked, "Scott, can you explain why you've stopped beating your wife?" -- you would have problems with the question's presupposition. And you would think it extremely unreasonable of me, were I to accuse you of avoiding dialogue given your failure to provide an explanation.  Your question presupposes without argument a controversial proposition that you haven't given me any good reasons to believe. That is what's wrong with your question, as I've made clear several times now.

So I have answered your question. You're saying I haven't answered it merely because you don't like the answer; the answer reveals an epistemic flaw in your position. A flaw that, as it turns out, you're not prepared to deal with. The more you avoid it by pretending that I "haven't answered" your question -- a cheap debate tactic -- the more obvious it is that you really can't adequately defend your position, Scott. So it's quite telling indeed that from one post to the next you've invented the excuse that I'm not actually engaging in dialogue with you (?). Furthermore, it's embarrassing that you're still stuck on the idea that I owe you some complicated theodicy. For several decades now, nearly all parties in the debate have agreed that there are other ways of responding to the evidential problem of evil besides inventing theodicies.  Apparently, we've left you behind.

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Gato, Please go back and

Gato,

Please go back and read the early pages of this discussion. My belief in God doesn't mean "anything goes".

Cheers,

Gavagai

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Gavagai wrote: For several

Gavagai wrote:

For several decades now, nearly all parties in the debate have agreed that there are other ways of responding to the evidential problem of evil besides inventing theodicies. Apparently, we've left you behind.

Apparently nearly all parties decided that the best response is simply to not answer and to claim that the problem doesn't exist. In that case you certainly have left me behind. When people bring up problems they perceive in my philosophy, I actually attempt to address the problem rather than asking them to give me a reason to think that the problem they brought up is a real problem.

Here is my reason: The concept of a deity that is simultaneously omni-potent and omni-benevolent is not logically consistent with unnecessary animal suffering. No one has presented a coherent explanation of how an omni-benevolent, omni-potent God can be reconciled with the problem of unnecessary animal suffering. You cannot ignore the issue by simply proposing that there might be a greater good without proposing what that greater good might be. The reason that you cannot do this is because you could use the same defense against any rediculous claim.

But feel free to continue to jeer and insult my inferior concept of logic if that seems safer than actually discussing the issue I have raised. I will not be responding to any more of this BS.


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gatogreensleeves

gatogreensleeves wrote:
 

 If there is going to be some future convergence of the world's major religions into only the irrefutable notions that consistently lie at the limits of our understanding, why give them any more credence than sociological data in the search for happiness.

Well, to be perfectly honest, I have no real objection if you do. It is my opinion that all religious inquiry can be afforded respect and favour inasmuch as this, bare minimum, in any construct that is, basically, humanist. 

 The deleterious factors of Orthodoxy are nothing new, orthodoxy is at it's best when it is a relatively small predominantly preservationist (as opposed to conservative) interest ... I might cop some flack from Christians for that but it is my opinion nonetheless. It has it's function, but that function is naturally limited by it's own faults and to me, that is a good thing. Theology is a wealth of philosophical and mystical human thought reaching through centuries of time, it cannot be replaced, really, it is what it is and God, regardless of how you see the meaning of that word, cannot be removed from his place in our world of intellectual discovery. It's not in any way irrational, to me, to concieve of God in human thought as an immovable truth, but I won't tell you how to frame it in your personal ideology.

All told, I have no problem with seeing theology as sociological data, our collective pursuit of happiness and goodness; I wouldn't add any reductionist aphorisms to that description, personally, this is millennias of thought and millions of sincere inquiring minds we are talking about, it's not nearly as mere as we could possibly paint it, but I'm quite in agreement principally.  

There was something else I was thinking, but I think it was  related to your other post so I'll have another look before posting.

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  gatogreensleeves

 

gatogreensleeves wrote:

Is it impertinent to expect a salvation plan without collateral damage to innocent victims from a perfect, omni-benevolent, Intelligent Designer?  Is collateral damage to nature really a necessary element in the salvation plan?

This is an interesting question and I wanted to make a note of it's relevance to my previous discussion with you and Tilberian, here.  There is nothing impertinent about the idea of a salvation plan without collateral damage, but there is a presupposition in there which is challenged by our advances in understanding of the natural world.  is it really collateral at all?

The major challenge in the future of metaphysical naturalism is the conception of self.  Take a piece of paper and a pen, on it write a paragraph in which you define self, just as you normally would do....  Now shred it scrunch it, find the nearest bin and toss it away because the least we know about anything fundamentally right now is, that description is either completely false or inherently misleading, there is no way purely physical to be so sure about identity as that, and by extension (an extension not many are happy conceding), you run into definitions problems in distingushing the suffering animals in the world from the person percieving them, they may well be one and the same, even, per Bohm for example, and that would mean your suffering animals are no less a part of your self than what was in the paragraph you wrote... it's not collateral, then, but instead personal and direct in the most profound sense imaginable. 

One of those awful uncomfortable possibilities raised by modern physics is it might be that, or otherwise some quantum information packet is transferred faster than light from your state to the state of your universe, scrambled, and perhaps cipher set into discrete local physical images. If you're a realist, you might even find your self preferring this option, believe it or not... it's the one that preserves objective locality, albeit by violating the central axiom of relativity law and conceding some form of supranatural causality exists... probably in consciousness itself. But at least in this sense, the suffering animals would rightly be collateral , the cause of their suffering might be some undetectable supranatural element of our own self conscious awareness, caused by our selves but still caused in the normal sense of the word. 

gatogreensleeves wrote:
 

 Ultimately, the lesson is meaningless with the imminent departure of the responsibility- out of sight and out of mind.  The very consequences are illusory and forgotten after a gazillion years of heavenly mantras.  Why aren't humans, who will be the only ones suffering eternally, the only ones affected by the Fall?

 

But that is just what I find most fascinating about the truths that science is uncovering. Extended to metaphysical and philosophical understanding they would stand to establish that the lesson is never ever meaningless, and that evil is never something that is escaped by a consciousness, it exists within the consciousness and thus must be overcome there or there is no heaven to be found.   

Either way you look at it, if consciousness causes the collapse, or if the human person and its universe are one indivisible being it amounts to the same, this self can never take the easy way out of a suffering world. If CCC the self takes the suffering world with it everywhere it goes to measure suffering, If universality then that self is a quantum packet equalling one in a suffering world. If there is an illusion at work anywhere in that, it's the illusion of the isolated self awareness that can escape its own being by some sudden magical transportation into the sky. IMO truth says otherwise. 

 

 

 

 

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scottmax wrote:Apparently

scottmax wrote:
Apparently nearly all parties decided that the best response is simply to not answer and to claim that the problem doesn't exist.

 No, Scottmax. As I just got done saying, nearly all parties agree that there are other ways of responding to the evidential argument from evil besides inventing theodicies.  Even leading atheists who advance the argument agree (e.g. Rowe, Gale, Draper, et al.) They don't think the problem doesn't exist. But apparently you know their minds better than they themselves do.

Quote:
When people bring up problems they perceive in my philosophy, I actually attempt to address the problem rather than asking them to give me a reason to think that the problem they brought up is a real problem.

Your question has been addressed head-on. I pointed out the assumption that your question relies upon and I asked you to defend that assumption. You failed to do so. So why would I accept a controversial assumption of yours for which no defense is forthcoming? That would be ridiculous.

Quote:
Here is my reason: The concept of a deity that is simultaneously omni-potent and omni-benevolent is not logically consistent with unnecessary animal suffering. No one has presented a coherent explanation of how an omni-benevolent, omni-potent God can be reconciled with the problem of unnecessary animal suffering. You cannot ignore the issue by simply proposing that there might be a greater good without proposing what that greater good might be. The reason that you cannot do this is because you could use the same defense against any rediculous claim.

You haven't yet provided good reasons why you're so confident in your knowledge that such suffering is, of necessity, totally gratuitous.  Merely repeating a claim over and over will not add plausibility to your position.

Quote:
But feel free to continue to jeer and insult my inferior concept of logic if that seems safer than actually discussing the issue I have raised. I will not be responding to any more of this BS.

I will feel free to continue pointing out the fact that you haven't developed even the faintest facility with elementary logic.  I will feel free to continue pointing out the fact that you can't make basic distinctions about the nature of logical argumentation. And I will feel free to continue pointing out the fact that you're unable to understand, and thus unwilling to grant, extremely plausible assumptions that all parties of the debate about the evidential argument from evil have accepted. I don't "insult" you because of these facts. (Far from it, I would encourage you to start studying the recent literature so you can correct your mistakes in this thread, and we can continue our exchange.)  But in light of these facts, it is difficult to take seriously your claim that you've studied the problem of evil for so long and that you know what you're talking about. And it's unfortunate that the people who you stare down your nose at and accuse of having "mental disorders" are actually miles ahead of you when it comes to logic and developing the habits of a rational, reflective thought-life. 

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gatogreensleeves wrote: Is

gatogreensleeves wrote:
Is it impertinent to expect a salvation plan without collateral damage to innocent victims from a perfect, omni-benevolent, Intelligent Designer? Is collateral damage to nature really a necessary element in the salvation plan? I've heard someone propose that a) perhaps the suffering in the animal kingdom is an illusion (they don't really suffer) and that b) it's so humans will learn that there are irreparable consequences to sin, requiring recompense, even when forgiven. While the lesson may be true sometimes, there are multiple problems with this argument, especially in the context of Christian theology. First, a in itself is not only highly implausible empirically, but would also have God bearing false witness of the animals' suffering, and worse, both a and b together would infer false consequences of sin (I'll call this the Argument from Virtual Reality LOL), since the animals don't really suffer at all, let alone eternally. Second, b is totally contingent upon a, or it would elevate an abstract lesson above the act of actually causing suffering, which would negate itself as a good moral lesson- especially when considering that God knows other options for humans to learn this lesson without collateral damage to nature. Last, don't forget that when Christians die, every tear will be washed away in heaven... POOF! No more recompense necessary. Ultimately, the lesson is meaningless with the imminent departure of the responsibility- out of sight and out of mind. The very consequences are illusory and forgotten after a gazillion years of heavenly mantras. Why aren't humans, who will be the only ones suffering eternally, the only ones affected by the Fall?

These are some excellent questions but apparently Gavagai will not be discussing this issue with us. Oh well. I can certainly understand why he would avoid this issue since it would be pretty hard if not impossible to give actual answers that we could not find logical problems with.


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Since Scottmax plainly

Since Scottmax plainly refuses to defend his assumptions from one post to the next -- thereby refusing to actually engage in rational discussion with me -- I'm left with little choice but to tentatively end my correspondence with him.  Scottmax, I was enjoying our discussion at first, and it's too bad that we've reached this impasse. I would encourage you to begin studying the relevant literature, so that we might get the chance to revisit these issues in the future. Just let me know when you're prepared to start arguing logically for the propositions you assert, rather than expecting others to believe things merely on your say-so.

In the meantime, I'd be delighted to have civil discussions with others (who don't mind employing rational argumentation when necessary). Gatogreen, I haven't had the chance to read most of your posts in this thread, but if you'd like to discuss an issue with me, I'd be happy to. Let me know which post you'd like me to respond to.

Take care,

Gavagai

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Eloise wrote: The

Eloise wrote:

The multiverse is the proverbial tree in the forest that noone hears falling. What we have in that theoretical framework is a logical reconstruction of the sound we did not hear, it is then less of a mystery to us and definitely not nothing.

Abstract things do not exist, Eloise. They just don't. We can imagine things that don't exist. We do it all the time. Slapping a label on them like "multiverse" doesn't make them exist any more than they did the moment before. The things that did not happen, did not happen. This is axiomatic, is it not? 

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The materialists believe

The materialists believe life is the way we see it, that everything is made up of atoms and molecules, as a result, a belief in something that cannot be seen, touched, smelled or placed under a microscopre is irrational.

sugoi!


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Just a ?

I noticed the topic of the conversation 7 pages ago:

Brian and Kelly: Please explain what you mean by "theism is irrational"

 Not used to forums or the such, but I wanted to see if anyone would agree that my belief in God is rational if:

 it was based on archaeological evidence that confirms information on fulfilled prophecy in the bible that was spoken of hundreds of years before the actual occurances and that could be verified today

 

or

the prophecies concerning "Messiah" such as birthplace, geneology, time of birth, etc. that Jesus fulfilled 

or

the case for the Resurrection and the "missing" body of Christ and the spread of Christianity at such a volitile time in the place it began and could be easily disproved?

 

 


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Gavagai wrote:Since

Gavagai wrote:

Since Scottmax plainly refuses to defend his assumptions from one post to the next -- thereby refusing to actually engage in rational discussion with me -- I'm left with little choice but to tentatively end my correspondence with him.  Scottmax, I was enjoying our discussion at first, and it's too bad that we've reached this impasse. I would encourage you to begin studying the relevant literature, so that we might get the chance to revisit these issues in the future. Just let me know when you're prepared to start arguing logically for the propositions you assert, rather than expecting others to believe things merely on your say-so.

In the meantime, I'd be delighted to have civil discussions with others (who don't mind employing rational argumentation when necessary). Gatogreen, I haven't had the chance to read most of your posts in this thread, but if you'd like to discuss an issue with me, I'd be happy to. Let me know which post you'd like me to respond to.

Hi Gavagai, I would love to continue in the vein of your conversation with Scottmax, if possible.  However, I am not concerned with labeling anyone “irrational” (I’m here to learn), so that should not be an element in our discussion and I question whether or not our discussion should continue in this thread.  Nor am I an experienced formal debater, but I can try to organize at least some of my concerns in the way you prefer. 

Divine attributes: You’ve said to me that, “belief in God doesn't mean "anything goes."”  Looking over these posts, I observed Scottmax’s attempt to clarify your definition of omnipotence, by proposing, “God has the power to create any desired system of reality that maintains an internal consistency”.  It was apparent to me that he was trying to set up a definition with observable consistency. You seemed reluctant to accept it unless it contained “metaphysical possibilities,” which is still a huge, ambiguous subset.  So I would ask, are miracles beyond your conception of “broadly logical possibilities,” or does God only perform miracles that are consistent with what is possible in this universe without post- creation divine intervention?  What makes a miracle a miracle?  Is the consequential glory for God based on a show of His ability to actually supersede previously established universal order or is it a show of technical advancement in a world that already allows for it?    

You explicated your definition of omnipotent (“the ability to do anything within broadly logical possibility”) with “God can't e.g. create round squares or married bachelors. These would be metaphysically impossible states of affairs.”  Although I know what you are trying to say and will concede that there are logically impossible metaphysical states of affairs, I find it interesting that we can often tickle those kinds of examples until we have: bachelors who are married to their work or we have a tube with the right dimensions to be a circle from the front and a square from the side (seen on a 2D plane).  So sometimes, a derived metaphorical possibility seems plausible in this world (actually I don't know what you would call the tube example)... What are the implications?  Probably nothing significant- just some word fun I noticed. I don't think it refutes Hume's argument against the ontological argument, since the implied definitions of the words "bachelor" and/or "married" must change in order to facilitate the metaphor.  It's fun to play with these things anyway... Back on track, you said in earlier posts, “Oftentimes disagreement over what's metaphysically possible and what's not resolves into a clash of modal intuitions”…  And later, “When it comes to modal epistemology, I think that conceivability is a firm (but fallible) guide.”  (Don’t let me take you out of context.  If these do not apply here, let me know.)  So, in order to clarify “broadly logical possibilities” further- what is firm and what is fallible, will you please make a list of all of the things you know of thus far that God can’t do (e.g. commit immoral acts, create metaphysically impossible states of affairs, etc.)?   

Now, onto the PoE concerning superfluous animal suffering…  Let’s start a new thread for this here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/atheist_vs_theist/9261

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Eloise wrote:  This is an

Eloise wrote:

 This is an interesting question and I wanted to make a note of it's relevance to my previous discussion with you and Tilberian, here.  There is nothing impertinent about the idea of a salvation plan without collateral damage, but there is a presupposition in there which is challenged by our advances in understanding of the natural world.  is it really collateral at all?

Hi Eloise, sorry I have not replied in so long, my father passed away a few weeks ago and I am dealing with that.  The problem with making animals to be mere extensions of humans in regards to culpability in Christian theism, is that there is no comparable redemption for the animals, so there is an inconsistency.  Death is not a redemption.

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash