The Many Things God Hasn't Done

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The Many Things God Hasn't Done

No doubt there's some important stuff I'll have missed; feel free to add to the list as you see fit:

 

God did not create the universe

Our universe was formed via the expansion of a singularity and subsequent formation of structures by hydrogen atoms through gravitational attraction. A magical deity adds nothing to the known explanation.

 

God did not create the solar system or the Earth

Our sun was formed by the particle clouds left behind from previous stars, and our planet (as well as every other planet in the solar system) formed from an accretion disk surrounding our sun.

 

God did not create life on Earth

Life on Earth was formed through a chemical evolutionary process known as 'abiogenesis' (not to be confused with modern evolutionary science, dealing with the propagation of alleles through a population).

 

God did not create homo sapiens

Homo sapiens evolved along the primate branch of the genetic tree. We are simply the 'latest model' of great apes.

 

God did not give us 'souls' or 'free will'

Human beings are conscious and self-aware via their brains. An extra, magical source for our intelligence adds nothing to the known explanation.

 

God has yet to answer a prayer

Under controlled conditions, when a request is made via prayer for something unambiguous, nothing ever happens.

 

God did not provide us with accurate insight into the mechanics the universe he supposedly was somehow involved in erecting

None of the mythological texts supposedly divined into existence by God reflect reality.

 

God did not talk to you last night

You can kid yourself and your choir all you like. We both know it didn't happen.

 

God did not send his Holy Spirit through you

See above.

 

God did not invent morality

Morality was a trait favored by natural selection, as it encourages population growth & stability.

 

 

So then:

What the Hell did God do that is apparently so obvious to you? All of the things traditionally attributed to God are mis-attributions; it's just outright wrong to say that magic was somehow necessary to make the universe, Earth, people, etc. We also both know that you're being dishonest when you claim that a prayer was magically answered or that God manifested for you.

So: where does God come into it?

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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BobSpence1 wrote:I

BobSpence1 wrote:
I personally never used the word 'ontological'. Another poster did.

Yeah, that was me.

I'd heard about almost exactly that same argument being called the 'ontological argument,' and yes, that is what it's been called.

It's also been called 'circular' and with good reason.

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BobSpence1 wrote:I

BobSpence1 wrote:

I personally never used the word 'ontological'. Another poster did. I was not really trying to 'refute' it - it and the concepts it employs don't constitute anything close enough to a coherent set of statements to be worth calling an 'argument'.

'Greatest conceivable x' in the proper, meaningful, ie non-metaphysical sense, does NOT imply that x must be perfect, self-sufficient, nor that it or its ingredients are somehow 'greater' or 'more perfect' than any other conceivable entity. These are all egregious additions to the concept of greater or greatest or perfect that contribute only to a totally obscure form of argument that serves only to disguise that fact that it is logically empty of substance.

The only thing that is 'necessary' for existence as we know it is the most minimal possible energy field - we can in principle show that all else we know of can arise from this without violating any established natural laws. To insist that anything else is 'necessary' is pure empty assertion. 'Science' is the only approach to gaining insight into the nature of reality that we are justified in having any degree of confidence in, based on its 'track record'. Anything else remains in the realm of speculation, or worse, empty word play, IOW most of philosophy and metaphysics.

You obviously deeply disagree, and I suspect from your obvious deep commitment to the 'metaphysical' concepts you use, that any attempt to further discuss these issues between us would be futile.

 

When what you bring to the table includes the absurdity of the "greatest conceivable ice cream," then yes, it is reasonable to assume that what you are bringing to the discussion is a refutation of an argument that you believed I was making but that I was not making. Whether or not you believe it to be an argument does not change that fact that it *is* an argument.

"Greatest conceivable X" DOES imply that x must be perfect and self-sufficient, since that is essentially a tautology.  There really is no other context to use "great" other than the colloquial context whereby humans casually describe things like their favorite artist or food (there's also an uncommon pejorative usage).  We do not look to natural science to establish a standard of greatness anymore than we look to it to tell us whether or not a particular painting is beautiful.

Your last paragraph demonstrates a total misunderstanding of the concept of "necessity." An energy field is not necessary.  The existence of a physical energy field is a contingent existence which is extrapolated only from empirical observation and you could conceive of possible worlds without any such energy field.  

Natural science is great (there's that word again!) in its own sphere but I would say that it affects about 10% of our actual experience.  When it comes to the large important spheres of life, I would say that what natural science presents becomes less impressive and, in some cases, highly dangerous.  Natural science needs to be natural science and not trespass into territories where it does not belong, much like theology should not trespass in the territory of science.  

 

 


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BostonRedSox wrote:jcgadfly

BostonRedSox wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

And any "god " is an imperfect entity for the exact reasons you cited.

God is ontologically dependent on milk and eggs?

In a manner of speaking, yes. A perfect God needs perfect components.

Defining God as "the greatest conceivable being" depends on the varied and imperfect conceptions of humans. the only being that could conceive of a perfect God in the manner you describe is a perfect human. No such being exists.

I thought you weren't using an ontological argument.

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jcgadfly wrote:In a manner

jcgadfly wrote:

In a manner of speaking, yes. A perfect God needs perfect components.

Defining God as "the greatest conceivable being" depends on the varied and imperfect conceptions of humans. the only being that could conceive of a perfect God in the manner you describe is a perfect human. No such being exists.

I thought you weren't using an ontological argument.

You are confusing a person's theoretical understanding of "God" with someone actually comprehending the nature of God.  Two different things.

The nature of God cannot be known by a finite mind.  That is a general tenet in most of monotheism.  But that does not mean we cannot flesh it out conceptually.  


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BostonRedSox wrote:jcgadfly

BostonRedSox wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

In a manner of speaking, yes. A perfect God needs perfect components.

Defining God as "the greatest conceivable being" depends on the varied and imperfect conceptions of humans. the only being that could conceive of a perfect God in the manner you describe is a perfect human. No such being exists.

I thought you weren't using an ontological argument.

You are confusing a person's theoretical understanding of "God" with someone actually comprehending the nature of God.  Two different things.

The nature of God cannot be known by a finite mind.  That is a general tenet in most of monotheism.  But that does not mean we cannot flesh it out conceptually.  

But our ability to conceive things is still going to be limited. Any such 'fleshing out' is still going to purely speculative, and cannot cover all possible conceptual possibilities. The idea that something can be conceived as possible does not make it actually possible. since our knowledge of what makes something actually consistent and possible is inevitably incomplete.

We can see an example of such limitation, as demonstrated by theories like Quantum Mechanics, where the underlying mechanism or nature still defies our ability to conceive it, despite our ability to formulate mathematical descriptions which accurately model the behavior of particles using the theory. Massive amounts of observation and experiment demonstrate that the effects exist, but conceptually we have no clear idea of what is actually happening. Conceptually we would have thought it was not possible, indeed this is how initial proposals of these ideas were regarded.

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BobSpence1 wrote:But our

BobSpence1 wrote:

But our ability to conceive things is still going to be limited. Any such 'fleshing out' is still going to purely speculative, and cannot cover all possible conceptual possibilities. The idea that something can be conceived as possible does not make it actually possible. since our knowledge of what makes something actually consistent and possible is inevitably incomplete.

We can see an example of such limitation, as demonstrated by theories like Quantum Mechanics, where the underlying mechanism or nature still defies our ability to conceive it, despite our ability to formulate mathematical descriptions which accurately model the behavior of particles using the theory. Massive amounts of observation and experiment demonstrate that the effects exist, but conceptually we have no clear idea of what is actually happening. Conceptually we would have thought it was not possible, indeed this is how initial proposals of these ideas were regarded.

There are different levels of "possibility."  For example, you could say that it is impossible for a human to sprout wings and fly.  This is an impossibility given the current state of our physicality.  Yet there are conditions that a knowledgeable biologist could cite which would have allowed human beings to have evolve in such a way and insofar that this could have been the case or could be the case given certain conditions, it is therefore a logical possibility that humans can sprout wings and fly.  Then there are ideas such as the squared circle or the unmarried bachelor.  These are impossible in accordance with the law of non-contradiction. 

To presuppose that the parameters we use to measure possibility are incomplete is speculative at best.  You could not know this to be the case unless you were aware of other available options, which would thereby contradict your original assertion that our faculties for conceivability are inadequate since you yourself are aware of the other options.  I would grant that this may be the case, but I could not put that forth as a positive claim anymore than you could tell me that you know that God does not exist.

We can understand what God is by definition, which is what I mean when I say that we can flesh out the concept.  What we cannot do is understand the nature, that is to say, understand the qualitative what-it's-like of such a being because such an idea transcends anything that we have ever experienced in the corporeal world.  It would be like asking a blind person to describe the color red.  This person could tell you that red is that which has a wavelength of 625 nm and a frequency of 480 THz, yet that person is still lacking a specific knowledge regarding the actual nature of red.

 

 


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I'd like to take this time

I'd like to take this time to state a few facts.

God didn't do shit. I did it all. He asked "Let there be light" and I did a damn good job at it.

I even made the world flat per his request. I had to change it though. The water kept falling off...

Just to reiterate, God didn't do those things because I did those things.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

The moral: When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
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Quote:But it is a moot point

Quote:
But it is a moot point because I *agree* that the ontological argument is false.

Then you've just admitted that your argument is false because I know what the ontological argument is, and your argument is the ontological argument. It is a priori, and it argues that "god" necessarily exists simply because it is the greatest conceivable thing, as if claiming that an entity possessing a trait that necessitates its existence proves that it exists or that characteristics like power and wisdom have quantifiable, objective value.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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BostonRedSox wrote:jcgadfly

BostonRedSox wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

In a manner of speaking, yes. A perfect God needs perfect components.

Defining God as "the greatest conceivable being" depends on the varied and imperfect conceptions of humans. the only being that could conceive of a perfect God in the manner you describe is a perfect human. No such being exists.

I thought you weren't using an ontological argument.

You are confusing a person's theoretical understanding of "God" with someone actually comprehending the nature of God.  Two different things.

The nature of God cannot be known by a finite mind.  That is a general tenet in most of monotheism.  But that does not mean we cannot flesh it out conceptually.  

You're the one who define God within the limits of conception. I and others just called you on it.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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jcgadfly wrote:You're the

jcgadfly wrote:

You're the one who define God within the limits of conception. I and others just called you on it.

You are confused.  If you do not understand someone's position, you really should ask for clarification instead of just responding with presuppositions in tact and creating a straw-man. Moreover, it would be best not to invoke "others" into agreeing with you, as that only serves to make them look bad.

"Greatest conceivable being" does not mean "the greatest being that a human is able to conceive of."  "Greatest conceivable being" means "the greatest being that can possibly be conceived of within the parameters of possibility itself."  

This is *nothing* to do with human ability.  Zilch.  Zip.  Nada.  Understand?  God is defined within the limits of the logical absolutes, not within the limits of human ability.  

 

 


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BostonRedSox wrote:jcgadfly

BostonRedSox wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

You're the one who define God within the limits of conception. I and others just called you on it.

You are confused.  If you do not understand someone's position, you really should ask for clarification instead of just responding with presuppositions in tact and creating a straw-man. Moreover, it would be best not to invoke "others" into agreeing with you, as that only serves to make them look bad.

"Greatest conceivable being" does not mean "the greatest being that a human is able to conceive of."  "Greatest conceivable being" means "the greatest being that can possibly be conceived of within the parameters of possibility itself."  

This is *nothing* to do with human ability.  Zilch.  Zip.  Nada.  Understand?  God is defined within the limits of the logical absolutes, not within the limits of human ability.  

 

 

So you want to have a conceivable being without the means of its conception? How can you have a God concept without those who created him/her/it?

Unless, of course, your God is no more an unprovable hypothesis? Ok, no problem. I and the others here don't need to slap your argument around - you're doing it yourself.

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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BostonRedSox wrote:jcgadfly

BostonRedSox wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

You're the one who define God within the limits of conception. I and others just called you on it.

You are confused.  If you do not understand someone's position, you really should ask for clarification instead of just responding with presuppositions in tact and creating a straw-man. Moreover, it would be best not to invoke "others" into agreeing with you, as that only serves to make them look bad.

"Greatest conceivable being" does not mean "the greatest being that a human can possibly conceive of."  "Greatest conceivable being" means "the greatest being that can possibly be conceived of within the parameters of possibility itself."  

This is *nothing* to do with human ability.  Zilch.  Zip.  Nada.  Understand?  God is defined within the limits of the logical absolutes, not within the limits of human understanding.  

Fair enough. I think it would have been clearer to simply say 'possible' not 'conceivable'. Don't use 'conceivable', it does at the very least strongly imply 'within the limits of human imagination'.

However, logic just eliminates the intrinsically self-contradictory concepts of a being. It does not take into account other constraints which may be inherent in fundamental reality itself, the equivalent at this level to the 'laws of physics', and principles like the laws of thermodynamics, in our universe. We do not know these, so the argument cannot be definitive.

And 'great' does not 'imply that x must be perfect and self-sufficient', in any but the peculiar context where this sort of theological/metaphysical argument is used. Those extra assumptions ensure that the argument will point to God as pre-conceived, turning it into a circular argument. The basic meaning in terms of relative magnitude of some attribute is the way it used in virtually every serious discipline, not just 'colloquially'.

 

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

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

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jcgadfly wrote:So you want

jcgadfly wrote:

So you want to have a conceivable being without the means of its conception? How can you have a God concept without those who created him/her/it?

Unless, of course, your God is no more an unprovable hypothesis? Ok, no problem. I and the others here don't need to slap your argument around - you're doing it yourself.

I'm not sure I understand your question.

If you are asking how the idea of God can exist without a thinker, I would say that it cannot.  Concepts are of the mind and cannot exist without a mind.  But there are concepts and then there are the objects to which those concepts refer.  I am not talking about the idea of God.  I am talking about God himself, i.e. the greatest being that can possibly be conceived of within the parameters of logic.  The statement "greatest conceivable being" refers to a non-conceptual entity.  Even if a finite mind *never* existed, this would still hold true about this being.


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

BostonRedSox wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

You're the one who define God within the limits of conception. I and others just called you on it.

You are confused.  If you do not understand someone's position, you really should ask for clarification instead of just responding with presuppositions in tact and creating a straw-man. Moreover, it would be best not to invoke "others" into agreeing with you, as that only serves to make them look bad.

"Greatest conceivable being" does not mean "the greatest being that a human can possibly conceive of."  "Greatest conceivable being" means "the greatest being that can possibly be conceived of within the parameters of possibility itself."  

This is *nothing* to do with human ability.  Zilch.  Zip.  Nada.  Understand?  God is defined within the limits of the logical absolutes, not within the limits of human understanding.  

Fair enough. I think it would have been clearer to simply say 'possible' not 'conceivable'. Don't use 'conceivable', it does at the very least strongly imply 'within the limits of human imagination'.

However, logic just eliminates the intrinsically self-contradictory concepts of a being. It does not take into account other constraints which may be inherent in fundamental reality itself, the equivalent at this level to the 'laws of physics', and principles like the laws of thermodynamics, in our universe. We do not know these, so the argument cannot be definitive.

And 'great' does not 'imply that x must be perfect and self-sufficient', in any but the peculiar context where this sort of theological/metaphysical argument is used. Those extra assumptions ensure that the argument will point to God as pre-conceived, turning it into a circular argument. The basic meaning in terms of relative magnitude of some attribute is the way it used in virtually every serious discipline, not just 'colloquially'.

Once again, if there is any confusion on my usage of terms, then a simple request for clarification will suffice.  I will say that unlike jcgadfly, you do appear to be highly educated in your area and I do respect that (whereas I would presume that jcgadfly is a high school kid who is trying to join in a conversation with the grown-ups.) 

Logic partakes of three fundamental principles:  (1) Law of identity, (2) Law of non-contradiction, (3) Law of excluded middle.  These three principles are the grounds for all logical systems (propositional logic, predicate logic, syllogistic logic, etc.) and for rational discourse in general.  Which of these principles are violated by the postulate of a being which is that than which nothing greater can be thought?  Please be specific.  

Natural scientific laws are a non-issue when we are talking about someone who, in theory, created the universe and would have thus not used any such laws to do it.  Moreover, scientific laws by their very nature are inductive and therefore contingent.  Not to mention that one would have to presume that the universe is rational to begin with and accounting for such rationality would require you to go beyond what you've learned in your respective field, but that's another issue altogether.

Self-sufficiency is a necessary implication of "greatest conceivable being" because insofar that nothing can be an instrument of its own creation, such a being would require its potentiality to be actualized by a being other than itself, which means that this "great" being lacks a positive quality and therefore could possibly be greater than s/he already is. Only a being or a collection of beings greater than the greatest conceivable being could actualize such a being, which would contradict the very idea.  To falsify this, you would have to demonstrate to me an entity which, at one point, is missing a quality but gives that quality to itself without using any external device.  

Perfection is part of the definition, essentially making the statement "The greatest conceivable being is perfect" a tautology.


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BostonRedSox

BostonRedSox wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

BostonRedSox wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

You're the one who define God within the limits of conception. I and others just called you on it.

You are confused.  If you do not understand someone's position, you really should ask for clarification instead of just responding with presuppositions in tact and creating a straw-man. Moreover, it would be best not to invoke "others" into agreeing with you, as that only serves to make them look bad.

"Greatest conceivable being" does not mean "the greatest being that a human can possibly conceive of."  "Greatest conceivable being" means "the greatest being that can possibly be conceived of within the parameters of possibility itself."  

This is *nothing* to do with human ability.  Zilch.  Zip.  Nada.  Understand?  God is defined within the limits of the logical absolutes, not within the limits of human understanding.  

Fair enough. I think it would have been clearer to simply say 'possible' not 'conceivable'. Don't use 'conceivable', it does at the very least strongly imply 'within the limits of human imagination'.

However, logic just eliminates the intrinsically self-contradictory concepts of a being. It does not take into account other constraints which may be inherent in fundamental reality itself, the equivalent at this level to the 'laws of physics', and principles like the laws of thermodynamics, in our universe. We do not know these, so the argument cannot be definitive.

And 'great' does not 'imply that x must be perfect and self-sufficient', in any but the peculiar context where this sort of theological/metaphysical argument is used. Those extra assumptions ensure that the argument will point to God as pre-conceived, turning it into a circular argument. The basic meaning in terms of relative magnitude of some attribute is the way it used in virtually every serious discipline, not just 'colloquially'.

Once again, if there is any confusion on my usage of terms, then a simple request for clarification will suffice.  I will say that unlike jcgadfly, you do appear to be highly educated in your area and I do respect that (whereas I would presume that jcgadfly is a high school kid who is trying to join in a conversation with the grown-ups.) 

Logic partakes of three fundamental principles:  (1) Law of identity, (2) Law of non-contradiction, (3) Law of excluded middle.  These three principles are the grounds for all logical systems (propositional logic, predicate logic, syllogistic logic, etc.) and for rational discourse in general.  Which of these principles are violated by the postulate of a being which is that than which nothing greater can be thought?  Please be specific.

I did not say that it violated any logical principles. I was trying to point out that logic by itself is not necessarily sufficient to establish that some concept is actually possible in other than a purely conceptual sense. It is not adequate to define what is possible in our universe, there do seem to be these fundamental laws I referred to which further constrain things, but alternative sets of physical laws are at least conceivable, if not necessarily possible. IOW I was suggesting that there may well be constraints at the level of ultimate reality analogous to the fundamental principles we seem to see in our universe.

It is interesting (and refreshing) that you consider in this argument that logic is a fundamental that even a God must be constrained by those principles, which is not the case with quite a number of Theists, who consider God is responsible for logic itself.

I am suggesting that we cannot exclude the possibility that there are other constraints at this ultimate level we are not aware of, except perhaps as they manifest themselves as constraints on possible 'laws of physics'. Postulating beings with infinite attributes of some kinds may well be problematic in these terms, for example.

Quote:

Natural scientific laws are a non-issue when we are talking about someone who, in theory, created the universe and would have thus not used any such laws to do it.  Moreover, scientific laws by their very nature are inductive and therefore contingent.  Not to mention that one would have to presume that the universe is rational to begin with and accounting for such rationality would require you to go beyond what you've learned in your respective field, but that's another issue altogether.

I think this is covered in my response to the previous paragraph. Any specific structured entity, sentient or otherwise, seems to need some constraints beyond logic per se. The nature of such constraints in any particular context will be inductively understood, I agree, and it will be contingent, but the existence of some minimum set of structured constraints in addition to the principles of logic is not necessarily contingent.

Quote:

Self-sufficiency is a necessary implication of "greatest conceivable being" because insofar that nothing can be an instrument of its own creation, such a being would require its potentiality to be actualized by a being other than itself, which means that this "great" being lacks a positive quality and therefore could possibly be greater than s/he already is. Only a being or a collection of beings greater than the greatest conceivable being could actualize such a being, which would contradict the very idea.  To falsify this, you would have to demonstrate to me an entity which, at one point, is missing a quality but gives that quality to itself without using any external device.  

Perfection is part of the definition, essentially making the statement "The greatest conceivable being is perfect" a tautology.

I agree that that last statement is a tautology - I would go further and say the idea of 'perfection' is NOT a useful as an abstract attribute, it really only acquires meaning in conjunction with some specific ideal standard. So I still maintain that the attribute of 'perfection' is not a meaningful necessary requirement for 'greatest' - it is redundant at best.

I think there is an unjustified but common intuitive assumption displayed here, namely that any entity can only be created or 'actualized' by something greater than itself. This simply is not necessarily so. Nothing can create itself, so any entity must have either always existed, or come into existence spontaneously. 

It is arguable that a being that required some other being to contribute to its actualization is lesser that one which didn't, but once you drop the assumption that what contributes to an entity's actualization must be greater than the entity itself, this does not necessarily follow. After all, the totality of what contributes to any entity coming to exist includes the laws of logic, and any other constraints or 'laws' I suggested may be required, are not 'greater' in a general sense than the entity, they are not even in the same category. 'Creation' only requires some pre-existing structuring constraints, and an element of randomness to allow the emergence of something not purely determined by pre-existing states or conditions, plus the availability of some enabling 'potentiality', what we would refer to as 'energy' in our universe. In this discussion I am using what I conceive of as one expression of those ultimate principles which are additional to, but consistent with, logic.

 

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

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

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

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


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BobSpence1 wrote:I did not

BobSpence1 wrote:

I did not say that it violated any logical principles. I was trying to point out that logic by itself is not necessarily sufficient to establish that some concept is actually possible in other than a purely conceptual sense. It is not adequate to define what is possible in our universe, there do seem to be these fundamental laws I referred to which further constrain things, but alternative sets of physical laws are at least conceivable, if not necessarily possible. IOW I was suggesting that there may well be constraints at the level of ultimate reality analogous to the fundamental principles we seem to see in our universe.

Once again, we can talk about "possibility" on two levels.  For example, I can say with 100% certainty that a squared circle is impossible.  This accords with the law of non-contradiction.  But are dragons impossible?  On a biological level, yes.  Given the current anatomy and physiology of lizards, none of them can breath fire.  In that respect, if you were to say that "dragons are possible" on the level of the current state of affairs, you would be wrong and you could not rely on logical principles alone.  But is there an answer to the question, "What would have to be true in order for lizards to be able to breath fire?" Moreover, if we are unable to answer the question, does it necessarily follow that dragons are impossible?  Or perhaps our knowledge of natural science has not advanced enough to know the answer?  Either way, the possibility of the truth of certain propositions have to be evaluated in certain ways.  You would not evaluate the possibility of a dragon in the same way that you would evaluate the possibility of God, since God by his very nature will not comport with the scientific method.  It is important to discern between scientific possibilities and logical possibilities.  You seem to be intermingling the two.  Either way, I am in agreement that you cannot extrapolate actuality from possibility or potentiality. That is not what I'm trying to bring to the table.

The Abrahamic worldview isn't so much that God is *constrained* by logic, but that God is consistent with his own nature and that the logical principles are grounded upon his divine intellect.  I do not know how familiar you are with the TAG argument, but the idea is that logical absolutes are conceptual by nature and cannot be dependent on finite minds.  God is responsible for logic insofar that it is attributed to him, yet he does not invent it or author it.  It is part of his nature.

Beyond the three logical principles that I've mentioned, I do not really know of any sort of "constraint" that could be regarded as necessary.  

The point is that nothing can give itself that which it does not have.  I'm not saying that, for instance, that my mother is at a greater level of sentience than I am.  I'm saying that my mother, together with *millions* of other external factors, contributed to the my being and aspects of my being.  When you take all of these factors and add them together, then that does accord with the principle that I've mentioned.  


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BostonRedSox

BostonRedSox wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I did not say that it violated any logical principles. I was trying to point out that logic by itself is not necessarily sufficient to establish that some concept is actually possible in other than a purely conceptual sense. It is not adequate to define what is possible in our universe, there do seem to be these fundamental laws I referred to which further constrain things, but alternative sets of physical laws are at least conceivable, if not necessarily possible. IOW I was suggesting that there may well be constraints at the level of ultimate reality analogous to the fundamental principles we seem to see in our universe.

Once again, we can talk about "possibility" on two levels.  For example, I can say with 100% certainty that a squared circle is impossible.  This accords with the law of non-contradiction.  But are dragons impossible?  On a biological level, yes.  Given the current anatomy and physiology of lizards, none of them can breath fire.  In that respect, if you were to say that "dragons are possible" on the level of the current state of affairs, you would be wrong and you could not rely on logical principles alone.  But is there an answer to the question, "What would have to be true in order for lizards to be able to breath fire?" Moreover, if we are unable to answer the question, does it necessarily follow that dragons are impossible?  Or perhaps our knowledge of natural science has not advanced enough to know the answer?  Either way, the possibility of the truth of certain propositions have to be evaluated in certain ways.  You would not evaluate the possibility of a dragon in the same way that you would evaluate the possibility of God, since God by his very nature will not comport with the scientific method.  It is important to discern between scientific possibilities and logical possibilities.  You seem to be intermingling the two.  Either way, I am in agreement that you cannot extrapolate actuality from possibility or potentiality. That is not what I'm trying to bring to the table.

The Abrahamic worldview isn't so much that God is *constrained* by logic, but that God is consistent with his own nature and that the logical principles are grounded upon his divine intellect.  I do not know how familiar you are with the TAG argument, but the idea is that logical absolutes are conceptual by nature and cannot be dependent on finite minds.  God is responsible for logic insofar that it is attributed to him, yet he does not invent it or author it.  It is part of his nature.

I, of course, think the TAG argument is a total load of horse-shit, only marginally less so than the ontological argument...

But to get back to more serious topics, I see that the set of concepts embodied in Logic are the way we refer to, or describe, fundamental aspects, 'absolutes' if you like, of reality that in themselves are not dependent or contingent in any way on any mind, they are not conceptual in nature, they are truly fundamental properties of reality. They are prerequisites for there to be any coherent form to reality. 

A God could not in any way be responsible for logic, it would rather be a prerequisite for such a being, indeed, any being. He could no more be responsible for logic than he could be the instrument of his own creation. The coherency of reality we describe by Logic is 'logically' primal. 

Quote:

 

Beyond the three logical principles that I've mentioned, I do not really know of any sort of "constraint" that could be regarded as necessary.  

Sure, that does not mean there are not such constraints - the physical laws of our Universe at least suggest that something like those may be necessary, but not necessarily any particular set.

Quote:

The point is that nothing can give itself that which it does not have.  I'm not saying that, for instance, that my mother is at a greater level of sentience than I am.  I'm saying that my mother, together with *millions* of other external factors, contributed to the my being and aspects of my being.  When you take all of these factors and add them together, then that does accord with the principle that I've mentioned.  

That is very close to my argument, that for any particular entity to exist, there is no requirement that any other individual entity of greater 'power' or 'sentience' or any attribute whatever to exist in order to 'create' or actualize it. I take this fully on board, to argue that complexity, structure, even the complex and subtle process that is mind, can ultimately 'emerge' from such a combination of contributing lower order factors. Combined with a generalization of the Darwinian algorithm, we have a far more parsimonious model of the origin and development of reality than one involving anything like an infinite sentient being. God is already necessarily subordinate, contingent on logic, and probably on other factors inherent in reality. But ultimately, He is unnecessary, in the normal sense of that word.

As a side issue, I 

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

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If God didn't exist then why

If God didn't exist then why would you bring this whole subject up?

If God didn't exist then why would you worry about other people believing it?

If God didn't exist then where would all these chemical particles come from to create the universe?

It is absolutely obvious that something can NOT come out of nothing. So  why bother. A cellphone can't be maid of chemical particle, there is a creator, CREATOR to everything.

You did not give a piece of evidence for you point, you don't have a rock hard base!!!!

People open you eyes and turn on your logic evolution is clearly IMPOSSIBLE!

Pluys please don't put your opinion to everyone elses!

GOD WAS, GOD IS, GOD WILL ALWAYS BE! and some day is not now(which I really wish happened) you will get a proof of that!

I will be praying for you!!! GOD HEARS!!! GOD IS!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 


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BobSpence1 wrote:I did not

BobSpence1 wrote:

I did not say that it violated any logical principles. I was trying to point out that logic by itself is not necessarily sufficient to establish that some concept is actually possible in other than a purely conceptual sense. It is not adequate to define what is possible in our universe, there do seem to be these fundamental laws I referred to which further constrain things, but alternative sets of physical laws are at least conceivable, if not necessarily possible. IOW I was suggesting that there may well be constraints at the level of ultimate reality analogous to the fundamental principles we seem to see in our universe.

First of all, I am hesistant to use the term "constraint" when referring to logical principles.  Logical principles are essentially descriptive insofar that they describe things as they are and, more importantly, how they have to be (whereas moral principles describe how things ought to be, but that is a different discussion altogether).  To refer to them as "constraints" suggests that there is a prescriptive nature to them whereby there would be some sort of penalty to violating them.  That is a misunderstanding.  You could not even conceive of a possible universe where they are violated.  It is impossible.  I would not call them "constraints" anymore than I would call the law of gravity a constraint.

To say that you believe that there are principles beyond the big three is hardly a position at all.  You've simply postulated a term and claimed that it actually refers to something meaningful and yet you cannot tell me what it is.  And yet you have some sort of intuition that it could possibly exist.  If you cannot flesh it out in any meaningful way, then you cannot make a judgement of its plausibility. 

Quote:
I, of course, think the TAG argument is a total load of horse-shit, only marginally less so than the ontological argument...

But to get back to more serious topics, I see that the set of concepts embodied in Logic are the way we refer to, or describe, fundamental aspects, 'absolutes' if you like, of reality that in themselves are not dependent or contingent in any way on any mind, they are not conceptual in nature, they are truly fundamental properties of reality. They are prerequisites for there to be any coherent form to reality. 

A God could not in any way be responsible for logic, it would rather be a prerequisite for such a being, indeed, any being. He could no more be responsible for logic than he could be the instrument of his own creation. The coherency of reality we describe by Logic is 'logically' primal. 

The logical absolutes are conceptual by nature.  They are ideas, which are ontologically dependent on minds.  If you disagree, then you would have to articulate the nature of their non-conceptual existence in some sort of concrete way.  Otherwise, if you do not know what they are, then you cannot tell me what they are not.

But I believe that what you want to argue is that logical absolutes are a posteriori principles based on the consistent behavior of objects which exist outside of minds.  And yet the behavior itself must be necessary and not contingent, since, as you say, the behavior constitutes what can essentially be described as the "fundamental properties" of reality. 

The problem is that you've committed yourself to a self-contradiction.  You've implicitly made the point that the consistent behavior of objects somehow exists outside of the laws of logic and yet maintained the preconceived notion that these objects must behave rationally which, in turn, presupposes some underlying universal ethos of rationality.  In other words, in order for you to even conceive that objects can somehow be logical (or as you say, "coherent" ), you have to presuppose the existence of logic.  Otherwise, you have no criteria for judging the truth or falsity of the claim that you've even made.  Thus, logic must exist over and above the observable behavior of things.

To your point about God and his responsibility for logic:  God is responsible for logic in the same way that he is responsible for his own being.  Rationality partakes of God's nature as the greatest conceivable being.  God is logical by his very nature.  To say that God cannot be responsible for logic because he obeys it is like saying that God is not omnipotent because he cannot turn himself into a being that is not the greatest conceivable being, or that he is not all powerful because he cannot create a rock so heavy that he is unable to lift it.

Quote:
That is very close to my argument, that for any particular entity to exist, there is no requirement that any other individual entity of greater 'power' or 'sentience' or any attribute whatever to exist in order to 'create' or actualize it. I take this fully on board, to argue that complexity, structure, even the complex and subtle process that is mind, can ultimately 'emerge' from such a combination of contributing lower order factors. Combined with a generalization of the Darwinian algorithm, we have a far more parsimonious model of the origin and development of reality than one involving anything like an infinite sentient being. God is already necessarily subordinate, contingent on logic, and probably on other factors inherent in reality. But ultimately, He is unnecessary, in the normal sense of that word.


I'm glad you concede that individual entities exist, rather than assert that there is only one entity and everything is part of that.  The key point you've made is that there is no requirement for any individual entity of greater sentience to give way to an entity of lesser sentience.  Yet the general principle is that a greater level of sentience is required to give way to a lesser level of sentience.  Now extrapolate that in a chain of causation and you must conclude that it all stops at the greatest conceivable level of being


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Quote:GOD IS!!!!!!!!!!!!IS

Quote:
GOD IS!!!!!!!!!!!!

IS [email protected]@[email protected]!


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lovegod wrote:If God didn't

lovegod wrote:

If God didn't exist then why would you bring this whole subject up?

If God didn't exist then why would you worry about other people believing it?

If God didn't exist then where would all these chemical particles come from to create the universe?

It is absolutely obvious that something can NOT come out of nothing. So  why bother. A cellphone can't be maid of chemical particle, there is a creator, CREATOR to everything.

You did not give a piece of evidence for you point, you don't have a rock hard base!!!!

People open you eyes and turn on your logic evolution is clearly IMPOSSIBLE!

Pluys please don't put your opinion to everyone elses!

GOD WAS, GOD IS, GOD WILL ALWAYS BE! and some day is not now(which I really wish happened) you will get a proof of that!

I will be praying for you!!! GOD HEARS!!! GOD IS!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Hmm... this seems... familiar.

 

Quote:
Submitted by Oh Hello (not verified) on February 10, 2009 - 11:30pm.

Why do atheists want so much discussion about God ?

How can you have so much  discussion on something you claim doesnt exist?

And why be actively pursuant in trying to dissuade those who by their own choice or

free will have come to the conclusion by whatever means that there is a God .

 

If you dont want to believe it is your choice, you are entitled to it and anyway

when you die that is when we all know what the real truth is......

Oh yeah.

 

That's from the comments on the Kent Hovind page. A troll returning to the scene of the crime. Who would have thought?

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If you don't believe your non-belief then you don't believe and you must not be an atheist.


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lovegod wrote:If God didn't

lovegod wrote:

If God didn't exist then why would you bring this whole subject up?

If God does exist, then why are you responding to this subject?

Quote:
If God didn't exist then why would you worry about other people believing it?

If God does exist, then why do you worry about people not believing it?

Quote:
If God didn't exist then where would all these chemical particles come from to create the universe?

What chemical particles? What are you talking about?

Quote:
It is absolutely obvious that something can NOT come out of nothing.

That is correct. Something cannot come out of nothing.

Quote:
So  why bother.

Why bother what?

Quote:
A cellphone can't be maid of chemical particle,

Okay, here's a periodic table of the elements.

http://www.astro.virginia.edu/class/oconnell/astr121/im/periodic_table.gif

Explain to me what materials are in a typical cell phone, not including any elements in the periodic table or any molecules comprised of these elements. 

Quote:
You did not give a piece of evidence for you point,

What point?

Quote:
you don't have a rock hard base!!!!

How?

Quote:
People open you eyes and turn on your logic evolution is clearly IMPOSSIBLE!

Why?

Quote:
Pluys please don't put your opinion to everyone elses!

GOD WAS, GOD IS, GOD WILL ALWAYS BE! and some day is not now(which I really wish happened) you will get a proof of that!

I will be praying for you!!! GOD HEARS!!! GOD IS!!!!!!!!!!!!

You fucking hypocrite.

 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:lovegod

butterbattle wrote:

lovegod wrote:

Pluys please don't put your opinion to everyone elses!

GOD WAS, GOD IS, GOD WILL ALWAYS BE! and some day is not now(which I really wish happened) you will get a proof of that!

I will be praying for you!!! GOD HEARS!!! GOD IS!!!!!!!!!!!!

You fucking hypocrite.

My sentiments exactly.

Atheists are concerned about God in the same way you'd be concerned about a child's boogeyman.  Neither exist but when a person thinks they do it can cause a ton of problems for everybody.

 


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I'd like to add to the list.

I'd like to add to the list. God still has not left a million dollars on my doorstep like I requested.

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It's natural for people to believe in god

People believe in god not because they need an explanation of the world but because it's hard to accept that you are fundamentally alone and perishable.

That's completely understandable, if you face such thing and find yourself completely powerless, sure all humanity is and was, you come up with a lot of defensive ideas:

- "it's my flesh the one who dies, not me, oh god! not me, i'm somewhat forever"

- "you know, world has some though things, but i met this guy, he can sort it all out, and he has a special relationship with me"

Ok, we humans use to daydream, it's another aspect of how our minds have EVOLVED to work. so, what's the problem about having an imaginary super powerful friend and playing the lead role in an imaginary movie ?

When he starts to speak and order you to do things... things that you are not allowed to question and under any circumstance to disobey.

We all know about the crusaders and all that stuff, people killing, torturing and looting because sweet jesus told' em to do so. But this is not the greater danger, it's not those kind of historical events the true face of religion's evil. The evil thing is in the little every-day god-fearing god-loving john doe deeds.

E.g. a lot of churches forbid kids to play with other kids that don't belong to their community, even, it's possible that kids aren't allowed to go to the park and play at all - satan could be lurking in the shadows

E.g. homosexual people, both women and men, aren't allowed to marry with people that they really love, this is, if you are a lesbian you must marry a man, even if you don't love him.

More on, when you accept the fact that there's an authority above this world that you must follow blindly, you end up accepting the fact that there's an authority in this world that you must follow blindly. You start censoring youself about asking questions because that would be lack of faith and people without faith are empty and will burn in hell.

That's great! that's what people like Hitler needed, or Stalin, if germans or soviets had been atheists, those guys could never get to power.

So, i finish these lines, i don't expect any christian or muslim or wiccan or satanist or whatever to open his/her eyes, i only  hope that if they write down  any comment about this note, and how blind i am, and how in the end jesus' long arms / satans long claws/ goats long hooves/ will embrace me , have the decency to give me hints about how to make money out of them.

This is, i've thought about selling religious posters on the net, of course not telling the customers i'm an atheist, but every now and then i read about that religious market and i would like an ever growing slice of the pie.

Suggestions are welcome.

[email protected] a demo in new zealand

 


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 Christos wrote:Well

 

Christos wrote:

Well Eloise, although you make a valid point, I am not a Christian. 

Christos wrote:

 

"No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us."

 LOL! John 4:12. Thanks, four-second Google search! I know that doesn't prove you're a Christian, but come on. It's not exactly helping your already weak case.

 

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven. Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. And recks not his own rede."


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Kevin R Brown wrote:No doubt

Kevin R Brown wrote:

No doubt there's some important stuff I'll have missed; feel free to add to the list as you see fit:

 

God did not create the universe

Our universe was formed via the expansion of a singularity and subsequent formation of structures by hydrogen atoms through gravitational attraction. A magical deity adds nothing to the known explanation.

 

So: where does God come into it?

 

Considering that there is no "creator", "god" has done absolutely nothing. It would be easier to say and answer the question, "What hasn't "god" done?"

The answer is "god has done absolutely squat".

 


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God didn't create the universe

 "God did not create the universe

Our universe was formed via the expansion of a singularity and subsequent formation of structures by hydrogen atoms through gravitational attraction. A magical deity adds nothing to the known explanation."

 

No.  The expansion of a singularity is an event within the universe, helps not one bit in explaning the universe itself.

The best explanation for why the universe exists is that necessarily all possible worlds exist.

If, on the other hand, we found out that our universe is impossible - its existence then would be really hard to explain.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Question: Has Kevin R. Brown

Question: Has Kevin R. Brown unthinkingly spouted the party line?

Observation: Kevin R. Brown has written a series of, to all appearances, shallow one-liners.

Hypothesis: Kevin R. Brown has unthinkingly spouted the party line.

Prediction: All of Kevin R. Brown's arguments will overlook common and forceful theistic objections.

Experiment:

Kevin R Brown wrote:

God did not create the universe

Our universe was formed via the expansion of a singularity and subsequent formation of structures by hydrogen atoms through gravitational attraction. A magical deity adds nothing to the known explanation.

The singularity is properly considered part of the universe, though. The door is as open to a creator of the universe as it was before anyone thought up the singularity.

Quote:
God did not create the solar system or the Earth

Our sun was formed by the particle clouds left behind from previous stars, and our planet (as well as every other planet in the solar system) formed from an accretion disk surrounding our sun.

The point I made against "God did not create the universe" also applies to "God did not create the solar system or the Earth," since the earth and solar system are part of the universe. But maybe Kevin is talking about direct intervention to create the earth. I'm not sure the theist is obliged to take that position, but I think a theist could hold it reasonably. So far as we know, there aren't any other planets so well placed for life as earth. Or, for that matter, any other planets with life.

Quote:
God did not create life on Earth

Life on Earth was formed through a chemical evolutionary process known as 'abiogenesis' (not to be confused with modern evolutionary science, dealing with the propagation of alleles through a population).

There is no plausible mechanism for abiogenesis. They have some theories, and they've made some things that sorta kinda look like cells if you squint properly. But there is no known mechanism for abiogenesis that demonstrably gives rise to life.

Quote:
 God did not create homo sapiens

Homo sapiens evolved along the primate branch of the genetic tree. We are simply the 'latest model' of great apes.

If God created life, then God created man, abeit indirectly. You were probably talking about direct creation here. In that case, if God endowed man with a soul or with free will that animals do not have, then man was directly created by God even if there is an evolutionary path running from ape to man. And you can't actually say that there is a complete evolutionary path running from ape to man anyway. 

Quote:
God did not give us 'souls' or 'free will'

Human beings are conscious and self-aware via their brains. An extra, magical source for our intelligence adds nothing to the known explanation.

Not so fast. How do you explain out of body experiences? Some of the people who have them come back with accurate reports of what was going on in the room when they were ostensively unconscious. And plenty of philosophers without any religious agenda have argued for free will.

Quote:
God has yet to answer a prayer

Under controlled conditions, when a request is made via prayer for something unambiguous, nothing ever happens.

That is only a problem if we would expect God to work miracles when he knew that we were testing him. But "thou shalt not test the Lord thy God." And you can't just ignore all of the cases when someone prayed for something and got it. Chocking them all up to coincidence is a brazenly desperate move.

Quote:
God did not provide us with accurate insight into the mechanics the universe he supposedly was somehow involved in erecting

None of the mythological texts supposedly divined into existence by God reflect reality.

Theism predicts that the universe would begin with an event similar to the Big Bang, no?

Quote:
God did not talk to you last night

You can kid yourself and your choir all you like. We both know it didn't happen.

Oh, how very scientific of you. Good thing you don't make naked assertions like those awful theists!

Explain this, then: I have been looking for this one book in my home for months. I wanted to throw it away, because after coming across several passages in it that advocated evil things, I decided that the book was a bad influence upon my family. I had searched everywhere I could think of, asked everyone in my family, and just generally came up blank. I prayed, and immediately felt very strongly inclined to go upstairs to a specific room and look on a specific table, under a big pile of papers. It was there.

Quote:
God did not invent morality

Morality was a trait favored by natural selection, as it encourages population growth & stability.

People aren't automatically moral, though. We do all sorts of horrible things to each other. We have to be taught to be moral. I'm actually open to the idea that morality was invented and developed over a period of centuries by the great thinkers, but I am not open to the idea that it's somehow automatic. 

Quote:
So then:

What the Hell did God do that is apparently so obvious to you? All of the things traditionally attributed to God are mis-attributions; it's just outright wrong to say that magic was somehow necessary to make the universe, Earth, people, etc. We also both know that you're being dishonest when you claim that a prayer was magically answered or that God manifested for you.

So: where does God come into it?

Conclusion: Experiment confirms hypothesis.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


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Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

and they've made some things that sorta kinda look like cells if you squint properly.

What?

I agreed with some of the things you said and disagreed on other points. Can you expand on what you mean by, uuuhh, "sorta kinda look like cells if you squint properly"? So, some weird stuff that kinda sorta looks like microorganisms but isn't really alive appeared in labs? 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Presuppositionalist wrote:

and they've made some things that sorta kinda look like cells if you squint properly.

What?

I agreed with some of the things you said and disagreed on other points. Can you expand on what you mean by, uuuhh, "sorta kinda look like cells if you squint properly"? So, some weird stuff that kinda sorta looks like microorganisms but isn't really alive appeared in labs? 

Right. They called them proteinoid microspheres. They are not alive, and you have to do a lot of chemistry to make them appear (chemistry sufficiently intricate that it probably would not occur on a primordial earth), but they do have a superficial resemblance to cells. Much noise was made over them when they were created, and some atheists still point to them as evidence that abiogenesis might be possible.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


croath
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 deludedgod wrote:

 

deludedgod wrote:

You’ve shot yourself in the foot. Previously in the thread you asserted that this thing you call “God” is beyond human understanding. If you assert that something is beyond your epistemological faculties then you automatically exclude yourself from talking about it at all.

 

Your argument shape:

1.  If something is beyond your understanding, then you cannot talk about it (premise)

2.  God is beyond your understanding (premise)

3.  Therefore, you cannot talk about God

4.  You talk about God (premise)

 

3&4 contradict, therefore, one of the premises must be false (assuming that your argument is deductively valid).

 

Premise 1 is clearly false.  My computer is beyond my grandfather's understanding - he is too old, and his mind does not work as it should.  Even if he wanted to, he could not understand it.  Yet, he can definitely talk about it.  He could explain what it looks like, some of the things it does for him, how to do certain operations on it.  He won't ever understand the workings of the circuitry, how data is stored in a hard disk, etc.

 

And this is just a basic example.  There is a multitude of examples.  All physical things today contains elements beyond our understanding - for example, we do not completely understand the nature of subatomic particles, yet we understand so very much about many things made up of these particles (and some things about these particles).  In fact, the atheist would have good reason to think that there are things about this universe that would be beyond our ability to ever understand.  We may theoretically one day reach a point where we simply cannoy understand more - our brains are not wired in the correct way.  Yet this does not stop us talking about aspects of the universe that are within our epistemic grasp.  The principle you proposed in premise 1 is clearly false, and so the contradiction is resolved.

 

Perhaps you thought that "beyond understanding" meant that *all* aspects of God are beyond our understanding - but I see no reason to interpret the claim this way.  This should be interpreted as saying the weaker claim that a complete understanding of God is beyond our ability - perhaps even that most things about God are beyond our understanding, but just not all.

 

deludedgod wrote:
It is a conscious object, which, for some strange reason, is listening with concern to you, one of countless inhabitants of a small rock orbiting a very normal star in a spiral arm of a galaxy belonging to a cluster of similar galaxies.

 

An irrelevant piece of prose.  There is nothing incredible about God caring about us amongst all things in such a large galaxy.  Nor is there anything incredible about him caring about billions of beings simultaneously (or one of billions).  It is hard to see the impact of your point here.

 

Christos wrote:
You make a good point deludegod.

 

Which point was good?

 

And just in case this hasn't been mentioned in the thread:

Kevin R Brown wrote:
Life on Earth was formed through a chemical evolutionary process known as 'abiogenesis' (not to be confused with modern evolutionary science, dealing with the propagation of alleles through a population).

 

Abiogenesis is not a specific process or theory.  It is the name for the study of how life might have arisen from non-life.

 

Don't assume I think your other points, or overall argument, is coherent.  It's not.

 

 


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You are all hopeless!

You are all hopeless!


Silly_Mommy
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AlbertA wrote:You are all

AlbertA wrote:

You are all hopeless!

 

What a wonderful contribution you've made to the conversation.

 

Gold star. Go team.


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Croath, If your God is not

Croath,

If your God is not beyond your understanding, why do you and so many other theists have such difficulty articulating the concept without saying "you have to have faith"?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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croath wrote:And this is

croath wrote:

And this is just a basic example.  There is a multitude of examples.  All physical things today contains elements beyond our understanding - for example, we do not completely understand the nature of subatomic particles, yet we understand so very much about many things made up of these particles (and some things about these particles).  In fact, the atheist would have good reason to think that there are things about this universe that would be beyond our ability to ever understand.  We may theoretically one day reach a point where we simply cannoy understand more - our brains are not wired in the correct way.  Yet this does not stop us talking about aspects of the universe that are within our epistemic grasp.  The principle you proposed in premise 1 is clearly false, and so the contradiction is resolved.

 

Perhaps you thought that "beyond understanding" meant that *all* aspects of God are beyond our understanding - but I see no reason to interpret the claim this way.  This should be interpreted as saying the weaker claim that a complete understanding of God is beyond our ability - perhaps even that most things about God are beyond our understanding, but just not all.

 

So which "bits" of God are understandable then, and why?

Forget Jesus, the stars died so that you could be here
- Lawrence Krauss


croath
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I would have thought after

I would have thought after my response that you guys would have come up with some questions more profound than these.

 

jcgadfly wrote:
If your God is not beyond your understanding, why do you and so many other theists have such difficulty articulating the concept without saying "you have to have faith"?

If you’d read what I said, I didn’t actually claim your antecedent – that “God is not beyond [our] understanding”.  So your question is inappropriate.  I said some aspects of God are not beyond our understanding, but the full nature and being of God is.

And just to correct a possible misunderstanding, what is meant by faith in the Biblical sense is trust.  Much the same as when you put faith in a surgeon to fix your body, or faith in a pilot to take you safely to your destination, or faith in other drivers to not deliberately try and run you off the road.  However, many Christians erroneously use faith in a different sense, to mean belief in the absence of reason.  This is not, however, what the Bible teaches by faith.

 

MichaelMcF wrote:
So which "bits" of God are understandable then, and why?

Why are you asking this question?  I don’t see the relevance.  The best I can determine is that you think I ought to be able to answer this question, but also that I won’t be able to.  But I see no reason why I should be able to answer it.  Do you ask the physicist in advance, “which ‘bits’ of the universe are understandable, and which are not”?  He doesn’t know.  Nor does he need to be able to answer that question, before he goes looking.  Maybe there is some clue about things that are comprehensible, and where some incomprehensible truths may be, but there doesn’t have to be.  Same with God.

Perhaps you could clarify exactly what the point of your question was. 


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croath wrote:I would have

croath wrote:

I would have thought after my response that you guys would have come up with some questions more profound than these.

 

jcgadfly wrote:
If your God is not beyond your understanding, why do you and so many other theists have such difficulty articulating the concept without saying "you have to have faith"?

If you’d read what I said, I didn’t actually claim your antecedent – that “God is not beyond [our] understanding”.  So your question is inappropriate.  I said some aspects of God are not beyond our understanding, but the full nature and being of God is.

And just to correct a possible misunderstanding, what is meant by faith in the Biblical sense is trust.  Much the same as when you put faith in a surgeon to fix your body, or faith in a pilot to take you safely to your destination, or faith in other drivers to not deliberately try and run you off the road.  However, many Christians erroneously use faith in a different sense, to mean belief in the absence of reason.  This is not, however, what the Bible teaches by faith.

 

MichaelMcF wrote:
So which "bits" of God are understandable then, and why?

Why are you asking this question?  I don’t see the relevance.  The best I can determine is that you think I ought to be able to answer this question, but also that I won’t be able to.  But I see no reason why I should be able to answer it.  Do you ask the physicist in advance, “which ‘bits’ of the universe are understandable, and which are not”?  He doesn’t know.  Nor does he need to be able to answer that question, before he goes looking.  Maybe there is some clue about things that are comprehensible, and where some incomprehensible truths may be, but there doesn’t have to be.  Same with God.

Perhaps you could clarify exactly what the point of your question was. 

I don't see the physicist claiming to know or understand bits of the universe either.

You're the one that claimed that some pieces of God are not beyond our (or your) understanding. Ironic that you can't/won't discuss any.

Or is this one of those "If you'd read the Bible while guessing about my interpretation all your questions would be answered" moments?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


croath
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 jcgadfly wrote:I don't see

 

jcgadfly wrote:
I don't see the physicist claiming to know or understand bits of the universe either.

Are you serious?  The physicist claims to know or understand many things – the behaviour of large objects under applied force, the evolution of stars, the weight of atoms of various elements, the half life of radioactive materials, the relation of gravitational forces between objects compared to the distance between them, etc.  Maybe the physicist is not right about some of these things, but there’s certainly many things that could be considered knowledge, and certainly many things the physicist would claim to understand.

And if I granted your point, what would that do?  Let’s assume that we think the physicist doesn’t know or understand anything about the universe.  Then there’s nothing strange about us saying that the Christian knows nothing about God either!  This statement of yours doesn’t help you, no matter which way we cut it.

jcgadfly wrote:

You're the one that claimed that some pieces of God are not beyond our (or your) understanding. Ironic that you can't/won't discuss any.

Or is this one of those "If you'd read the Bible while guessing about my interpretation all your questions would be answered" moments

Slow down with the bravado.  My question was, what is the relevance of this request?  That doesn’t mean I’m afraid to answer.  I just don’t see how it will help further the conversation or make a good point.  Since you really want some examples, here are three things about God which are within our understanding:

·         He stands alone (there is no other equal to him that is not himself)

·         He created this universe

·         He is all loving

You may disagree with me that some of these things are truths about God, but that’s irrelevant.  Whether I’m right or wrong, these are things we can understand about God whichever way they turn out to be.

Now, what was the point of that exercise?

 


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croath wrote: jcgadfly

croath wrote:

 

jcgadfly wrote:
I don't see the physicist claiming to know or understand bits of the universe either.

Are you serious?  The physicist claims to know or understand many things – the behaviour of large objects under applied force, the evolution of stars, the weight of atoms of various elements, the half life of radioactive materials, the relation of gravitational forces between objects compared to the distance between them, etc.  Maybe the physicist is not right about some of these things, but there’s certainly many things that could be considered knowledge, and certainly many things the physicist would claim to understand.

And if I granted your point, what would that do?  Let’s assume that we think the physicist doesn’t know or understand anything about the universe.  Then there’s nothing strange about us saying that the Christian knows nothing about God either!  This statement of yours doesn’t help you, no matter which way we cut it.

jcgadfly wrote:

You're the one that claimed that some pieces of God are not beyond our (or your) understanding. Ironic that you can't/won't discuss any.

Or is this one of those "If you'd read the Bible while guessing about my interpretation all your questions would be answered" moments

Slow down with the bravado.  My question was, what is the relevance of this request?  That doesn’t mean I’m afraid to answer.  I just don’t see how it will help further the conversation or make a good point.  Since you really want some examples, here are three things about God which are within our understanding:

·         He stands alone (there is no other equal to him that is not himself)

·         He created this universe

·         He is all loving

You may disagree with me that some of these things are truths about God, but that’s irrelevant.  Whether I’m right or wrong, these are things we can understand about God whichever way they turn out to be.

Now, what was the point of that exercise?

 

Simple, you haven't shown with your assertions about your god that you actually understand anything about the concept.

Assertions don't imply knowledge no matter how stridently they're made.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


croath
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 jcgadfly wrote:Simple, you

 

jcgadfly wrote:
Simple, you haven't shown with your assertions about your god that you actually understand anything about the concept.

Assertions don't imply knowledge no matter how stridently they're made.

Are you being deliberately stupid to waste my time?  How ironic that you should accuse me of making assertions when you have done nothing else!  There is no content to your messages to respond to.  I have to invent arguments for you and respond to those, because you won’t even make them yourself.

The problem here is that you are sloppy and lazy, probably because you think you hold the higher intellectual ground.  Start putting in some actual effort, don’t just say that I “haven’t shown with [my] assertions about [my] god that [I] understand anything about the concept”.  Tell me how my examples fail to be demonstrations of what was requested.  You have to do some work here too, otherwise I’m doing the work of both forming your arguments and rebutting them.

When someone, eg a Christian, says, “I believe in God”, most atheists brought up in a western culture understand some things about their concept of God, even if they think it false.  Therefore, some things about God are within our ability to understand.  It’s really quite simple.


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croath wrote: jcgadfly

croath wrote:

 

jcgadfly wrote:
Simple, you haven't shown with your assertions about your god that you actually understand anything about the concept.

Assertions don't imply knowledge no matter how stridently they're made.

Are you being deliberately stupid to waste my time?  How ironic that you should accuse me of making assertions when you have done nothing else!  There is no content to your messages to respond to.  I have to invent arguments for you and respond to those, because you won’t even make them yourself.

The problem here is that you are sloppy and lazy, probably because you think you hold the higher intellectual ground.  Start putting in some actual effort, don’t just say that I “haven’t shown with [my] assertions about [my] god that [I] understand anything about the concept”.  Tell me how my examples fail to be demonstrations of what was requested.  You have to do some work here too, otherwise I’m doing the work of both forming your arguments and rebutting them.

When someone, eg a Christian, says, “I believe in God”, most atheists brought up in a western culture understand some things about their concept of God, even if they think it false.  Therefore, some things about God are within our ability to understand.  It’s really quite simple.

Translated - You were caught in your bullshit and are trying to project onto me.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


croath
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jcgadfly wrote:Translated -

jcgadfly wrote:

Translated - You were caught in your bullshit and are trying to project onto me.

 

Sigh.  I now see you're just wasting my time.


jcgadfly
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croath wrote:jcgadfly

croath wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Translated - You were caught in your bullshit and are trying to project onto me.

 

Sigh.  I now see you're just wasting my time.

Yep, that's why I quit after you defeated yourself. Good on you for keeping up your fight with you. You might win yet.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Not to nitpick...

"God did not create homo sapiens

Homo sapiens evolved along the primate branch of the genetic tree. We are simply the 'latest model' of great apes."

Not to nitpick, but 'latest model' implies that we are further along in evolution, which belies the true nature of  the current evolutionary models and the fact that there is no 'evolutionary ladder'. This would leave open the tired argument of 'If humans evolved from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?' Bleh.

Thanks for the great work - keep it up!


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comment

Normal 0

There are times where people are confused and restless. They keep on discovering things because that’s their nature. There are also times that we, human, feel superior above anything in the world. We keep on questioning the capacity of God. And the worst is that someone believes that there is no God. Well, it was their opinion and who are we to judge them? Anyway, are you familiar with Coley Laffoon? Well, hardly anybody had ever heard of Coley Laffoon, and not many people really give a tinker's cuss about him, and probably won't for some time to come.  However, Anne Heche has a bone to pick with him – obviously, because she used to be married to the bum.  In her recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, she ripped him a new one. "Can I call someone lazy on TV?" later followed by stating that what he did for money was to "go to the mailbox and say I got another check from Anne!" The former couple had a child together, and she made it known she does not wish to be around Coley Laffoon at all, so maybe he should get some payday loans, or maybe a job.

 

 


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more things god didn't do

don't forget

  • Rainbows
  • Lightning
  • Earthquakes
  • Tidal waves
  • Meteorites

 


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Knowable

What you don't understand is that God is knowable. You just have to take the time to get to know him. To do this you first have to believe that he exists. If you don't beleive he exist's then he isn't knowable. For example, there are people in this world that you have never met. You have never seen them, you haven't spoke to them, but commen sense tells you that they exist because you realize that you can't possibly know everyone. To think that you could get to know someone you have never met...you aren't even aware of thier existence except on a very small level...is unlogical. You have to first meet God, then you can get to know him.

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"Abiogenisis is not a

"Abiogenisis is not a specific process or theory. It is the name for the study of how life might have arisen from non-life."

Might being the operative word.

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curious_george

curious_george wrote:

Knowable

What you don't understand is that God is knowable. You just have to take the time to get to know him. To do this you first have to believe that he exists. If you don't beleive he exist's then he isn't knowable. For example, there are people in this world that you have never met. You have never seen them, you haven't spoke to them, but commen sense tells you that they exist because you realize that you can't possibly know everyone. To think that you could get to know someone you have never met...you aren't even aware of thier existence except on a very small level...is unlogical. You have to first meet God, then you can get to know him.

---

"Abiogenisis is not a specific process or theory. It is the name for the study of how life might have arisen from non-life."

Might being the operative word.

Just for giggles, I thought I'd throw you a few questions. I apologize if it's a little sarcastic but I've heard the "Jesus is real if you'd only know him" from so many people (all Christians, each describing a different version of Jesus) that I gert confused.

1. So, I have to believe in this God that you claim to know based on no evidence whatsoever? You'd just like me to take your word for it? Oh, wait. You have that self-contradictory book supposedly inspired by him that says he exists. Is that all you have?

2. As for abiogenesis - we don't know yet. Scientists are still working to figure it out. Does "I don't know" as an answer scare you so much that you have to say "God did it" so you can avoid thinking?

2. If all I have to do is meet him, introduce me? Oops, you can't, can you? He's invisible, intangible,, inaudible and just generally undetectable. How do I get to know him again? If he's little more than an invisible friend, why bother? I grew out of that stage 40 years ago.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin