Natural and coherent gods

Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Natural and coherent gods


Recently I’ve been thinking and discussing the idea of a god that is coherent and natural. Can a god possibly be coherent, or does the term denote incoherence by definition? I take the latter view and I'll attempt to justify this below. Obviously for something to be coherent if must be natural, but I don’t think it makes sense to talk of a natural god.

I thought I’d get other peoples ideas on this in this discussion, and also for others to critique my position.


SPACE-TIME

For something to be natural, it had to exist within a space-time. So a natural god would have exist within a space-time outside of our own i.e. a space-time within a space-time. I don have problem philosophising this idea from a naturalistic context.

If we say from a naturalistic viewpoint that the universe was an event, not an effect within some greater meta-universe, we do not need to seek a cause, so we do not need a god. And since we are not assuming our universe needs a cause/creator, we do not need to seek an cause/creator for this meta-universe.

The problem with this in a theological context is that if it is argued that our universe needs a cause (and almost all theists to some degree believe this is the case) then one special pleads by not requiring an explanation for the cause of the meta-universe. To say the meta-universe wasn’t caused by anything is also special pleading. In order to avoid the requirement for such explanations they might say that our universe doesn’t necessarily need a cause, in which case they concede that the universe could simply be a natural event, not an effect. By this point they’ve reduced the need for their god to the extent that he isn’t needed.

(The reason they often say the universe has to have a cause is because it gives them a platform from which to argue for their god. If they remove the need for a cause, they remove the need for god to explain it. Other possible jobs left over for god, such as morality, can also be explained far more parsimoniously)


A NATURAL GOD?


Lets assume that a space-time exists outside of our own, and that natural being exist in this space time.

I don’t regard anything that it natural as god. I regard natural things simply as natural things! If our space-time is within another space-time, both of which being part of nature, then obviously anything responsible for our space-time would be natural, part of nature. If you want to call this natural process ‘god’ go right ahead, but I wouldn’t actually regard it as ‘god’.

I’ll try to explain this with an analogy:

Imagine in the future humans created a mini-universe, much like our own, with beings naturally evolving in it. I wouldn’t regard us humans as god since the universe we humans created would be contingent on the laws of our own universe, and we would also be contingent on these same laws. We’ve merely produced something much like we do when we make a computer, or a car.

If we were to propose that in the space-time which is outside our own (we’ll call this space-time-X) a being or beings evolved naturally and eventually created a space-time within their own one (we’ll call this creation space-time-Y). Then, well say that beings subsequently evolved naturally in space-time-Y.

Space-time-Y is our universe, and these being in it are us.

I wouldn’t regard the beings within space-time-X as ‘god’. I would regard them as intelligent, natural being who created a space-time in which we naturally arose from. These beings would NOT have free-reign over our space-time since part of being natural is adhering to the laws of nature. A being part of nature would be a product of nature and therefore couldn’t overrule these laws. They could only do what the laws of their space-time allows them to do, thus, they and any of their ‘creations’ (include our space-time and us) would be contingent on these same rules.

In fact this ‘god’ would not even have created an actual nature to begin with! He would merely have produced something out of the existing matter and energy from within his nature, hence his creation would be exactly the same as his nature, it wouldn't be a diffrent nature, it would be part of his nature, and it would be contingent on exactly the same rules as his nature. If this wasn’t the case, if his creation was not made out of the matter and energy from his nature, it is wasn’t the same and is not bound to the same rules, then this god would have the ability to deviate from natural laws, and make something which didn't adhere to them, which would make him not natural.

Therefore, both he and his creation would be confined to the same laws, since his creation would be a product of the natural world he exists in. It wouldn’t be a new nature; it would be a creation within his nature, it would be part of his nature, and therefore part of the very same laws. In other words, absolutely EVERYTHING created by this 'god' would be part of his natural world, contingent on the laws of his nature. He wouldn’t even be able to ‘create’ natural laws, he could only do what the laws of nature which he is bound to allow him to do, and what ever he can do, it must always be part of his natural world and its laws to begin with, so it would make no sense to talk of a natural being/'god' creating something which was
different or separate from his natural world because such a being would not be natural.

So while it is certainly possible that there is a space-time within a space-time and that beings exist in both of them, I disagree that the beings are actually gods, unless you wish to call products of nature, which are confined by nature, ‘god’, in which case fine. But it certainly wouldn’t be ‘god’ in the context most people believe in and refer to, hence it would be confusing and denote far far more that it actually means. The term would merely be describing something about/within nature. If it was like any god, it would be more like the god of pantheism than anything else.

So the logical ramification of a ‘natural god’ is whittling ‘god’ down to a natural feature/being of nature, contingent on natural laws? And if this is the case, then we are essentially describing a being akin to human beings. Both human beings and this ‘natural god’ would be exactly the same:
They would both exist in nature
They would both be contingent on the laws of this nature
They would both be able to act according to how these laws allows them to act
They would both be able to create things, and their creations would be products of nature, within nature and contingent on the same laws they are.

So there is no difference.

And if one still wishes to assert a 'natural god', by what criteria do we decide a natural being is a god, with this being to still remaining natural? And why does this not apply to anything else which is natural?


If on the other hand we say a god would have to have control over nature, so he could have control over us and our nature (i.e. creating a nature different to his own - what ever that mean), then such a god wouldn’t be natural, since it would have the ability to override nature.

So the supernatural god actually makes more sense since it is a more ‘useful’ clarification of the word ‘god’ rather than a use that merely describes a natural process/being.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5492
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
I can't address all of this

I can't address all of this in one go but I would like to bring up some points.

 

Quote:

 If we say from a naturalistic viewpoint that the universe was an event, not an effect within some greater meta-universe, we do not need to seek a cause, so we do not need a god. And since we are not assuming our universe needs a cause/creator, we do not need to seek an cause/creator for this meta-universe.

 

 

I think it is human nature to seek for cause/creator. We lust for something more, for an ultimate purpose

 

Quote:

 The problem with this in a theological context is that if it is argued that our universe needs a cause (and almost all theists to some degree believe this is the case) then one special pleads by not requiring an explanation for the cause of the meta-universe. To say the meta-universe wasn’t caused by anything is also special pleading. In order to avoid the requirement for such explanations they might say that our universe doesn’t necessarily need a cause, in which case they concede that the universe could simply be a natural event, not an effect. By this point they’ve reduced the need for their god to the extent that he isn’t needed.

 

 

Just because it may not need a cause, doesn't mean it doesn't have one.

 

If a rock was on the edge of a cliff, two things can happen. The edge of the cliff can slowly erode, causing the rock to fall, or I can come by and kick the rock off the cliff. Both are an explanation as to how the rock fell off the cliff. However, one was natural the other had a cause.

 

 

Quote:

 I wouldn’t regard the beings within space-time-X as ‘god’. I would regard them as intelligent, natural being who created a space-time in which we naturally arose from. These beings would NOT have free-reign over our space-time since part of being natural is adhering to the laws of nature. A being part of nature would be a product of nature and therefore couldn’t overrule these laws. They could only do what the laws of their space-time allows them to do, thus, they and any of their ‘creations’ (include our space-time and us) would be contingent on these same rules.

 

 

 

In the multiverse theory, there are many universes each with different physics laws. I feel that they are a way to turn God's infinite potiental and consciousness into the finitely real, by limiting it to within a universe.

 

So in essence God created these universe so he can experience them. 


kmisho
kmisho's picture
Posts: 298
Joined: 2006-08-18
User is offlineOffline
I agree that a supernatural

I agree that a supernatural god makes more sense than a natural god, in terms of gods, but a supernatural god doesn't make any sense!

Quote:
I think it is human nature to seek for cause/creator. We lust for something more, for an ultimate purpose
I don't think this is natural for us at all. We do not seek creators by nature. What we have evolved to do is come up with reasons for things we see. This trait operates whether we want it to or not and is reposnible for many observational illusions and mistakes liek the man in the moon or the virgin mary on a tortilla. When we animate nature, we are doing something akin to a dog chasing a wind-blown umbrella under the mistaken impression that it's alive. This is what god is: a mistaken impression.

Quote:
In the multiverse theory, there are many universes each with different physics laws. I feel that they are a way to turn God's infinite potiental and consciousness into the finitely real, by limiting it to within a universe.
You actually have a positive belief that this is the case? You're like a deaf and dumb gazelle. You take huge leaps for no reason. Smiling


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5492
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Quote:


Quote:
Quote:

In the multiverse theory, there are many universes each with different physics laws. I feel that they are a way to turn God's infinite potiental and consciousness into the finitely real, by limiting it to within a universe.

You actually have a positive belief that this is the case? You're like a deaf and dumb gazelle. You take huge leaps for no reason. Smiling

 

The multiverse is a valid theory in physics.


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote: I

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I think it is human nature to seek for cause/creator. We lust for something more, for an ultimate purpose

But that isn’t a justification itself for the assumptions we make, the beliefs we hold and the things we desire.


I agree with what kmisho said. We seek reasons for the things we see and experience, but because we pattern seeking animals we often makes mistakes or our too quick to come to conclusions. When it comes to gods, we acknowledge we came into this world via our parents, and we see then care for us and love us, so we transport this behavioural pattern to an ultimate life-care giver: god.


Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Just because it may not need a cause, doesn't mean it doesn't have one.

But if you remove the need for a cause, you remove the need to summon a god. You’ll have conceded to the possibility that the universe could be a natural event, and this is far more parsimonious that postulating a god. So you would have to justify why you postulated a god… they this is a better explanation than the more parsimonious explanation.

 

So the ‘strongest argument’ (if we can even call it that since it is still an argument from ignorance) a theist could have is to say the universe must have a cause.


Cpt_pineapple wrote:
In the multiverse theory, there are many universes each with different physics laws.

But if god is natural, all these multiverses would have to exist within some meta-nature/space-time – the same natural realm this natural god exists in. If this is the case, a natural god could still only create what the laws of his nature (the meta-nature) allows him to create. So while he might be able to create 10 universes within his own, thus a multiverse, and ‘give’ each of these universes different laws, all of these laws would still all be part of the laws of his meta-nature to begin with. So he wouldn’t have created these law, he would have merely assigned them. He would be contingent on the laws of his nature, so everything he creates would be by definition contingent on the same laws that he is. If this was not the case, if he could create something which did not adhere to the laws of his nature, and was not part of his nature, it would mean he could deviate from the laws of his nature, this he wouldn’t be natural.

Ask yourself this: could we humans create something that wasn’t part of our nature, that wasn’t made from the matter and energy from our universe. If we could do this, we wouldn’t be natural, we could have the ability to do things and create things that violate the laws of nature. But we are natural, hence we can’t do this. Everything we do, as beings contingent on the laws of nature, must adhere to these laws.

This is no different with a natural god.

 

kmisho wrote:
I agree that a supernatural god makes more sense than a natural god, in terms of gods, but a supernatural god doesn't make any sense!

Precisely! The supernatural god is stilluseles, but at least its a more 'convenient' use of the term god. And for the theists, they do not have to deal with the problems that a natural 'god' brings with it

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


wavefreak
Theist
wavefreak's picture
Posts: 1825
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Topher wrote: And for the

Topher wrote:

And for the theists, they do not have to deal with the problems that a natural 'god' brings with it

What problems? 


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
bump

bump...


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
wavefreak wrote: Topher

wavefreak wrote:
Topher wrote:

And for the theists, they do not have to deal with the problems that a natural 'god' brings with it

What problems?

Read my post and find out!

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


wavefreak
Theist
wavefreak's picture
Posts: 1825
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Topher wrote: wavefreak

Topher wrote:
wavefreak wrote:
Topher wrote:

And for the theists, they do not have to deal with the problems that a natural 'god' brings with it

What problems?

Read my post and find out!

You claim that a natural god would be the same as a human. This is a gross oversimplification. We are the same as an amoeba using your logic. An entitity that is exponentially more intelligent than us may still be constrained by physical reality, but it would be so far beyond our capacity that for all intents and purposes it may as well be omniscient. The problems that you offer are more a sop to human ego than anything else.


LosingStreak06
Theist
LosingStreak06's picture
Posts: 768
Joined: 2007-05-22
User is offlineOffline
Quote: I don’t regard

Quote:
I don’t regard anything that it natural as god.

That, I'm afraid, is where we differ. 


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
wavefreak wrote: You claim

wavefreak wrote:

You claim that a natural god would be the same as a human. This is a gross oversimplification. We are the same as an amoeba using your logic. An entitity that is exponentially more intelligent than us may still be constrained by physical reality, but it would be so far beyond our capacity that for all intents and purposes it may as well be omniscient. The problems that you offer are more a sop to human ego than anything else.

Would there be any point to worshipping such a being?  

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


wavefreak
Theist
wavefreak's picture
Posts: 1825
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote: wavefreak

Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

You claim that a natural god would be the same as a human. This is a gross oversimplification. We are the same as an amoeba using your logic. An entitity that is exponentially more intelligent than us may still be constrained by physical reality, but it would be so far beyond our capacity that for all intents and purposes it may as well be omniscient. The problems that you offer are more a sop to human ego than anything else.

Would there be any point to worshipping such a being?

Maybe. If it would prevent it from kicking my ass?  


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote: The

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

The multiverse is a valid theory in physics.

But nothing about multiverse theory suggests or requires a god. Maybe it gives a god somewhere to be that is outside our universe, but multiverse theory certainly doesn't offer any mechanism by which a being in another universe might influence this one.

You are indeed making huge leaps from a place that is barely somewhere to nowhere at all.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
wavefreak wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

 

Would there be any point to worshipping such a being?

Maybe. If it would prevent it from kicking my ass?

I thought that might be your response. Smile

What are our normal feelings about something that poses a dire threat to our existence/happiness? Reverence? Love? No. Fear and hatred more like. But can fear and hatred be considered worship?

Perhaps the being can read our minds and will torture us unless we genuinely acheive a state of love for it. I suppose that would constitute a valid reason for learning to worship it, despite the fact that the being is most definitely evil.

I suppose it would also follow that such an evil, powerful being would enjoy leaving no clear evidence for its own existence so that it could watch in amusement as the human race tears itself apart over conflicting interpretations and beliefs.

Congratulations! We have a coherent model of a naturalistic God: Satan.

Whatever the personal advantages to me might be, however, I can't morally justify worshipping an evil being. So I'll go ahead and continue to rely on evidence-based belief only.

[MOD EDIT - fixed quotes]

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


wavefreak
Theist
wavefreak's picture
Posts: 1825
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:
Tilberian wrote:

 

Would there be any point to worshipping such a being?

Maybe. If it would prevent it from kicking my ass?

I thought that might be your response. Smile

What are our normal feelings about something that poses a dire threat to our existence/happiness? Reverence? Love? No. Fear and hatred more like. But can fear and hatred be considered worship?

Perhaps the being can read our minds and will torture us unless we genuinely acheive a state of love for it. I suppose that would constitute a valid reason for learning to worship it, despite the fact that the being is most definitely evil.

I suppose it would also follow that such an evil, powerful being would enjoy leaving no clear evidence for its own existence so that it could watch in amusement as the human race tears itself apart over conflicting interpretations and beliefs.

Congratulations! We have a coherent model of a naturalistic God: Satan.

Whatever the personal advantages to me might be, however, I can't morally justify worshipping an evil being. So I'll go ahead and continue to rely on evidence-based belief only.

 

As you seemd to have guessed, I was being a little facetious. My real point is that we have no basis for projecting our ideas of good and evil on an entity so vastly superior to us that it can pretty much do as it will. It may be the case that such an entity would be benevolent towards us. It may be the case that there is more than one such entity and one is malevolent while the other is benevolent. My point is that compared to such an entity, we are impotent. Humans hunted wolves nearly to extinction. They became protected as endangered species. Now they are making a comeback in North America. All at the whims of humanity. It is expected that god is "better" than us, but I consider it hubris to assume that. Even your objections are a projection of what you consider good and evil. Chimpanzees have been observered having 'wars'. This is fascinating to an anthropologist. But are they being evil? Perhaps god is watching us with fascination as we behave in our peculiarly human fashion.

edit:fixed spelling

[MOD EDIT - fixed quotes] 


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
wavefreak wrote: As you

wavefreak wrote:

As you seemd to have guessed, I was being a little facetious. My real point is that we have no basis for projecting our ideas of good and evil on an entity so vastly superior to us that it can pretty much do as it will. It may be the case that such an entity would be benevolent towards us. It may be the case that there is more than one such entity and one is malevolent while the other is benevolent. My point is that compared to such an entity, we are impotent. Humans hunted wolves nearly to extinction. They became protected as endangered species. Now they are making a comeback in North America. All at the whims of humanity. It is expected that god is "better" than us, but I consider it hubris to assume that. Even your objections are a projection of what you consider good and evil. Chimpanzees have been observered having 'wars'. This is fascinating to an anthropologist. But are they being evil? Perhaps god is watching us with fascination as we behave in our peculiarly human fashion.

edit:fixed spelling

Morals are morals and since they don't exist anywhere but in my head I have no problem applying them to whatever I contemplate, no matter how powerful it is. I don't consider morals to be contingent on one's power to enforce them on others. No doubt the wolves had certain opinions about us that were justified in the wolves' frame of reference.

Since I'm the one being asked to do the worshipping, I get to be the judge of whether the object to be worshipped is worthy or not.  

 

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


wavefreak
Theist
wavefreak's picture
Posts: 1825
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Tilberian wrote: Morals

Tilberian wrote:

Morals are morals and since they don't exist anywhere but in my head I have no problem applying them to whatever I contemplate, no matter how powerful it is. I don't consider morals to be contingent on one's power to enforce them on others. No doubt the wolves had certain opinions about us that were justified in the wolves' frame of reference.

Since I'm the one being asked to do the worshipping, I get to be the judge of whether the object to be worshipped is worthy or not.

 

Morals exist in my head as well. It is differing morals that is the problem. Who's morals are the ones that dictate "good" behavior? You have no compuction in assuming that your morals are superior to advocates of suicide bombings. A deity may have completely different measures of right and wrong that don't conform to our ideas and desires on the matter and consider its morals superior to ours.

 

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by worship. I don't advocate the type of worship commonly practiced by evangelicals. And since you are an atheist, you are either using the word worship pejoratively or you mean something that hasn't been made clear. 


Tilberian
Moderator
Tilberian's picture
Posts: 1118
Joined: 2006-11-27
User is offlineOffline
wavefreak wrote: Morals

wavefreak wrote:

Morals exist in my head as well. It is differing morals that is the problem. Who's morals are the ones that dictate "good" behavior? You have no compuction in assuming that your morals are superior to advocates of suicide bombings. A deity may have completely different measures of right and wrong that don't conform to our ideas and desires on the matter and consider its morals superior to ours.

Just because morals are in our heads doesn't mean that there aren't universal moral standards, at least among humans. I certainly can judge the actions of suicide bombers...they are morally repugnant, in any system of morals worth having.

The fact that a deity is not human and might not subscribe to our notions of right and wrong is a very good reason to not look to deities for moral guidance. 

wavefreak wrote:

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by worship. I don't advocate the type of worship commonly practiced by evangelicals. And since you are an atheist, you are either using the word worship pejoratively or you mean something that hasn't been made clear.

I mean worship in the Christian sense of venerating and showing respect, love, obedience, servility etc. All of which presumes that we can know what the supreme being wants and how it wants to be worshipped. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


Strafio
Strafio's picture
Posts: 1346
Joined: 2006-09-11
User is offlineOffline
Topher wrote: I wouldn’t

Topher wrote:
I wouldn’t regard the beings within space-time-X as ‘god’. I would regard them as intelligent, natural being who created a space-time in which we naturally arose from.

For many theists, this is the only requirements for something to be 'God' - to fit the characteristics of the one described in the Bible.

Quote:
These beings would NOT have free-reign over our space-time since part of being natural is adhering to the laws of nature. A being part of nature would be a product of nature and therefore couldn’t overrule these laws. They could only do what the laws of their space-time allows them to do, thus, they and any of their ‘creations’ (include our space-time and us) would be contingent on these same rules.

Not at all.
Take this analogy: a computer simulation of this world.
Both the real world and the simulation have the same rules and same laws, but the laws of the simulated world are contingent on conditions in the real world, conditions that a programmer might change. So an 'outside' being could have absolute power over our spacetime.

There are other questions like "why should we worship such a being?" but I think that the supernaturalist faces the same problems.


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
wavefreak wrote: You claim

wavefreak wrote:
You claim that a natural god would be the same as a human. This is a gross oversimplification.

The natural beings would be just like humans… exiting in nature, within a space-time, contingent on the laws of this nature... hence they could only do what these laws allows them to do… so, they wouldn’t be able to create natural laws, nor would they be able to create a nature (anything they create would be part of their nature), if they could they would be able to deviate from the laws of nature but if they are contingent on them (and they must be if they’re natural) then they wouldn’t be able to do this. 

So by what criteria do we determine what natural beings are gods and what natural beings are not? 

wavefreak wrote:
My real point is that we have no basis for projecting our ideas of good and evil on an entity so vastly superior to us that it can pretty much do as it will.

But the point is it couldn’t do as it will, and it wouldn’t be different that us.
Anything this being creates would be contingent on the laws of his nature; it would be part of his nature. If we are his creation we a part of his nature contingent on the same laws. If we are not part of his nature and not contingent on the laws of his nature this being would have the ability to create and do things which do not adhere to the laws which, as a natural being, he would be contingent on, as such, he wouldn’t be natural.

 

wavefreak wrote:
It may be the case that such an entity would be benevolent towards us. It may be the case that there is more than one such entity and one is malevolent while the other is benevolent.

You assume this being or beings would be watching over us and have any requirements of us. Maybe it doesn’t care what we do, maybe it doesn’t even watch over us.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Strafio wrote: For many

Strafio wrote:
For many theists, this is the only requirements for something to be 'God' - to fit the characteristics of the one described in the Bible.

Which ones – the human characterises which have been projected onto god (emotion, love, jealousy, ‘just’, hate etc) or the supernatural negative ‘characterises’ of omnipotence and omniscience etc etc?

If it is the former then it means the theist will regard anyone with human characteristics as god! 

If it is the latter then it mean this god is supernatural.

Strafio wrote:
Take this analogy: a computer simulation of this world.
Both the real world and the simulation have the same rules and same laws, but the laws of the simulated world are contingent on conditions in the real world, conditions that a programmer might change.

No, he couldn’t. If he has the ability to change the laws of nature which he exists in, he wouldn’t be natural. If he is natural, he couldn’t change them. If he can only work within these laws, how is he god and other natural beings not?


Strafio wrote:
So an 'outside' being could have absolute power over our spacetime.

No, it couldn’t. Our space-time would be a product of and contingent on, the same laws of nature that this being is. As a natural being he could only create in the same manner that we create things. His power would be akin to the power we have over our creations, such as the power we have over a computer, or a car. The laws we are contingent on and the laws that our creations are contingent on are exactly the same. 

The bottom line is whether we wish to call this natural being a god. I wouldn’t for the reasons I’ve given.

Strafio wrote:
There are other questions like "why should we worship such a being?" but I think that the supernaturalist faces the same problems.

True in a sense, but if the god in question is an actual creator god, a god that actually created nature, created ever parameter of existence, decided everything and has the ability to make any chances he wants to and is not contingent on anything, then I can see the awe that people may and do have at this idea.

I don’t see anything special in a being that is no different to us.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:

Quote:
I don’t regard anything that it natural as god.

That, I'm afraid, is where we differ.

May I ask why you would?

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Strafio
Strafio's picture
Posts: 1346
Joined: 2006-09-11
User is offlineOffline
What would make God

What would make God different to us is that he has powers over all the laws of 'our' universe. It's like you said with the computer.
Most people's conception of God is the ultimate power over our physical universe. A programmer who could control any aspect of 'the matrix' would have this power.

Basically, everything we currently consider to be a law of physics would be under his control. And yes, we could be 'God' to computer game characters, hence the genre 'God sim'.
This naturalisation might cause theological clashes, but let's see how it goes...

As to God's personality, the only similarity would be that it could be described in naturalistic terms - other than that it could be completely different to a normal person.


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Strafio wrote:

Strafio wrote:
What would make God different to us is that he has powers over all the laws of 'our' universe.

By he wouldn’t have powers over our laws, since our laws are the same as his laws. If he is natural he cannot have power over his laws, ergo he cannot have power over ours.

Strafio wrote:
Most people's conception of God is the ultimate power over our physical universe. A programmer who could control any aspect of 'the matrix' would have this power.

But he couldn’t control any aspect of the ‘matrix’ since it is a product of the natural world he exits in, and it is contingent on the same laws he is, hence it is the same.

Strafio wrote:
Basically, everything we currently consider to be a law of physics would be under his control.

But they wouldn’t. Our laws would be the same as the laws which he is contingent on.

Ask yourself this: can we humans create something which does not adhere to the laws of nature which we exist in?

Then ask: can this ‘god’ create something which does not adhere to the laws of nature which he exist in?

If yes, he isn’t natural.
If no, then his creation must adhere to the same laws he is under. So he couldn’t control them.

Strafio wrote:
As to God's personality, the only similarity would be that it could be described in naturalistic terms - other than that it could be completely different to a normal person.

I disagree.

This ‘god’ and humans would both be natural.
This ‘god’ and humans would both be products of nature.
This ‘god’ and humans would both be contingent on the laws of nature (our laws would be contingent on his laws, hence he wouldn’t control them.)

1) If this is not the case, this being would not be natural.
2) Based on what I described above, how is this being any different from humans.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Strafio
Strafio's picture
Posts: 1346
Joined: 2006-09-11
User is offlineOffline
Our will is contingent on

Our will is contingent on the laws of nature.
Does that mean that eating an apple isn't contingent on my will, that it's just a cause of nature?

Think of it like this:
Laws in God's Universe --> God's will under those laws --> God's creation within those laws --> Our universe with it's laws
To use a straight analogy, the physics of a computer game is contingent on the will of the programmer. Is there any reason why the laws of the computer game must be the same as our laws, because last time I looked Mario wasn't an accurate simulation!

Everything that we consider natural law, that physics discovers, these are all conditions that would be changeable under God's will. I'm not sure where this "our laws are the same as his laws from" or "our laws are contingent on his laws so he doesn't control them" come from. Either way, I've refuted both of them in this post.


Topher
Topher's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Strafio wrote: Think of it

Strafio wrote:
Think of it like this:
Laws in God's Universe --> God's will under those laws --> God's creation within those laws --> Our universe with it's laws

The point is god can only do what the laws of nature allows him to do and thus anything he creates will neccesarily be contingent on these same laws. Our laws are not different since our laws would have to be allowed according to the laws that this ‘god’ is contingent on to begin with.

This beings ‘will’ doesn’t change anything. Humans also have ‘will’. There is no different to humans and this supposed god. 

Strafio wrote:
To use a straight analogy, the physics of a computer game is contingent on the will of the programmer. Is there any reason why the laws of the computer game must be the same as our laws, because last time I looked Mario wasn't an accurate simulation!

This analogy doesn’t work.

Firstly, the video game would not be physical it would be virtual. It would only exist in a computer and this computer is contingent on the laws of nature.

Secondly, when we make a video game we are not making conscious beings so there is no comparison to creating a universe in which natural conscious beings naturally evolve.

If god = making a video game then humans are already gods. 

Strafio wrote:
Everything that we consider natural law, that physics discovers, these are all conditions that would be changeable under God's will.

No, they wouldn’t. Your video games analogy doesn’t work. If you are referring to this ‘god’ creating an actual physical world with natural conscious beings then:

Ask yourself this: can we humans create something which does not adhere to the laws of nature which we exist in?

Then ask: can this ‘god’ create something which does not adhere to the laws of nature which he exist in?

If yes, he isn’t natural.
If no, then his creation must adhere to the same laws he is under. So he couldn’t control them.

Strafio wrote:
I'm not sure where this "our laws are the same as his laws from" or "our laws are contingent on his laws so he doesn't control them" come from.

I’ve explain why. You didn’t even deal with the questions in which this problem was raised (see above).

Anything a natural being creates is necessarily contingent on the laws of nature for it would be a product of this nature. If it is a product of this nature how can it deviate from its laws i.e. how can the laws be different/not be contingent on them? They can’t.

 

Strafio wrote:
Either way, I've refuted both of them in this post.

No, you didn’t. Video game analogies fail for the reason I explained above.



The issue is not whether this being is any different than humans since it clearly isn’t.

The issue is whether you wish to call such a being ‘god’ (which is a subjective matter), although it would be a special plead to say this being is god and not humans.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


Strafio
Strafio's picture
Posts: 1346
Joined: 2006-09-11
User is offlineOffline
When I talk about the laws

When I talk about the laws of 'our' universe, I'm talking about the laws of the simulation. These are the laws that we currently consider to be the laws of physics. And yes, they would be subject to God's will.

I've already conceded that we can be God's in relation to computer game characters. The God of the Bible would be more significant as he would be the God in relation to us.